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Haluska's 1990 Si Build

Detailing, rust repair, body work, paint, body kits, interior upgrades and rebuilding.

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Haluska's 1990 Si Build

Postby haluska » Thu Jul 31, 2008 10:21 pm

Well, to keep myself motivated I decided to start a build thread. I picked up this car on July 23rd 2008 for $1050. I'm trying to make small progress on it every day. I hope to take pictures along the way. I even hope to keep a price log so other people can learn how much it costs to do some of the repairs I'll be attempting.

I'm by no means an expert at doing this. One of the reasons I bought a CRX that needed work was to force myself to learn something new. So expect me to be posting a lot of questions regarding the repairs I'll be doing.

My plans with the car currently are just to get it running reliably and restore the appearance and functionality of the car to the best of my abilities.

I have a wrecked 91 DX Auto that I will be using as a parts car.

Here's my current todo list:

Glass:
Body:
Rust:
Fix Functionality:
Audio:
Interior:
    Hatch Cover Repair and Plastic Bumpers
    Fix interior storage hinge and handle
    Fix Driver Side Seat Foam
    Seat Covers (Purchased)
    Floor Mats (Purchased)
    Carpet / Smell / Water Leak
Tentative:
    Driver Side Lock or New Key

Let's start with the pictures of the day it was dropped off.

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No seat rips!
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Engine bay...not very pretty:
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The first repair I did was replacing the hatch struts.
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Last edited by haluska on Thu Sep 16, 2010 9:23 am, edited 30 times in total.
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Postby haluska » Thu Jul 31, 2008 10:58 pm

First thing on 7/25/2008 I bought was Simple Green Concentrated $5.96.

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I started cleaning the engine bay and the rest of the car. The engine bay has 18 years of dirt and grime on it, and I quickly realized it's going to be an on going battle over many man weeks.

Want to see some of the ugly parts of the above car?

Baseboard Rust
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Door Rust
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More Door Rust
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Driver Fender Rust
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Trim is Faded
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Fender has a significant bend in it.
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Hard to see but there is even rust on the hatch
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Light was cracked by the accident that took off the bumper, I've since replaced it.
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More Rust...ugh
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Dang, it's chipped
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Worst tho, is that I'll have to replace the windshield to pass inspection.
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Last edited by haluska on Fri Apr 30, 2010 11:57 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Postby High Mileage » Thu Jul 31, 2008 11:59 pm

In for updates, I like the attention to detail...
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Postby gabe_si » Fri Aug 01, 2008 7:59 am

pics dont work
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Postby haluska » Fri Aug 01, 2008 8:11 am

gabe_si wrote:pics dont work

It is possible the server went down. If you are still having issues, please PM me so we can resolve it.
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Postby djblingbling » Fri Aug 01, 2008 8:38 am

Looks like you have your work cut out for you. Keep us updated though. Yellow rex's are awsome.
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Postby haluska » Sat Aug 02, 2008 12:15 am

djblingbling wrote:Looks like you have your work cut out for you. Keep us updated though.

Yes, it is very daunting. I often question what I've gotten myself into.

Well yesterday I took off the bumper support. I started cleaning the grime behind it, which was a thick layer. Well, Simple Green wasn't cutting it so today I tried out some liquid detergent and that worked much better. I'll post up some pics once I'm done cleaning it.

Also yesterday, I decided to start something of moderate difficulty. Repainting the front windshield wiper arms. It's easy to get a poor result, hard to get a great result when painting.

One arm looked like it was sand blasted on one side. The other sides had tiger stripes going on.

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First some supplies:

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The Etch Primer was $4.77 and the Semi Gloss Spray Paint was $3.77.

I tackled them with a dremel tool then got the remaining bits by hand. If I was going to do it again, I wouldn't have gone to this extreme. I would have just sanded off the black paint by hand.

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I did some more sanding then I put it on a hanger to paint.

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I hit it with three layers of etching primer at 2 minutes intervals then waited 30 minutes sanded, realized I sanded too much and had tow gouges cause of the dremel and decided to try to put on a little extra primer in that area.

After waiting another 30 minutes (per the instructions on the back) and sanding down again I still went a little too far and hit some bare metal. I didn't want to repeat the process again so I decided to live with those results.

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I proceeded to paint the arms. Now this sounds easy, but its harder than it looks. Mainly because you have to have a good place to hang them so you can get at them from every angle. Also you have to wait for it to dry so you can push the springs in, otherwise you will have small areas that will remain unpainted. So basically sanding, primering and painting these arms can easily turn into an all day activity.

The end results aren't perfect, but compared to the first they look great. There was a few tiny spots I missed sanding and they showed through. The dremel gouges are only noticeable if you are really close. Also, give it plenty of time between black coats if you plan on touching them. I think about 90 minutes is good. I also made a mistake of leaning them on the front while trying to paint the back while the front wasn't completely dry after an hour. I went back and did another coat after that mistake, but the error can be seen in the final product (just not in my pictures). But what can I say? I'm a perfectionist.

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Last edited by haluska on Tue Feb 24, 2009 9:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby haluska » Sat Aug 02, 2008 8:10 pm

Well it was raining on and off today so I couldn't work too much on the CRX today.

I decided to paint the horns. These are actually from the 91 DX which were a little better condition. I scuffed them up a bit then just did two quick coats with some paint I already had laying around. Now I have Black Gloss, Black Semi Gloss and Flat black spray paint. This probably only took about 5 minutes of sanding and 5 minutes to paint. I wasn't going to obsess over something nobody will be seeing.

Paint:
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Before:
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After:
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I've been spending a lot of time cleaning the engine bay. Now this takes hours of work, but it always makes the car seem fresher. Here's my progress so far.

What it looked like before:
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What it looks like now:
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I don't know if you ever pulled off the bumper before, but a layer of grime can develop behind it. It probably took me two hours on cleaning just that area.

My next goal is to clean up and do a minor repair on the bumper I pulled off the parts car. I also have to bend back the plastic bumper clip on the passenger side (which you can barely see underneath the corner light on the above picture)...which I tried to do by hand, but I think I need to pull off the passenger front fender to get better access to it.
Last edited by haluska on Tue Feb 24, 2009 9:30 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby MXHalofan » Sun Aug 03, 2008 4:18 am

Nice man I love working on my rex, I'm painting my wipers and some other stuff tomorrow (top secret) :)

Hey that bay looks great compared, why don't you power wash the shizzle out of it tho, I spent quite a bit of time doing that with both my rexes.

Also looks like oil leak from the valve cover in the front, my red one was like that. Be sure to replace the pcv valve, that fixed the leak on mine. Keep posting, I'm going to start my own thread for what I've done to mine.
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Postby haluska » Sun Aug 03, 2008 8:16 am

MXHalofan wrote:Nice man I love working on my rex, I'm painting my wipers and some other stuff tomorrow (top secret) :)


Good luck with your wipers, just remember to take your time and not put on the paint too thick. Getting perfect results is always a lot harder than I think it would be.

MXHalofan wrote:Hey that bay looks great compared, why don't you power wash the shizzle out of it tho, I spent quite a bit of time doing that with both my rexes.


I would love to, but my hose won't reach and the car isn't very drivable at the moment due to a clutch issue.

MXHalofan wrote:Also looks like oil leak from the valve cover in the front, my red one was like that. Be sure to replace the pcv valve, that fixed the leak on mine. Keep posting, I'm going to start my own thread for what I've done to mine.


Thanks for the heads up. I haven't had the car long enough to figure out if it was leaking or the person filling it up is just really messy. I was working on cleaning it to figure it out which it was.
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Postby bambbrose » Sun Aug 03, 2008 11:15 am

Looking great so far. The engine bay turned out a lot better. Good Work!
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Postby spyke » Sun Aug 03, 2008 1:20 pm

Yummy. I need to do that to my engine bay, but mine's nowhere near as bad as that...
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Postby haluska » Sun Aug 03, 2008 8:31 pm

Today was a pretty nice day outside and I got a chance to do some work on my CRX.

I mentioned that the corner slide was bent out of shape, I didn't take close up of a picture of the before, but I tried warping it back into shape with some needle nose pliers...no go. This was incredibly frustrating that looked so close to being right was wrong. Well I gave up trying to fix the broken one, and took the good one off the parts car. Problem solved!

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Next I replaced some of the broken and missing plastic pieces on the corner light from the parts car and spent a good half an hour cleaning off some overspray off the head lights with Goof Off. From what I can tell they painted a previous bumper while on the car.

Well I went and looked at bumper from the parts car. I wanted to disassemble, clean and paint it, but I was unable to undo the screws holding it on. Ugh. Oh well, the parts car showed very little rust and only had one minor break on the bumper which I was unable to fix. I need to find some sort of jumbo phillips screw driver to undo them.

So I decided to put the bumper on the car. After a couple attempts and some help from my brother, I got it on! :)

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While Torino Red color clashes with the Y49, the car is feeling more whole.

Of course, solve one problem and get another one. The license plate holder has not one, but TWO badly rusted on screws that I can't get out....and they're on the same side! On the bottom brace I can see if I can salvage the one from the original car (which is twisted badly). I'm not sure what I can do about the top one.

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One bright thing is that the hood latch that the previous owner said had to be pressed on to get it to depress, worked four times in a row. Previously I was afraid of fully closing the hood, because I would need a second person to undo it. The previous bumper pictures didn't show it fully closed.
Last edited by haluska on Tue Feb 24, 2009 9:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby haluska » Mon Aug 04, 2008 10:55 pm

Today, I went to work on my car, but didn't accomplish much. I tried to put in a speaker from my brother's car, but it was some huge 150W Pioneer speaker (the stock one was 50W). Well it wouldn't fit without cutting the plastic holder, which I didn't want to do so I left it out. Now I have to find a replacement speaker.

Then I decide to fix a little interior storage handle. When I lifted it up, I thought it was a little harder than it should be and noticed that the hinge is broken. Not sure how to fix that yet, as I can't swap it completely from the parts car since it's not perfect on that car due to the accident.

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Then I go to fix the front turn signal. I was comparing the two from the parts car and the two from my car, and I realize one of the spares isn't for my car's year, the other one is broken and they all are really dirty and need to be buffed before putting on the car. Oh and I noticed that the connector is missing... So that means I have to detach the one from the parts car and attach it. I could just cut it off and reattach it, but I'm flirting with the idea of pulling it all out and running the complete wire to avoid any unnecessary connections.

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Since I'm going to go have fun at the DMV tomorrow I decided to take the plates off the car and return them like I was suppose to. So I take the back plate off to find some rust. I know they are notorious for rusting back on the bumper support, but it still was sort of sickening to see it.

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I did order a used clutch cable off ebay, I know going used is risky but on one hand I don't even know if a new one would fix my problem, so I didn't want to spend a lot to rule out one possible problem with my clutch.
Last edited by haluska on Tue Feb 24, 2009 9:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby haluska » Tue Aug 05, 2008 11:10 pm

Alright, today I went to the DMV and got my car titled, registered and everything except inspected. So for the next 14 days I can drive it legally, hopefully this will give me incentive to fix the clutch issue.

I also picked up some rust remover. ($8.99 from Autozone)

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I'm soaking one of the license plate holder arms in it overnight along with some various bolts. I'm still trying to contemplate how to get the bolt out on the bumper. I can't fathom how I can get the rust remover to soak into it. The possibility of drilling it out isn't out of the question.

Well, today I wanted to fix the hinge on the cargo cover. The good news is the only problem is they have some sliding rods that make up the hinges that slid out of place, the bad news is that some of them are really hard to get to with it installed.

Fortunately it only takes a couple screws to remove it. It is currently in my living room and I think I'll tackle it further tomorrow. I spent a good amount of time vacuuming, scrubbing, armoralling and febreezing the area under and around the storage container. My car still has an odor which I haven't been able to pin point where it is, so I'll just continue cleaning everything till I find out where it is. I think it is slowly dissipating, but its hard to be sure.

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My turn signal covers show every bit of the 160k and 190k miles on them, so I decided to attempt to polish them with stuff I already had. I wet sanded each for 5 minutes with 2000 grit sand paper. 5 minutes doesn't sound like a long time, till you do it and realize it gets boring after about 20 seconds. I then put the scratch doctor on it, allowed it to dry and took it off. Then I did the same with polish.

Supplies:
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Before:
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After:
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Now, if you attempt it you have to be a bit realistic with the results, some of the dings are a lot deeper than the others and thus can't be removed by wet sanding (at least not without removing a lot of plastic) those are the ones that stand out a lot more in the after. But I'm hoping this is one more thing that will make the car seem "newer."
Last edited by haluska on Tue Feb 24, 2009 9:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby haluska » Wed Aug 06, 2008 10:39 pm

Time for my nightly update.

Well first thing I tried to do was remove the rusted bolt from the front bumper. No such lock, the bolt would rather strip itself to death than turn.

So I break out Mr Drill and proceed to drill him out. Well, that at least allowed me to break it off and the license plate could in theory stay flush with three bolts.

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I don't know if I'm going to proceed in attempting to remove the rest, which I'm sure is eventually going to end in failure. I'm thinking it would be easier to replace the back of the license plate holder.

Which means I'll have to completely disassemble the bumper to get to it, which I haven't been able to do either when I first attempted it. I need like a jumbo phillips screw driver to separate the plastic from the metal.

And of course I attempted to remove the bolt on the bottom holder, and I've pretty much given up hope on it as it appears to be rusted firmly together. I even soaked it over night in rust dissolver! I'm going to resort to bending back the one that was twisted into a bumper accident back into a shape that will hold the license plate, and/or replace it.

I wanted to see if the smell dissipated yet, but no luck. When I was cleaning the storage area, I found the metal clip for one of the side holders of the cargo cover. I went to put it on and noticed....well it was completely broken off.

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All this stuff in the back was broken because apparently one day when it was icy the previous owner couldn't open either of the doors so she decided to go through the back hatch. I would have thought that could be accomplished without massive destruction of the interior. Well I realize to fix it means I have to replace the biggest piece of plastic in the rear interior. And to make matters worse, my parts car has that piece completely destroyed. Well, that is mostly cosmetic and hidden so it might stay broken for a while.

So I go through the interior a bit and I realized something weird, one of the screws on the interior pieces was rusty. Then I noticed that in the driver's side small triangular cubby hole behind the seat had water in the back of it! And I found a small puddle of water in the back of the hatch area!

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Well no wonder I have a moldy smell, I have a water leak somewhere!

I haven't figured out where, but after I get it running, the water leak is my top priority. I'm going to have to spend more time figuring out where water is getting in...I'm suspecting there is something wrong at the top and/or side of the hatch.

Well another day of no real progress is pretty depressing, so I thought I'd go inside and work on the storage hinge. The storage hinges appear to be pushed out, and all but one was really hard to push back in.

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I finally decided to pull it out and find out it is rusted. Now I'm going to try to lid off the parts car and replace mine. I pushed out all the hinges which was pretty hard, and have them soaking in rust dis solver. On my parts car the lid looks like it in decent shape, but the bottom is broken. Granted, my lid is only broken on the underside and has a tiny crack on the underside, but apparently I'm a perfectionist and have the parts therefore in my mind I have to do the swap.
Last edited by haluska on Tue Feb 24, 2009 9:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby haluska » Thu Aug 07, 2008 10:25 pm

Well today, my primary goal was getting the turn signal working. It was ripped off twice. The previous repair job wasn't quite up to my standards, they just twisted the wires together, wrapped it in electrical tape and put some quick connects on the end which plugged directly into the bulb.

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Previously I was lacking the connector. I really wished I could have taken the complete wiring for the turn signal out of the other car and transferred it, but upon looking at how many extra hours it likely would have been, and the extra risk of me screwing things up...I came to my senses and decided to just attach it to the existing wiring.

For some reason, cutting the bulb off the parts car sort of pained me. In hind sight, i wish I cut it a little closer to the bulb, but I chose the middle.

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I stripped back the wiring, ran a 75 foot extension cord and broke out my soldering iron.

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It only looks a little out of place on the side of the road.

After I finished soldering...

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Of course immediately after I took this picture, it started raining. So I had to rush my camera and soldering iron inside.

I went back outside with an umbrella and finished it with some electrical tape. End result I would say is an 8 out of 10. It's a couple inches longer than the passenger side and that irked me, cause I honestly didn't like the idea of having the few extra grams of wire and tubing I had to carry around.

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I haven't put on the turn signals, I need to do some minor repairs to them with some epoxy.

I then went and removed the cargo storage out of my parts car so I can work on transferring the lid to it.

If I'm lucky, I should get the replacement clutch cable in tomorrow, but unfortunately I probably won't be able to tackle it till Sunday.
Last edited by haluska on Tue Feb 24, 2009 9:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby 288REX » Thu Aug 07, 2008 11:50 pm

Your water leak is due to clogged sun roof drain tubes. I just cleaned 20 years of build up out of mine. You'll have to take out your rear interior to access them. Not too bad though, I recommend a small flathead. The clips that hold the panels to the body will be brittle.
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Postby ShadowKhaN » Fri Aug 08, 2008 1:57 am

Great progress man. I want my rex to be that color so bad!
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Postby haluska » Mon Aug 11, 2008 9:00 pm

Well today started off right. I put in the turn signals after having to do some minor repair with some epoxy. Car was finally light and bumper complete.

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Then I decide to clean the engine bay and realized I've never removed the grime off the engine code. This is what I found:

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:shock:

Well that is the most depressing thing I've seen yet on this car. Scrub as I might on that code I couldn't turn that 5 into a 6. :cry: Needless to say I'm crushed. I knew the engine was replaced at about 80-90k due to probably a coolant leak, but assumed it was replaced with a D16A6. My car was no longer "stock", and worse than that it a castrated Si. And even worse than that doing a swap wasn't in my plans when buying a CRX. :x I got angry at myself for not checking the block code when buying. I got angry at the previous owner for not noticing the power difference. I got angry at the mechanic for putting a smaller engine into an Si.

After the anger and depression subside, I go into full damage assessment mode and my mind filled with questions. Do I cut my losses and sell the car finding something closer to what I want? I was going to use it as a commuter to work, so is the HP even worth it? Should I consider it fate that I was meant to do an engine swap? If so, do I try to find a D16A6? Is it worth doing a swap just for 16 HP? Do I got B series? K series?

I don't know.

Then I realized I still had to do the clutch cable. I spent a good 15 minutes trying to figure out how it comes out. Well I finally did. First I undid all the bolts holding it on, then loosened the adjusting nut all the way. I then crawled up under the dash and pulled the cable out as far as I could by pressing down the clutch cable, pulled it back and after a few minutes finally got the clutch cable to unclip for the clutch pedal. Then I went back into the engine bay and slowly took it out working my way down. The last two were the hardest mainly because they were hard to reach. Couldn't quite see how to pull the cable off the release shaft or whatever holds the adjustment nut. Well I finally slipped it off the gap in the release shaft and the other followed shortly after pulling it out.

Getting it out, I decide to compare it against the one I got on ebay for $14 shipped. I decided to get a used one mainly because I was not confident it was the problem.

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Doesn't look good, if it is stretched its not stretched very much. Looking out how the cable is made I really doubt it can stretch much at all. Anyways I decide to put the one I bought in instead of using my old one. Of course at this point, it starts raining on me and I'm working by a flash light cause it was pretty dark. After about 10 minutes I get it in and weed it back through. Then I tried to get the hook back on the clutch cable. I then realize I don't have enough slack to do that.

I got tired of getting rained on at that point and didn't feel very optimistic about it fixing my problem, so I decided to stop at this point and will do the final bits tomorrow.

D15B2 :(
Last edited by haluska on Tue Aug 12, 2008 10:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby bambbrose » Mon Aug 11, 2008 10:06 pm

Cheer up man. The front end of the car looks 100% better. Keep up the good work and it'll pay off in the end. The difference in power shouldn't be very noticeable I don't think.
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Postby haluska » Mon Aug 11, 2008 11:20 pm

bambbrose wrote:Cheer up man. The front end of the car looks 100% better. Keep up the good work and it'll pay off in the end.


Thanks. I'm trying to do my best with what I have...I just wish what I have was better.

bambbrose wrote:The difference in power shouldn't be very noticeable I don't think.


I think the power to weight ratio is actually worse than a stock DX due to the Si's additional weight (rear sway bar). However I am assuming that the MPFI doesn't increases the HP over DPFI. Well it at least explains how the previous owner said she was getting up to 40 mpg in in it.

I thought about it a little more. Finding a good CRX is pretty hard up here, there are a lot but a lot are in pretty bad shape and the ones that aren't are more than I want to spend. I think I'll casually browse the CRXes and if I can find another decent Si, I'll go that route.

I don't hold a lot of hope in that area, so the next course of action is to continue fixing this one. Even if I sell it, most the repairs I've done so far should pay for themselves.

I don't know when the timing belt was done last, I'm betting it wasn't done and is probably at least 10k miles overdue. So between the clutch, timing belt, and AC...that just seems almost like an engine swap.
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Postby phatboycrxhf » Tue Aug 12, 2008 4:56 am

solid start :wink:
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Postby bambbrose » Tue Aug 12, 2008 7:30 am

haluska wrote:
I think the power to weight ratio is actually worse than a stock DX due to the Si's additional weight (rear sway bar). However I am assuming that the MPFI doesn't increases the HP over DPFI. Well it at least explains how the previous owner said she was getting up to 40 mpg in in it.

I thought about it a little more. Finding a good CRX is pretty hard up here, there are a lot but a lot are in pretty bad shape and the ones that aren't are more than I want to spend. I think I'll casually browse the CRXes and if I can find another decent Si, I'll go that route.

I don't hold a lot of hope in that area, so the next course of action is to continue fixing this one. Even if I sell it, most the repairs I've done so far should pay for themselves.

I don't know when the timing belt was done last, I'm betting it wasn't done and is probably at least 10k miles overdue. So between the clutch, timing belt, and AC...that just seems almost like an engine swap.



Honestly man I think the largest difference isn't the power itself, but the transmission gearing. Assuming you still have the Si transmission it'll be fun to drive still. For D series the transmission is everything. The displacement isn't that much different and you have all the MPFI stuff, which is known to increase power (a lot of DPFI guys do it and mention a noticeable difference).

Drive the car and check compression before counting out that engine. It just might surprise you.
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bambbrose
 
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Postby haluska » Tue Aug 12, 2008 10:15 pm

Ok, today I finished the installation of the clutch cable....it acted exactly like the last one. I might play with it a bit more tomorrow, but I don't have a lot of hope for it.

Now, I see two possbilities. I either have two stretched cables or a bad clutch / transmission. Considering I don't see how the the clutch cable can stretch enough to be significant under this load, I think its safe to rule it out. I already have a thread discussing it.

bambbrose wrote:Honestly man I think the largest difference isn't the power itself, but the transmission gearing. Assuming you still have the Si transmission it'll be fun to drive still. For D series the transmission is everything. The displacement isn't that much different and you have all the MPFI stuff, which is known to increase power (a lot of DPFI guys do it and mention a noticeable difference).

Drive the car and check compression before counting out that engine. It just might surprise you.


A coworker is going to lend me the tool to check the compression. I can't really drive the car cause of the clutch/transmission issue. I don't know which transmission I have, but during the test drive when I was buying it felt faster than the DX I was in before.

I didn't feel like I achieved any today, so I decided to knock another item off the list and replace the side mirror which had a chip in it. The one I'm replacing it with isn't perfect, but it is better.

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If the weather is nice tomorrow, I think I'm going to start prepping my driveway so I can attempt to replace the clutch in it.
"It's not so much what we have in this life that matters. It's what we do with what we have." - Mr. Rogers
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