2000 CX Hatchback Beater Revival

RestoRoc89

New Member
Hi All,

I'm fairly new to Hondas and have a new project on the go that will either make you laugh or cry. First, a little recent history. I live in a condo building with a 'secure' parking garage. I've kept some nice vehicles in it without issues over the years, but have run into a rash of scumbag thieves in the last six weeks. My car has been broken into. My fiancé's car has been broken into twice and, most recently, my Triumph Daytona 675 motorcycle was stolen. Clearly, I'm long overdue to sell my bachelor pad and get out of the city. Under normal circumstances, I drive these--a heavily modified 2011 Corvette, a 2015 GTI and a 2008 675 (or at least I used to before the bike was stolen):





All of these vehicles were purchased new and I maintain them meticulously. I can't bear the thought of any further losses or damage before I can move, so I've tucked the remaining two cars safely away at my parents' rural home.

Enter the interim solution. My soon-to-be father-in-law gave me this gem (which my fiancé actually gave to him five years ago). Aren't I moving up in the world?


 

RestoRoc89

New Member
Now for the details. It's a 2000 CX Hatchback 5spd with manual steering, manual windows and no A/C. It has 308,000km on it and has lived a rough life full of Canadian winters and salty roads. Surprisingly, it's quite entertaining to boot around in because it feels so raw. I plan to drive this thing until I have a safe workshop of my own to keep my possessions in. To accomplish that without embarrassment, I've obviously got a bit of work to do. It needs to be functional, reliable and ugly so no one will steal it or mess with it.

My initial assessment has turned up these issues:

-the shifter bushing is nearly seized
-the transmission input shaft bearing has failed
-the rear brakes are worn out
-all bushings in the rear suspension are rotted away
-the rear strut housings are rusted through
-the windshield is cracked
-the hatch lift struts are blown
-the front bumper and hood need to be replaced
-the rear quarter panels have been patched once already with fibreglass and need some love again
-some of the exhaust has been welded together in annoying ways
-the brake lines were replaced a few years ago, but routed poorly
-the master cylinder is leaking brake fluid into the brake booster

Since the car was free, I'm willing to make a small investment in the repairs. I'm starting with the rear suspension/brake overhaul as I figured the rusted fasteners would pose the biggest challenge. I was right on that! Here are some photos of the teardown. Every single bolt was seized in the inner steel bushing sleeve. Even if I could get the bolt to turn in its nut, the sleeve required some effort. I often found that the best solution was to burn out the bushing rubber with my torch, heat the sleeve to the point of being red hot and then grip it with vice grips while I backed the offending bolt out with my impact gun. In some cases, I cut suspension arms with a reciprocating saw for better access. Most fun of all was the fact that I had to cut into the compensator arm mounts to access the obliterated rear toe adjusters. More on that later--I welded new nuts in place and will be using adjustable-length compensator arms in the future for precise rear toe adjustment.

Getting started:



Left side removed:



Check out this destroyed trailing arm bushing. I can't blame it--it managed 308K!



The lower control arm bushings are also peeled away from the inner sleeves.



Right side removed! Practice makes perfect.



Look at what I had to do to get access to the rear toe sliders that were seized and spinning in their slots. Normally, I cringe over the idea of cutting holes. But, hey! It's a beater so who cares?! I welded new nuts in place at the middle of the adjustment range and will be using adjustable compensator arms. I'm also going to weld some heavy 2in washers into the holes I made for reinforcement and rust proof my 'handiwork'. I wish I had drilled the 2in holes right off the bat, because I could have avoided spinning the sliding nuts and wrecking their slots that way. Sidenote: yes, I'm replacing that brake line because the routing annoys me. Everything under the car looks a little "canadian crispy"…but it's solid. It'll stand up well enough for what I need.



Fire!! Here I am working at freeing a seized bushing sleeve on one of the trailing arms. I cheated in getting it out by using a saw…



This is the pile of junk I was able to remove from the car after a loooong Saturday. It should have taken an hour if not for the corrosion monster.



A substantial collection of parts are set to arrive later today to make things more exciting.
 


RestoRoc89

New Member
While surfing some local classifieds, I found an S40 transmission out of a Canadian Civic SI (which has the D16Y8 engine). It'll bolt up to my D16Y7 no problem and has a lower final drive ratio. This will make the car scream on the highway, but should be nice for the predominantly city driving that I do. It has been stored in some poor conditions and also has a smoked input shaft bearing. Luckily, this isn't my first rodeo and I'll be rebuilding it with a master kit from Synchrotech. The current transmission in the car is functional, but noisy and leaking. It ought to buy me a week or two to get the rebuild done.

 

RestoRoc89

New Member
Onto the fun stuff. Here's what I have on order in the first batch of parts (I found great deals from tunersports.com, Rock Auto and MajesticHonda):

-all new suspension and shifter fasteners from MajesticHonda
-Koni Str.T struts front and rear
-Tein S.Tech lowering springs
-TruHart lower control arms
-TruHart adjustable upper control arms (camber arms)
-TruHart adjustable compensator arms (toe arms)
TruHart front adjustable upper control arms
-Hardrace trailing arm bushings
-Moog strut mounting plates and isolators
-Centric premium rear drum kit (drums, shoes, hardware, wheel cylinders)
-Beck Arnley tie rod ends
-Centric master cylinder assembly
-Monroe hatch struts
-Skunk2 dual bend short shifter
-Skunk2 weighted shift knob
-Energy suspension shifter stabilizer bushings

I'm suffering from the dollar store effect here--the aftermarket for the EK platform is quite diverse and parts are so, so much cheaper than I'm used to. I'm having a hard time buying beater-grade components when nicer stuff is only a few bucks more. Hopefully, I can spruce this jalopy up enough to recover a few bucks when I eventually sell it.

I'll pick all this stuff up tomorrow and get it installed over the next few days. That should be enough to make the car drivable. The next batch of work will address some more front suspension components, the brake lines, the transmission and the exhaust. Once all that is finished, I will replace the windshield, quarter panel wheel arches, bumper and hood. Stay tuned!
 


Mr.Baker

Mr. Search
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5+ Year Member
Rot and rust make things sooo much more difficult, way to tear into it!
Once you revive this well used hatchback, it should treat you well.
 

HeX

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This looks to be a pretty detailed beater build.
 

RestoRoc89

New Member
I might be driving this thing for at least a year. As such I need it to be reliable and I'd like it to be somewhat entertaining given what I'm used to driving. I think I can get there for a modest amount of work. Plus, I get some satisfaction out of 'saving' a clunker. I'm struggling with the wheels decision right now. The stock wheels are so rusty that I'm actually worried about cracking. I can get some nice looking used wheels, but I don't want to make it look like theft bait. I'll probably end up with new steelies :(
 

HeX

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Why not just buy some used steel rims off craigslist? That should be easy enough. Slap on the factory hub caps. I actually have an available cap set with some modest signs of wear, but that would actually go along with your exterior "theme".
 

RestoRoc89

New Member
Why not just buy some used steel rims off craigslist? That should be easy enough. Slap on the factory hub caps. I actually have an available cap set with some modest signs of wear, but that would actually go along with your exterior "theme".
I actually do have all four rusty original wheels and hubcaps plus the two snow tires that are on the front of the car (which is a no-no in my mind…). The only reason I consider new steelies is that I need to buy new tires and tire rack sells the wheels for $40 each and installs the tires for free. If I buy steel wheels elsewhere, I have to pay a local shop $25 per tire for installation. It kinda comes out a wash.
 

ImportFan1

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First off, :welcome: to CC.

Second, what all is done to the Vette? More pics of that and the GTI?

Third, nice progress so far on the hatch. Keep it up man.
 

pmac193

Thundermuff
Registered VIP
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10+ Year Member
Welcome! I've had that same suspension set up in boxes for years now. Gotta let me know what I'm in store for once I install them. :lol:
 

RestoRoc89

New Member
First off, :welcome: to CC.

Second, what all is done to the Vette? More pics of that and the GTI?

Third, nice progress so far on the hatch. Keep it up man.
Ask and ye shall receive.

The Corvette is a 2011 M6 base coupe. I purchased it new four years ago and have been tinkering with it ever since.

Here's how it started.



As soon as I got it home, I installed an MGW shifter for some instant gratification. It's still one of my favourite modifications.





Then I added a Corsa Xtreme exhaust to address the fact that it was way too tame sounding.



The yellowish interior lights didn't seem right, so I added some superbright white LEDs.





After some time behind the wheel, the base coupe suspension was awfully soft and floaty for my taste. I installed a Pfadt Johnny O'Connell Stage 1 suspension kit (shocks, adjustable sway bars, Z06 rate springs) that really stiffened up the car and flattened it out in the turns. Well worth the modest price at the time.



Pfadt Tri-Y Headers and a dyno tune were next. I gained about 40whp through the exercise and an appreciable amount of low end grunt.







Since traction has become an issue and I ultimately have some plans for forced induction, I started the process of converting the car to a Z06-styled widebody. Step one added the Z06 body panels and some wheel adapters so I could continue driving the car.







Finally, I added some proper offset/width wheels and tires (Forgestar F14s with Potenza RE11A tires). That's a size 11 shoe for comparison.











I'm in the process of installing an East Coast Supercharging Paxton Novi 1500 blower kit and methanol injection now. The ultimate goal is a reasonably reliable 750whp. However, my priorities will shift to finding a good property for a while.
 

RestoRoc89

New Member
First off, :welcome: to CC.

Second, what all is done to the Vette? More pics of that and the GTI?

Third, nice progress so far on the hatch. Keep it up man.
Regarding the GTI, it's way less of an exciting story. It's a 2015 MK7 GTI that I picked up last October for a winter beater. Here are some shots from the day I picked it up.




…and here's how it rolls in the winter months.



For what it is, it's a great little package. I won't modify a thing about it until parts start legitimately wearing out…which won't be for a while because I'll be driving this Civic until I move :P.
 

RestoRoc89

New Member
It's nice to see such a welcoming community =) Cheers!

Getting back to the focus of this thread, I did a bit of work on the Civic tonight and got the Skunk2 short shifter and Energy Suspension stabilizer bushings installed. The interior of the car is pretty nasty. While I did some light vacuuming and cleaned the console up tonight, I'll have to spend some serious time detailing once the overhaul is complete.

Here's the starting point. The pivot bushing on the stock shifter was completely bound up--it was very hard to shift and nearly impossible to identify neutral.



Console out.



Shift linkage removed from the car. The bushings on the stabilizer were toast. I removed the entire linkage so I could put it in a vice and fight with the rusty fasteners holding the shifter housing together.



Here's a closeup of the pivot point that was completely seized. Don't you love rust? If this were a prized possession, I would sandblast and power coat the linkage parts…but it's not, so I just wire brushed them.



Having disassembled the shifter housing (by snapping the rusty studs), here's a comparison of the stock shifter versus the new Skunk2 piece.



Sunk2 shifter installed in the shift housing (with lots of grease, new fasteners and a new pivot cup).



I had to remove the steel sleeves from the rubber stabilizer bushing to install them in my new urethane mount. Look at how stretched out the centre hole is on the rubber piece.



The linkage is back in the car replete with the Sunk2, urethane bushings and some shiny new hardware (which I drowned in antiseize compound). Conveniently, all of the linkage fasteners torque to 16 lb-ft.



Here's the new shifter poking through the topside. Don't laugh at my cheesy pedals (feel free to laugh at them).



Console pieces all cleaned up.



Complete! Of the million problems with my car, I can at least cross one thing off the list. Just running through the gears, the new shifter feels fantastic. Very precise, nicely weighted with the Skunk2 shift knob and the throws are reasonable. Much shorter than stock, but not crazy. I can't wait until the car has a suspension again to actually test drive it.

 

RestoRoc89

New Member
Yup. Salty winter conditions are pretty much a car's worst enemy. Oh well. If this were a keeper, I'd hunt down a clean southern car as a starting point.

In other news, I'd like to put a rear sway bar on this pig. I also like the idea of reinforcing the mounts. So, I can find a Whiteline 22mm kit for $220 or the well-loved ASR 24mm kit for $390. I'm thinking that the Whiteline offering is already better than my car deserves, but I'm sure the non-articulating urethane end link bushings will squash out in no time and be a general nuisance. What do the masses think I should do? I'm too lazy to hunt out a used ITR bar and mounting hardware.
 

RestoRoc89

New Member
I did a little more work on the car tonight. Although I had previously removed the trailing arms from the car, the arms themselves still needed a bit of work in the form of removing some broken bolts and replacing the bushings with the Hardrace parts I ordered. Since I was more interested in working than taking pictures, I'll skip a few steps. Here's the passenger side trailing arm with the original bushing already knocked out with a 4lb sledge hammer.



Here's the new Hardrace bushing installed. I actually hammered the first one in place thinking that it might be easier than digging my way through the garage to the press. And it was pretty easy--took about 12 smacks to drive it home. Note the orientation make I made on the arm for the top of the bushing (yes, the alignment dot on the bushing was intended to be a few degrees off of this reference mark…).



For the driver's side, I realized that swinging the sledge hammer was entirely too much work and used the shop press.



Done.



Check out how completely fragged the old bushing was on the driver's side. Disgusting.



I got hasty when removing the driver's side RTA from the car and snapped the head off of the e-brake retaining bolt. The last trick of the day was removing the remainder (which broke off flush with the arm). Step one: drill out the centre of the bolt. I find this tends to loosen the rust (from the heat of drilling and the vibration) and it allows the bolt to deform a bit.



Step two: torch the weld nut, quench the bolt through the centre hole with penetrating oil and quickly wrench it out using vice grips on the leading edge. Rather than back it out, I advanced it all the way through the nut. This is a typical process with this car that wastes 30 minutes of my life. Eventually, I'll conquer all the rusted hardware.



That's my small update for tonight. I finished by wire brushing all the loose rust off of the trailing arms. They're now ready to bolt back into the car as soon as I get my strut mounts and TruHart control/camber/toe arms.
 



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