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1991 CRX si makeover & restoration. Adding power steering.

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1991 CRX si makeover & restoration. Adding power steering.

  #1  
Old 06-13-2013, 10:52 PM
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Default 1991 CRX si makeover & restoration. Adding power steering.

This my first post about my 91 CRX si makeover. I have owned this car for about 12 years. I paid $1500 for it with only 46K miles on it. The complete interior was in the back seat and the windshield was smashed and the hood was dented on the top(like a pole had fallen on it). All in all it was in great shape and had never been wrecked (except for the minor hood & windshield damage). I am planning on installing power steering, electric windows, power mirrors and door locks. I am prepping the car for a complete color change and makeover. I have a pretty descent paint booth in my home garage/shop and have wanted to play with an outrageous paint job for some time. The power door parts come from various Honda salvage projects. Mostly from my 96 DelSol. I had to replace both doors after getting banged up in parking lot attacks.

I know all of the arguments about putting power steering on a CRX si. I have read lots of posts on this and other forums with all of the purists deriding anyone lame enough to want PS on such a responsive auto. I am retired and getting older so I wanted to install power steering to make parking easier. Also, they never made a US model of the 91CRX si with PS so I thought it would be fun to make one. I am using the pump, hoses, cooler and reservoir from a 91 Civic 4WD wagon that I got at a U-Pull-It a few years ago. This fits perfectly having all of the same mounting points on the firewall and chassis and the steering rack fits exactly. There is no modification needed on anything except the 3 step pulley needed to add the PS pump.

I had a lot of difficulty finding a 3 step pulley that fit since they didn't have one on the CRX from the factory. The bolt holding the pulley on is really tough to break loose, especially in a wrecking yard without the use of air tools. I broke 2 pulleys trying to get them off the crank shafts that they were stuck on. I finally made a steel flat bar that mounts on the pulley like the puller bar that I use on my Chevy Astro to remove the cooling fan blade. This bar is bolted to the pulley with 2 bolts that insert into tapped holes on the pulley and keeps the pulley and crank from rotating while I break the pulley bolt loose. My Chilton said to jam a screwdriver into the flywheel but after trying that, I was concerned about breaking off teeth on the starter ring so I made the pulley bar instead. It took a 3 foot cheater pipe on the wrench to crack the bolt loose.

So far so good. Now for the first crisis (there is always at least one). The 3 step pulley that I finally got is much lighter than the original 2 step pulley. 6.3 lbs vs. 3.34 lbs on the new pulley. Also the hole in the 3 step pulley is about 1 mm smaller than the 2 step. I must have ended up with a pulley from a 1.5l engine instead of the 1.6l on the CRX si model. The hole size is an easy fix. I can just chuck it up on my bench lath and make it the correct size. I am a bit concerned about the weight difference. The pulleys line up perfectly and the diameters are the same but the si has a steel filler ring pressed into the 2 step pulley. I know that the added weight is there to create a fly wheel effect and make the engine idle smoothly by helping to absorb load changes from the 2 pumps and the alternator.

Does anyone have any (constructive) info or input about using the lighter 3 step pulley? It took me 3 yard trips and almost a year to find the correct (or so I thought) 3 step pulley so I would like to just use the one I have as it fits perfectly, it's just lighter (by half). Will this have any adverse effects on my engine?

I will post pictures shortly. Right now I need to replace the right drive shaft (I tore the outer boot) with one I got from O'Reilly's auto parts for only $55. It's easier to replace the shaft than replace the boot for that price. Right now this is my daily driver so I need to get it on it's feet.
 
  #2  
Old 06-15-2013, 05:57 PM
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There is a 3 step pulley in existence. I'm sure you could snag one off of any civic from 1988-2000 so long as it is SOHC.

If you offset the hole on that pulley by drilling it out, even slightly, you'll throw the bottom end out of balance and will likely give your motor an early end. I wouldn't do it, even with a lathe, just to be safe.

Lightweight pulleys are controversial, well, aftermarket ones are anyways. They just have to be balanced.

The CRX is exactly like the Civic of the same year, mechanically. Some sedan models from 88-91 had power steering. I've even come across power steering in a hatchback (an automatic Si I believe).

IMO, unless you're planning on rebuilding the power steering rack, it wouldn't be worth the effort.

And, when you're taking pulleys off, the best way to hold the pulley is with a chain wrench and a towel wrapped around the pulley, as well as a breaker bar. Hasn't failed me yet. Chilton/Hanes manual for this generation is useless. They think that nothing changed on the Civic from 85-91... It's too generalized. If you're a little tech savvy, I can show you how to get the factory service manuals that were released from Honda. There are .pdf's floating around out there and they have more info than you ever wanted to know.
 
  #3  
Old 06-16-2013, 10:55 AM
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Thanks for the reply. The problem with the 91 CRX Si is that the motor seems to be rather rare. It is listed as a 1600cc motor and all of the motors that I found in my local wrecking yard have been 1500cc motors. The pulley looks the same but the diameter of the crank is smaller. I have become rather adept at removing pulleys although they are prone to having the outside lip break off if they are dinged in any way during removal. I don't know of any way to tell the difference between the 2 motors other than the valve cover (black with 16 valves on the cover and the power steering bracket shape) the 1.6l and the 1.5l appear to be the same. Virtually all of the engines that I looked at in the yard said 1500cc on the sticker under the hood. I didn't see one 1600cc sticker in the 15 or so Civics that I looked at.

You are right about the Chilton/Haynes manuals. They are too general and don't have enough information. I looked at a CRX factory manual and they have a lot more information but still lack specific information about the crank shaft size. Also since they never imported a CRX Si into the US with PS all of the published information refers to the 1500cc motor. The only Honda that I am sure about that has the 1.6L engine is the 4WD wagon and they are really rare. I was lucky to find the one I got the power steering off of. Unfortunately I didn't know about the pulley problem and broke the original pulley trying to get it off. I thought I could easily find one on any civic with power steering.

After looking at a bunch of different Honda's with PS I am not so worried about the weight of the pulley. I don't know why the original 2 step pulley is so heavy but all of the pulleys that I removed from every Honda (including Accords) was the lighter type. Even looking at some DOHC models, they didn't seem to have the extra weight added to the original pulley. I am confident that I can machine the pulley down to the diameter the harder part will be making the key-way deep also. You need a swagging tool for that and I will just have to fake that with a bit of fancy file work. I only need to remove about .6mm or so to match the diameter and my bench lathe will chuck up to 9" dia.

I'll post my results and also I will keep looking at the Pick&Pull for the correct factory pulley and post any positive results.
 

Last edited by MisterFixIt1952; 06-16-2013 at 10:59 AM.
  #4  
Old 06-18-2013, 11:42 AM
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stole this image from some random ha ha. but that's where the engine code is on all Hondas. prelude is pictured.

CRX Si has a D16a6. This motor only came in the CRX Si, Civic Si, Wagovan, and (I think) the EX sedan, 1988-1991.

There's no reason why you couldn't use one from a 92+ Civic, so long as it fits. The newer models have a rubber harmonic balancer built in, which is supposed to be good? You could possibly use one from a D16z6, D16y8, D16y7... Just to broaden your search. 92-00 motor setup is very similar (z6, y7, y8). They have a VTEC head, so the valve cover looks different, but the block is mechanically the same.

If there was 15 Civics from 88-91 in your wrecker, you're a lucky lucky guy!
 
  #5  
Old 02-09-2014, 07:21 PM
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Originally Posted by zerojett View Post
Chilton/Hanes manual for this generation is useless. They think that nothing changed on the Civic from 85-91... It's too generalized. If you're a little tech savvy, I can show you how to get the factory service manuals that were released from Honda. There are .pdf's floating around out there and they have more info than you ever wanted to know.

I bought the haynes manual like an ijit and found it to be nearly useless. Hook a honky up with those pdfs please!
 
  #6  
Old 03-25-2014, 02:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Fanboy_Troll View Post
I bought the haynes manual like an ijit and found it to be nearly useless. Hook a honky up with those pdfs please!
Are you still interested in the manuals? Email me so I can get your return email address and I will send you a drop box link to the manuals.
 
  #7  
Old 03-25-2014, 03:06 AM
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Default Quick update on power steering project.

I found another wagon with the correct pulley and a spare power steering pump. Haven't had time to install them yet. Besides, I live in Oregon so I am waiting for drier weather. It's no fun working on cars in the rain and my shop is so full of tools right now that there is no place to work inside. I covered my driveway with a 16' x 21' awning but the UV rays weakened the heavy tarp cover and after about three 30-60 mph wind storms this winter the cover didn't survive very well. Just got new tarps so will have dry space soon.

Some Bozo side swiped my Del Sol while I had it in storage this winter so it's time for some body work this spring. Put a nice crease down the door. I replaced the right front axle on the CRX because the boot tore in two. It was cheaper/easier to replace the whole axle with a rebuilt one from O'Reilly's Auto ($55) than it was to replace the boot. Now I need to do the same thing on the left side so I will replace the pulley and pump at the same time. Next couple of sunny days. This should get the power steering problem finally fixed.

I decided to replace the door handles on my CRX with the handles from my old Del Sol doors. They look a lot cooler than the stock CRX handles. I plan on installing the electric window mechanism, power mirrors and electric locks at the same time. I hope no one hits my Del Sol again. This is my third door replacement. No major damage, just bent door metal but it's getting to be a pain chasing down new doors (also there getting harder to find). Luckily I have my own spray booth so painting isn't a huge problem. Hurry up sunshine, the road is calling and I need to put the top down and drive!
 
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