New in Wisconsin

Discussion in 'Introduce yourself' started by rezwerd, Mar 30, 2019.

  1. rezwerd

    rezwerd Member

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    I've been dipping my toes in the forum for a bit now, so I figured I'd better introduce myself.

    Hello, my name is Drew and I live in WI. I work in IT but in my spare time I like to wrench on my cars. Until this January I had been driving a 1995 Mercury Grand Marquis which was both a pleasure and a pain. After four years with that tank, road salt finally did it in (as usually seems to happen to my cars). So I went looking for something simple and cheap, common, smaller than the Merc, with better gas mileage, comfortable on the highway, more reliable than my wife's Saturn (and it is a hard car to beat), with a manual transmission. (A bonus would have been a wagon, but those seem hard to find with a manual.) I was especially looking at third- and fourth-generation Camrys, having greatly enjoyed a 1990 Camry for my first car, but couldn't find one near me with a manual trans. I remembered working as an oil-change tech while I was in school, I used to see Accords in the 360K-400K mileage range, and the way the owners talked about them kind of made me want one.

    So I found myself a 2001 Accord EX, 4-cylinder 5-speed. 216K miles on it when I bought it, now 217K. It's blue, and so was the Mercury, leading to coworkers joking that my car shrunk in the wash. :D It actually reminds me a lot of my mom's old '97 Civic, but with everything enlarged to 125%. I had it inspected by a mechanic I trust before I bought it, which revealed a few things the test drive did not:
    - The timing belt has been done fairly recently. An unknown timing belt on an interference engine made me very very nervous.
    - The left rear wheel bearing was going bad. Apparently I never got it over 35 on the test drive, or I would've heard the howl!
    - The front and rear sway bar bushings were worn out and allowing the sway bars to rattle.
    - The left front upper ball joint is starting to wear out.

    So far I've replaced the front sway bar bushings and the rear wheel bearing. The rear sway bushings aren't as bad, I have the part and I'll put it in when the garage floor dries out a bit. The ball joint just arrived as well, so I'm making it a priority to get that into the car within the next few weeks. I learned from my last car that it's worth it to buy quality parts. The cheapest thing at the chain store is probably good enough to get you back on the road for a year or two, but I don't want to be putting in a new pittman arm every year or two. Not that I would cheap out on a pittman arm or anything. :rolleyes:

    So now you know a little about me and my car, and my dearly departed former car. So far I'm enjoying my first Honda!
     
  2. rezwerd

    rezwerd Member

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    Some pictures from just after I bought the car. I've since fixed the license plate, the bolt is sheared off.
    [​IMG]
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    It's really clean for an 18-year-old WI car. CarFax says I'm the third owner, and it's been in the Fox Valley area its whole life.
     
  3. T.$.Racing

    T.$.Racing Well-Known Member

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    Greetings from the Chicago area!

    Definitely a clean car, and in a very nice color. I have pretty much the same thing, but a black '98.

    If/when you're there for the upper ball joint, I'd do the lower ball joint, tie rods, and control arm bushings as well. I'd go with all O.E.M stuff where possible. Been a while since I did my front end, but I believe Honda makes everything except the upper ball joint, for that I went Moog brand. Hondapartsnow.com is usually my go to source for parts on mine
     
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  4. T.$.Racing

    T.$.Racing Well-Known Member

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    Also fwiw I was a commercial manager at Autozone for 3 years. I would NOT use any parts store brand suspension parts on any of my vehicles. Other than the higher end stuff they make for American performance cars (UPR, QA1, etc) the only aftermarket suspension stuff I'll use is Moog.
     
  5. cg4ever

    cg4ever Well-Known Member

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    Welcome ! 6th gen accords are fantastic cars, you'll love it :)

    I agree with my fellow above, very nice color, like it a lot !
     
  6. rezwerd

    rezwerd Member

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    Thanks! I don't see a lot of them around town that aren't tan, so I was glad to find one in blue. I'm still getting used to driving a manual again, I had one two cars ago but it's been about five years. So far I'm loving it, and very importantly my wife approves. :thumbsup: I've had kind of a Goldilocks progression of cars, from a Mazda 323 that was too small, to a Mercury Grand Marquis that was too big, and the Accord is just right. It's been refreshing going from 13mpg average to 22.5mpg on my last fill-up, almost 10 more miles to the gallon. (My wife's Saturn gets about 10mpg better still, but she also has a lot more highway in the mix.) I have to imagine the economy would get better if I didn't launch it from every stop sign. :driving:

    I got Moog suspension parts for the rear sway bushings and the ball joint, but couldn't find Moog 26.5mm front sway bar bushings. I used ACDelco for that part. I've been getting parts from RockAuto since I've had success with them in the past, but I'll have to check out HondaPartsNow -- thanks for the tip! I'll have to look into those other parts, might as well swap some out while I'm in there if they're starting to wear out.

    There's only one noticeable chunk of rust on the car, on the right rear wheel arch (conveniently hidden in both pictures above). This summer I'd like to grind/clean out the rust and try to reconstruct the arch somehow. My main concern there is to clean it and seal it before it can spread any more. There are a few other spots where the paint is damaged and rust is beginning to form, but I think I can catch it there before it becomes an issue. All in all it's worlds apart from where the Mercury was when I bought it, at around the same age.
     
  7. RedRyder

    RedRyder Save the manuals

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    Looks good, just clean up the wheels a bit maybe and that's it. I just did my passenger rear wheel bearing, driver side is next. I used Timken units from RockAuto. Interesting you couldn't find Moog front sway bar bushings, I bought a pair of those recently, I think off either Ebay or Amazon. I use Duralast gold ceramic pads (free lifetime replacement), and Duralast gold blank rotors. That's about it for parts store units. Everything else is typically OEM or Moog or comparable.

    Good luck with the rust. My car is a few spots that have just gotten progressively worse over time, and now I'm at the point where I'm not sure I want to put the money into it. I mean I do, but I don't just have that loose cash just sitting around to throw at it. I'd love to get the body straight and respray it, maybe someday.

    Anyway welcome and enjoy.
     
  8. T.$.Racing

    T.$.Racing Well-Known Member

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    What part of Wisconsin are you from btw? I just took a mini vacation in my Accord last month to the Dells ironically.

    Timken units generally aren't too bad. I used one of their hubs on a 92 Civic EX I used to have. Hub bearings are weird in regard to country of origin. I've seen Duralast hubs made in the USA for one car, but China the next. The Timken hub I used was from South Korea, but I've seen their units state Mexico or China on the box as well.
     
  9. rezwerd

    rezwerd Member

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    I had bought a set of Moog front sway bushings on RockAuto that turned out to be only 23mm, then had to return them to get a set of 26.5mm. I didn't think of looking on eBay or Amazon though. I had a bit of a hard time trying to figure out what size I needed since most information I've found seems to be for the coupe and/or V6. I ended up waiting for a dry day and crawling under the car with a calipers to measure.

    I'm not going to try to make my rust spot look like new, since it's a 20yo salt belt car it is what it is. I'll be happy if I can slow it from spreading. If I'm feeling really ambitious I'll try to make it less noticeable. Do you have any pointers for cleaning the wheels? It looks like they're corroded but I've never had anything other than steelies on my previous cars, so I'm not sure exactly what I'm looking at or where to start.

    I'm in the Fox Valley, a stone's throw away from Lake Winnebago.

    This week the brake indicator light has been coming on intermittently. It gets a little bit brighter when I pull the handbrake, so I'm guessing it's something else that's making it come on, maybe a bad fluid level sensor based on some threads I've seen on the forums. A couple of times I've removed the cap, worked the float up and down, and wiggled the wires, and the indicator light turns off for a mile or two. Fluid level is about half an inch above minimum. I'm trying to decide whether to replace the cap and sensor, or replace the worn (ish) rear pads and see if that makes the fluid level come back up enough to make the sensor register. The pedal pressure feels fine but I'm keeping an eye on it in case it is something more than a touchy sensor.

    The day I bought this car I also test drove a '00 automatic 4cyl Accord, and the brake system lost pressure while I was on the test drive. I also had the brakes fail on my Mercury, so I've got more experience than I'd like with how failing brakes feel.
     
  10. RedRyder

    RedRyder Save the manuals

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    Interesting, my Timken boxes said made in United States on them.

    I would just powdercoat the wheels, or DIY paint them. Short of either of those options, I'm sure there are DIY videos online about how to clean up corroded/curb rashed wheels.
     

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