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Hello all!

I am looking at buying a used 5-door car/SUV for a college student, who may have a part time job as small deliveries person. 5-door/hatchback format is kind of important.
This is all done with a low budget (5-6k tops) so i do not want to spend a fortune on a new/newer car and i rather get something used but reliable that will last him another 30-40k miles or more... without any significant $$$ repairs.
Doing basic work in my garage is acceptable and i've done it before - brakes, belts, fluids, filters, sensors, etc. I am worried about MAJOR break downs - engine, transmission, ECU, cats, Power steering, nasty leaks.

So, i found this 1999 Honda CR-V, 5-speed manual, AWD, with 172k miles, one owner. Very clean looking. I can tell the owner cared about the appearance if his/her car.
The carfax report shows that the car was regularly maintained @ Honda dealership up until 112k miles. Then, between 112 and 172k miles, there are no maintenance records in carfax. :confused: He may have used private garage or not - i have no records. It worries me a bit.

I test drove the car and it drives fine. No hesitation, pretty smooth, no weird noises. Transmission shifts well. There are NO leaks anywhere. No rust. Tires are OK. AC works well. Suspension is well composed.

The one "issue" i noticed is that the plastic timing belt cover on top of engine was kind of not put together properly and there is a little gap where you can see the belt. It almost looks like someone purposely pried that plastic cover open to see the T-belt. Not a big deal, but it is a visible cosmetic thing under the hood and makes me wonder why they did that.

The selling dealer wants $4250 + fees for the car and they are firm on the price. Again, this thing has 172k miles. KBB retail is around $3k only. Is he asking way too much???


Here are my questions...

I've been reading a lot about the "burnt valves" problem with the 1st gen CR-Vs. Given that this is high miles, 1999 model, how much of a risk am i taking? Are there any clear signs that there is a problem with the valves that i should look for?? Specific noises? Smell? Smoke? Shaking? OBD codes? Like i said....visually and test driving the car - i saw/felt nothing wrong. I've never driven a 1st Gen CRV before and this is the 1st 4-cyl SUV i've ever driven, so naturally, it felt somewhat underpowered, but nothing unusual. It was not hesitating.

If the engine is OK for now and i buy the car, moving forward, how complex and expensive is the valve adjustment procedure? Sounds like it needs to be done every 30k miles. Is this a DIY procedure or not? I don't mind buying an extra tool, if it helps facilitate the job.

Timing belt - What is the recommended interval to replace it? Looking at the carfax report and the fact that car was maintained by the honda dealer, i am HOPING that the belt was replaced at least once. Carfax only shows "vehicle serviced" at all the right intervals. If i need to do it soon... am i looking a very hefty bill or this engine is pretty straight forward?

In general... given the miles and the maintenance history... what else MAJOR i should expect in the next couple of years? Is that fact that it's AWD adding extra risk of failure? How reliable is the AWD system on these cars? Anything else that just goes bad after 170k miles?

Gas mileage.... What should we expect to see, real-world, with this 5-speed, AWD 1999 model?


Thanks in advance!!!
Dan
 

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I don't see it any more of a risk than any used vehicle you buy with that type of mileage, regardless of what you have heard about Gen. 1 CRV's.

No matter what brand you buy, the risk will always be there because of it's age & mileage, but rest assured Honda does better at resale value than most other vehicles for a reason. Reliability!

But what ever you buy, will needs parts replaced from wear. I would have the Timing Belt & Water Pump checked, and of course valves adjusted since you have no recent records.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
...

No matter what brand you buy, the risk will always be there because of it's age & mileage, but rest assured Honda does better at resale value than most other vehicles for a reason. Reliability!
...
I agree 100% with you. The only "concern" i have comes from the 100s of postings online about 1st Gen CR-Vs having bad valves, expensive head work, etc , etc. A simple Google search shows lots of those incidents.
Some of the other Honda vehicles from the same period do not seem to have such common problems (96-97 Accord, Civic, for example) discussed, yet they do not offer me the 5-door option.
 

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Generally, when you buy used, you buy other people's problems. That said, you may want to have a trusted mechanic look at the vehicle before you buy it. With that kind of mileage, there likely will be a few parts that will need replacement and there may be some major issues brewing under the hood. A mechanic may be able to identify these issues and give you a better idea of what to expect from the vehicle; also, identifying potential or imminent problems may assist you in negotiating a lower price.
 

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check the engine code, I think some 99 models had b20b4 as did earlier models. if it is a b20b4, it is not subject to the valve problem. if it is a b20z2 it is.
 
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