1991 Honda CRX HF

CRX History: Courtesy of Some Guy

Introduced in 1984, the Honda Civic CRX marked Honda's reentry into the low-end sports coupe market. Honda's previous offerings the S500/S800, and the Z-600 Coupe, were grand successes in their home market -- but they fizzled elsewhere. The name CRX marks this reentry -- it means Civic Renaissance, Model X. Honda revamped the Civic line in 1984, and embarked on a program to revise each vehicle line every four years. They replaced the Civic wagon with a taller wagon nee minivan, called the Wagovan (in case you thought the CRV was an original idea), kept the hatchback and sedan, and introduced the two seat CRX. History was made.

To clear some confusion, lets examine why you'll find references to 1983 CRXs and 1992 CRXs, or stranger still, 1993-present CRXs. Here in the U.S., the first model year for the CRX was 1984, and there was no 1992 CRX. Honda sells a two-seater, but it's no CRX -- it's a del Sol. So what gives?

Certain countries base a car's model year not on the model produced as of January 1st, but on the actual production date. In New Zealand, my 1984 CRX 1.3, produced in May 1983, would be a 1983 model. But what about those 1992 CRXs?

In 1992, Honda decided to continue production of the CRX for their home market, and for much of Europe. In North America, we missed out. Honda even introduced the VTEC engine in 1992. That's right. In Europe, you could buy a 1992 Honda CRX VTEC. But, that doesn't explain these bizarre sightings of 1993 and newer CRXs...

Honda markets this two seater under a variety of names. Here in North America, Honda decided to give the two seater a catchy name. It's rumored they hoped to accomplish two goals: spark new interest in their two seat sport coupe, and thwart the skyrocketing insurance rates which hounded their beloved CRX. That new name? Civic del Sol. That explains the origin of the del Sol, but what about those 1993 CRXs?

Again, a variety of names. What we call a del Sol, the rest of the globe calls a CRX. As far as Honda's concerned, the CRX didn't die. At least, not yet. What other names have been used on this car?

In 1984, Honda introduced our little pocket rocket as the Ballade Sports CR-X in their home market; the Honda Civic CRX in North America. In 1988, Honda rolled out their Cyber CR-X; we called it a Honda Civic CRX. I've seen 1993-1997 CRXs in Bahrain, and possibly a CRX del Sol in Germany.

Trivia? This car might not have been called CRX at all. My first edition 1984 Civic Service Manual never refers to the CRX; calling the two-seater a Honda Civic Coupe, instead. It appears the name CRX/CR-X was a last minute decision.

Honda produced three generations of CRX. These were each based on Honda Civics, following the Civic model line through each revision. There's a catch -- we'll cover that in a moment.

The first generation CRX coincided with Honda's third Civic generation. This production lasted from 1984 through 1987. In 1988, Honda revamped the Civic model line, and brought major improvements to the power train and suspension. Honda brought their agile double-wishbone suspension from the Prelude and Accord to the Civic and CRX. The result: outstanding. This generation lasted from 1988 through 1991 in the U.S., and continued another year in other markets.

The third generation is the del Sol. Here's where Honda broke with recent tradition. Introduced in 1993, The del Sol was a year late - it's based on the 1992 Civic. This version of the del Sol continues in production today, even though Honda revised the Civic in 1996. Pundits explain the del Sol took more time to design and to tool for manufacture, and that this tooling cost a lot. Honda may be recouping their investment by running the line for five years, while they design the next two seater. Rumors abound. Expect to see a new two-seater nee CRX/del Sol in 2000, when Honda releases the next generation Civic. That's my WAG, or wild-arsed guess.

You won't find a CRX in the U.S. with factory cruise control. Power windows? No chance. So why do our European friends get all the cool toys; the power gadgets, the honking, screaming engines, and the like?

In the United States, value is the watchword. The automobile market here is the most aggressive in the world. Honda tends to keep the feature list short on their North American offerings to compete with similarly equipped economy cars. Even today, with Honda automobiles costing as much as their American counterparts, the models Honda offers sometimes lag their overseas counterparts in gadgetry or engine and suspension performance features; making Honda cars cost-competitive with their aggressively priced American competition.

Elsewhere, where cars are just more expensive, Honda offers technology and performance not available here. Some features reserved for Acura in the US, find their way into Honda CRXs in other markets. You already know the VTEC engine was available in overseas versions of the 1992 CRX. Still other features may show up only in home-market cars.

The home market Cyber CR-X, in Japan was available with a fixed-glass roof (1988-1991). Several models, like the EF7 and EF8, with their up rated engines, simply aren't sold in the United States.

Honda historically markets their two seat economy sport coupe under several names, like: Ballade Sports CR-X, Cyber CR-X, and CRX del Sol. In the U.S., we call the third-generation CRX by a different name: Civic del Sol. My first edition 1984 Civic Service Manual never refers to the CRX, calling the two-seater a Honda Civic Coupe, instead (CRX/CR-X may have been a last minute change).

All CRXs are built on platforms based on the Honda Civic. The two models share most of their mechanical parts. However, the CRX and the Civics don't share any sheet metal. Honda CRXs are outfitted with distinctive body panels, lighting systems, and interiors.

What are the differences between second generation Honda CRX models?

The 1988-1991 Honda CRX came in 3 trim levels: HF, DX and Si.

All came with a variant of the D series SOHC motor. The HF models have the lightest curb weight, lowest HP, but best fuel economy. The DX, which is unbadged, is the middle of the road and the Si is the highest trim level, the best motor and the most options.

    Chassis and Suspension
  1. 90-91s are the heaviest, the 89 is lighter, and the 88 is the lightest. In each year the HF is the lighter model, then the DX and finally the Si weighs in as the heaviest model.
    Curb Weight in Lbs.
    1988 1819 1922 2011
    1989 1834 2048 2138
    1990 1967 2103 2174
    1991 1967 2103 2174
  2. All 88-89 have rear drum brakes as do 90-91 non-Si CRXs; 90-91 CRX Sis are the only ones that came with rear disc.
  3. 88s have different rear lower control arms and the rear shocks have different mounting points. 89-91s are the same.
  4. 88 has slightly different sized front shocks.
  5. 90-91s CRX Si wheels differ from 88-89s. 90-91 are known as Teardrops or Swirlies and 88-89s are known as Sawblades. Both styles are 14" rims.

    88-89 "Sawblades"
    90-91 "Teardrops" or "Swirlies"

    The center caps also differ and cannot be interchanged. 88-89 have a larger diameter and are more flat while the 90-91s are smaller and have a slight bulge to them. (Courtesy of downest and chet90si)
  6. Engine and Drivetrain
  7. 88 manual transmissions have an input shaft with 21 splines, the 89-91s have a 20 spline shaft.
  8. Clutch diameter: 88 has 190mm, 89 is 200mm, 90-91 is 212mm.
  9. 88 does not have a clutch safety switch, which means it will start without having to press the clutch in.
  10. 88 camshaft indexing is the same for all the engines, 89-91 Sis have indexing that is different from the other engines.
  11. 88 ECU has a different internal design than the 89-91 but the inputs and outputs are the same and ECUs can be swapped between years. The original author said, "I know this one since most chip makers don't offer a chip for the 88 and my car was a gunea pig for Dinan to test a later year ECU on."
  12. Late 89s and 90-91s had the EPROM ECU (a lot easier for chipping).
  13. Engine gross parameters, for details see tables, below.

    HF 1.5 8V 1988-1991, D15B2, 62 BHP
    DX 1.5 16v 1988-1991, D15B2, 92 BHP
    Si 1.6 16v 1989-1991, D16A6, 108 BHP

    88 Si models have 105HP, the 89-91s have 108HP due to different ECU settings and possibly a slightly different camshaft.
  14. Body
  15. 88-89 CRXs don't have side impact beams in the doors, the 90-91 do.
  16. All 88-91 Sis have a non-glass, metal panel, power sunroof.
  17. All 88-91 Sis come with a rear wiper standard; HFs did not come with a rear wiper.
  18. 88-89 door moldings are taller and flatter, the 90-91 ones are shorter but stick out further and have a beveled edge to them.
  19. 90-91 rear lights have a 1/2 inch black edge all the way around them, the 88-89 do not.
  20. 90-91 have fake air ducts molded into the front bumper.
  21. 88-89 have slightly different front and rear bumpers than the 90-91.
  22. 88-89 mud guards are slightly different than ones for the 90-91s.
  23. 90-91 bumper mounted turn signals are clear with amber inserts in them, the 88-89 lenses are just solid amber and shorter in length.
  24. 88-89 corner mounted parking lights have 2 mounting screws visible that mount to the fender while the 90-91 ones are attached by tabs with one screw to the headlight frame.
  25. 91 headlights have a vent in them to help prevent moisture buildup.
  26. 90-91 have larger reverse lights, shaped differently and are set further to the sides than the 88/89.
  27. Interior
  28. 90-91s have a red seatbelt warning light built into the dome light.
  29. 90-91 have a round instrument gauge cover while the 88-89 one is more squarish.
  30. 88-89s have the hazard light switch on the top of the steering column, 90-91s have it mounted on the dash.
  31. 88-89 Si seats have a white pinstripe, 90-91 Si seats have a red pinstripe.
  32. 88 has a pocket at the bottom of the drivers door.
  33. 90-91 Sis and perhaps the 89 Si have a mesh pocket on the back of the seats. DXs have seatback pockets, too.
  34. 90-91 Sis had suede flip down mirrors (on the side that hits the roof) while the 88-89s had vinyl.
  35. Front bumper:
    - smaller bumper/turn signal lights
    - wider molding
    - no fake "air duct" openings under the bumper lights

    - Larger bumper lights
    - thinner molding
    - "air duct" openings under bumper lights
  36. Rear Bumper:
    88/89 - Thicker molding, no flaring at the bottom.
    90/91 - Thinner molding and slight flring out at the bottom of the bumper to give the look of a lip.
  37. Seats:
    - ALL 88s & 89 HFs have pillar mounted seatbelts.
    - 89 Sis, DXs and all 90-91 CRXs have door mounted belts.

    Models with door mounted belts have a wider pillar at the end of the door to accomodate the belt mount, this also means that the glass is an inch or so shorter. The seats from ANY 88 CRX or the 89 HF will not interchange and swap into the 89 Si, DX or any 90-91 CRX and vice versa. 88s and the 89 HF seats can interchange with each other. The 89 Si, DX and all 90-91 seats can interchange with each other. Basically, if your car has door mounted seatbelts, you cannot use seats from a CRX with pillar mounted seatbelts.

1991 Model Year Specific Info (unless noted)

Type Aluminum-Alloy In-Line 4
(88-91) Displacement (cc) 1493 1493 1590
(88) Horsepower @ rpm (SAE net) 62 @ 4500 92 @ 6000 105 @ 6000
(88) Torque (lb.-ft. @ rpm) 90 @ 2000 89 @ 4500 98 @ 5000
(89-91) Horsepower @ rpm (SAE net) 62 @ 4500 92 @ 6000 108 @ 6000
(89-91) Torque (lb.-ft. @ rpm) 90 @ 2000 89 @ 4500 100 @ 5000
Compression Ratio 9.6:1 9.2:1 9.1:1
Fuel System Multi-Point Fuel
Dual-Point Fuel
Multi-Point Fuel
Ignition System Electronic, Distributor, Single Coil
Valve Train SOHC 8-Valve SOHC 16-Valve SOHC 16-Valve
Engine Bore/Stroke 75.0x84.5mm 75.0x84.5mm 75.0x90.0mm
Engine Type D15B2 D15B2 D16A6
Displacement (cc) 1493 1493 1590
Horsepower @ rpm 62 @ 4500 92 @ 6000 108 @ 6000
Torque (lb.-ft. @ rpm) 90 @ 2000 89 @ 4500 100 @ 5000
Redline (Fuel Cutoff RPM) 5500 6800 7000
Compression Ratio 9.6:1 9.2:1 9.1:1
Fuel Octane (PON/RON) 86/91 86/91 86/91
Type Front-Wheel Drive
Manual Transmission 5-Speed
Automatic Transmission: (available) NA 4-Speed NA
Final Drive Ratio (MT/AT) 2.95/NA 3.89/3.93 4.25/NA
Transmission Type L3 L3/(ML4A) L3
Transmission Ratios HF DX Si
Final 2.954/3.250(CA)
Gear vs. Speed
3.888 4.250
1st 3.250 3.250 3.250
2nd 1.650 1.894 1.894
3rd 1.033 1.259 1.259
4th 0.823 0.937 0.937
5th 0.694 0.771 0.771
Reverse 3.153 3.153 3.153
Body Type ED8 ED8 ED9
Unit Body * * *
Suspension, Front Double Wishbone
Suspension, Rear Multi-Control Double Wishbone
Stabilizer Bar (mm, front/rear) 17.0/NA 18.0/NA 18.0/15.0
Steering Type Rack-and-Pinion
Power steering NA NA NA
Turning Diameter, Curb-to-Curb (ft.) 30.4 30.4 30.4
Dual-Diagonal Brake System Front Disc/Rear Drum Front Disc/Rear Drum 4-Wheel Disc
Hub Specs Bolt Pattern 4x100; Center Bore/Hub Dia. 56.1 mm
Wheels 13x5.5" Steel w/Center Caps 13x5.5" Steel w/Center Caps 14x6" Alloy
Tires: All-Season P165/70 R13 P175/70 R13 P185/60 R14 82H
Lining Surface Area: (Front/Rear)cm² 36.7/50.2 45.5/50.2 45.5/50.2
Disk Diameter: (Front/Rear)mm 231/Drum 242/Drum 242/???
Wheelbase (in.) 90.6 90.6 90.6
Length (in.) 148.5 148.5 148.5
Width (in.) 65.9 65.9 65.9
Height (in.) 50.1 50.1 50.1
Track (in., front/rear) 57.1/57.3 57.1/57.3 57.1/57.3
Curb Weight (lbs., MT/AT) 1967/NA 2103/2136 2174/NA
Coefficient of Drag (Cd) 0.29 0.30 0.30
Headroom (in.) 37.0 37.0 36.7
Legroom (in.) 40.8 40.8 40.8
Shoulder Room (in.) 53.5 53.5 53.5
Hiproom (in.) 54.9 54.9 54.9
Cargo Volume (cu. ft.) 23.2 23.2 23.2
Engine Oil with Filter (qt.) 4.2 4.2 4.2
Fuel (gal.) 10.6 11.9 11.9
Cooling System (qts., MT/AT) 5.5/NA 5.4/5.3 5.7/NA
Power Sunroof     *
Rear Window Wiper/Washer   * *
Front Spoiler * No (Si part fits) *
Manual Door Mirrors Left Left&Right Left&Right
Dual-Tip Exhaust     *
3-Spoke Steering Wheel   * *
Adjustable Steering Column   * *
Quartz Digital Clock   * *
Cargo Cover   * *
Adjustable Head Restraints * * *
Cargo Area Light * * *
Hatch-Open Warning Light * * *
Remote Hatch Release * * *
Remote Fuel Filler Door Release * * *
Reclining Seatbacks * * *
Tachometer * * *
Trip Odometer * * *
2-Speed/Intermittent Wipers * * *
Rear Window Defroster with Timer * * *
Driver's Footrest * * *
Coin Box * * *
3-Point Passive Restraint Seat Belt System * * *
Child Safety-Seat Anchors * * *
Tahitian Green Pearl/Black     *
Rio Red/Black *   *
Flint Black Metallic/Black   * *
Frost White/Black     *
Frost White/Blue * *  
Torino Red Pearl/Black   *  
Celestial Blue Pearl/Black   *  
49-State: City/Highway (5-Speed Manual) 49/52 32/36 28/33
49-State: City/Highway (4-Speed Automatic) NA 29/34 NA
California: City/Highway (5-Speed Manual) 43/49 32/36 28/33
California: City/Highway (4-Speed Automatic) NA 29/34 NA