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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Looking for opinions on a choice, here are the specs:
2001 Honda Accord LX ULEV F23A4 Automatic Sedan, 104K miles, clean car
California ULEV car - so no modifications allowed
it is legal to swap to JDM F23A longblock using all original intake/exhaust/ECU
F23A4 head is restrictive compared to F23A or F23A1 head
dealer installed brand new transmission a few years ago on recall
dealer had head rebuilt, 100K tune-up (replaced everything but the block) about a year ago, dealer maintained always.
dealer Ripped Off elderly owner, charged ~$6K and never fixed the original problem! Said the engine block must be cracked (that's BS) and offered her $500 trade-in to a brand new car.
Original problem is still #3 oil ring collapsed ($5 part, ~$1K to get there)
I was given this car to flip, to use the money to repair/upgrade my Integra
Her preference is that I get it back on the road in reliable condition
Parting it out is not an option, I can get more as-is, was offered $1500 and I may get a lot more as-is.

Strictly for resale, most likely market is just "reliable family car"
(not hotrodders - this car isn't a suitable platform if it stays in CA, so don't suggest crazy upgrades that I won't get the money back in resale)
After dealer told her it had a "cracked block" she drove it a year of very short trips, adding a quart of oil every 100 miles, she didn't consider getting an oil change or changing the filter, so may have caused other problems.

$400 buys an F23A JDM used longblock locally at this time, guaranteed to have compression (and get it home and pull the valve cover and pan and check for any obvious issues and return it if something obvious, collapsed oil rings has no clear test... right?)
10 hours book time to swap long block using lift (may not include cleaning up intake and other maintenance which is best done at the same time)
$25 per hour to use DIY shop lift bay, $15 per hour for non-lift bay

$200 just to check the rebuilt head, plus headgasket and complete rings if nothing else is wrong with original engine.
16 hours estimated to pull head, clean everything up, swap rings, reassemble.

I hope that gives a complete picture. Here are my choices as I see them:
1. Pull head from block
1a. slap it together with new rings as fast as possible
1b. send it in for inspection, check block deck, send pistons with rods to machine shop to clean and properly gap and install rings for me (I haven't installed rings before, which I'll drop back in, clean up intake completely, a machine shop tech said if oil rings are my only problem, leave the bearings alone.
2. Drop whole drivetrain out the bottom with a body lift which local DIY shop has, to install JDM longblock (supposed to be the easiest method)
2a. leave JDM longblock alone, do basic longblock R&I
2b. Install timing set and such from the year old refresh
2c. Install brand new timing set and such
(2b & 2c: Give the buyer the F23A4 rebuilt head as a spare)
2d. Deliver JDM block to machine shop for testing and swapping all rings, have them test F23A4 head after I pull the engine (which should be in good order), assemble engine with all new timing set and such, detail everything.
3. Complete block refresh, on JDM or original block, high dollar restoration with receipt from highly reputable machine shop.
4. Do nothing! Fix the current misfire issue so it passes smog and runs strong, detail the car, and sell it to someone with full disclosure that the #3 oil ring has collapsed and they can drive it this way adding a quart every 100 miles until they choose to replace the engine.
4a. Do this in California, where it will pass smog even with the oil consumption at the moment (provided I fix the misfire issue that recently popped up)
4b. Sell it 100 miles from here (in Nevada) where there are no smog checks, so the buyer can use this low mileage "granny driven" car for whatever design change they might want (intake, header, exhaust, turbo, G23, F22A_ head, computer swap, manual transmission and sell this low mileage auto tranny) without CA restrictions. None of that can be done here.

KBB private party value of this car is over $4K in its present condition, if it were mechanically sound. I'm looking to make the most money from it, while giving an honest deal to whoever buys it. (I'm obviously not going to put $2K+ into it, not counting my time, to sell it for $4K; if I can sell it for $2K as-is)

What is the most profitable way to flip this car?
(Don't even imply being dishonest, I won't do it!)

Thanks for your time!

5 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
No responses? Here's a shorter version:
Smog referee supervisor just called back - he doesn't know the model!
Does the JDM F23A have EGR passages through the head, so EGR continues to function?
If so, I should be able to get it certified. (and the computer will not throw codes for EGR)

If not, they will allow me to bolt the F23A4 rebuilt head onto an F23A block legally if they have exactly the same passages, with no machining required.

Has anyone actually gone through the referee process in CA with a CA ULEV car?

Example not allowed: B18C1 head onto a B18B1 block - that requires machining an external oil passage, and therefore they don't allow it to pass smog in California even though it functions the same.
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