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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,

I’m looking to buy an HF. My motivation is to own a car with exceptional mileage and because I’ve always loved them and wanted to own one myself.

Before jumping in, I’d like to get a better idea of what I’m in for. Not sure ofwhat generation I might be after, but open to hearing about that too.

OEM parts. What kind of parts are still available from Honda? Is there a plan to support the vehicle ongoing that we’re aware of?

Aftermarket support parts. Is there a reasonable amount of parts still available outside of Honda?

Used parts. Is there a reasonable pool of used parts?

Ease of repair. How difficult are these cars to work on? General maintenance vs major overhauls?

TIA for sharing your knowledge and experience!
 

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HF is great but its not the car for you IMO.

HF motors cannot be rebuilt as the bearings aren't available anymore. This is the biggest downside IMO. Other motors swap in but you lose some of your MPG.
HF aftermarket support is excellent but not in terms of fuel economy, but instead performance.
Used parts are expensive and getting scarce/rare by the day.
HF are extremely easy to work on.
All CRX are rust prone and not good for daily driving in a salty winter environment.

If you are focusing on fuel economy I would suggest the first generation Honda Insight. These are excellent vehicles and have similar performance with a bit more modernization, safety, and parts availability.
 

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Hello,

I’m looking to buy an HF. My motivation is to own a car with exceptional mileage and because I’ve always loved them and wanted to own one myself.

Before jumping in, I’d like to get a better idea of what I’m in for. Not sure ofwhat generation I might be after, but open to hearing about that too.

OEM parts. What kind of parts are still available from Honda? Is there a plan to support the vehicle ongoing that we’re aware of?

Aftermarket support parts. Is there a reasonable amount of parts still available outside of Honda?

Used parts. Is there a reasonable pool of used parts?

Ease of repair. How difficult are these cars to work on? General maintenance vs major overhauls?

TIA for sharing your knowledge and experience!
I just sold my 88 HF recently. When I bought the car I looked for a one owner, low milage clean car. These cars are hard to find in that type of condition, but better to buy an un molested car in excellent shape, because parts for any of the CRX's are becoming harder to find.
OEM parts not readily available, and sometimes when you do find them prices are super high because of the rarity.
Aftermarket parts are available, but a lot of Chinese junk.
Used parts becoming harder to find.
Easy car to work on.
My suggestion is wait till you find the best choice that you can afford. It may take a while but in long run better than trying to restore one. 88-91 I feel are the best choice.

Early Insights are a better driving car than the HF. They're hard to find also in nice shape, but probably cheaper than a CRX in excellent condition. One just sold on E-bay for not a lot of money. Had a 2001 5 speed and it was a nice driving car.
92-95 Civic VX another option. Had one of those too.
 

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Thanks for the other suggestions. I’m really looking to avoid anything hybrid for the moment.
What’s a reasonable price for an HF in that condition?
There was a low milage CRX DX on E-bay recently that brought 15K. I was surprised to see that price for a DX. Si yes. HF Low milage one owner, no accidents, no rust, new tires, new battery, good seats, etc all original, I'd say 10-12K .
 

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92-95 Civic VX is an excellent idea as jwharnish stated. The lean burn engines are excellent. They are also appreciating price wise a bit but I think they are easier to come by than the HF and parts aren't quite as scarce.

The 96-00 Civic HX as well. Just avoid the CVT transmission on those.
Lastly, any CRX, Civic CX/DX, or similar can be made into an MPG king with a Civic HF/VX transmission swap respectively. Much of the MPG comes from the very long gearing on the transmissions.
 

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I know many may not like this but you need to have a lot of love for the car to own an HF. It is as slow as a toad and if you get AC it's hard to maintain speed on a highway and hills. It's an illogical choice IMO if you are looking just for a car that gets high mileage not a collector item. Meanwhile my modified b12v gets 35 mpg on highway. If it got 20 it wouldn't matter to me because I love the car and don't drive it much so dollar wise, its meaningless.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
92-95 Civic VX is an excellent idea as jwharnish stated. The lean burn engines are excellent. They are also appreciating price wise a bit but I think they are easier to come by than the HF and parts aren't quite as scarce.

The 96-00 Civic HX as well. Just avoid the CVT transmission on those.
Lastly, any CRX, Civic CX/DX, or similar can be made into an MPG king with a Civic HF/VX transmission swap respectively. Much of the MPG comes from the very long gearing on the transmissions.
Great input, thank you! I’ll do some investigation on using the HF/VX transmission swap, do you know if it’s basically a direct bolt in or requires additional modifications?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I know many may not like this but you need to have a lot of love for the car to own an HF. It is as slow as a toad and if you get AC it's hard to maintain speed on a highway and hills. It's an illogical choice IMO if you are looking just for a car that gets high mileage not a collector item. Meanwhile my modified b12v gets 35 mpg on highway. If it got 20 it wouldn't matter to me because I love the car and don't drive it much so dollar wise, its meaningless.
Thanks. I’m really motivated to get a vehicle that gets great mileage to begin with (around 50 MPG hwy) and will get even better mileage with tuning and care. I’ve really loved the CRX models since they came out. Sluggish is OK with me based on these goals. The second car I owned was a ‘78 Honda Accord. I loved it!

I don’t think the Geo Metro is an interesting option, but might be fun to play around with ;)
 

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Great input, thank you! I’ll do some investigation on using the HF/VX transmission swap, do you know if it’s basically a direct bolt in or requires additional modifications?
As far as I know, if you stick with the same generations of transmissions they are bolt on.
I.e. if CRX DX, you can use CRX HF cable transmission.
If Civic CX/DX, you can use Civic VX/HX hydro transmission, etc.
The the HF may have a unique clutch but I'm not 100% certain.
 

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I know many may not like this but you need to have a lot of love for the car to own an HF. It is as slow as a toad and if you get AC it's hard to maintain speed on a highway and hills. It's an illogical choice IMO if you are looking just for a car that gets high mileage not a collector item. Meanwhile my modified b12v gets 35 mpg on highway. If it got 20 it wouldn't matter to me because I love the car and don't drive it much so dollar wise, its meaningless.
HF's are not that bad. Mine does not have a/c and had no issues with hwy speeds. It's not an Si but has no problems keeping up with traffic. The HF is better than early Insights for speed, once the hybrid battery drains, you're left with 3 cylinders and usually have to down shift going up long hills. But the Insights were comfortable to drive, and there are hybrid battery replacements available. My Insight had lifetime average of 65mpg over 160k. I'd buy another one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
As far as I know, if you stick with the same generations of transmissions they are bolt on.
I.e. if CRX DX, you can use CRX HF cable transmission.
If Civic CX/DX, you can use Civic VX/HX hydro transmission, etc.
The the HF may have a unique clutch but I'm not 100% certain.
I’m now very interested in the 5th gen civic VX. It’s pretty decent looking too. Regarding the VX tranny, wikipedia states:

“Fitted with the same manual transmission as the USDM CX, the VX was identical to the base model CX except that it gained improved fuel efficiency from various weight reduction methods such as reduced trim and molding, VX model-specific lightweight 13-inch aluminum alloy wheels, 165/70/R13 tires, and through a 92 hp (69 kW) 1.5 L (D15Z1) VTEC-E engine.”

So the exceptional mileage seems to come from the low burn VTEC without transmission changes.
 

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I’m now very interested in the 5th gen civic VX. It’s pretty decent looking too. Regarding the VX tranny, wikipedia states:

“Fitted with the same manual transmission as the USDM CX, the VX was identical to the base model CX except that it gained improved fuel efficiency from various weight reduction methods such as reduced trim and molding, VX model-specific lightweight 13-inch aluminum alloy wheels, 165/70/R13 tires, and through a 92 hp (69 kW) 1.5 L (D15Z1) VTEC-E engine.”

So the exceptional mileage seems to come from the low burn VTEC without transmission changes.
VX used the light weight CX platform with the lean burn motor. Best milage was at around 55 mph. Speeds at 65-70 returned mpg in the 40's. Bought a 92 new, and put on 70 miles a day while I had the car. Gave it to my daughter once she needed a car. Car worked great till she got rear ended on the interstate. had around 160k on it at that point.
 

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I’m now very interested in the 5th gen civic VX. It’s pretty decent looking too. Regarding the VX tranny, wikipedia states:

“Fitted with the same manual transmission as the USDM CX, the VX was identical to the base model CX except that it gained improved fuel efficiency from various weight reduction methods such as reduced trim and molding, VX model-specific lightweight 13-inch aluminum alloy wheels, 165/70/R13 tires, and through a 92 hp (69 kW) 1.5 L (D15Z1) VTEC-E engine.”

So the exceptional mileage seems to come from the low burn VTEC without transmission changes.
Just curious, how many miles do you drive each week? Is your concern money or environmental concerns? Also for me I would consider that there are no air bags on the CRX's, but there are with the Del Sol's and much safer too. I got one for my daughter and she got fairly good mileage and always had eyes looking at it because it was minty. I felt better thinking that it was a safer car and it was still fun to drive. That car too with minor mods could get good mileage if that is your goal.
 

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So the exceptional mileage seems to come from the low burn VTEC without transmission changes.
No. The best gas mileage comes from low RPM and high torque engines, like small turbo diesels. You want longer gearing.
What you want is a gearset that is fun to drive, and still save on fuel. Something like the shortest Si 1-4 and an HF 5th and FD.
 

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Wow, definitely getting into collector territory.

All of these cars mentioned for you have essentially reached or reaching that status, 88-91 Crx HF, 92-95 Civic VX and 96-00 HX.
The newest one of them is 22 yrs old, used parts in the junkyards are becoming non existent, NOS (New Old stock) parts are nearly gone and aftermarket support for OEM replacement parts isn't as good as it should be. As time goes on and the ones from this 12 year span that still are kicking around are either beat to hell and not worth dumping money into or are modified and restored and will cost a good chunk of money or not be what you're looking for.
 

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I bought a beat up HF that had a dx motor swap and original HF trans in it. I think that type of setup may be nice for your needs. HF motors are more sparse, expensive, and slow. The DX motor is a lot better, and wouldn't suck going on highway ramps, etc.
The HF trans was a weird combo with it, and I ditched it wanting to build a race car but it made me want a daily driver HF. I could redline in first, go to 2nd and not even be in the powerband. Certainly not good for performance but the gears are huge on that thing. It would cruise at like 2,000 rpms on the highway. You will literally never want another gear above 5th, which is cool. I bet you could solve availability and power problems by mating a dx motor with an HF trans.

Just my 2 cents.
I also think it's an old car, some parts are dirt cheap and others are collectible status. If you're unsure on owning one, maybe don't. It's a commitment to drive such an old quirky car daily. If that's what you want, the CRX is a blast.
 
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