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I have the opportunity to go ZC, and I need some advice...

8402 Views 24 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  crxfisher
..on if I should even buy it! I know this has been posted before and I hope I dont get killed for posting in my own thread.

My wannabe mini me has crapped out because of some type of coolant leak that resulted in a nasty noise my car now has. I don't drive it anymore and Im fed up with the y8 head I had on there. Not many people knew what the problem was and not many people could help. It really has no power and has a horrible noise like something is in the block just dancing around at WOT.

Anyways I can get a zc for $325 including the pm7($550 with tranny). The guy bought it intended to put it in his crx but he is selling his crx now. The engine still sits metal banded to a crate in his garage. In the other zc thread I saw there was wiring needed done do the dist. and most zc's are unreliable.

Just like with EVERY other project I have done-I always get mixed opinions. Once again I come asking the community for advice.

Would you go ZC if you had the chance?

Is it worth it?

Should I rebuild before dropping it in?

I plan to sc it shortly after I drop it in, will that be a HUGE problem only at 7psi?

Ill admit it and I still live with my parents, and they hate me driving the miata. So technically I will be getting this engine for free.

I have to make a decision within the next 18 hours. So if anyone has some quick advice its GREATLY appreciated!
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If your motor is dead, and the other one is essentially free, take it. Get the tranny too. You should rebuild it, as with any used engine, you don't know how long it's been sitting around, and it's probably been a long time.
I loved my ZC when it was running well. I would give it a rebuild though before dropping it in.
Money is a huge issue and im lucky enough to be getting this engine for the price its at.

What would a rebuild entail? I dont want to skimp on something I might need thats extremly important, but if I have to rebuild an engine-shouldnt i just spend the money to rebuild my d16?

Can I use my Si transmission for now, and eventually swap 5th out later or even get a zc later on?

What other precautions should I take?

I have a website with a lot of zc info and I hope it will help but im sure there are some other perks about having a zc this site doesnt list.
you could run the ZC off your Si tranny, or HF , or DX, or...

any D-series tranny will bolt up. If you're on a budget, use the Si tranny, since the ZC tranny needs different axles. The ZC has equal length axles, so you can't use USDM CRX axles.

Make sure you can spin the crank over. If it binds, you will definitely need some work. I would put new bearings in, machine the crank, and do piston rings, get the cylinders honed. Replace the gaskets and seals.

You can just drop in the ZC, but your taking a risk. I know too many people who have had issues with JDM engines because they have been sitting for so long.
My opinion, if you plan on rebuilding anything, do your D16. It's got VTEC, probably a little easier to find parts for, and it's a really good looking engine. No offense to anybody, but the ZC is one of the ugliest engines I've ever seen in a Honda. It's all up to you, but that would be my choice. I do plan on upgrading to a D16Z6 with boost at some point, so that's just my preference.
I think this always happens to me. I get excited because im getting something new then it gets shot down because I realize how dumb of an idea it is.

If I go zc ill have to rebuild. Thats a lot of money right there. But I would eventually supercharge it.

If I stay d16 ill have to rebuild. Thats a lot of money right there too. But I would eventually supercharge that too.

The only difference is that Id have to buy the zc first, and I would develop more power from the zc than if I went stock d16+ s/c.

Lol where are the stories of people dropping engines in and it working flawless?! Thats the advice I wish I would be getting. If anyone has more advise id love it. Keep it comin!
There is a thread about the D16 right now on Honda-Tech in the CRX forum. Take a look at that, there's a lot of interesting info on why a D16 is a good motor to build. It's specifically about the A6, but the mini-me isn't too far off.
I bought a ZC in 2000, put it in with just changing gaskets and seals.
BEAT THE LIVING CRAP out of it for 3+ years. Then hydrolocked it in a flood.
I loved it for it's simplicity and power increase over stock.
I'm currently frustrated with my own mini-me as of now.
I'd go zc.
and I liked the way it looked, lol
Thats the story im lookin for! lol.

I was wondering if I bring a compression checker and see if its still good and it cranks smooth, wouldnt that relieve some stress about he motor not being in good order. Then I could do as above and start slow with gaskets and seals, then later on move up to maybe a clean up port job then just move from there? Wouldnt that be OK?
Wasuri said:
where are the stories of people dropping engines in and it working flawless?!
On one of my first CRXs I dropped in a dohc ZC and it did exactly that, run flawlessly. In fact, at 1800lbs with DC header and custom 2.25" exhaust in 40 degree weather on Nitto street slicks I pulled off a 14.4 sec quarter mile ET.

Wasuri said:
I was wondering if I bring a compression checker and see if its still good and it cranks smooth, wouldnt that relieve some stress about he motor not being in good order.
Thing is, you really can't rely on cold engine compression results. They will almost always be lower than they would once the engine is warmed up. I suppose if the results for all they cylinders weren't too far apart (no more than 30 psi) I would deem that acceptable.

Personally, I'd gobble up that ZC package in a heartbeat. You'd have the engine tranny and correct ecu. Those cable ZC trannys are getting more and more rare too. Not only that, you can transform it into a hybrid later with an si final drive and hf 5th. I had one and it was awesome. You can zip through the 1-4 gears like nothing then 5th was a nice low rpm cruising gear.

Oh, you don't have to get teg axles and an intermediate shaft. All you do is get 86-89 Accord 5-speed axles. The driver's side one is larger diameter than the passenger one to minimize torque steer.
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Despite my bad experience, If I had cash right now and still had my truck, and you weren't going to take it... I'd call road trip.

Mine ran like a champ, just not as long as I hoped for, but I didn't do a thing to it other than drop it in, and mine looked quite pretty under the hood after some long hours with the carb cleaner.
So the situation at hand is leaning more towards me getting this ZC today.

Dohcrxl, rex2nr, shorte, and anyone who has had experience with ZC:

What should I check when I go?

Compression check-What numbers should I be looking for since its not warmed up?

I found out the engine has been sitting for a 1 1/2 maybe even longer. What precautions should I take when trying to take the compression test? Is a 1 1/2 sitting engine a 1 1/2 year old paperweight? Since its been sitting for so long is it going to increase the probability of it not working?

Also, when I called the guy he gave me a price of $500 for engine, ecu, and transmission. His original for sale ad had priced the engine at $325, ecu at $75 and tranny at $175. Since the guy who was originally going to buy it told me I could tell the guy to take the offer he had (free ecu) I now have that deal plus $175 on the transmission.---Is that a good price for all that?

I feel like such a n00b.
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I can't really tell you what numbers are good, but just, as Hue said, make sure they are all close. If you get 120 for three, and 80 for the last one, something is up. The numbers may seem low, since the engine will be cold, and won't be sealed as tight. I know the manual says that 132 is the minimum allowed for spec.

The issue with the one I got was that the crank had developed some very tiny pits in it, which caused the rod to go. I never learned why until just a few months ago when the crank started to rust, only on the 4th rod journal.

My roommate got one from the same distributor. That one had suffered a timing belt failure. You couldn't even turn the thing over... so much for a start-up warranty, huh? (best part, they wouldn't honor the warranty since we bought it third-hand from a shop locally).
oh, and 500 for all, thats an <bleepin> sweet deal
Well i read up that 160 is the good psi to be at, but im not sure if thats a cold test or it warmed up. Anyone know the #'s?

I got the go ahead to get the engine WITHOUT the transmission. So looks like ill be getting the zc tranny later on, and looks like ill be learning how to switch a transmission too :shock: . Anyone have a writeup for that?

Anyone have any more advice before tomorrow? I think ill be going over there tomorrow at 12.

If i do the compression check and 2 or 1 is way off should i pass on the engine completly?
Well I went today and bought a compression tester. All the cylinders turned out to be around 30-40 psi. I called some people up and of course they said thats way to low for an engine that has been running before.

So I did not come back with a zc today :cry:

Yet the person who was selling it had talked to another family friend and said that if there is no oil in the motor at all (which I didnt know it didnt have) we were lucky to get even 30-40psi. Is this correct? To get a proper read-out on compression shouldnt the engine have new oil in it and then ran with the oil to get it pumped to the correct spots?

Any ideas guys? Is there still hope?!?!
You only need oil to coat the piston rings to affect the compression test, so putting all new oil in the sump of a non-running engine isn't going to help your testing.

possibly you could squirt some fresh oil into the cylinders through the plug hole, then turn the engine over several times to distribute the oil. Once you do that, there should be oil on the rings. Then take your compression tests. If anything, squirting a lot of oil in the cylinder should make the compression results a little high, so if you do that and the readings are still low, you know you've got bad rings or valves that aren't seating (or both).
Yea I figured as much because I started to question the fact that why would oil in the pan effect the compression of the pistons. Yet it seems clear now.
Well its still a debate.

If got hard fact:
-Been sitting for a year
-The usual "30k-40k" milage
-Did a compression test and ran 30psi on all 4.

Is it still worth getting? Ive heard cold motor and by hand is nearly impossible, then I hear if has been in a running car before and should have over 30.

Any last opinion gurus? I need some input and I need a motor. :(
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