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Honda CRX 3rd Generation – Buyers Guide

March 8, 2011

Honda CRX 3rd Generation

Buyers Guide

The 3rd generation CRX has not attracted the same level of cult status as the 2nd generation and as such it tends not to be sort after by the same group of enthusiasts. Its not uncommon for early model 3rd generation CRXs to sell for less than late model 2nd generation CRXs. The relatively high number of well specced, late model imported 3rd generation CRXs does mean that these tend to be popular and still keenly priced.

Check for the presence of the standard Honda space saver spare wheel under the boot floor and that the standard Honda tool kit is also present, along with the jack and its winder arm.

Open the bonnet and check for the original Honda stickers on the frontal member near the top of the radiator. If these stickers are not present it could mean that this member has been replaced so look for frontal accident damage.

Check all panel gaps to ensure they are even and constant, varying gaps will require further investigation as to the cause. If the gaps around the doors vary, open the door in question and lift it gently to check for excess play. If there is excess play, examine to the hinges for a cause.

Stone chips are par for the course on cars this age so don’t be at all surprised to see any. If there are none, then look for re-spray evidence, this probably indicates an owner who cares well for the car.

It is highly possible that the windscreen has been replaced at some point during the cars life, examine all the way round the windscreen for a good fit and pay special attention to the bottom edge and the corners for evidence of sitting water and muck. Be especially concerned if there is visible damage to the rubber, a well fitted replacement windscreen should continue to drain as well as the original.

Imports tend to suffer more rapid perishing of the rubber around the door frame and roof panel, possibly due to the temperatures suffered during the boat ride from Japan. Check the condition of all the rubbers, paying special attention to the front two corners of the roof panel and the top front window corners, these are the areas where water leaks are most likely to occur. As well as water leaks, an over firm rubber that is in poor condition will cause the roof to squeak, this is intensely annoying. A silicon and rubber sealant spray can be regularly applied to soften the rubber and temporarily reduce the squeaks and leaks for a permanent solution, new rubbers can be purchased to replace perished ones.

Check the service schedules for regular servicing and scheduled cam belt changes. Honda engines are interference engines so if a belt breaks expect it to be expensive. Having said that, there are numerous examples of breakages not causing any damage, however, do not rely on this being the case and always get cam belts changed on schedule, if there is no evidence of a scheduled change, ensure that the belt is changed promptly.

The distributor is known to fail on older B16a engines so when checking the history of a B16a powered model (JDM import or UK spec) look for evidence of the distributor being replaced, if there is no evidence, budget for a failure to happen within 3 years. It is usually the ignitor part that fails, this can be diagnosed by occasional starting problems, sometimes simple replacement of the ignitor is enough to solve the problems, but occasionally it requires the whole distributor to be replaced. Also specific to the B16a VTEC engines is slight oil seepage from the VTEC solenoid to the left of the engine next to the distributor, this is normal and is nothing to be concerned about. Only be worried if the oil seepage is significant.

Look for blue smoke on engine start up and hard revving, this indicates the engine is burning oil. While the engine is running, listen for overly noisy tappets, check for slack in the accelerator cable.

A full dealer service history is not essential, so long as the service schedules have been maintained and nothing has been missed.


CV joints are known to wear and fail on the higher power 1.6i16v and 1.6iVT models so check for knocking or grinding on full lock slow speed turns, these are not expensive to have replaced at a Honda dealer.

If the car is still on its original Honda suspension components, they may be on their way out and due a change, so check the shock absorber rebound. If the components have been replaced with aftermarket items, check the brand, budget brands do not suit Hondas very well and you should look for a car with expensive brands like Koni, Eibach etc.. If the car has budget brands or is still on its original Honda components, consider replacing all shocks and springs promptly.

The prime areas for rust are the wheel arches, the sills, around the edge of the sunroof and the leading edge of the roof, where it meets the windscreen. Check all these areas carefully, especially the sills and the ends near the wheels. Take special care around the rear nearside wheel as that is where the fuel tank is and if the fuel line joints have corroded they will cause a fuel leak. Replacement arches and sills are not always easy to get but if you can find a good local motor welder they will have the skills to sort them for you so rust need not be the end of a car.

On TransTop models closely examine all parts of the mechanism to ensure its clean, clear of any and all grit any obstructive objects and well lubricated. Always ensure it is operated with the car on a flat surface, never with the car on a slope, test the mechanism checking that it operates smoothly and without excess noise. A well cared for TransTop will last well and not need maintenance, faulty ones can cost a lot of money to repair. There are TransTop experts in the UK so if you have problems, it is usually possible to locate someone who is able to offer good advice. Check for the manual override winder kit in the storage box behind the drivers seat.


From → Honda, Motoring

  1. Paul Eaves permalink

    Excellent report, very helpful, have you any idea of the mpg for the Del Sol please

    • limey permalink


      Thanks for the comment.

      Regarding fuel consumption, it depends on which model, and crucially, how you drive it. Low to mid 30s is easilly possible in all models, though the VTi will get very thirsty if you drive it on the high lift cam for prolonged periods.

      This link implies 30mpg combined for the VTi, which, from my experience of owning one years ago, seems very realistic.

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