Bought a 96 EJ coupe for $500. Where to start?

Blvckchrxs

New Member
Title is pretty self explanatory. I bought an 96 coupe for $500. Needed a car that ran and drove. No body rust or major dents and the engine is solid. But there are problems and I'm new to civics so any advice on my situation would help


I assume it's the DX or the most Base trim as it's SOHC and originally had manual windows and locks and the Original owner tried to start the conversion to electric locks and windows

The gent I bought it from was in the process of this and seems to be missing the outer panels and the wiring isn't connected. I live in AZ and the windows don't roll down so those are gonna need to be changed asap. Is it easier to just find some manual doors and swap em back on or is it worth trying to salvage my current door setup? Or is the conversion pretty easy?(lotta junked civics out here I could probably rip 2 doors from)

Secondly the car sounds horrible going over bumps(kinda rattles). Generally that tells me the suspension is shot. Most people have coilovers going for $125-$200 on offer up out here. But what else should I consider replacing or repairing while I'm in the process ?

And lastly I'm looking to do a budget swap in this during the winter and want to start pricing now. A few of the threads I found are out dated price wise.

What's the most budget swap I could do these days? I was looking at a b18c swap but I'm not looking to rebuild a type R or anything just a fun little sleeper /DD


Any advice would be appreciated as this is my first Civic and I'd like to finally see a project car all the way through.
 

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96-el-x

New Member
Title is pretty self explanatory. I bought an 96 coupe for $500. Needed a car that ran and drove. No body rust or major dents and the engine is solid. But there are problems and I'm new to civics so any advice on my situation would help


I assume it's the DX or the most Base trim as it's SOHC and originally had manual windows and locks and the Original owner tried to start the conversion to electric locks and windows

The gent I bought it from was in the process of this and seems to be missing the outer panels and the wiring isn't connected. I live in AZ and the windows don't roll down so those are gonna need to be changed asap. Is it easier to just find some manual doors and swap em back on or is it worth trying to salvage my current door setup? Or is the conversion pretty easy?(lotta junked civics out here I could probably rip 2 doors from)

Secondly the car sounds horrible going over bumps(kinda rattles). Generally that tells me the suspension is shot. Most people have coilovers going for $125-$200 on offer up out here. But what else should I consider replacing or repairing while I'm in the process ?

And lastly I'm looking to do a budget swap in this during the winter and want to start pricing now. A few of the threads I found are out dated price wise.

What's the most budget swap I could do these days? I was looking at a b18c swap but I'm not looking to rebuild a type R or anything just a fun little sleeper /DD


Any advice would be appreciated as this is my first Civic and I'd like to finally see a project car all the way through.



Congratulations on picking up a nice cheap ride. Rust free is very impressive. Civics rust away where I live. Your year would at least have rusted wheel wells if it was driven moderately at all during its lifetime.
I have rust all over and up front it's scary but won't lead to catastrophic failure on the freeway - as far as I've checked.

Did you buy the car from a mental patient? The reason I ask is who converts to power windows on an economy car? That's one more thing to wear out and spend money on - and they do sieze up all the time. Manual is the way to go.

Coilovers are generally a waste of money unless your suspension makes the car unsafe to drive. There I said it. You might replace OEM on older wrecks like we have because it's nearly trashed anyway.. Maybe if you're into bigger wheels and all that you'll need 'em. I wouldn't mind a nice set of ohlins myself or the stuff they adverstise here - but these cars handle very well stock. But you're already looking to swap. So this might not be applicable.

Noises could be a number of things - you didn't describe it. Look underneath for torn boots and stuff like that. Jack 'er up under the lower control arm see if a ball joint is shot. How's the steering? Go through flight checks: all the fluids, brakes, the whole nine.

Finally, and this is purely aesthetic, do a good polish and wax job.
 


Blvckchrxs

New Member
Thanks for the reply!

So manual it is! I don't really care one way or another but I just want the quickest way to get my windows back working!

As far as coilovers I only mentioned em.because pricing out struts and lowering springs ended up being close to the same price. Basically the noise it makes, it sounds like it's one of those mine carts whenever it goes over a speed bump. It brakes well and and handles well even though they cut the PS/AC (looking to re-enable those). Fluids checked out as well. The radiator needs a flush but I was gonna swap it with an eBay one my cousin has he never used (aluminum).

Definitely gonna clean and polish as soon as I get a moment haha.
 

ctag

fill it with wires!
Registered VIP
5+ Year Member
Sounds like a fun project!

Just go with whatever hardware is already in the door. If the electric elevator is there, get it wired. If the old gear rack is there, get a handle installed on it.

 


Drakon543

Member
you mentioned its probably a dx
looking at the engine left side where it bolts to the trans look for a small flat spot on the block it will tell you which engine you have. the ex civics also came with a sohc better to check and double check exactly which one you have. also from poking around it was suggested to me to keep my d16y8 and work with that as its a solid engine.
 

Blvckchrxs

New Member
you mentioned its probably a dx
looking at the engine left side where it bolts to the trans look for a small flat spot on the block it will tell you which engine you have. the ex civics also came with a sohc better to check and double check exactly which one you have. also from poking around it was suggested to me to keep my d16y8 and work with that as its a solid engine.

I appreciate your advice and help Identifying the engine. I am considering keeping the engine but since it's a bit of a project and there are an abundance of wrecked civics with Vtecs within a 50 mile radius. I kinda want to get my first swap under my belt. I heard Honda swaps are really easy if you do the right ones.
 

Drakon543

Member
some are easier than others from what ive read. an abundance of wrecked civics is why i didnt shy away from an auto civic myself. they seem kinda pricy in my area for running and driving civics in decent shape. 1300 bucks for 134k is cheap for a civic thats inspected and not rusted apart or well over 200k on the clock. but do plenty of research before you make a choice they are highly popular to mod and swap so there is plenty of google info. i actually found an extremely detailed write up for the auto to manual swap just doing google searches. if i still have some links saved for some research i found i can shoot it your way if you want.
 

Drakon543

Member
It's not going to be an Ex model if it had manual crank windows.
nah but if he looks at the tag it will tell him what engine he has instead of digging or asking questions waiting for a response. there was a couple versions of the d16 in the us wasnt there? either way its nice info to have i think
 

Jreid10

New Member
I just picked up a 97 lx for $500. Drove it home. No rust or body damage. Has a surging problem. Idle is high and jumps higher constantly. Needs ball joints. Engine and interior are pretty clean though. Considering a swap myself so I’m going to watch this thread.
 

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pmac193

Thundermuff
Registered VIP
5+ Year Member
10+ Year Member
It looks like it has HX wheels with the entire doors off an EX from the painted mirrors and trim.

Regardless, I'd take care of the maintenance items after getting the windows sorted out.

Give the car a once over to see if it's worth investing the time and money into a swap. I wouldn't bother swapping to a single cam, even a B16a probably isn't worth the effort.

Don't buy any suspension setup that costs $200 or less total. Get some Koni orange struts and name brand lowering springs of your choice.
 

vep

Newbie
5+ Year Member
10+ Year Member
Just got a 97lx for 300 manual transmission waiting on title before I do anything to it30520
 

SeanShine

New Member
5+ Year Member
@Blvckchrxs Congrats on getting a Civic! It's cool that you want to have a project, but I have a couple questions for you.

1. Whats your ability when it comes to turning wrenches?

2. What is your budget for a project like this?

The answers to those two questions will really control what kind of modifications you do to the car. I love Civics because they are great cars to learn on.

Like pmac193 said, it would be best to focus on getting the car sorted out before you worry about modifications.

As for the windows, the easiest way to get the windows working will probably be going back to manual windows. The actual doors should be the same no matter if the car had manual or power windows. You can go to a junk yard and grab manual window regulators with the crank handle and everything. You will have to run without inner door panels until you can find a good pair of manual window door panels. All of this will probably be easier than trying to sort out the wiring that the previous owner might have done. (unless you feel really handy with a multimeter and wiring diagrams).

Also, I copied this from Wikipedia (Honda Civic sixth generation):

CX: The base trim package, available as a hatchback only. Appointed very sparingly (no standard radio or power steering), it came equipped with 13-inch wheels, 4-wheel double wishbone suspension, dual airbags, split/folding rear seat, and seating for five people. In 1997, the CX added 14-inch wheels as standard equipment. In 2000, the CX added tilt steering as standard equipment.[4]

DX: Available as a hatchback, coupé, or sedan. It included all standard equipment from CX plus tilt steering and AM/FM radio. Power steering was standard on all sedans, and on the coupes when ordered with automatic transmission. For 1997, the DX added 14-inch wheels as standard equipment.[5]

LX: Available as a four-door only. It included all standard equipment from DX plus 14-inch wheels, power windows, power locks, power mirrors, power steering, front stabilizer bar, front center armrest with storage compartment, cargo area light, cruise control, and tachometer. For 1997, the LX added air conditioning as standard equipment.

EX: Available as a coupé or sedan. It included all standard equipment from LX plus a higher-horsepower SOHC VTEC engine, power sunroof, air conditioning, remote entry system, plus body-colored side mirrors and side molding. ABS was standard on sedan only and optional on the coupe if equipped with an automatic transmission. For 1999, the EX added a CD player as standard equipment.[6]

HX: Available as coupé only, this trim package was specially tooled for higher fuel efficiency. It was the only trim available with a CVT (continuously variable transmission), though customers could also choose a 5-speed manual transmission. It included all standard equipment from DX, plus a slightly higher horsepower VTEC-E engine, alloy wheels, power windows, power locks, power steering, and tachometer.[7][8]

GX: Introduced in 1997 and available as a sedan for fleet-purchase only, this trim package was specially designed to run on natural gas. See Honda Civic GX for detail and references.

VP: Introduced in 1998 and available as a sedan only, this trim was designed as a “Value Package” above the DX. It included all standard equipment from DX plus automatic transmission, power locks, CD player, air conditioning, keyless entry, and special paint.
 



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