Honda CRX Forum banner

Strange noises from the engine and chassis. Any ideas?

11874 Views 32 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  daveb91
I bought a '91 Si with 88k miles on it a few months ago, and it's already being cranky. I expected as much (I didn't get a project car for nothing!), but the car is also my daily driver, and I just want to clear up a few things before I go on any long road trips.

1) For the past few weeks, whenever I crank the engine, a high-pitched squeal emits from the left side of the engine. Fortunately, the sound dies after about 2 seconds. I'm thinking it's a timing belt or an AC belt that needs some tension adjustment. Considering that I don't have any tools and limited mechanical knowledge at this point, is this a hard fix? How can I more accurately diagnose the problem? I'm pretty strapped for cash at the moment, so is this a problem that I can let slide for awhile, like at least a month, or is it something that demands immediate attention?

2) About a week ago, I started noticing a squeaking/rubbing sound coming from the back right side of the chassis, near the wheel. It's rpm-depedent in the sense that the frequency of the sound increases as I go faster. I'm hoping the bearing just needs some lubricant, but I'm at a loss on this one. Any ideas?

I apologize that I can't be more specific. As soon as I get a factory service manual, some money and some tools, I'll hopefully learn a bit more about how everything works. Considering that I only know how to change the oil at this point, a 15-year old car may not have been the smartest idea, but I love CRX's and I'm eager to learn. I'm driving the car as little as possible because of my uncertainty about the nature of the problems listed above, and more specifically because I can barely afford gas at the moment. So she's getting a chance to rest, and I'm just hoping that this is nothing too serious. Any ideas are immensely appreciated!
See less See more
1 - 20 of 33 Posts
for the squealing in the engine bay i would definitely suspect a belt. replacing an ac/alternator belt is cake. if you have a socket and wrench set you should be able to do that no problem.

the rear could be a bad rear bearing but i would check to make sure that the wheel isnt rubbing on anything.
91 Si, with 88k miles? Man, we all would love to fall into one of those. I agree, either your alternator belt or A/C compressor belt needs to be tightened. (Or better yet, replaced.) A timing belt won't squeak like that. It has teeth that match up with the gears on the camshaft and crankshaft, so there is no play in it.

Welcome to the wonderful world of the CRX. These 15+ year old cars are the best!

Oh, and you may want to consider a timing belt replacement soon if it hasn't already been done. Honda recommends it at 90k, and since it's 15 years old, I wouldn't wait too long. Also, the water pump should be replaced at the same time. I highly recommend finding a friend that knows how to do it, it will save you a LOT of money in labor.
I know what you mean about the "wonderful world of the CRX"; it took me two long years to find one in decent shape, but it's definitely been worth the wait!
Anyways, the water pump and timing belt were replaced right before I bought the car, so those fortunately shouldn't be a problem. GSR, you mentioned that the AC/alternator belt isn't hard to fix. If I can find someone from whom I can borrow the tools, I've got a link to a Honda shop manual; if I follow the directions in the manual, is it pretty straightforward? How much does a new one cost? Also what kind of work/costs am I looking at if the bearing is bad? Sorry for all the noob questions!
One more are the oil seals? Does the car leak oil at all? You may want to look into replacing them if it is leaking oil below the crank pulley or the flywheel.
Ok, so I called the repair shop from which I bought the car originally to see if they had any ideas. The guy told me that the bearing should be fine, but that he remembered some underbody rust on this particular car, and that rust might be the culprit. I crawled under the car as far as I could without jackstands, and unfortunately, I think he's right. Here's what I found:

What is this part called, and what does it do? It's located behind the wheel, on the side of the car that's squeaking so badly. As you can see, it's pretty badly rusted.

Just for reference, here's the same part beneath the other wheel well, the one that's not squeaking. It looks pretty rough, too, but at least it's not as bad as the first one:

Again, as dumb as this sounds, I'm not even sure what these parts are called or how they function. Are they difficult to repair? Expensive to replace?

While we're on the issue of rust, I also found this:

It just looks like a strip of metal that runs directly behind and above the bumper. Is it crucial for structural integrity? I sure hope not, because it practically crumbles to the touch.

I know I should have checked for these things on the day I bought the car. I was so excited, however, that I just glanced under the wheel wells and called it a day. Guess I learned the hard way on this one.
See less See more
The first 2 are your brake calipers. And man they look horrible. Your squeking might just be old brakes and rusty rotors. They would squeak when you started the car though. I say it is a belt that is causing that.

Also which bumper is that? front or rear. My rear is half rotted out underneath but it still works.
It's the rear bumper. So the whole car won't fall apart on me if that part rusts out?

About break calipers: Majestic Honda lists a rear brake caliper assembly at $8,589.02. Am I misreading something here? Why in the world is it so expensive? Check it out here: ... KE+CALIPER
Thepeug said:
Majestic Honda lists a rear brake caliper assembly at $8,589.02. Am I misreading something here? Why in the world is it so expensive?
Majestic Honda does that when they no longer carry an item. It's so that they can keep the part in their database, but prevent anyone from buying them. Just get a set of remanufactured calipers. They'll be much much cheaper anyways, and they are usually just as good.
stickershop said:
Majestic Honda does that when they no longer carry an item. It's so that they can keep the part in their database, but prevent anyone from buying them. Just get a set of remanufactured calipers. They'll be much much cheaper anyways, and they are usually just as good.
Whew, good to know. I was getting worried there for minute. Any website suggestions for a good set of remanufactured calipers?
The squeaking could be the rusty rotors and a combo of that and a stuck caliper i would look for 2 reman calipers and cut or replace the rotors and rear pads. . lube all of the sliders up while you are in there... you should be able to get or ordr a reman caliper from any auto parts store. .

Good luck

Thinking about replacing all of this stuff leaves me wondering: is it ok to drive around with the rusted calipers and rotors until I can get the money to replace them? I'm going to get a job this summer, and my birthday is in June, but it still might be a couple of months before I have the money to fix or replace everything. Should I drive sparingly until then?
yeah that would be a good idea..... Also it will not cost you anything to jack the rear up and pull both wheels off and take a look at the condition of the brakes, lines, hoses and everything under there..... look around good and see if you can spot what might be causing your problem....
if you are using the stock jack. . not go exploring under the car while it is up in the air...... . . support the car safely if nothing else throw the wheel and tire under the frame so that if it does fall you do not get hurt..
where are you from..... i am sure there are some honda lovers out there in your area that would be glad to help you out... for a lunch at BK or anought for a 6 pack or just to talk honda with another person for awhile..... I know my friends are sick of hearing about hondas, and ef's and b16's and the like.... . i would be glad to help a fellow honda lover out for a while just to have someone listen to me ramble. .

take care dude. .. . . .

Thanks for the suggestion about the jack. I hadn't thought of that (duh), but it would definitely make things eaiser as far as inspection is concerned. I'll try to do it next weekend when I can get a free moment (we're in the middle of finals right now, so things are a bit hectic).
About meeting up with someone: I agree that, as useul as forums like this one are, nothing beats having someone knowledgeable actually look at your car in person. I live in Chapel Hill, NC. I know Chet90si lives in Charlotte, and I'm going to try to meet up with him this summer. Are you anywhere near here? Hopefully, I'll meet some more Honda-heads around here soon enough.

edit: nevermind, I just saw that you're from PA, which might be a bit of a drive :( . Oh well.
Thepeug said:
I know Chet90si lives in Charlotte, and I'm going to try to meet up with him this summer.
Try? Man, don't worry we're gonna take care of all of this.

P.S. I think someone in the other forum said that the rear wheel noise could be the brakes and that you should be very cautious, but I wouldn't worry about it that much. When I got my car the brakes were horrible. (Not only the pads but the rotors too.) Anyway I didn't have the cash, and since I knew I was gonna be replacing the rotors eventually anyways, I didn't really care about the grinding. I think I drove a little over 3000 miles with that annoying brake squeal!
Haha, I appreciate the encouragement man. The rex definitely needs a little TLC, but I'm sure we can transform her into a race-worthy, daily driven, performance monster in no time ("no time" meaning at least 10 years :wink: ).

3000 miles?! My squeak is so loud that people stare in bewildered derision every time I drive around the block. I'm impressed that you endured for so long.
Yea, you just gotta turn up the radio and ignore the stares, you get used to it. :)

Just for the record: mine was on the rear wheels as well, if it had been the front there is NO WAY I would have kept driving for so long. I feel like you have to be lot more cautious with the fronts than with the rears.
Actually you can still get reman calipers from honda.

On the front page scroll down a little bit and there is a link for Remanufactured Honda Parts.

Rears for a 90-91 Si are 110.69.
Fronts for a 90-91 are 69.17
I would'nt worry too much about the the bumper support. Mine is worse! It has holds ruster clean through! But I got lucky and got a rust free one off of Ebay for $70! But you still might want to eventaly take care of it so the rust won't spread, just watch Ebay or Majestic Honda for about $200 or so. I still need to install my new bumper :oops:.
Thanks for the tips. Particularly good to know that the calipers aren't too expensive. Unfortunately, I don't have a single dime at the moment, but I'll certainly keep all of these sites bookmarked, so that I can do a little bargain shopping and get these things fixed once I find a job. Any other site suggestions or bargain parts locations are certainly welcome!
1 - 20 of 33 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.