It’s 2022! Time for a Lemons Rally?

I had considered running a Lemons Rally during the past few years but never had the time to put into getting an unused 1997 CR-V ready and roadworthy.  However, I still have a 2004 Civic at my disposal.  I have a theme in mind, and three months to decide if I’m going to make it to the Rocky Mountain Breakdown rally (which makes a circuit of many of my favorite places out there).  If not, the Rust Belt Ramble in mid July is the plan (and I’d do it anyway, whether or not I make it to the Breakdown).

The Civic is somewhat roadworthy. No issues driving it locally and on trips about 100 miles in each direction.  But it is still burning a lot of oil–it needs the piston rings cleaned or replaced, and the cylinders honed since most of the crosshatching is gone from the cylinder walls.  Which means I’m having to remove the cylinder head a second time (not a difficult job–just tedious), and needing to pull the oil pan to get at the connecting rod bolts so the pistons can be popped out the top.

Tools are on hand, as are the parts. But, not the time or weather to work on it.  Time-wise I can shuffle things around as I do in the warmer months, but the weather here is dismal, especially when your garage is mainly used for storage, and all work has to happen out on a cold driveway.

We do warm up a little in April but I need time to get that major job done, and take it on a short shakedown trip to be sure she’s roadworthy, especially if heading through the mountains.

Since the cylinder head replacement, I’ve developed a slow leak in one corner of the engine–I’m not sure if it’s the valve cover gasket leaking (it’s newer), or if the head gasket is leaking.  (There is an episode of Eric The Car Guy on YouTube showing how he found a small nick in the engine block surface that was allowing oil to sneak past the head gasket, and his son’s engine is nearly the same D-series as mine.)

Beyond that, the transmission seems solid with 245K miles on it.  It doesn’t shift as crisply as the 5-speed auto on the CR-V, but it’s certainly not slipping.  It rides terribly harsh though–the tires are only half worn but, due to not being driven much, the date code goes back to early 2015 and the rubber has gotten stiff.

So, I am planning on new tires, and since the hubcaps are peeling and steel wheels rusted, I can get a set of original Honda alloy wheels from a salvage yard for under $200.  As long as they’re not too corroded, they will be fine.

There is still a minor suspension thump up front.  The only parts I haven’t replaced up there are the tie rods, stabilizer bar bushings or the struts.  Don’t think I’m up to paying for struts all the way around, but will check them nonetheless.  There is also an adjustment that can be made to the steering rack in case there is a little sloppiness there–I just need to get the special tool to do it.

Beyond that?  Electrically she’s good.  Inside is in good enough condition (headliner is falling in a few places, but otherwise it’s clean).  Windshield is new.

That only leaves coming up with a theme for the Civic, and the livery and accessories.  And driver/passenger costumes.  And those won’t be revealed until the rally is registered for.  😁

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