1997 DX hatch

ReedMann

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My name is Reed, I am 17 years old and brand new to club civic. This was my dad's car. He bought it used with 70,xxx miles and drove it until last fall. After 158,xxx miles, the clutch was very worn, the AC compressor was broken, and it needed new exhaust and brakes to pass inspection. He began the process of selling it, but after much begging from me, he agreed to let me have the car if i fixed it. I have since replaced the brake pads and rotors, installed a new oem muffler, and (after some problems) replaced the clutch myself.

Here is the car as it is now:









The car is still essentially stock. I have swapped the original DX cluster for a 1999 EX cluster to give myself a tach (future post). I have purchased the parts from a 1999 Si for a rear disc swap (future post). I have also done minor things to improve the overall look and feel of the car; repainted wiper blades, polished the trim with Mother's Back to Black, and removed the entire AC system which weights nearly 20 pounds.

I'm not sure yet what direction I want to take this car. I definitely want to do an engine swap and rebuild the suspension. As of now, my funds are limited and I have school and work, but I will continue to do small projects as I save up for better parts. I don't want to rush. I want to take my time and do things right. Hopefully someday my car will be as nice as some the ones featured here.

Suggestions and comments are welcome. Like I said, I am still new to the Honda scene and learning everyday.
 

JDM 94 EG Hatch

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very nice pick up ecspecially since u got it free lol. im 17 too and i know how it is with school and jobs. honestly since you cant throw down money for a swap just go to a junkyard they are many hidden treasures there. i got tokico gas shocks and neuspeed springs for the rear and skunk2 coilovers for front for only 98 bucks for all of it. theres lots of stuff and you dont have to look for your exact car. hondas are so interchangable meaning all parts usaully fit!. good luck with the build
 


zachkelly

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god damn that looks nice. Id leave it just the way it is but maybe lowered
 

crash!

Avi, pull your socks up.
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I'm soooooooooooo envious. I'm currently looking for an EK hatch to build but I can't find any at a decent price. Have fun with it!
 


ReedMann

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Thanks guys. I am really lucky to get a car in this good condition.

@ JDM 94 EG Hatch: Thanks for the tip. I've been checking craigslist pretty regularly, but I didn't think to check the junkyard.
 

jerseyhonda

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Holly biscuits. beautiful start. id as well leave it the way it is,.set a wedding date for.the bottom of. your car and the pavement and move from there. as well as swap those rims (: ill be checking in
 

jerseyhonda

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I've picked SEVERAL things up off craigslist, brand new if not close to it for super cheap. I've also found things i wish i had cash for that were still hella cheap compared to reg price. Not to mention getting rid of old parts here in El Paso on craigslist is one of easiest things =)
Found a guy on there selling Tru HID plug n play for super cheap with lifetime warranty. Not sure if the shop is trustworthy, but 35 for HID plug n play, cant beat it.
 

95coupeWI

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I dig clean, stock hatches! like everyone else, drop it, and maybe a set of rims and some other small stuff and you've got a very respectable car man! welcome
 

ReedMann

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Thanks for the support guys.

@ JDM 94 EG Hatch: Yeah, all my parts so far. Complete rear trailing arms and rear disc assembly from a 1999 Si for only $150 and a 1999 Ex cluster for $40.
 

UCCRacing

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Man that is super clean, with a nice wet sand and buff you could have it shine!!! KEEP IT CLEAN!.. Just do it right, don't do the ":LET ME TRY THIS" with the car... Just do it correctly! =)

I say drop, rims, Tint... Beyond that you can go crazy with Lips and paint match, etc etc.

Good luck!
 

JDM 94 EG Hatch

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nice.. sounds like a pretty good pick up off craigslist. good luck with the build. i just need cash for a cluster, but i want an sir cluster lol and those cost money :(
 

Hendo

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Clean and OEM. And free. You suck, and I am jealous lol
 

wazup_74

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Welcome to club civic!
I'm gonna jump on the wagon and say what everyone else did.
Lower it and add some OEM rims.
You can probably benefit from a sway bar in the back, and perhaps up front if i recall the DX doesn't have any sway bars at all. From my experience the best mods done to my cars were any suspension mods. They change the look and provide better handling.
Props for the rear disk as well.
Keep it OEM though. it looks good the way it is.
Here in Phoenix i would tint the windows asap, not sure how the weather is like in your hometown.
 

ReedMann

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I started to look for civic EX, Si, or Type-R clusters for a 1996-2000 Civic because I wanted to have a tach, but I also wanted to maintain the oem look. The Si and Type-R clusters were out of my price range, but I found a great EX cluster for only $40 on craigslist.

1997 DX cluster, without tach (milage 161,199)



1999 EX cluster, with tach (milage 155,372)




The first order of business was to swap the speedometer gauges between clusters. I did this to keep the odometer and tripometer from the old cluster and reinstall them with the new cluster. There are other ways to do this, like change the odometer on the new cluster, but the way I did it is by far the easiest. The units are interchangeable and removed by four screws in the back of the cluster. Be careful not to lose the screws as they provide the electrical connection between the circuit board and the gauge itself (that's why there are no wires to remove).

1997 DX speedometer gauge



1999 EX speedometer gauge



After these were swapped, I reassembled the new cluster and put it back into the dash. TIP: Before screwing everything back together, plug in the wires and start the car to make sure everything works. This swap can be done because the wiring harnesses for all 1996-2000 Civics, regardless of model, have a tachometer wire built in. The higher models (EX, Si, Type-R), however, are the only ones that come with a tachometer integrated into the cluster. A single wire with a yellow tip will be found behind the cluster not plugged into anything. This is the wire for the tach. The EX cluster has a connection for this wire while the DX cluster does not.

Wire connections (top two blue connecters were plugged into original cluster, bottom yellow connecter was not)



After a week, everything was working flawlessly and it looked great. The only problems were two lights at the bottom of the cluster that never turned off. These two lights are SRS and Cruise Control. Since my car has neither of these features, the lights never shut off. Thankfully, this is a very simple problem to fix. I took my cluster apart, once again, and took out the tachometer gauge (same process as speedometer gauge), because the SRS light is on the bottom. Once the gauge was out, I had clear access to the SRS light. This bulb is easily removed by twisting it. To make sure no light gets through the icon, I put a single piece of electrical tape on the back of the cluster. This maintains a clean exterior look, but ensures no light will pass through and illuminate the icon. The Cruise Control icon was even simpler. I took the bezel that surrounds the gauges from my old cluster and swapped it with the one from the new cluster. Now the icon for Cruise Control is no longer visible.

Removed tach (SRS bulb visible in lower left-hand corner)



Removed bulb

[

SRS icon (back of tach)



SRS icon with electrical tape



1999 EX bezel with Cruise Control icon



1997 DX bezel without Cruise Control icon



After having the new cluster installed for a week, I am very happy. Everything works and the whole assembly maintains the clean oem look. This is a great mod to do for very little money.

Sorry if this is too detailed, but when researching this swap myself I found no resource that had all the information needed in one place, so I wanted create a reference for people doing this swap in the future.
 

ReedMann

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Pinstripe Removal

I removed the faded and chipped pinstripes from my car today.

Before:





After:





I used a pinstripe removal tool that is basically a rubber disc you put into a drill. 3M sells them for like $35, but I got some off brand one on Amazon for $8. It worked great.



There were two small problem areas. First, since my car's paint is so faded, the area that used to be covered by the pinstripe is much brighter than the surrounding area. Second, I couldn't some of the material on the end of the door by the trim. Otherwise, I am happy with the results.



Also, does anyone have any tips for removing stuck disc brake retention screws. I have been working on the rear trailing arms from a 1999 Si so I can put them on my car, but I can't get the screws out. I am thinking of taking the arms to a shop and getting a mechanic to remove the screws, because I have tried everything I know to do.
 

ReedMann

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I had three days off of work this weekend because of the holiday, so I thought it would be a good time to install the rear discs. The one's I picked up on Craigslist were pretty rusted, but luckily it was only on the surface. The guy I bought them from said he pulled them from a wrecked Civic and they had sat in his barn ever since.





(Sorry for the blurry photos, but you get the idea)

As you can see, they weren't the greatest. One caliper had been painted red, but it had not been removed, so most of the heat shield, brake line, rotor, pads, and mounting bracket were red as well. I started to strip them down and actually had to use a Sawzall to remove one of the lower control arm bolts. The disc brake retention screws were a pain too. I eventually had to drill them out. Luckily, I was able to save the threads on both. Once I had them apart I ground off all the exterior rust and found out the parts were in really good condition. I removed all the red paint from the right side as well. Later I found out the calipers were seized (the only problem I had with the conversion) and had to buy new ones.

Old rusted drums:



New shiny discs:



I couldn't find the bolt it calls for in the Hayne's manual to attach the e-brake cable to the caliper. It is a M6 - 1.0 x 15mm with a cotter pin whole (if anyone knows where to get one, let me know). Instead, I used a M6 - 1.0 x 20mm with a bolt on the end and excessive thread lock. It should hold, but if it doesn't, I'll have to find something else.



(If you look closely, you can still see some of the red paint)

Overall, I am really happy. The brake pedal feels a little softer at first, but the braking power is stronger. I also got a little extra money on my last pay check so I decided to pick myself up a set of these.



I know it's been done before, but I really like these rims and I got a great deal for them on, you guessed it, Craigslist.

Next up is suspension. I was thinking of getting Skunk2 sport struts and coilover sleeves with some sort of camber kit. That isn't set in stone though, so other ideas are welcome. Also, does anyone know where I can buy a spray can of R97-4?
 



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