This would never happen to a Honda.

200,000 miles has been reached and passed and I’ve started to work on some of the problems the car has.  As I’ve worked my way around I’m reminded of the foibles of running an older German car.  The car starts every time, has never let me down in 14,000 miles and is still in remarkable shape considering.  However it is not running anywhere near as well as the day it left the factory and this bothers me.

The engine and transmission are sound but the car suffers from a vibration from the clutch on take off, some low RPM hesitation and there is more rust on the car than I’d like.  At least Manfred gets to live out the rest of his days in California which should stop the tin worm from becoming terminal.

The car is too good to part out but if I got a mechanic to fix all of the issues it would quickly bankrupt me and have me running for the nearest Honda dealer for a nice safe Civic.  Therefore I’ve decided to use it to hone my DIY skills and get the spanners out.

The first project was to replace the seized sunroof which took all day and resulted in some broken interior trim but after 8 hours of wrangling a completely new sunroof cassette, sourced from eBay was installed.

I’ve added a Dynavin Nav system, black cube trim and installed the AC relocation kit.  Long Eurotray is en route and I’m going to install the rear view camera and a LED lighting kit that I already have.


The rest of the upgrades have been put on ice until I’ve got the mechanicals under control.  This weekend I replaced the Vanos unit with an upgraded one from Dr Vanos.  It took two of us all day but we got the car back together and on the road with no major drama.  Immediately I noticed that the driveline shunt I used to get after a low speed gear change has gone, this is due to the Vanos unit sending incorrect signals to the ECU and starving the engine of fuel under 3k. 

There are wookie noises coming out of my engine that I first though was transmission whine but I now think it is the oil seperator valve.  The Vanos was pretty easy if a little daunting but this is a whole order of magnitude tougher.  Most of it has to be done by touch as the valve is hidden under the intake manifold.

After changing the Vanos I stupidly started the engine without the MAF connected and it threw a code causing the Check Engine light to come on.  There is also an oil leak that wasn’t there before I replaced the vanos, it is minor but troubling all the same.  It seems like one step forwards and two steps back although I never claimed to be any good at DIY!

The benefit of having a cheap, somewhat knackered old car is that I’ve not got much to lose and hopefully Manfred will start to respond to my novice touch.  Practice makes perfect or it’s a Honda Civic for me.  That is incentive alone.


About tony2x

I'm a burgeoning technology executive living and working in the beautiful Bay Area of Northern California. My life revolves around three things: technology, food and transportation and it is here we will be examining all of those in varying amounts of detail and vitriol.
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One Response to This would never happen to a Honda.

  1. James Stanbridge says:

    brilliant! I am so happy to see you getting your spanners oily, I do hope you are only tickling Manfred with a decent set of SnapOns?

    your biggest advantage is taking all this on in a day and age where service parts are likely to be found in 24hr outlets. I remember clearly knackering a head gasket at 5:45 one Saturday evening and having to wait until 9:00 am on Monday for the nearest factors (or even Halfords!) to open up. Dad was not happy. (Yes, this was probably about 1980 – when I did my Auto-Egineering CSE)

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