I bought this 1994 Honda Civic CX hatchback with fresh JDM D15B swap on April 27th, 2011. Engine had 45k on it, ran beautifully, got 40+ mpg's, couldn't be happier. Exterior was in overall good condition, I would say a 9/10. No major dents, just a few dings and some oxidation on the roof. Interior was also a 9/10, everything was there and in good shape for the most part. Came with cheap KYB suspension, eBay type-R lip and eBay intake. This is how it looked when I bought it:
The first thing I did was replace the clutch as it was starting to go, it was my first time really getting in there and taking stuff apart, and it went smoothly:
I installed a B&M dual bend short shifter with new Energy Suspension Shifter bushings, but I don't have any pictures of that setup.
Next was audio. I don't have any pictures but I installed a Kenwood Excelon head unit and some Polk coaxial speakers, man what a difference. Sounded great! It was my first time soldering, here is the finished wiring harness:
Next was suspension. The KYB suspension rode like shit, wasn't adjustable and wasn't low enough for me. I had to upgrade. Out with the old:
In with the new, Function&Form Type 1's. Not the nicest setup, but affordable. I was happy with them. After I installed them:
Next was wheels. I searched around for quite a bit and discovered Stance Mindset wheels and fell in love instantly. They were perfect to me. Low offset, step lip, had a Euro style to them. I had to have them. A few weeks later, they were at my doorstep. Size 15x8 et25 and later had 195/50/15 tires mounted
Comparison: stock vs. Stance Mindset.
Put them on and was really happy with how they looked:
At this point, I figured it might be a good idea to get an alarm installed because there was some sketchy stuff going on my neighborhood and I'd be super bummed if my hatch got stolen. So I had a local audio shop install an alarm for me.
Next was paint prep. This was by far the most labor intensive part of my build so far. It also sucked because I worked on my car at my dad's house, which is 30 miles away from my house, so every time I went to work on it, I had to drive it home at the end of the day. So I always had to put everything back together so I could go home. Definitely inconvenient, but whatever. I wanted a really clean body. My plan was to shave all emblem holes, license plate holes, fix dings and dents, etc. This was my first time doing body work of any kind, so it took some trial and error, but in the end it was all worth it. Starting prep:
Bought a different hood because mine had a weird dent in it. Ended up selling it for more than I bought this one for and started prepping it:
A buddy of mine helped me weld up the emblem holes because I don't have a welder (Thanks Joel!) and I grinded them down and filled them and smoothed them out. I don't have pictures of the end product:
Here are some shots the day I started painting it. The emblems and license plate holes are shaved, the body is fully prepped, and I had all my equipment ready. My dad had a huge army tent that he let me paint the car in. My dad helped out a lot by getting the tent, air compressor and generator ready. He also helped me with some masking. Painting the car was a 2 day process. Day 1 was door jambs, hatch jambs, hood and bumper. I let everything dry overnight so I could put the doors back on and spray the rest of the car. Day 2 was everything else. After weeks of driving around a christmas-themed mess of a hatch, I was so excited to finally have it all one color again.
The paint I used is an Epoxy Primer. How it works is you get one gallon of primer and one gallon of epoxy hardener. When you're ready to paint, you mix equal portions of each into a cup and let it sit for about 15-20 minutes so the two can fully react with each other. The next part is optional. If you want, you can thin the paint down with Acetone. Basically, the more thinner you mix in, the more shine it gives it. I wanted a semi-gloss look so I added a decent amount of thinner. Each batch of paint I mixed up was:
6oz. of primer
6oz. of epoxy hardener
3oz. of Acetone
and that's what gives it that sorta shine.
The BEST part about this paint is it can used as a sealer/top coat. AKA, it wont fade off in a year into a dull chalky mess, it will keep this finish. Plus, if I decide in 2 years that I'm ready for a legitimate paint job, all I need to do is quickly scuff the primer and it's fully prepped for paint.
Day 3, dried and reassembly
Took some better pictures of it all back together:
The Civic was the "CX" model, which is a base model. AKA manual windows, locks, no power steering, etc. Honda also decided it'd be a good idea to put less sound deadening throughout the vehicle to save on costs. So as you can imagine, the road noise is ridiculous. Very overpowering, I can't hear my music too well when I'm on the freeway, so I decided that had to come to an end. Most of the noise is coming from the hatch area, as that's usually the loudest part of a hatchback anyways. I did some research on some poor man's sound deadening and discovered "Peel and Seal" from Lowe's. Some swear by it, some say it's pointless. Either way, I figured it was worth a shot. I bought two rolls (6" x 25') which I thought would be plenty. It didn't cover nearly as much as I thought, but I'm sure it will help out somewhat with road noise.
I figured it would be a good time to strip the interior and give everything a good pressure wash and start on the sound deadening:
I was pleasantly surprised at how clean everything was. It was obvious the factory carpet had never been taken out before because it wasn't cut anywhere. You need to cut a couple small sections in order to remove it. Not bad for 7 year old carpet:
Started pressure washing everything:
Got the floorpan cleaned up and ready for Peel and Seal:
Ok, this is where it starts getting pretty ghetto and hard to look at. I was pretty limited on Peel and Seal so it couldn't really cover too much, which is why there's little bits and pieces everywhere. I even cut a sleeping bag in half and stuffed it in the quarter panels haha:
Everything was dry from the previous day of pressure washing, so I started reassembling the interior. It came out really clean. I forgot to wipe down the dashboard so its still a little dirty in the pics, but I'm happy with how clean everything turned out. I'm not a fan of the seats whatsoever.
Stripped all the paint:
Painted and then installed:
Not long after, my Civic got stolen one night out of my parking lot. The alarm had been acting funky for the last few days and wasn't working all the time. On the one night that I couldn't set my car alarm, it got stolen! Crazy how that worked out...
Turns out, the Civic was recovered a few days later about a mile away from my house in near perfect condition with only a few small things missing. I got incredibly lucky, especially since I didn't have full coverage insurance, so it was almost a complete loss. Once I got the car back, I decided that I was going to sell it because I didn't want to mess with all the sketchy situations involved with Honda's anymore, and I wanted to get back into Euro cars again. So I sold it a few weeks later! It was a cool car for the time being a great learning experience.