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Discussion Starter #1
Hey CR-V community! I started looking into the first gen CR-Vs recently for my soccer coaching business, as well as my move to Indiana from Seattle, WA this January. I found a few AWD options, and would like to get your opinions. I cannot add links to my first post, so I will add them in the next post.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
My budget, including purchase and immediate maintenance items, is $3000.

Silver 2001. Had a good conversation with the owner. He is holding the car until Friday for me. I will also FT him today to look at the car and get more details.

Black 2001. The owner here is a man of few words. Nothing more than 1-3 word responses, and says I can come look at the car anytime.

The third option is another automatic with AWD, leather interior. Engine is strong, but there is a problem with the transmission. Owner says it needs new torque converter, but I suspect maybe it just needs a fluid change. If that doesn't work, I could swap in a new transmission. He is asking only $600 for it. I had a really nice conversation over the phone with him where he answered all my questions.

My question to the community, is which do you think is the better option? All 3 cars are just over 200k miles, A/T AWD. With the $600 option, I could buy a newer transmission for maybe $200, swap it in, change the fluid and call it good, but i realize it could be a risk. Hoping to get your guys' opinions on this. I will realistically only need the car for 2-3 years, and I don't expect to put more than 20k miles on it.
 

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The silver CR-V is an SE model, which came with the leather trimmed seats and a few minor "upgrades" from the EX model, like a different head unit. It looks like it's in pretty good condition.
The black one appears to be an EX, which is a step down from the SE. The circular depression in the cargo area suggests it is missing the picnic table. The square thing to the right of the center of this image:



I would avoid the one with the transmission problem, as you don't know what else is wrong with it. I would worry about something else popping up because the previous owner(s) didn't do all the maintenance and fluid changes. Only a transmission from a 1999, 2000, or 2001 CR-V would work, as the 2002 is a very different vehicle, with a completely different engine. And you'd need a transmission from a CR-V that has RT4WD/AWD, as the FWD version doesn't have the connection for the propeller shaft that powers the rear wheels.

I would want to see maintenance records on all of them showing regular fluid changes of oil, transmission, rear differential, and engine coolant.

Also, the engines in the 2001 and earlier CR-Vs need annual valve adjustments, so I'd check for that in the maintenance records. A 2001 or earlier CR-V with an engine that sounds like a sewing machine is better than one that is very quiet when it's running.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the detailed response. The $600 option is really appealing, since I am confident I can get the right transmission and swap it in, but I have the same concerns you do. Also, i know it belonged to 2 teenagers before being put on sale.
Re: valve adjustment, suppose the valves weren't adjusted per the required interval, can it be corrected with resuming regular adjustment, or is it possible irreparable damage has been done? I really don't know much about these engines other than what I have read online. My forte is BMW M54 engine.
Good catch on the picnic table thing. I would not have noticed.
 

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There is the potential for valve damage if they weren't regularly adjusted. If they aren't damaged, then having them adjusted soon after you buy it, and then once a year will keep them working correctly.

The problem with the Honda B20 engine that came in the 2001 and earlier CR-Vs is that the valves tend to tighten over time, which means the clearance between the valve and the valve seat in the engine head becomes closer. Valves that get too tight can overheat and actually melt, which is known as a burnt valve. A burnt valve is an expensive repair.

Unfortunately, a compression test isn't good at detecting a burnt valve. The best test is a leak-down test.


I did a few searches on a replacement RT4WD/AWD transmission for a 2001.
Autozone.com has rebuilt transmissions with a 3 year warranty for US $2000 to $3000.
I found a bunch of used transmissions on ebay.com with 6 month warranties for $400 to $1000.

I found one rebuilt trans on ebay.com with a 2 year warranty for $985.
eBay item number: 173965735149

But I would still be worried what else the kids messed up by not taking care of it.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
There are also pick n pull options, as well as some companies that specialize in importing used japanese engines and trannys. Most are 50k or less miles.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Well, I ended up getting it! The silver SE model. has a slight vcg leak, and engine bay is a little dirty, as well as perhaps a rattling heat shield or exhaust bracket, and some electronics not working inside the car ('D' symbol light bulb, dash clock and front passenger automatic lock). Going to flush all the fluids to begin with, then get to work on VCG, and adjust the valves while I am there. Looking forward to the new project!
 

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The heat shields around the catalytic converter do tend to rust over time. When it rusts enough that one of the attachment points rusts through then they do start making a metallic buzzing sound. If you look under the CR-V about in the center of the car you may see it hanging down. You can just remove the heat shields.

The clock in the upper center dash also fails after awhile. One or more of the traces on the clock's printed circuit board have cracked and are no longer making electrical contact. The good news is you can find multiple listings on eBay for clock fixers for the 1st Gen CR-V. A quick search found 10 listings.

One drain and fill on the rear differential should be all you need. Only use Honda Dual Pump Fluid II. You'll need two bottles of DPF II and two crush washers, and make sure to remove the upper "fill" bolt first, before removing the lower drain bolt. They can be difficult to remove and you want to make sure you can add new fluid before you drain the old.

A drain and fill on the transmission won't get all of the fluid out, and a "flush" may cause problems. The recommended method is to do three drain and fills. Do the first drain and fill, then drive the CR-V long enough and fast enough so it shifts through all the gears. Do the second drain and fill, drive again. Then do the third drain and fill and you're done.

Oil and filter change, of course.

Coolant. Only use Honda coolant, or a coolant that is silicate free.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for all the info! I think i will stick to just one drain and fill for now, since the tranny oil is still pink (at least it looks pink on the dipstick). After that, I think I will just stick to a regular interval; for this high of mileage, what do you think would be a good interval? 30k miles?
Also, on this high of mileage, what sort of oil and interval should I be doing for regular oil changes? I have read up on the forums, and people have opinions ranging from a to z. I think it would make sense to figure out what kind of oil the PO was using and maybe just use the same type/weight. I appreciate your input here.
Re: the clock, i may try to solder the connections first, as a few threads here have said that is the fix. I need to invest in a soldering tool anyway. If it doesnt work, it's only like $10-20 for a new or rebuilt one.
 
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