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Premium Member
1991 CRX Si
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47 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
When I was a kid, there were two cars I always wanted to own, a supercharged 1988 Toyota MR2 and a 1991 Honda CRX Si. After 7 years of searching, I finally found the CRX for me on Facebook Marketplace for $4300. I was looking for a clean red one that was unmodified and could use some TLC to take it to where I wanted it to be. After interviewing the owner, I found out it was a shell and he had been trying to restore it but he really didn't have the time or funds. The test drive revealed that mechanically it seemed solid and nothing unusual. To pass smog, I had to buy a new cat which cost me $400, but that problem wouldn't come up until a year later during the registration renewal. Every vehicle I have owned, I have customized it to my own tastes. My goal is always to keep the aesthetics but improve upon handling and do tasteful cosmetic mods. I've been down the road with spending tons of money modding cars with full engine rebuilds going for maximum power and making it unsmoggable, so that doesn't interest me anymore. My goal for this CRX was to "make it mine"while keeping it California legal as much as possible. For the first year of owning the CRX, I restored the torn seats, replaced various broken hinges and latches, replaced the head unit twice, replaced the speakers and added a subwoofer, found CRX carpets and restored them, replaced the starter motor which had been replaced previously and was overdriving upon each start up, fixed the AC, powder coated the engine valve cover, replaced the radiator and thermostat, all to make it roadworthy. I fixed the backup lights that weren't working, replaced the main relay to fix a starting issue. My mods began in the engine bay, replacing the OEM intake with a Carb Legal Injen CAI, and replacing the exhaust with a brand new Greddy Sp2 that I bought on Ebay. It was for a Civic Wagon, so it needed to be cut down and welded but otherwise fit perfectly. I changed the wheels to some Rota Grids wearing Nitto Neo Gen's, some of my favorite rubber. The CRX came with Koni Yellows on stock springs. I initially changed the springs out with Eibach lowering springs, but later decided to replace the Koni Yellows with new ones with Ground Control Coilovers.

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Seats were torn like most CRX's

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On my lift to replace the brake pads and rotors
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First suspension mod
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Difference in spring length over stock
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Wiring in an alarm and door actuators
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Removing dents
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Nitto Neo Gens- the new wheels and tires were wider and lighter than OEM by 2lbs.
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The head unit that came with the car.
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I changed it to a Pioneer at first
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Premium Member
1991 CRX Si
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47 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
This is the head unit I changed to. The phone flips down for access to the heater controls. It also rotates from landscape to portrait.
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Some of my toys
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About to bake my powder coated valve cover
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My two dream cars in front of my shop.
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SRP pedals
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Momo wheel
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Premium Member
1991 CRX Si
Joined
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47 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Engine bay restored but before I painted the valve cover.
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Found some carpets that I wanted to be black (restored the top one here)
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Fixed the hole
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Stitched some new letters
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My latest acquisition
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Thinking about mounting a digital boost gauge here. I'd prefer the cable to come out the left side instead of right side but we shall see.
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I'm staying OBD0, but adding DSM 450cc injectors, chipped my ECU already, I got my old PC laptop ready with Turbo Edit, Chip Reader/burner, Ostrich 2.0, an Innovate MTX-L Plus AFR. This project isn't about going cheap. It's purely about customizing the car the way I want to, making it more fun, enjoying the process. I bought some seat heaters as well that I will be integrating. Repainting the car is on my list of to-do's which will happen sometimes this year.
 

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Premium Member
1991 CRX Si
Joined
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47 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I just tore down my Eaton M45 to see how it looks inside.

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The coating is shot

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Some gouging on the rotors
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Some scoring on the casing
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Otherwise the rest of it is pretty clean now
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I bought a rebuild kit to replace the bearings. I'm debating about whether to get the rotors re coated. I'm not looking to do any crazy boost.
 

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Premium Member
1991 CRX Si
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47 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
My brake turned green like so many others. I decided to paint it but found out that the SEM paint was darker than the rest of the vinyl. So I used a product I make called BlackWow Pro to even up all the materials.
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Here is the Greddy SP2 I found on ebay! It was the last one!
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This exhaust was for the Civic Hatchback but a little modification and it fit perfectly!
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Again on Facebook, I came across these mint CR-X seats! The foam for the base needs to be rebuilt. I tried swapping the foam and upholstery but the seat pans are different. So I ended up swapping the seat backs onto my existing seat pans, and carving up the foam. I didn't do a great job on the foam but I've got an upholstery shop that can make it perfect. Note that I did consult with them about restoring my upholstery but the fabric isn't available and there aren't any options that are remotely close.
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I haven't replaced the passenger seat yet. I bought an arm rest and customized the fabric as well.
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Here's the evolution of my car from stock to lightly modified. The center pic is when it was on Koni Yellows and Eibach lowering springs. The picture was intentionally mirrored (see the gas door?) to match the orientation of the other two pix. The bottom pix is how it sits with Koni Yellows and Ground Control Coilovers on their highest position lol. I know the Rotagrids are "cheap replicas". I didn't really want to worry about my wheels getting stolen with more expensive wheels. The car is already a magnet for thieves. I did install a hidden GPS tracker for some peace of mind.
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Premium Member
1991 CRX Si
Joined
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47 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
After tearing down the supercharger, I decided to see if the bypass vacuum actuator worked and of course it was torn. Held absolutely zero vacuum and the bolts holding it on were rounded. Well one of them was. Always a good reason why things don't get fixed or replaced when the bolts holding them are damaged. Finding this part was a bit of a pain, but I found a new one on a Miata site today.
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This is a good video on how to test the valve.
 

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Premium Member
1991 CRX Si
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47 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I have but the issue is I live in California. Originally my intent was add a Carb legal supercharger for some fun and uniqueness. Then as things developed, I realized that I’m probably going to have to swap ECU and injectors for smog since I’m tuning for fuel management. Maybe even remove the JRSC and go back to the stock intake manifold. I have a chipped ECU, along with my original ECU (maybe I can just switch maps instead of swapping ECUs since they are both PM6.

In other words, I’m trying to minimize the potential work to swap lol. But who knows, I may enjoy the boost so much that I rationalize that I need to do more to my engine.

You should look into a mini me swap.Some VTEC would go great with that supercharger.
 

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Registered
93 4d lx, z6,ported, port matched, compression bumped, balanced, manual swap
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669 Posts
Adding vtec can be done legally here in CA, just needs to pass the gas side, stay D series, and maintain smog equipment like a CARB approved calcat and evap. Having a scrap certificate for a vtec equipped civic of a newer year eases paperwork considerably
 

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Premium Member
1991 CRX Si
Joined
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47 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Oooh interesting. Thanks. I'll look into that.

But wouldn't I have to go OBD1? Or wait, OBD1 and D16A6 wouldn't be legal but adding VTEC makes it into a D16Z6 which is OBD1 which would be legal. Hmmm.


Adding vtec can be done legally here in CA, just needs to pass the gas side, stay D series, and maintain smog equipment like a CARB approved calcat and evap. Having a scrap certificate for a vtec equipped civic of a newer year eases paperwork considerably
 

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Registered
93 4d lx, z6,ported, port matched, compression bumped, balanced, manual swap
Joined
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669 Posts
Upgrading from obd0 to 1 is fine, they dont want older systems being swapped in. Even tuning is not illegal if you follow the proper procedures, which is basically a visit to the smog ref where they put a sticker or 6 on your ecu case so you cant change the tune without them knowing. Though with hondata and bluetooth...
The flex fuel conversion is a great excuse for these upgrades.
 

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Premium Member
1991 CRX Si
Joined
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47 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
My Ostrich 2.0 arrived as well as misc tools. I need to retap a bolt hole that I had to drill out because the bolt was rounded. Those bits arrived today. My tap set was a little awkward to use. I also spent some time sanding the inside of the housing that was scratched from the rotors. I initially thought I could polish them with some rouges but realized I needed to sand down the rough areas first.
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Accessing this area was difficult but I have a small rotary tool for sanding. I’m replacing those bearings once the rebuild kit arrives.

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