Just Bought A '92 Cx Hatch -- Now What?

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Alright, folks, I just bought a '92 Civic CX Hatchback with minor body damage and a near-perfect interior from a friend. She's owned it since '98, it's got 130,000 on the odometer, and still has the original clutch. Good, solid, and only a little neglected -- it made the trip from San Francisco to Chicago ten months ago, then back to LA two months ago, without incident. Total cost to me: $500, and the A/C even works!

My first steps are clear: I'm going to clean the car up, replace the timing belt and put a new catalytic convertor in so it can be registered in California, then do all the little maintenance and repair items that need to be done. Once it's cleaned up, I start driving it on a 48-mile round trip commute. If it holds up and seems safe after a month or two, I'm going to use it to get my competition license. That's actually why I bought it; if the engine blows on the track, or I slide off and tear the suspension off the car, I don't mind being out less than $1000. Oh, and to get a competition license, I don't actually have to be FAST, so the 70hp won't be so bad. ;)

If it survives that trial, I figure I'll have a perfectly good shell of a car that I should do something with. That's where you guys come in.

Here's my short list of things to do if it survives the track time:

#1: I'll need a new clutch;
#2: It wouldn't be a bad idea to throw rear discs on it;
#3: Some simple suspension upgrade would be a good idea;
#4: Engine engine engine!

So someone fill this newbie in, if you don't mind. I don't need to do a 14-second quarter mile, but I'd like it to be at least as fast as my 2001 16-valve Sentra GXE. I don't need the world's greatest cornering, but I'd like the option of altering the balance of the handling. Mostly, I want to make it a FUN (not necessarily FAST) daily driver without spending more cash than I have to.

I now open the floor to suggestions. Thanks in advance.
Fill me in on budget. You say your going to be on the track for your compeditive licience, is this like a road course or just a 1/4 mile track?
The competition license thing is interesting, actually. A group called the North American Sport Association runs these road course events called HPDEs (High-Performance Driving Events) -- you're on the track with a bunch of other guys and an instructor, but you're not racing one another. Eventually you don't have an instructor any more, and once you put enough track time in, you can get a competition license.

So it's road course with other racers, but limited (or completely restricted) passing, and you learn how to drive safely and quickly.

As to my budget, that will be dictated more by how much fun I have on the track and how much I love the CX afterwards...but let's say that if I invest more than $2500 (including $500 purchase price and $250 for the Catalytic Convertor and the timing belt) then my wife will start complaining, and I'd better have a good reason. ;)
Alright then your are on a very limited budget. Since it sounds like your more intrested in road courses than stright lining it, i would recomend upgrading your suspention and brakes first. That will basicly take out your spending limit. A honda with good suspention is good on road course. Then once you start to get into it, save up some money for an engine swap. Because handling IS an issue, you have to go with a B series engine. I would save up for something that you wont be disappointed with later. Look into the type R or the GSR engine. The type R is about 4k and the gsr is about 3k (or less) It does not matter if you just take out 20 out of ever 100 dollars, just save for it. Even if it takes a year, you'll really like that engine. If you want something a little faster, you can look for a LS engine (b18b) for about 1200. This engine has a decent amount of trq but is lacking VTEC. The major downfalls to this engine is the lack of hp and high revs. To solve this, turbo (moneypit) for the hp and for high revs, upgrade internals.

Another option would be the b16a3 or b16a sirII (basicly same engine sir is from japan a3 us del Sol VTEC) It cost a little bit more than the b18b (about 2k 4 one if you look around) but it has the power to hold high revs (redlines at 8250 rpms) and has a fairly large amount of hp. (170) but the downside is it does not have the most trq (least of b series)
Okay, you've sold me on the b16a3 or b16a sirII; I figure for my needs, 2K for 170hp is more than enough, torque or no torque. If you can point me to some information on what goes into a swap like that (i.e., is is straightforward or a PITA) -- and I'll start saving. ;)

So let's talk suspension and brakes. The rear disc set is mandatory; where will you point me?
if you want real suspention (not just crappy rice stuff) look at tein or JIC coilovers, they cost a bunch but they are top shit. (talk to pissedoffsol about JIC he is getting them for his sol) For brakes, i would recomend you do a disc brake conversion on the back. Hondas are not the biggest car so you dont need that big of brakes on them. Look at some slotted rotors (brembro slots are good) and some good brake pads (like hawk). Also look into getting some steal brake lines.

Also look at some wheels and tires (light, 15 inches is best)

As for the swap, there is not much to it. Basicly you have to do a little wiring, (not much) and then you have to put the engine in. Go read CHET's 5th gen swap story about everything you need (in the articles, 4th page) Most of the time, all you do is buy the complete engine swap and then put it in.

EDIT, the a3 is a tad diffrent, the compression is a little bit lower so the hp is not as much (~160 but still good)
well as far as the swap being complecated the LS would be simpler, it straight forward drop in, its plug n' play and better to turbo, IMO thats what i would get but you do what ever. me and my freind put rear discs on his 94. just go to a junk yard and nab all the rear brake parts off a 92-95 si. then youll have 4 disc brakes, and any big brake kit you might want to get later will fit too.
the only thing with turbo, turbo sucks on a road course because you always have lag (not that big of deal because your always at higher RPMs) but NA is the way to go on things that Turn.
MOST road course leagues will NOT allow FI of any sort ... OEM or not ... so turbo or SC is out of the question if you are serious about road course competition
Originally posted by E_SolSi@Jan 5 2003, 01:12 AM
MOST road course leagues will NOT allow FI of any sort ... OEM or not ... so turbo or SC is out of the question if you are serious about road course competition

B18C1 N/A is your friend :D
B18C/R (JDM ITR) is your friend... better tranny, more HP, better intake manifold, better cams, basicly designed for it
Originally posted by Nopspawn@Jan 5 2003, 04:53 AM
I would say drop a b16a and put ctr internals in.

why? b16 has no tq.. roadracing you need the tq to move your car from the fast/slow driving.
id say the B16 too, its pretty cheap and it you wanted to, put the CTR internals into it and you have a realiable car and since its a track car and im assuming its gonna be pretty light so you dont need tons of power. oh yeah and get rota circuit 8's cause they look sick!!
if you are going to be an all out circuit car, rota's are not the way to go, you need some nice and light forged wheels, That way they are strong and light (but more expensive) Again, you need trq for road racing so that is not the best swap in this situation.
b16 , if you look at the civic si's that were running stock class when they came out were dominating to the point that they added weight just like in the type-r's, so i dont see why b16 is a bad road race motor after its success.. so b16 unless you can afford more like the b18c or type r motor.
With skill, on small amost "autoX" type course, the b16 is a good engine but when on longer road course, they need more power to accelerate on the straight a ways
yea for road racing, you definetly have to get something light and strong (forged) i'd recommend some gram lite volks, but you'd have to be able to poop out some money, cuz they cost a pretty penny, you could get some spoon sw388s, also MONEY...those two are ur best bet
Racing Hart CP035.... lightest 15's you can get