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2008 Ridgeline RTS in Billet Silver Metallic
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Discussion Starter #1
I bought a '99 Civic LX yesterday. I'll pick it up on Wednesday. While the body/paint is not great, the mechanicals look excellent. At least there's no rust (that I saw) on this vehicle.

It started life as an automatic but the guy I bought it from (ASE mechanic) converted it to a 5 spd manual (EX tranny) when the auto failed at 118k miles. It now has 151k on it.

Here's a partial list of what's been done:
Timing belt and water pump at 134,500
Valve cover gasket at 134,500
Coolant and radiator at 145k
Clutch kit and flywheel at 118k
Transmission fluid at 118k
Idle air control valve at 124k
Fuel system cleaning at 124k
A/c compressor bearing replaced and AC recharged at 145k
New struts: front at 148k and rear at 138k
Alignment
New 70000 mile Firestone tires
Catalytic converter at 130k
Both oxygen sensors: Front at 100k, rear at 130k
Spark plugs, distributor cap, and rotor button at 145k
Distributor/o-ring at 148k
Keyless entry
Yellow fog lights
Starter
Exhaust system (Flowmaster, but it's not loud or I'd pass!)
Air filter at 145k
Rear motor mount at 130k
Driver side motor mount at 115k

The only thing I know it needs is a new AC belt.

I believe he had to put a 5spd starter in it too as the starter on the auto version is different and won't work on a 5 spd. The tires are P195/60R15 instead of the factory P185/65R14. Maybe that will offset (a little) the final drive which is listed as 4.06 for the 5 spd and 4.36 for the auto. He didn't change the final drive when he did the tranny swap, so I expect it will turn higher rpms for a given speed compared to a stock 5 spd Civic.

Overall, it appears the mechanical are in great shape. He used synthetic oil and changed it every 3k miles (overkill in my book) for the 7 years he's owned it.

The title is clean. He says it doesn't burn any oil (no visible sign of smoke). The paint is.. homegrown.. and is more of a matte finish. The body panels aren't all lined up nice and pretty like I'd prefer, so I suspect a wreck at some point, but he says when he sanded it down, there was no bondo anywhere. It drives straight, so for a beater, I thought it was hard to pass up with the strong mechanicals.

I looked at a 1 owner '99 a couple of days earlier with 131k on the clock. The original paint (silver blue?) had faded so badly it didn't even match the bumpers. Maintenance was not as evident, even though it had the factory 5 spd. I think it had a TB service, but the details were sketchy. It drove and ran very nice. Except there was an unusual scratchy/warbling noise in reverse when the clutch pedal was depressed. The noise slowed as vehicle speed slowed. That was a head scratcher so I passed on that one.

Also, I thought all Hondas used blue coolant. The ones I've looked at all have green coolant in them. The mechanic told me that's what most all independent shops use. I guess it's ok as long as it doesn't have silicates in it.

I'm hoping this won't be a money pit and will give me some good, reliable 3rd car transportation. The mpgs won't hurt either! And the kids get to learn how to drive a straight drive, which I believe is an important skill to have, even though manuals seems to be less and less evident on new cars these days.
 

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2006 Ridgeline RTS in Steel Blue
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My 1997 Civic (Purchased Used in '99 @ 28k) and my 1996 Del Sol (Purchased Used in '03 @ 34k) both had "Green Coolant", since the mileage was so low I have to assume it was still Honda Coolant at the time.

As I remember Honda Coolant was an "emerald green" and changed to blue in about '04. I believe they changed the color because their green was different than Prestone Green but wasn't obvious to most owners. The blue stands out and people stop to question is it the "right type of coolant", at least those that care.

Sounds like you'll have a great commuter "beater" to flog miles on. If it was me I'd just check the Speedo vs GPS Speed to see if the drive ratios and tire sizes change your speed much. That will also throw off your MPG calcs if your concerned, IMO, it will be significantly better than the RL or Pilot so do you really care?
 

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The question would be how much you paid for it? I just bought a 99 (not sure what model has power everything) with 200,000 miles passed state inspection has new tires. $1400.00 But it is time for a timing belt.
 

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Maybe that will offset (a little) the final drive which is listed as 4.06 for the 5 spd and 4.36 for the auto. He didn't change the final drive when he did the tranny swap, so I expect it will turn higher rpms for a given speed compared to a stock 5 spd Civic.
Keep in mind that front-wheel-drive vehicles use transaxles (transmission + differential in the same case) so all ratios are determined by what is contained in the transaxle (automatic vs. manual in this case). This should be non-issue.

I assume the instrument cluster and ECM were also changed?
 

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2008 Ridgeline RTS in Billet Silver Metallic
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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
I paid a bit more for it because of all the work done. The 1 owner Civic was asking $3200 and wasn't in near as good mechanical shape as mine. I paid $2800 for my '99, which seems fairly reasonable for my area, based on what I've been seeing over the past several months of looking. I looked at another one with 190+k miles and they were asking $3450.

I'm finding it very difficult to get maintenance history info. Many of the owners seem clueless, and the dealers don't seem to be interested in that info. But not this guy I bought from. He is very sharp.

I was initially looking for a gen 7 (2001-2005) Civic but they seem to have a lot of head gasket issues. So I backed up a gen and find I have an engine with a distributor for the first time in... years! (now where did I put that old timing light anyway?)

On another subject, I'm looking for some reasonable all weather floor mats. I'm kinda glad WeatherTech doesn't make the digital fit floor liners for the '99 Civic. They are a bit pricey for this old beater. But I would like to find something that will fit and won't slide up under the gas pedal. Any suggestions from you older Civic owners er, let me rephrase.. you owners of older Civics?

And for some reason, I'm not getting any email notification of replies to my threads... again. Dunno if it's a Chrome thing or just what.
 

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2008 Ridgeline RTS in Billet Silver Metallic
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Discussion Starter #6
Keep in mind that front-wheel-drive vehicles use transaxles (transmission + differential in the same case) so all ratios are determined by what is contained in the transaxle (automatic vs. manual in this case). This should be non-issue.

I assume the instrument cluster and ECM were also changed?
The ECU was changed. He left the cluster in so the mileage would show properly. Yeah, it still has the old PRND1.. or whatever the automatic would show.

Regarding the final drive, it may be a non-issue. But with the over size tires, I figure my final drive is something like 4.23... or partway between the auto 4.36 and the 5 spd 4.06 FDR. It's probably a bit peppier with the lower gears, but the penalty is higher rpms for a given speed. Oh well. I think it turns about 2900 rpm at 65mph indicated... or so the seller told me. I'll have to verify the speed with my GPS.

If I find much difference, I'll have to think about how to normalize my mileage so I can calculate accurate mpgs. ;)
 

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Speed,
You could try Husky liners. I'm not sure if they have exact fit for your civic. I've seen people prefer these over WeatherTech before & usually cost less than WeatherTech.
 

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2008 Ridgeline RTS in Billet Silver Metallic
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Discussion Starter #8
I checked Husky too. They only make liners for the front, go figure. And they're even more pricey than the WT liners... er, all-weather mats.
 

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They may already have been replaced, and just not listed; but if not, you might expect to replace the alternator & plug wires as well as you move forward.

I love the old Civics.... handle real well.

Did the manual trannys of that era still use engine oil for fluid? I know my '76 & 85 just used 10W30 engine oil in the tranny.

One other PIA that you might face (probably not if coolant was well maintained) is the heater core (or the heater fluid valve if they still had them in '99). I did not enjoy replacing my in the '76.
 

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2008 Ridgeline RTS in Billet Silver Metallic
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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
I think it can use 10w-30, but there is a Honda MTF for the manuals too.

I'll pass on the heater core replacement (I hope!)

I have to say that the Civic is OK, but it makes me miss the refinement of my RL (I have been spoiled)!
 

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The 2000 CR-V I had had a five-speed manual and used Honda MTF. I changed it every 30k miles.

Chip H.
 

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2008 Ridgeline RTS in Billet Silver Metallic
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Discussion Starter #13
My first issue is going to be figuring out how to lift this Civic (no central jack points?) so I can slide my jackstands under the pinchwelds at the sides. Then I can get underneath and see what I need/want to do.
 

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2006 Ridgeline RTS in Steel Blue
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I usually use the bolt locations near the pivot points of the lower control arms front or rear. And if you want to pickup the whole civic, I usually get the rear up (yes you can pick it up with the jack centered), jack stands near the pinch welds, just in front of the rear tires both sides, then do the front one side at a time.

I can snap some pics of the Del Sol, if you want. PM me
 

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2008 Ridgeline RTS in Billet Silver Metallic
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Discussion Starter #15
Pics would be great. But no hurry. Nothing needs to be done anytime soon, so next time you work on yours, take a few pics and post them please. (Del Sol and Civic have same/similar chassis?)
 

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2006 Ridgeline RTS in Steel Blue
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Pics would be great. But no hurry. Nothing needs to be done anytime soon, so next time you work on yours, take a few pics and post them please. (Del Sol and Civic have same/similar chassis?)
The '95-'98 Del Sol, match up (only shortened) really closely with the '95-'00 Civic. It will be very simple with the way my drive slopes. I'll do it Saturday
 

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2006 Ridgeline RTS in Steel Blue
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OK, me and Pictures are not cooperating tonight, but here you go I've used the tie-down as a jack point, on the Del Sol its dead center.


Using a small Jack on the rear lower control arm

And using the rear cross Member

Here is the front point I've used, at this point my back had locked up in the cold (it was 29F the night before and I think it was about 38F at the time)
No more dragging floor jacks around.



that is what the jack stand points look like for the sides of the Civic and Del Sol, I know earlier I said it looked similar to the RL but then when I went out there, I realized that these points are sticking down, more obvious on the Civic FWIW

(moderator note: image rotation fixed)
 

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2008 Ridgeline RTS in Billet Silver Metallic
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Discussion Starter #18
Those are helpful. Thanks for the effort.

My floor jack is pretty large and the saddle is nearly 7 inches across. The rear tie down will probably work ok, but better yet the rear cross member with a block of 2x6 on the saddle.

But I still don't see a central area to jack on in the front. Is the one pic in the front pretty central and can jack on it without causing damage?
 

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2006 Ridgeline RTS in Steel Blue
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I never found a central jack point on my Civic front end that I was comfortable with. The red circle & blue arrow are the front lower control arm area, you can see minor damage from 150k of oil changes & brake jobs and different jack attempts.
 

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2008 Ridgeline RTS in Billet Silver Metallic
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Discussion Starter #20
Ok, thanks for the info.
 
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