We have been driving 1st gen CRVs since 1999. I wrote the first Chilton CRV manual and was able to purchase the 1997 CRV used in the book. It met its end with 285,000 miles on it with trips all over the east coast often pulling a motorcycle trailer. It was replaced with an almost identical CRV with a factory sunroof and fog lights. This CRV now has 350,000 miles on it. In the meanwhile we bought a 1998 with a 5 speed which was totaled with 280,000 miles on the clock. That was replaced with a 2001 which now has 198,000 miles on the odo. Great cars! What have I learned in all the years...change the oil every 3-4k using the OE Honda oil filter. Only use Honda transmission fluid and dual pump oil for the rear diff. Only use Honda Power Steering fluid. ADJUST the valves! Replace the PCV valve once a year. Replace spark plugs and coolant every two years. Use the full strength coolant mixing 50/50 with distilled water. Use high quality spark plug wires. Best I have seen are from Rock Auto, the NGK wires. New Cap and Rotor every 3 years. Change the transmission fluid and dual pump oil every 3 - 4 years. Timing belt every 6 years or 120k whichever comes first.
I am considering our first 2nd gen CRV and open to advice. Thank you!