2000 CX Hatchback Beater Revival

RestoRoc89

New Member
I've been really slowed down waiting on parts shipments to arrive. Over the weekend, I found some brief entertainment in pulling the rest of the front left suspension apart and stripping the steering knuckle. After the dramatic battle with all of the rear suspension fasteners, I was amazed when the upper control arm bolts simply backed out with a 2ft ratchet. Good thing, too--my impact gun would never fit in the tight access allowed in the engine bay.

Look at how amazingly clean this bolt is!



In a matter of 60 seconds, check out what's now missing?



Same story with the lower control arm--the impact gun zipped all the bolts out without issue.



Here are the remains on the floor. It's pretty much all scrap except for the steering knuckle.



Up next, pressing the hub and bearing out of the knuckle. I hear this is a very common issue, but the inner bearing race came out with the hub :(



Thankfully, I was able to drift it off the shaft with a cold chisel after heating it thoroughly with a torch. This was much less of a battle than I had anticipated.



Here's my setup for pressing the remains of the wheel bearing out. I had to load up the 20-ton press and then smack the knuckle with a hammer to finally break the rust free. What a pain. Even the snap ring preventing the bearing from coming out was rusted in place--I had to work it out with a hammer and chisel.



The dust shield was really getting in the way of decent support, so I ripped it off. Impact drivers are a beautiful thing for extracting rusty phillips-head cap screws.



The dust shield didn't quite make it. I have ordered a new pair of shields, fasteners and bearing snap rings and hope they arrive in time for the weekend. Here's how the bearing remains looked when they finally came out.



Here's the knuckle sans bearing.



Access to the balljoint with either the press or my balljoint removal tool was pretty poor…so I clamped the knuckle in a vice and just smacked the balljoint out with my 4lb hammer. No pictures there.

The final lingering issue with the knuckle was that both brake hose securing bolts snapped off flush when I tried to remove them. I drilled out the centre of the two bolts using left hand drill bits in three steps up to 9/64ths. Then I torched the knuckle and backed the bolt stumps out using left hand extractors. This required lots of patience, but I was successful. I'm practicing my rust-belt mechanic's skills on this project.

Drilled out.



On its way out.



That's really all I got accomplished. The replacement TruHart control arm arrived and so did the Hardrace bushing kit for the lower control arms. I'm still waiting on a) the front suspension hardware and strut assembly parts from Honda, b) my civic EX lower control arms to install the bushings into, c) my SKF wheel bearings and d) the dust shield parts. Hopefully, this thing will be ready for the alignment rack by the end of the upcoming weekend. I'm stoked to see how it drives now. Thanks for reading!
 

RestoRoc89

New Member
As a side note, this beater may become irrelevant. I'm working up an offer to buy a rural property with this workshop! Nonetheless, the new location would involve a fair commute for me, so I'll still finish the build and put the miles on my beater instead of my nicer vehicles. I really hope I'm able to pull this off! Eight acres in the middle of nowhere ought to keep me relatively safe from thievery...




 


RestoRoc89

New Member
Most of the parts I've been waiting on have finally arrived. I'm very much hoping my new dust shields will show up in time for the weekend. If not, I'll still have some productive things to do.

Front shock and control arm assembly hardware from Honda (dust boots, bump stops, washers, bolts, etc). This makes it so I don't have to disassemble the current, nasty front shocks at all.



Civic EX front lower control arms. These will allow me to install a sway bar down the road. I still need to replace the bushings in these parts, though.



The long-awaited SKF wheel bearings.



My replacement upper control arm weldment from TruHart. Excellent customer service here.



Finally, the Hardrace front lower control arm bushings. I think these will be a nuisance to install.




If all goes according to plan, I should hopefully be posting soon about how I installed all of this stuff and got the car back on four wheels over the weekend.
 

RestoRoc89

New Member
Today, I finally found some time to get some work done…though not nearly as much as I had hoped. First, admire my shiny new dust shields from Honda.



After I finished admiring them myself, I started assembling the left front steering knuckle. Step 1: Installing the new MOOG lower ball joint. Since press access is poor due to the shape of the knuckle, I used a c-clamp-style ball joint press.




They always go in far more easily than they come out. Step 2: Pressing in the new SKF wheel bearing. For anyone who's curious, the bearing in the SKF box actually says "Koyo" and appears to be the same as the OEM bearing (for less cost).




Step 3: Installing my new dust shield and the wheel bearing snap ring (with tons of never seize).



Step 4: Pressing in the wheel hub. Here's the press setup. I found it easier to press the knuckle onto the hub using a socket the size of the inner wheel bearing race.



Knuckle assembly complete!




The next challenge of the day was replacing the bushings in my Civic EX lower control arms with the Hardrace parts that I ordered. Getting the rearmost pivot bushing out was difficult due to a distinct lack of supporting surfaces. I bent the bushing flange out of the way using a cold chisel and then supporting the control using a bearing separator while I pressed the bushing out.




It looked pretty gruesome by the time it broke free.



The setup for the shock mount bushing was quite a bit simpler.



Bushings removed.



New bushings installed.



And, finally, here's the control arm reassembled with a new Hardrace compliance bushing and new hardware from Honda.

 

RestoRoc89

New Member
Onto further adventures, I needed to swap the balljoint over from my TruHart upper control arm with a poor weld to the new weldment they sent me. Piece of cake.



The last item to assemble before reassembling the left front corner of the car was the shock assembly. I purchased all new parts from the dealer to avoid disassembling the old shock.



That's because my spring compressor was too hefty to fit in the slim space between the shock body and the spring. Here's my improv spring compressor.



Here are some finished parts ready to go back on the car whenever it decides to stop raining.

 

RestoRoc89

New Member
The weather has really been staunching my progress this weekend. I'm regretting my decision to tear the car apart in the driveway versus the garage. I thought the additional working space would be nice…but it's not in the rain. Nonetheless, the car does now have three wheels. Due to the torrential rain, I didn't take many pictures.

As quickly as I could, I tossed the control arms, steering knuckle and shock assembly in the car (leaving the bolts loose until I loaded the suspension for final torquing). The original tie rod end is still in place here. Don't worry, it's not staying.



The new shock mount stands out in the filthy engine bay (which I will steam clean when I'm finished this endeavour).



Here's a shot from below showing how the TruHart upper control arm looks. Access to the adjuster bolts is tight, but feasible.



This shot shows some of the shiny new mounting hardware (which, again, got dunked in antiseize compound). I have yet to procure new cap screws to secure the brake hose to the steering knuckle.



After I loaded the suspension with my jack and torqued all of the bolts to spec, I decided to tackle the tie rod end. With some fussing and torching, I was able to replace it. Here's hoping that Beck/Arnley was a suitable choice for the replacement part.



With the brakes back in action, I had a helper step on them while I tightened my new axle nut to 134 lb-ft. I confess that I did not stake the nut after tightening because I know I'll have to remove it again when I replace the transmission. Bad me. Instead, I tossed a wheel on and called it a night. The front suspension has substantially more droop than the rear.



The right side will have to wait for another day (or two).
 

RestoRoc89

New Member
More progress. Finally. Tearing the front right suspension apart didn't go as well as I had hoped. There was a new Honda CV axle installed (hooray)…but, whoever installed it, staked the spindle nut with a cold chisel like their life depended on it. Neither a 700lbft impact gun nor an 8ft bar would get it to budge. So, I had to cut the nut. Extremely tight clearances and the mangled threads led me to cut the spindle as well. Doesn't this look horrific? It sure took a long time.





After wasting an hour or two (and dodging the rain), I was able to remove some parts and prepare to do some work on the shop press.



Surprisingly, my 'new' Honda axle was actually completely worn out at the transmission end. I need not feel guilty about hacking it up. I've purchased a new SurTrack CV axle to replace it.



Onto less frustrating business. The first thing I did was cut 1.2 inches off my new Honda bumpstop and assemble the front shock.





I'm starting to appreciate that the press makes a much faster spring compressor than the threaded compressors I used for the rear. Why didn't I think of this sooner?
 

RestoRoc89

New Member
Up next: rebuilding the steering knuckle with a MOOG ball joint, Koyo (boxed from SKF) bearing and new hardware from Honda.

Pressing out the hub.




Removing the brutally rusted circlip.



Pressing out the wheel bearing by the outer race.





After smashing the old, worn out ball joint out of the knuckle with a 4lb sledge hammer.




New MOOG balljoint installed using a C-Clamp press.



Installing the new Koyo wheel bearing.





Adding the new dust shield and circlip that I picked up from the dealer.




With the hub pressed back in place, the knuckle overhaul is complete.

 

RestoRoc89

New Member
For my latest accomplishment, I replaced the bushings in my remaining Civic EX front lower control arm.

Out with the old.



In with the new (bushings from Hardrace).




And now I have the majority of the front suspension parts ready for installation.



The final remaining roadblock to having the car rest on four wheels: removing the old control arms. The lower control arm didn't pose toooo much of a challenge.



The upper control arm is a different story. I removed the air silencer box and got one of the bolts out. However, the battery hold-down hardware is rusted solid and I was getting tired. So I've left it to soak in Liquid Wrench until I find some more time. This thing will be driving. SOON.



Yes, the engine bay is completely disgusting. When I replace the transmission, clutch hydraulics and exhaust, I'll do some serious cleanup.
 

jameswanser

Member
Registered VIP
5+ Year Member
More progress. Finally. Tearing the front right suspension apart didn't go as well as I had hoped. There was a new Honda CV axle installed (hooray)…but, whoever installed it, staked the spindle nut with a cold chisel like their life depended on it. Neither a 700lbft impact gun nor an 8ft bar would get it to budge. So, I had to cut the nut. Extremely tight clearances and the mangled threads led me to cut the spindle as well. Doesn't this look horrific? It sure took a long time.





After wasting an hour or two (and dodging the rain), I was able to remove some parts and prepare to do some work on the shop press.



Surprisingly, my 'new' Honda axle was actually completely worn out at the transmission end. I need not feel guilty about hacking it up. I've purchased a new SurTrack CV axle to replace it.



Onto less frustrating business. The first thing I did was cut 1.2 inches off my new Honda bumpstop and assemble the front shock.





I'm starting to appreciate that the press makes a much faster spring compressor than the threaded compressors I used for the rear. Why didn't I think of this sooner?
when I upgraded the knuckles on my 92, I ran into the same problem with the axle nut. Tried cutting as well, and just boogered up the whole thing. Eventually got tired of it and swapped the whole knuckle with the axle still attached.
 

jameswanser

Member
Registered VIP
5+ Year Member
by the way, good progress on this project. I really enjoy the multitude of progress pictures!
 

RestoRoc89

New Member
jameswanser, you have no idea how tempted I was to buy a complete knuckle. But I'm trying to not let the costs of this project skyrocket too much and I enjoy doing the work. Moreover, I had already purchased new ball joints and bearings from the US that wouldn't have been easy to return.
 

RestoRoc89

New Member
Moving right along, I removed the battery from the battery tray to access the remaining upper control arm bolt. Of course, the mounting hardware was rusted solid and I snapped it.




The control arm came out with no excessive drama.



Surprisingly, the tie rod end also came off easily. Soaking it in Liquid Wrench for a few days really helped.



Bring on the new parts! Here's the TruHart upper control arm loosely bolted in place.



And my Civic EX lower control arm. Sorry for the blurry pictures. My poor, old phone doesn't work very well in the dark.



Time to open some boxes.



I'm on the fence about this Chinese-made CV axle, but it looks decent.



Here's everything after tossing the CV axle and steering knuckle in place.



And the shock assembly, too.



New shock mount hardware.



I cheated when torquing the suspension bolts. Instead of fully loading the entire suspension, I loaded only the front corner with a jack until the car just came off the jackstand in that area. Not perfect, but much faster and close enough for me.



With a helper to stand on the brakes, I torqued the axle nut to 134 lb-ft. As with the other side, I'm not going to stake the nut until after I install my rebuilt transmission.

 

RestoRoc89

New Member
With the suspension overhaul complete, I decided to install some of the engine tune-up parts, starting with spark plugs and wires. This is a very simple job. My soon to be father-in-law has been carefully removing, cleaning and re-gapping the stock spark plugs for years. I'm actually quite impressed with how well the car was running, but the electrodes were pretty much gone. I put in a new set of NGK Iridium plugs and NGK premium wires.





Next, the simplest of jobs, I replaced the air cleaner filter element. I'll probably fit an aftermarket intake eventually just because the stock assembly is so bulky.



Old versus new.



You've seen from the pictures above how disgustingly dirty the engine bay was. I'll steam clean it when I'm finished the work, but I gave it a quick wipe down for now and it looks a little better.

 

RestoRoc89

New Member
Since I was already halfway through a sleepless night, I decided to persist and install more parts. My next victim was the instrument cluster. The factory CX cluster does not include a tachometer.



With the removal of two upper screws and two lower spring clips, the cluster bezel came out easily enough.



Four screws and three harness connectors later, the cluster came out as well. My car does not have ABS. See that orange plug that's taped out of the way? I thought it might be the tachometer signal, so I plugged it into my new CRV cluster. Mistake. All it does is light up the ABS warning light. I'll have to repeat this process to unplug it again at some point.



Here's the CRV cluster installed and lit up. Wooo tachometer!


 

RestoRoc89

New Member
For the first time in about six weeks, the car actually moved under its own power! I think it's going to be a lot of fun. Before I can get it plated and road going, I need to get an alignment, replace the windshield and bleed the brakes one more time (I found a leaking fitting and they're awfully spongy). I'm quite pleased with the stance that the Koni/Tein setup provides…not that aesthetics are supposed to be a factor here at all.




I'm not out of the woods yet. The input shaft bearing on the current transmission still sounds terrible and the oil pan gasket seems to be leaking quite a bit. The next phase of work will include the following:

-rebuilding the D16Y8 S40 transmission I picked up
-replacing the transmission, clutch, flywheel and clutch hydraulics
-installing a set of Hardrace motor mounts
-installing a Megan Racing header (since my current manifold/down pipe are a welded-in-place mess)
-probably installing a Yonaka or Megan racing cat-back because I can't stand the thought of bolting my new header up to rusty crap
-replacing the timing belt
-replacing the rusty oil pan
-replacing some engine seals--rear main, oil pan, valve cover, distributor o-ring and anything related to the timing belt
-installing a set of ASR sway bars

Stay tuned for all that fun. Hopefully coming to you from my new 64' X 40' workshop with a hoist :D
 

RestoRoc89

New Member
I tidied up a few loose ends last night. First, I found some universal battery hold down bolts at Canadian Tire and installed them.





Next, I re-bled the brakes and found some new bolts to secure my front brake hoses (since I had to drill out the original bolts).



Unfortunately, bleeding didn't improve pedal feel at all. It still feels quite mushy. My latest hypothesis is that the rear brake shoes aren't adjusted out far enough. It seems that the auto adjusters are enough to maintain shoe position, but not strong enough to advance the shoes farther than originally set. I'll play with it later this week.

Onto something else. I needed to fit my license plates. I purchased new speed nuts, bolts and a lower bracket to properly mount the plate. However, since the bumper support sits right up against the bumper cover, the upper speed nuts cannot be installed without removing the bumper cover first. I have no interest in removing the bumper again until I have a new cover to go on. I had previously removed my front cover once to remove my soon-to-be father in-law's license plate. Getting the corner clips to engage properly was no easy task. So, for now, here is my temporary solution. I installed the lower support bracket and used cable ties on the top.



It's not tooo repulsive once trimmed, but I promise I won't leave it like this for too long.



With the license plates mounted and my complete inventory of parts installed, I decided to do the unthinkable and wash the car.




Things degraded further from there. The headlights were extremely hazy.



I got out my Porter Cable 7424 DA polisher in a moment of craziness and hit the headlights with Poorboy's SSR2.5, Professional Polish and then EX sealant. The next picture is simply after two minutes of the SSR 2.5 and the second picture is after the complete process. Not even close to perfect, but so much better than the starting point for next to no effort.




At this point, I had gone fully insane. I already had the polisher out. So I admit it. I waxed my beater car. I hit it first with a mildly-abrasive cleaner wax and then with a top coat of Meguiar's NXT. The car is still extremely scratched up, but, where it used to be near matte finish, it actually reflects SOME light now.

 



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