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1999 Honda CR-V
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Discussion Starter #1
Hey everyone!

I had a free 1999 CR-V dropped off in my driveway last fall, with just over 300k on the clock. I wasn't sure if I was going to keep it but last week I committed to the extent that I transferred the title and put tabs and insurance on it, so its actually officially mine for the time being.

I don't know what my long-term plan for it is, I daily drive a 2018 Jeep Compass and don't really need another car but it could be a handy dirty-jobs buggy and save some wear/tear and miles on my Compass.

Short term, I need to drive it a little and see exactly what I've got. Put about 10 miles on it so far, starts and drives but mechanically so far I see that the valve cover gasket is puking oil everywhere, the front upper ball joints are bad, and the tires are insanely dangerously bad (probably as a result of the bad ball joints)

The story of getting it for free goes like this, my old man knew the previous owner through work and picked him up when this CR-V of his died and left him stranded on the side of the road. At that point the PO had decided to hop to another beater buggy and asked my father to just haul it to the scrap yard. Rather than the scrap yard, it ended up here as my little project for now...

Pretty sure it died on the road because it was 3 quarts low on oil, a result of the bad valve cover gasket. Pretty silly but according to my father this guy probably couldn't point out a spark plug wire under the hood if you held out a $20 bill and asked him to... Reportedly his MO is to jump from one high mileage beater to the next every few months to a year. His loss, perhaps.

When you actually put OIL in it, it fires right up and runs actually fairly decent for its mileage. It also needed a half a gallon of coolant and a pint of power steering fluid.

Shifts OK the few miles I've driven so far, a good sign (it is the 4 speed auto)

Was pleasantly surprised to learn it was a 99 with the handful of extra horsepower.

It looks like the owners BEFORE the last owner loved this car very much, lot of nice parts replaced. Pretty recent exhaust system that is not very rusty. New spark plugs, wires, and distributor cap it looks like.

This last owner though, did NOT love this car. I've deduced that he apparently lives so hopelessly far down a dirt road that he simply doesn't feel like its worth even trying. Apparently he drove down this same dirt road every day with all four windows down and just let the dust roll, day in and day out, because this is by far the DIRTIEST car I have ever seen. I spent all day yesterday trying to remove just the top layer of dirt. Its all the same type of dirt, and its thicker in the back than the front, hence my theory about the dirt road/windows down every day. His dirt road is also probably why the front ball joints are bad. I'm talking dirt caked 1/16th deep even behind the speaker grills. The headliner has nasty dirt smudges on every square foot. Every inch of the interior was caked with this dirt.

My only reward for spending hours vacuuming and wiping with a rag yesterday was getting down to really beat up, scratched-to-hell plastic everywhere. This was used like a work truck, and I mean like a work truck someone hated.

Oh well, still a free car that runs and drives. I like to tinker. Parts are cheap. Maybe I can make a respectable beater out of it and flip it for a few bucks or keep it around to save on wear/tear on my nicer car. It would be nice to have something like this for hauling my chainsaw, gas and bar oil when helping dad and grandpa cut firewood, or when we are bringing rakes and shovels and such to the annual yard-work party at grandmas, and for deer hunting, etc. We'll see.

This is kind of a worthless post with no initial pictures but I will start a project thread soon and get some photos. Its not exciting right now anyways, just a typical green 99 CR-V, you know what they look like. Super dirty, super neglected. Maybe we'll make something of it, hoping there will be some good advice on the forum.

I know I'll need to check the timing belt and do all the fluids, including the repeated partial fluid swap 3-4 times on the transmission. This is not my first, second, third, or fourth old high mileage beater tinker project. I'm no master mechanic but no stranger to a timing belt service job.

As long as I can get parts shipped in will give me something to play with during this whole ongoing virus stay-at-home stuff...

More to come later (including pics!)
 

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Bummer... I wish people would take better care of their vehicles. If a vehicle has been really neglected, there's always something that pops up.... I really love the G-P look of the 1st and 2nd gens. If you really wanted to, you could do a complete overhaul on it... just depends on what ya want to do.
 

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1999 Honda CR-V
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33 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Here's a starter pic:



Moved the worst of the tires (they are all bad) to the spare position, can't believe he was driving on this:


They are all pretty bad rims though:



Interior is slowly cleaning up with a lot of elbow grease:


Still a lot of dirt caked in the driver's seat, need some car shampoo.
 

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Welcome to the forum! This car may have the potential to be a pure example of how to most efficiently keep down total cost of ownership. Do all your own work where possible to save money. Clean it up. Make it shine. Fix the little things. Find some cleaner wheels and throw some tires on it. Then drive it till the cows come home, or until you trip over a major repair. If you can get a year out of it, you are ahead of the game. It actually looks like it would clean up nicely. The money you save will be your own!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Fedex dropped me some fresh rubber this weekend. Four new super-delux-el-cheapo no-name-brand all terrain tires dropped at my door for $280. I don't typically buy off-brand tires but for this non-DD beater everything is on a tight budget to make it into a modest spare car to use for some light soft-roading. Odds are the tires will dry-rot before they could ever get enough miles on them to justify anything more expensive.

These are 215/75R15, the smallest you can get these tires. Should make for a beefy look.








Since the tires will be nice I figured its worth a minimum effort to hit the rims with the wire grinders and a little rustoleum rusty metal primer, and eventually a couple top coats of some black rattle-can enamel. There isn't much rust on the car itself so no reason the rims can't look decent from 20 feet away. At least this way if something major blows up in the next few hundred miles and I scrap the car I will have a decent set of rims and tires to post on facebook marketplace 😁




I got the upper control arms replaced so I'm hoping thats the end of the issue with the tires wearing unevenly. I hate to spend any extra money on it but I'm wondering if it will also need an alignment just to be sure. Not sure anyone will want to put this beat up car on their alignment rack but its free to ask...




I see I have one bad sway bar end link up front and one bad one in the back. Given that I only plan to use this as a spare car for light duties on short local trips and hopefully a significant amount of light off-roading on the local trails, I'm thinking I will just disconnect both sway bars for now. I know it will handle a little funny but the extra articulation off road will be nice and really nobody will ever be driving it but me. If I end up selling it I will throw some new links on so I don't have to have dreams about the next owner putting it in the ditch swerving around a deer. I've done that sort of thing before, had an s10 with a full-spool rear end and it was a) not a daily driver and b) something I understood to drive very carefully. When I sold the s10 I took the locker kit out and put the spider gears back in.

That primer takes ages to dry and harden completely and I'm contemplating sanding and doing a second coat, so I'm guessing the car will remain on jackstands most of the week. Hope the neighbor's ankle-biting dog doesn't go playing under it 🙄

I've found the upper radiator hose to be leaking which makes me feel better about why I had to add antifreeze to it back when I got it. Easy fix, I'll get those on order but those too will likely keep me off the road since everything is shipping so slowly these days. Oh well, I have many other projects around here to play with. I would like to get through these initial basics and just be able to drive this one around a little bit though.

I'll keep chipping away at it and probably post back here kinda like a dedicated project and update thread. Cheers!
 

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2011 (but New-to-Me in 2020) EX
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Wanted to tell you how much I'm enjoying your thread. From your casual, but knowledgeable, descriptions and pictures to your use of correct grammar and punctuation (I beat my teens up over this all the time hahaha), I look forward to reading more about your adventure with the "new to you" project. Knowing there's such helpful info available, you motivate me to get started on my own. Keep up the great work!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Did you create an account just to share some kind words of encouragement? 😄

138306


Thank you! Interested to see what your project is that you mentioned.

I'm feeling obligated to put in some better effort to keep the project going and document it nicely. How about a little video of a test drive?

Fair warning, I look like a caveman since with all this virus stuff and working from home I lack the motivation to trim my beard and I'm not able to go out for something as trivial as a haircut :ROFLMAO:

This video is from last week so its a little behind, I've already replaced the upper control arms and the second coat of primer is drying on the rims as I type. I've also changed the oil/oil filter and fuel filter since this video was taken.

Not much else I can do at the moment the weather has turned a little sour and the primer I had lying around is a variety that takes a very long time to cure. I'm actually a bit worried that it will never really "harden" within a reasonable time frame before the neighbors start to wonder if the car will ever come off jackstands... It probably needs a week, I can give it about one more day here and then the paint needs to go on, and then off to the shop for tire installation.

If the top coats of paint don't seal in the primer too badly it can continue to cure sitting in the driveway. I won't be driving it until I get the radiator hoses replaced and those won't get here until Sunday at the soonest. I guess I'll have time to do yard work instead.

Anyways...

 

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Another good post. Based on advice I've seen in the Forum, I'm looking at an '05-'06 (later Gen 2, I believe) for price and worked-out bugs. I found a couple I'm interested in, which I'll post in the Market section of the Forum. Again, keep up the good work!
 

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1999 Honda CR-V
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Discussion Starter #13
Sprayed the rims with some black metallic today, quite a hack job but still better looking than they were. Tomorrow I'll probably have the shop across the street mount and balance the new tires, then I can clean up any paint damage from that and get them back on the car.

138313
 

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Great guys at the local shop got my tires mounted. Took a fair number of weights to get some of them balanced but should be good enough for this buggy. I would hardly care at all except that we do live right off of a 70 MPH highway so it won't be uncommon to have this car up to a pretty good clip even for local errands. Some vibration at high speed is totally acceptable for this car, on our newer ones I am a lot pickier.

Just need to touch up some spots on the rim from mounting and installing weights with a little more paint and I can probably mount them up. Weather is pretty crazy here right now though so it might get put off a day or two, we'll see. We keep going from sunshine to snow to sunshine then rain, then snow, then sun again... spring in Minnesota.

138326


138327
 

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Well, as usual two steps forwards and two steps back.

New tires and painted wheels are on. Had to hammer back the pinch seam to have passable tread clearance on the back tires but no big deal otherwise.

Managed to remove all the end links front and back first while they were easier to reach. With no anti-sway bars it handles like a 6-ton caddy but my wife doesn't think that cornering is a priority, so no green light on fifty bucks for some new end links and bushings for now. The rear one probably couldn't even tell that its gone but the annoying thing about the front bar is it can't be removed without a bunch more work so its just zip-tied up in a silly fashion underneath, and I don't really want to leave it that way. The rear one had a nice spot to swing it out of the way still in its bushings but not so lucky with the front, if left in the bushings the lower control arms would smack it and you can't swing it up out of the way without hitting the tie rods. Oh well, it really isn't the priority right now.

Went to go for a test drive and I fully expected it to be a titch slower off the line with the larger, heavier tires but it was SUUUUUPER SLOOOOOWWWWW, no pep at all. It was quickly apparent that something was wrong, even though all the usual dead giveaways were disabled or burnt out...

What I mean is, the previous owner put black tape over the check engine light so I don't get that tell-tale, and the indicator light for regular D/D4/Drive also either doesn't work or has been removed... if the D4 light DID work, it would be flashing I'm pretty sure...



Super. P1768 was actually set when the car was first unloaded into my driveway, I cleared it without looking it up because it was one of many codes and I wanted to see what would actually come back after putting in oil and some basic things.

P1298 I'm not even concerned with right now. There may be a short somewhere or something but I've only seen that once when I used the headlights, I'll circle back to it later.

I'm much more concerned about the transmission code and it driving around in limp mode. If I clear the codes it will drive fine for a while, but eventually it trips P1768 again and goes into limp. I knew the transmission fluid was looking bad/brown/burnt but hadn't gotten around to it yet.

P1768 (in this car) seems to relate to"Transmission Shift Control Lockup Solenoid". I have a Chilton manual on its way but in the meantime making due with the internet, which will confuse you with Acura version of the same code that is not quite the same problem.

I tested the resistance on the solenoid pair that was easy to get to up top, 13.3 ohms and 13.5, from what I have heard that is within spec but I won't know for certain until my Chilton's book from Ebay gets here middle of this week.

I tested the solenoids with a jumper from 12v+, the left/passenger side one clicked right away. The one on the right/driver's side didn't really start clicking until after hitting it a few times with the 12v jumper, and even then didn't seem to "click" as strong as the other one. Hmmmm.

Well, I should order up a new solenoid pair but thing being a budget rig as it is I'm already toeing a fine line having gone in for new tires and now transmission problems rearing its ugly head. This all happened the very first time my wife joined me for a test ride so she is not impressed and not eager to spend any money on parts when the entire transmission could be too far gone.

I'm going to see if I can get my hands on a few jugs of Valvoline MaxLife in town this week, change out a good 9-12 quarts and then pull that solenoid pair and see if hopefully
1) it has the gasket with the little mesh screens, and hope they are blatantly gunked up and easily cleaned, and
2) bench test the solenoids some more and try to clean them up and get them both firing reliably.

Since the ohms check out on both of them (based on what one guy in a youtube video said was within spec...), I'm banking on finding dirty mesh screens and doing a little cleaning and then hopefully they will continue to work provided I get lots of good clean fluid swapped in. Fingers crossed.

I know it could be too little too late for the torque converter or the clutch packs, not so much from the 51 miles I've put on it so far but knowing that it had that code when I got it means no telling how long the previous owner was driving it with this issue. If the clutch packs are disintegrating then it probably won't last long, and then we will have to face the difficult decision of upping our investment for a replacement transmission or a rebuild. I'm crossing my fingers that there are still some miles to be wrung out of it with new fluid and cleaned mesh screens but hard to say at this point.

I also discovered (but am not dealing with right now) that the cv boots are both torn on the rear driver's side axle, and the passenger side doesn't look like they will last much longer. Not even going to touch those unless the transmission does a complete 180 with some fresh fluid and such. Another chunk of $$$... I've done the "just the boots" before on other cars, and it stinks and I said "never again I'll just order the whole axle assemblies"... Well I don't know in this case... dollars vs time. Oh well, another day's problem, transmission first otherwise all else is moot.

I changed the upper and lower radiator hoses so no more leaking coolant and got some fresh coolant in there. Pretty sure the upper hose was only leaking because the valve cover kept leaking oil on it causing the rubber to swell and weaken. That problem is gnawing away on the heater hose right next to it as well but it will have to hang in there for now.

Not sure when I will get out to search for the fluid, most places have outrageous shipping times on it right now but I am also going to pay out the nose to get it in town. Time vs money again. At least I can feel like I'm supporting the tiny local parts shop if I pay 30% above internet price for 3 gallons...

Will the transmission come back to life or will the project grind to a halt? To be continued!

 

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I'm liking this thread; I plan on doing something similar whenever I get my CR-V.

Note about the coolant hose clamps - do not use worm-gear clamps. They can't expand or contract when the coolant heats up/cools down. This is the fast way to a new radiator because the nipple will crack, it being plastic. Go to a dealer or parts store and get the spring clamps. And, pick up a new hose while you're there.
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
I'm with you on the worm gear clamps but that's all I had on hand, and with the whole virus thing I am not shopping out and about much. My local small town parts store does not carry the spring-style clamps and I have not been able to find a good source for them online (Ok I admit, if its not on amazon I didn't look that hard, but I DID look on amazon pretty carefully and only found like two options that cost a fortune for one or two clamps...)

Weirdly, the bottom hose had nice spring clamps and just the upper hose had the geared clamps. My guess is the previous owner swapped to the gear clamps thinking he could "fix" the leak on the upper hose by tightening the life out of them. Luckily he only did that to the engine-side hose which is aluminum, but it was definitely over-tightened by someone poking at it previously.

Thousands of people get by with the geared clamps, not my favorite but they work if you don't over-tighten and check them once in a while, after putting on stiff new hoses they usually can be snugged up a half a turn or two after a few heat/cool cycles of driving around and then they settle in and are mostly OK.

I only spent about 25 bucks on the new hoses so spending 16 dollars for a couple spring clamps I couldn't justify on this budget project. Spring clamps are definitely my first choice when given the option though (y)

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I have three gallons of transmission fluid now so as soon as I get a chance I can start shuffling new fluid in and I think I will pull the solenoids and clean them and their screens after the fresh fluid is in so they have less chance of plugging up again right away.

Weather still all over the place here, sunshine to snow and then sunshine with snow, below freezing... the weekend forecast looking much nicer so it might wait till Saturday.
 
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