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1988 DX hatch
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Discussion Starter #1
Hey everyone,

Let me tell you a little bit about myself, my name is Jordan. I live in Calgary, Alberta. I am 18 and living with my mom (cheaper on rent and food and she has a garage). I plan to go to school to become an engineer or mechanic.

Enough about me, this is my 3rd car but first Honda. I recently bought a 1988 DX hatch that had a 1994 d16zc dohc swap done to it. The car is not running so I picked it up for a steal, the guy I bought it from admitted to not being mechanically inclined. The body was clean and the extras on the car made it too good to pass up.

And the fun begins: With my experience in Hondas being next to nothing I started surfing the forums and local classifieds. I learned lots about the zc and also other d series (affordable fun) options that were out there. Not knowing Hondas I jumped on the first opportunity to get a vtec that presented itself. I found a guy that had his car written off in a rear-ender. He was selling a D15B vtec with tranny (still not sure which), harness, axles, and proper JDM ecu.

I plan to tear down the D15B and build it slowly from the ground up. I admit I am a perfectionist and am willing to take my time to do something right. But before I can invest time and money building up the VTEC I need to get the ZC running.

Here's the progress I have made on the VTEC, just basic preperation to get it on the stand. I need room to bring the car home.




If anyone can tell me how to ID the tranny it would be great.


Is this the proper ECU?


And that's the car, more pictures to come once I "officially" own it.

Sorry if you don't like a text heavy thread but I like to be able to speak my mind and if that isn't up your alley then you don't have to read. If you like this kind of build thread feel free to let me know.

I am not sure how often I will update but I will as often as possible.
 

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BMX bike
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2,938 Posts
There should be stamped markings on the transmission near the fluid fill hole on the side.

A circle with a line through it and numbers/letters in the top half of the stamp. "3000" "6000" and "9000" are all good markings to find.
 

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1988 DX hatch
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40 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
I read about that and found the circle you mentioned, but there is either no numbers or they are corroded off.

I know the transmission in the car is the stock DX, I'm just trying to find out if this one is better.
 

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1988 DX hatch
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40 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Well, I hope it is as simple as wiring but I have a sad feeling it is a slipped timing belt.
 

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1988 DX hatch
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Discussion Starter #6
So here's some good news and some bad news.

Good: I finally got the car home and in one piece.

Bad: I found out why it won't start, I removed the timing belt cover to check if the belt was loose or the condition and was able to pull it out like a string.

This being said, what are the chances of being able to get a new timing belt and the engine running?
 

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1988 DX hatch
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Discussion Starter #9
Can someone post what the head should look like or let me know how to tell if its damaged? Or is it obvious?
 

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Magnum RT
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1,409 Posts
If a valve is bent, it'll be pretty obvious. Also, if the valves and the pistons got intimate, you can look at the piston tops for possible contact areas.
 

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1988 DX hatch
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Discussion Starter #12
So I have ordered a timing belt and water pump for the d15b (planning for the worst) and a timing belt for the zc. Will upload pictures of car soon. I have been busy with work.

Also hit a speed bump with someone breaking the passenger of the car my mom and I share. So between that and paying off a couple tickets the civic has been on the back burner.

Also with summer approaching I have been spending time getting my DD car running. So I am now taking a more resto mod approach to the civic.
 

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1988 DX hatch
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40 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Haven't updated in awhile. Sorry I have been busy with work.

I have installed a stereo in it now. And I am still stuck on getting the crankshaft pulley off, I rented a compressor that was good for 150 psi but that didn't do it. Any advice is greatly appreciated. So in the meantime I have been looking at buying a car so I have a D.D. Right now I'm using my moms car.

I found a 1991 (the seller claims it is but it has the 5th gen body style) civic sir. A true JDM right hand drive car. The car has minor upgrades (cold air intake, magnaflow muffler). I understand it is not a d series, but for $2000 I don't think I can pass up this deal. It had 180000km on the stock b16a vtec.
 

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1988 DX hatch
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40 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
So just for an update. I have finally changed the timing belt. Checked the compression and they are all around 120 psi except 1 is at 90 psi. The car fires up and runs but I I'm not sure if the valves are bent.

I passed on buying the RHD sir because of insurance.

I need to replace the radiator in my car and am wondering if people know if a newer generation will fit because ebay doesn't seem to have a lot for ef civics?

I will update with pictures soon.
 

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1988 DX hatch
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40 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
Here are some parts I purchased for it:







I also bought a new valvecover gasket and spark plugs. Next purchases will be a radiator and plug wires.
 

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1988 DX hatch
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Discussion Starter #19
So a little project I have taken on is restoring the rims I bought. Today I used a bit of armor-all and easy off to see how badly corroded they were. With a bit of cleaning and some sanding they turn out ok. They are not done yet but it made an improvement.

After:




Here is how they look on the car.

 

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91 Civic
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1,183 Posts
I was wondering if there is a simple way to tell without taking the head off?
first off i love the build man ive been it that boat for a while. but a simple way to do this, assuming the vavle lash hasnt been messed with sense the timing belt ep. just remove the vavle cover and look for any vavles that have exessive amounts of lash at TDC compared to other valves. normal lash is .006in intake and .009 exhaust. also you can do a leak down test and it will give you a very good idea on the engines inturnal seal condition. IMO id keep the ZC.
 
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