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Discussion Starter #1
To replace the kiddo's rusted Accord basket case, I've been shopping for replacements. I've had a few choices in mind, but have pretty much zeroed in on the TSX, as it has been reported (in a few places) as being one of Honda's most reliable cars, and the size is just right--smaller than a US Accord, larger than a Civic. I've narrowed my search down to the 2007-2008 TSX, or possibly a 2009-2010 which are 2nd generation models, although most are outside the budget. I also noticed that the quality of materials on the 2nd generation are lacking--many have the same leather issues I have in our 2009 CR-Vs, where the armrests or (in the TSX) even the sides of the seats are bubbling and peeling. I have also seen many where the front plastic grille (aka "beak") is chipping. And 2nd gens are also having a couple of the typical K-series engine problems, most of all the rattling VTC actuator, and very few with oil consumption issues.

We probably will get out in a week and a half to go look at a few of these, when her semester ends and we can take a short road trip. There are almost none in Michigan, and the few here are in poor condition (at least within our price range). I am finding many in Ohio, some in Chicagoland, and even a couple in or near Kentucky (Cincinnati and further south) that look promising. I did find one in an unusual color that the dealer has had for seven months, but they are not budging on price--their last offer was still higher than all the others out there, still above market pricing. Their loss, and I told them that.

I'll report back with what we end up buying.
 

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2017 CRV EX AWD
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i had a 2005 tsx navi new in 2005, it was a great car and still nice to see them on the road.
Only thing to be weary of is the entire radio/hvac/cd changer is all one unit. one thing goes and its a full replacement. rest of the parts by now are readily avail in junkyards etc
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I'm avoiding any of the TSXes with navigation--some TSX owners report that the DVD reader goes bad, and it renders the whole system inoperable. And like you say, it also takes out the climate controls. I wish I could install aftermarket, but the only Metra kit out there includes new climate controls, which are not needed in the non-nav TSXes. And those climate controls are known to fail, according to reviews. I'm not sure if the kit can be used without the Metra climate controls, but they are what make that kit particularly expensive, so it's pricey to buy that kit and not use the most expensive part of it. I really want to put in an Android Auto head unit. But instead, she may have to do without it.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I keep wavering between first and second gen TSXes. The first gen is more reliable mechanically, yet the head unit is not replaceable, which means if I'm stuck buying one with navigation and the DVD reader goes bad, we lose the climate controls as well. Stupid engineering choice by Honda here. The climate controls and radio unit are all tied in together even in non-navigation units, so the only option to replace is that poor quality Metra kit with the faulty aftermarket climate controls. There is a chinese Android-based in-dash available from that janky AliExpress--the videos show it working well and it has an integral climate control app, but I'm sure quality is poor (as everything is on AliExpress) and sound quality would be lacking as well, nothing like Pioneer, Alpine, Kenwood, etc.. What happens when it dies a year or two in the future?

That leads me to the 2nd gen, but then we have the more problematic issues with the K-series engine (VTC actuator issues, and more complicated electronics), and the leather in it is crap--I rarely see one where the center console armrest, door armrest or sides of the front seats are not shredded or bubbled up. I don't know what was up with Honda leather from the late 2000s to early 2010s, but it's the same problem with the armrests in third-gen CR-Vs. At least the in-dash is easily replaced.

So the few I had bookmarked to go look at have sold. Nothing locally. Craigslist and FB Marketplace basically have junk--all but one on the local FB Marketplace were salvage/rebuilt titles and looked poorly done. CL wasn't much better, and a few were scams. I have found only a few more scattered in Ohio and the Chicagoland area, and need to pick something to look at.

I've also started looking at the 2010-2012 Insight, and warily at 2008 or later Civics and Accords. The Accords have issues, and many of that generation of Civic have severe issues of clearcoat failure and early rusting. I've also cast my net to include a higher-trimmed Camry (XLE or Hybrid) or Corolla from 2008 onward, along with the RAV4. A friend of mine drove his Corolla to about 340k miles until he sold it cheaply to a needy co-worker, who now has run it over 400k.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
No movement on this yet. I missed out on a 2009 TSX across the state this past week--I'm currently not able to get away during the week now, and it rained so much last weekend that I couldn't have given it a full inspection.

I'm also looking more at the 2nd gen Insights, 2009 or later Accords, 2012+ Civics (there are now a couple in our price range), 2009+ Corollas and 2009+ Camrys (anything better than the stripped-down trims in the Toyotas), and some RAV4s. We're trying to get away from the gas guzzling V6, since there is rush hour traffic involved and gas mileage in the 2002 V6 Accord is miserable when standing in traffic. I know the Toyotas are bland and boring, but they are still reliable. And in leather-trimmed models, the quality of the leather is much better than anything Honda had around the same time period.

A private seller locally has an Accord V6 that looks like a possibility, but we really want to stay away from it. There is a Camry Hybrid about 6½ hours away (another private seller) for the same price that also looks nicely maintained, with lower mileage.
 

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2016 CR-V EX-L
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Good Luck with your search. Those earlier TSX's were nice cars. My neighbor had one until a few years ago. Here in KC you don't see many of them for sale. Obviously there are a lot more Accords and Camrys to pick from.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
We don't see many TSXs here either, especially older ones. It's a shame since it's one of the best cars Honda ever made (Euro-market Accord), both in performance and reliability. I find I would have to drive at least three hours before my selection of any decent used Honda/Acura or Toyota.

I did find a really nice Lexus ES 350 in Ohio. But we want to stay away from the V6 due to the poor gas mileage, and I know that registration would cost a small fortune (based on its original $40k sticker price) as well as the insurance.
 

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I'm not sure what year the ES350 is that you found but you might be surprised regarding the gas mileage. My wife has a 2014 and it consistently gets 23 plus running around here in town and we've taken some road trips where it flirted with 30 mpg. We bought it new and it has been a great vehicle.

I would have to look but I think that the registration for our 2016 CR-V may be nearly as much as the couple year older Lexus is.

Just wanted to pass it on.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
The weekday miles are driven partly during heavy rush hour traffic which doesn't move very quickly, so the larger engines tend to use a lot of gas. That's partly why I've thought about sticking to the Civic or Corolla, maybe a 2nd gen Insight or even a late 2000s Camry Hybrid. (Neither of us like the Prius styling.) Honda's J series V6 is a nice engine but not too good in stop and go traffic for mileage. I've even thought of a Chevy Volt but the prices are outside our budget.

The ES 350 was a 2007 in a beautiful deep red color. 150k miles, just under $6000. Looked nice and clean in the photos! Just a little beyond the budget though, especially since tax season is upon us.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
This happened yesterday:

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Been looking as far as six states away, and I found this one four streets away from me. Mileage is a little high, and 2005 a little older than I wanted, but the price was $1k-$2k lower than any others. Reason? The owner figured that the last two problems were the last straw, and that it was time to move on.

One of the coils is bad (Acura dealer quoted her $335 to replace it--I can get a set of four NGKs for under $200) and the steering rack is leaking. I figure I can either use a seal kit on the rack (under $20), or just replace the rack ($250-ish) and hope the remanufactured rack does not leak. I'm leaning towards the latter.

Aside from that, she has a stack of maintenance and repair receipts. The interior is very nice. The outside has a couple of very minor issues. And again, given the price, we're not complaining.
 

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2014 CR-V 2.0 Lifestyle
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Nice. I have had thoughts of getting a wagon if and when I find a mint one. Friends have had two and they've held up well (diesels tho).

 

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Discussion Starter #12
If it was in our budget we may have purchased the TSX Sport Wagon--I really like the styling and the extra room inside. But they are at least four times what we paid for this older TSX sedan.

The TSX Sport Wagon (which was the Accord Sport Wagon elsewhere in the world) was only around for two or three years, and I see that they are somewhat rare. The TSX came with a V6 during its last couple of years (those are also rare), but that was not available in the wagon (and neither was the 6-speed manual transmission).

Accord (top) and TSX (bottom):

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TSX rear:

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I know it's not a popular opinion, but I like the second generation TSX styling and third generation TL (both 2009+) styling as well. They both looked like nothing else on the road at the time.

This older TSX feels like a driver's car, as the seats are very supportive. The side bolsters are deep, yet the seats are still comfortable long-term. I will probably replace all the rubber suspension components up front when I replace the steering rack--it feels slightly sloppy up there.
 

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The newer TSX/Accord wagon has almost non-existent trunk space. I did look at it when shopping for a CR-V in 2007 but bailed having opened the liftgate. The previous model wagon’s cargo space is huge and square. Massive.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Oh wait...that was a wagon based on the previous TSX/Accord? (Can't tell from the angle but it looks to be the same front end.) We didn't have those here.

True, the later wagon is a bit smaller (it does look narrow inside), but in this case we already have CR-Vs here we could use for larger hauling. For my kiddo, the larger rear area would be helpful due to the fold-down rear seat. I doubt we'll get one but I still like the attractive body style of it.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
All four coils have been replaced. Four new NGK 6992 spark plugs. I attempted the wheel speed sensor but the bolt holding it to the hub snapped off from rust. The metal collar in the sensor is also rusted to the hub, so I am leaving it alone for a week or two when I can drill it out and tap new threads. I did not get a chance to look and make certain that the steering rack is leaking. The previous owner had a few shops tell her it was the steering rack (and it is a common issue), but I want to be certain that it's not just a steering hose leak from above. I did top the PS fluid off though. Luckily I had a spare bottle of Honda fluid here.

We installed this today:


This adds Bluetooth to the factory radio, using one of the two XM preset banks for operation. I had to pull off the right rear trunk liner to get to the XM receiver, plug in the new "Y" harness, and locate the Bluetooth module nearby. As soon as we turned the car on, the Bluetooth unit already started working through the head unit and pairing was a breeze.

The bottom of the page I linked to has a copy of the manual in PDF form, where you can see compatibility with other Hondas and Acuras.

When the weather improves, I'll be doing a full paint correction and cleaning, then following up with a ceramic coating.

I got a chance to put 80 miles on it Friday and I see why so many liked this car. It handles great on the Interstate highways, and easily got up to triple digit speeds (let's just say I was in "Mexico" there ;) ). I found a few twisty roads closer to home and it handled like a slot car. Very comfortable to drive, and the seats have some seriously deep side bolsters. I like this enough that once I get the Civic sorted, I'm tempted to find another TSX to keep as a spare car. It's a fun drive!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Well, the steering rack is on its way out. It was leaking when I bought it, but then the car sat for the past few months with very little driving. Now it seems to be leaking out more fluid, to the point where it might have blown a seal. (I need to get the car back here to look it over again.) It's one of those repairs where I'm almost tempted to send it out to get it fixed, since it involves dropping the subframe a couple of inches to get the rack out. Some hack mechanics take the valve body off of the top to remove it, but that voids the warranty on the replacement rack.

I'm not looking forward to this, either way. It'll be a few long days of working on it from underneath, or paying someone to do it. I'd prefer the dealer did this, but their fees on this are astronomical.
 
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