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Discussion Starter #21
My daughter has been working a lot of hours lately and combined with being a full time student her car isn't home much these days.
I took advantage of a long weekend to get some more work done.
I ordered a quart of nighthawk black paint, can of 2k clear coat and picked up an inexpensive HVLP gun. Also found a JDM rear wing on eBay from overseas and bought it.

Friday night I pulled off the plastic trim over the wheel arches and the rocker covers. Cleaned them really well, sanded them with 400 grit followed by a scotch brite pad. More cleaning, wax and grease remover, wiped down with a tack cloth and they were ready to paint.

Got the garage all set up and sprayed them Saturday evening. Hung the parts out in the sun the following morning to help cure the paint.

Sunday afternoon I put it all back together.

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I need to order some more paint and I'll be able to paint the front and rear bumpers to match this month. I got a little bored, so I dragged out the Hella Jumbo fog lights I had on my LandCruiser and mounted them to the roof rack. They're not wired up, but it would be easy to run some wires if I wanted to.

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Just painting the trim on the sides really makes it look more modern. I'm really looking forward to painting the bumper covers to match.

My daughter also ordered a Yonaka exhaust this weekend, so we'll hopefully have that on in the next couple weeks.
 

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Discussion Starter #23
About 2 months ago her CRV started having a slight shake at about 65-70 mph. it's been slowly getting worse, but not to the point where it's dangerous. So i figured I'd rebuild the entire front end. Ordered inner and outer tie rod ends, upper control arms, lower ball joints and new lower control arms. Parts should be here by the end of the week.

She ordered herself a little gift, a Yonaka stainless cat back exhaust. I went to install it on Saturday night only to find the previous owner for some unknown reason, removed the factory flange on the back side of the catalytic converter and welded the exhaust pipe straight to the cat. I couldn't bring myself to hack up a nice stainless exhaust for the sake of getting it on the car sooner, so I spent more money. Ordered a replacement stainless steel cat. I got to thinking a couple days later and figured why not just replace everything up to the block, so I ordered a header and 2 new oxygen sensors.

Needless to say I have my work cut out for me here soon.I'll post photos of the progress and the end result.
 

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Discussion Starter #24
Got a spare weekend and tackled the front end. Didn't run into any issues aside from the front upper control arm on the passenger side squeaks bad under braking. I tried just about everything I could think of to get rid of the squeak, but it refuses to go away. Gave in and ordered new ball joints so I can just rebuild the original upper control arms.

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A couple weeks ago my daughter ordered a stainless Yonaka exhaust. I went to install it, but the previous owner welded part of the exhaust straight onto the catalytic converter. I ordered a new stainless catalytic converter and O2 sensors and figured while I was replacing everything else I may as well go all the way to the engine. I ordered a set of inexpensive 2 piece Integra headers.

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I did a lot of reading before deciding to pull the trigger on these headers. Biggest issue I saw people had was the nuts working themselves loose where the header bolts together. The hardware supplied with these headers came with studs you thread into the upper portion and nuts for the lower portion. I had some spare stainless hardware in the garage and went ahead and installed additional nuts on the top to keep it all held together.

The O2 sensor on the back side of the header didn't clear some parts under the car, but the new catalytic converter had a bung welded in for an O2 sensor, so I moved it to that location. The biggest issue with these headers are they shorten the length of the exhaust by about 3" meaning some of the hangar locations don't line up. I have some temporary 'rigging' installed for now and found a solution on eBay. I ordered a short stainless exhaust pipe with a 3 bolt flange on each end to go between the catalytic converter and the new exhaust pipe for under $25. I measured the distance needed for the hangars to line up and this pipe is going to work. The only place I found with that made this style pipe connection in stainless steel is from China, so I'm still waiting for it to show up.

The tires are starting to show some wear after 20k miles, mostly due to the negative camber on the rear wheels. Once it's due for new tires I'm going to switch up the wheels to something 17".

Next month I'm going to tackle painting the front and rear bumper covers and the mirrors to match.

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Discussion Starter #25
It's been a long time since I've posted any updates for the CRV. I kind of forgot that I had a build thread going here. Biggest changes since my last post are that I was able to paint the front and rear bumpers to match. I prefer the light textured look and chose not to wet sand them smooth. They've been painted for at least 6 months now and the paint is holding up really well. All the pre cleaning and prep work really paid off.

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I found the set of Hella Jumbo fog lights from my old 2001 Toyota Land Cruiser and threw them up on the top rack pretty much for looks. I am having some trouble with the passenger side front door when I repainted it. I went with a custom mixed rattle can kit (base and 2K clear) from eBay. While I'm happy with the color match, the clear coat is terrible. Less than a year later and it is all crazed and cracking. Once the humidity dies down I'm going to respray the door with a light base coat and a proper clear.

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Latest project is fitting the front lower brush bar from a 2001 Isuzu Rodeo onto the front of the CRV. the width is perfect, profile of the side bars is slightly off, but close enough. Last weekend I welded some brackets to the stock tow hooks attached to the inner frame rails, and drilled holes to match the holes in the brackets on the brush bar. I bent 2 additional 1/8" mild steel into a Z shaped bracket to attach in the center of the front steel crash bar to keep it from vibrating then tapped the holes for M6 bolts. Pulled it all apart to paint the brackets and tubes on the brush bar with bedliner paint. Still need to treat the plastic center portion to get it black again. Going to use a heat gun to bring the color back and use a plastic ceramic coating kit to protect the finish. Once it's all bolted back up I'll post some more photos.

Her CRV got towed home Friday after running hot on the highway. After poking around I found a failed coolant hose, so I ordered a complete replacement hose kit. It should be here Friday. I'm going to order a short ram intake for an Integra and after I build my sheet metal brake I'm going to fabricate a heat shield to protect it from the heat from the exhaust manifold.

I also have an idea I'm probably going to try a little later for a set of 4 caged in 6" lights to mount to the roof basket. Should be pretty easy to fabricate with conduit and a little welding.
 

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Discussion Starter #26
Got the brush bar cleaned and painted. Painted the brackets and got it mounted on Monday night. Really pleased with the fit. I have another project I'm starting this weekend to build a 4 light cage for the roof rack. Just ordered the lights this afternoon.

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Discussion Starter #28
Finished up another project last weekend. I modified the $60 Amazon roof basket to kind of mimic the Land Rover Defender style basket with a light cage on the front. Bent some 3/4" steel tubing and welded it to the existing rack, then added flat steel plate to mount the lights. Initially I wanted a riser tube between each light, but there wasn't enough room, so I just added one on each end. Painted it with rattle can bedliner black and installed the rack. I have some LED bulbs to replace the halogen bulbs that draw too much power. I also ordered a wiring harness with relays to hook everything up.

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Sunday night I pulled the old passenger side front fender into the garage that I replaced when we bought the CRV to begin building some fiberglass fender flares. It's going to be a long process, I figure at least a month worth of work. I'm building them into molds so if there's enough demand (and the quality turns out ok) that I can eventually sell some to other owners.
 

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1998 CR-V EX 4spd auto "Big Green" completely stock with roof rack and front mud flaps
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I'm just now seeing this. Your daughter's car is a fantastic project. Well done!

It looks like a very unusual combination: like it's ready to take on the outback, except that it has no ground clearance because it's also meant for racetrack use. It sounds kind of funny when I type it out, but the car looks great!

I'd be curious to see what it looks like next to a stock CR-V. Does it have the feel of a sport-wagon? Does it look smaller if an un-modified CR-V is next to it? It's it easy to put stuff on the roof rack when you're packing for a trip, or is it not quite low enough for that?
 

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Discussion Starter #30
The next time we're out I'll find another CRV to park next to for a couple quick photos.
Don't really use the roof basket much, it was $60 on Amazon and made the car feel less 'naked'. It's pretty easy to reach by opening the door and using the door sill as a step. As far as the unusual styling, I don't have an answer. I just keep trying to come up with things to make it different from the other cars I see on the road. My daughter doesn't mind, she likes having a car that gets some attention. The Isuzu Rodeo front brush bar was pretty easy to fabricate mounts for. If anything, it kind of has the feel of an Australian Ute with the lights and brush bar.

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Discussion Starter #31
Still moving forward with additional work on my daughter's CRV. It was towed home a couple weeks ago after a small coolant hose ruptured on the highway. While I'm working from home and not driving, I gave her my 06 Avalon and moved the CRV into the garage for maintenance and more upgrades.

I ordered a full silicone coolant hose set and got them all installed. I would have preferred black hoses, but they were out of stock and I needed a full set. I also replaced the coolant fan, temperature gauge switch and fan switch just to make sure everything regarding the cooling system is new. I also ordered a short ram intake for an Acura Integra and picked up a sheet of light gauge sheet metal to bend into a box to isolate the heat from the headers. The box is bolted down to the inner frame rail using an existing bolt and I drilled 1 hole in the shock tower to mount the side with a large diameter metal screw. I made a cover for the box and installed it with 4 screws to allow access to clean the filter when needed.
Cleaned and degreased the engine bay and painted the intake plenum to freshen it up.

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After painting the box with everything installed.

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Next up I started working on a Molle panel for the driver side rear window in the cargo bay. I wanted a place for her to keep some emergency supplies where they are easy to reach like a flashlight, extended lug wrench, first aid kit and more. Using a piece of steel from a double wall oven I disassembled to build a powder coating oven I created a template of the inside window. Then I cut out the shape and began to cut a series of holes trying to keep them as straight as possible. Having a shop water jet or laser cut these holes would be best, but I worked with what I had (angle grinder, jigsaw and Dremel tool, files and wire brushes). I bent some light gauge straps and using the upper seat belt bolt and lower cargo hook screw, attached the straps and panel inside. I need to create a lower strap using a heavier gauge aluminum to make it a little more sturdy. My powder coating oven isn't completely setup yet as I still need to wire in a 220 outlet into the garage, so I'm just going to paint the panel and straps.

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Upcoming projects on the list include :
Modifying the EP3 Civic SI seats to fit
Building an upper strut tower brace
Building a lower control arm brace
Wire up the roof rack lights
Tint the windows (ordered a ceramic tint kit 2 days ago)
Possibly build my own nerf bars for the sides
Install some additional USB charging ports
Repaint the passenger side front door
Pick up a Honda Element front grille and modify it to fit the CRV
Build a spare tire mount for the roof rack
Build a locking jerry can mount for the rear door where the spare used to sit (after moving it to the roof)

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Discussion Starter #32
Went to pick n pull on last week and pulled the spare tire mount from the rear door on a CRV for $13. Brought it home, cut some flat metal strips from some scrap I had in the garage. Drilled 2 holes on each and mounted the tire carrier on the roof basket. Still unsure on if I like the slightly angled look of it. I may pull it down and cut the sides to make the tire sit level.

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Spent most of Saturday fabricating the jerry can mount to fit the stock holes on the rear door where the spare tire used to sit. Most of the day was spent measuring, cutting and grinding with less than 30 minutes spent actually welding. Turned out pretty good. I used some spare poly urethane sway bar end link bushings to fit between the door and the mount. Came up with a strap to go across the front for a lock to keep anybody from walking off with the can. Test fitting the base :

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All mounted up. It's currently off the car for paint.
 

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Discussion Starter #33
So the CRV is down for major repairs. Back on July 3rd a coolant hose ruptured while my daughter was on the highway and we had to have her car towed home. I replaced all the hoses with silicone hoses, built the intake box and did some additional repairs.
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I drove it to cars & coffee once all the hoses were on and it was running hot after getting off the highway. Initially I thought it was just air in the coolant system. I drained and refilled the radiator and ran it without the cap to bleed out any air. Drove it to cars & coffee again last Sunday morning and the same thing. Running hot, refused to idle and stalling once it was up to temperature.
Pulled the plugs and swapped in new plugs, tried bleeding the coolant system again and still had idling problems. Checked out Eric the car guy's YouTube channel for some advice on the idle issue and the main cause is air in the coolant system. Even completed a compression check with pretty even numbers across all 4 cylinders. Decided to pull the valve cover and have a look.

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Something's not right considering I changed the oil just a couple weeks ago.

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Fresh chocolate milk anybody?

Started pulling the head off Tuesday night and finished up last night. I can't see where the head gasket failed.

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Going to take the head to a machine shop and have it resurfaced and cleaned. Head gasket kit and oil pan gasket are on order. This will give me a chance to completely clean the engine bay while I'm waiting on the head to be repaired.
 

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Discussion Starter #34
Still hard at work making improvements while the cylinder head is off and at the machine shop.
Took the door panels off in preparation for the widow tint. While they were off I decided to add some color to the interior by adding some red microfiber material to the top half of the door panels.

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I'm about 3/4 of the way through tinting all the windows with pre cut ceramic tint. I have to finish the rear hatch and driver side rear door. Here's the driver side door panel installed.

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Up next I'm working on some custom gauge mounts for the oil pressure gauge and water temperature gauge. I removed the driver side vent on the upper dash and installed a small voltage gauge into the right side of the vent. Once It's all mounted I'll upload some pictures. I still need to finish wiring up the roof rack lights, clean the engine bay, order sound deadening material and install, wire up the amplifier and install the subwoofer, and install the EP3 Civic SI front seats. I've been watching a lot of videos on carbon fiber overlaying parts and I think in the near future I'm going to overlay the mirrors with carbon fiber material and clear epoxy. The fender flares I started building are on hold, more of a long term project at this point. There's still no sign of the airbag recall replacement from the dealer. I checked about 6 months ago and the replacements are not in stock. I'm going to pull the stock steering wheel and replace it with an aftermarket wheel as right now that's safer than the Takata airbag that's currently in the car now. The issue with the airbags and why they're so dangerous is when the airbag deploys, the casing fragments sending metal shrapnel out with the airbag towards the driver. As the CRV is my daughter's car, I can't take that risk.
 

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Discussion Starter #35
Dropped the cylinder head off at the machine shop a week ago Saturday to be resurfaced, pressure tested and cleaned. While it was at the shop I got to work on my list of things to complete.
Finished wiring up the lights on the roof rack. While at pick n pull I grabbed 2 cruise control switches from a couple CRVs along with the pigtail and about 5-6" of wires. After a little digging online I was able to find the wiring diagram for the cruise control system and wired the switches to the lights. I moved the dimmer to one of the blank spaces closer to the steering column as it isn't used very often and placed both of the switches next to the window controls.

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I'm used to driving cars with enough gauges to closely monitor all the essential stuff and the CRV was lacking additional gauges. I ordered a small digital voltmeter from Amazon and found a place for it in the driver side upper dash vent. The dash vent had a small section on the right side that wasn't used for ventilation and this fit just right. Made a cutout using a hole saw and with a little epoxy glued it into place. The voltmeter is an easy 3 wire hookup.

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I still needed a spot for an oil pressure gauge and water temperature gauge. I've never really been a fan of the a-pillar gauge pods, mostly because the a-pillar is already wide enough creating a slight blind spot. The short little shelf below the center dash vents isn't quite deep enough and would block the airflow from the center vents. Some of the pre-made dash pods looked OK, but weren't really the shape and style I was looking for. I went ahead and built my own dash pod out of fiberglass and a pair of PVC fittings cut down.
I cut and shaped a piece of foam into the general shape I wanted then covered it in foil tape and began to apply layers of fiberglass and resin.

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After the resin cured, I used a hole saw to cut out the holes for the gauges. Next I used some epoxy to fix the PVC to the front of the pod. Several thin layers of body filler, sanding primer and paint and I had a finished product.

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It's going to sit angled towards the driver on the center of the dash above the vents.

Last Saturday I was able to get over to the machine shop and pick up the finished cylinder head. Before I put it back on I wanted to match port the head to the gasket openings for a little more airflow through the head. I ordered a set of carbide burrs for my rotary tool and spent a couple hours working on opening up the ports to fit the gasket.

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The next day I placed the head back on the block and began reassembly until it came time to torque down the hardware. Seems my trusty torque wrench is failing, so I'll have to run out and pick up another before I can finish.

Meanwhile Saturday morning before I picked up the cylinder head I ran over to pick n pull and grabbed the front grille from a Honda Element. I saw one in a parking lot and noticed the grille was really close in shape to the grille on the CRV.

Broke out my rotary tool and cut out the center portion of the Element grille. Then did the same to the CRV grille. Cleaned the grille, applied some paint and using some epoxy and clamps, set it into the CRV grille frame. Touched up the paint where the epoxy was holding it together and put it back on the car.

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About a year ago I painted the grille and trim to match the paint on the CRV but the clear coat wasn't holding up very well. I went into my bin with all my leftover vinyl and found a piece that would cover the grille trim in 4D carbon fiber. Using a heat gun and some patience wrapped the grille trim.
Additionally I ordered some sound deadening material and began applying it to the inside of the door panels and rear door. No photos, not that exciting to look at.

I should have the engine back together by this weekend.
Still on the list:
  • install oil sandwich adapter and oil pressure gauge
  • install water temp gauge
  • Modify the EP3 Civic SI seats to fit
  • Build an upper strut tower brace
  • Build a lower control arm brace
  • remove the tint on the driver side rear door I replaced from pick n pull and apply the ceramic tint
  • wire the amplifier and find a subwoofer box
  • replace the upper bushings on the coilovers
 

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Discussion Starter #37
Pretty much working on it every evening as long as it's not too horribly hot in the garage. Last weekend I ordered a couple bags for the DIY Molle panel and was able to install them. I had nothing to go off of as far as making the holes for the panel. I just took a random guess based on what I saw offered in other products and what my limited cutting could handle and still keep straight. The black bag holds some of her tools - flashlight, a pair of gloves, coilover wrench and a couple other smaller things and is held on by 4 straps on the back side that wrap around the holes on the panel. The green bag has a pair of straps that wrap around the panel but also has a Velcro panel that holds the bag allowing it to be 'torn away' easily. This is going to hold the first aid kit which I keep one in every vehicle I own.

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When I ordered the gasket kit for the head gasket I went ahead and ordered an upgraded oil pan gasket because I knew I would have to drop the exhaust down in order to remove the headers from the cylinder head. May as well replace the leaking gasket while I had it apart. The original gasket was kind of challenging to remove and I had to break out the oscillating tool for a portion of it. Went ahead and degreased the inside and outside of the pan and figured I'd freshen it up with a coat of paint while it was off. I doubt the paint will hold up over any length of time but it looks good for now.

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I was also able to install the oil filter sandwich plate adapter last night. The only real challenge was the pressure sending unit's size meant it would only fit in 1 spot. I initially had the sending unit placed in about the 10 o'clock position, but after tightening down the adapter it caused a small water leak from the hard pipe running along the back of the engine. A closer look showed the sending unit was pressing against the pipe and opened up where it joined the water pump. I removed the adapter and the leak stopped, so I rotated it to between the 1 & 2 o'clock position and although it's tight, there's no contact with the water pipe.
 

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1998 CR-V EX 4spd auto "Big Green" completely stock with roof rack and front mud flaps
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This is still a fantastic build. I feel I should point out if you don't know, the vent where you put that gauge is the defrost vent for the left window. Your daughter will need to know if she needs to defrost the windows, that the left dashboard vent will now have to be pointed right at the window.

Why are you planning to install a new coolant temperature gauge? Is the gauge on the far right side of instrument cluster not working well enough?
 

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Discussion Starter #39
Well this build finally came to an end. I got the head cleaned, surfaced and pressure tested then installed on the car. Had it timed right and running for about 15 minutes in the garage while I was working on removing the tint from the door I replaced. I wanted to keep an eye on the temperature. I still hadn't seen the radiator fan kick on and the temperature was about 3/4 up on the gauge. Crawled into the driver seat and blipped the throttle a little bit. After that the car wouldn't hold an idle. Pretty much meant one thing, air was in the cooling system. Let it cool down, came back out to check the coolant level in the radiator and it was low. There was only 1 place for the water to go, so up on jack stands again to drain the oil. Sure enough, chocolate milk again. Only probable cause is a crack in the block from overheating. Had to make a command decision at this point as I had already spent the last 4 weeks working on it and dumping another $200 into it. Pulled the new gauges out, pulled the BBS wheels and installed the stock wheels/tires and put it up for sale as is.
Had a local guy come by and we negotiated a price and he took it home. Still have the wheels/tires up for sale and we're looking for a replacement. It was a fun project and I learned a lot over the last 2 years. I have 2 kids and each one has killed a motor so far.
 
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