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I currently own a 7th gen 2004 Accord sedan 2.4L with a 5 speed manual. I love it and when the time comes to find a new daily driver, I'm considering tracking down a classic Accord. I've heard they are easier to work on and that 5th gen and earlier seems to be the heyday of the Accord. I've always liked older cars and I want something where when you step inside the car, it feels like going back in time. I also want something very well built and easy to fix at home. Right now, I am considering a 4th gen (1990-1993) or a 5th gen (1994-1997.) The 4th gen is my favorite Accord aesthetically, but I understand that the 5th gen has some notable improvements like safety. Buying an older car, I understand that safety isn't going to be anything like modern vehicles, and that's fine as long as I at least have an airbag.

Anyone have any thoughts or suggestions? What are the best classic Accords in your opinion and why? What are things I should look out for? Sedan, coupe, or wagon? Are classic Accords that much easier to work on compared to later ones? Should I go even older and look for a 3rd gen?

Thanks!
 

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If I were buying a vintage Accord, it would be an 86-87 hatchback 5 speed, preferably an LX-i with fuel injection. I’d take a sedan though as well. Those pop up headlight Accords were great.
 

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'07 EX-L Navi 6-6 Sedan
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If you want an airbag, the 5th Gen is the way to go. I think the '94 Accord was the first model to get an airbag? Or was it a passenger airbag? Can't remember.

I've owned a '92 Accord DX 5spd, and it was a great car. I put 275k miles on it before I sold it. I've also owned 2x '97 Accord 5 spds, and still have one of them. The first one I sold in 2011 with 205k miles on it. The other (was my sister's car which she donated to my son) is still going strong with 235k miles on it.

Peter
 

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Honestly with the vehicle being that old and the fact that vehicles in general had many instances of airbags failing to deploy or deploying without cause in the 90s, I wouldn’t rely much on the safety of the SRS in those cars.
 

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Recommend staying with the fuel injected Accords, four cylinder and five speed. The wagons are neat though I haven't owned one. Would like to.

Honestly with the vehicle being that old and the fact that vehicles in general had many instances of airbags failing to deploy or deploying without cause in the 90s, I wouldn’t rely much on the safety of the SRS in those cars.
I'm pretty familiar with these cars and have not heard of this being an issue.
 

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I previously owned two Gen-2 Accords, '84 and an '85, both five-speeds. Great cars but full of vacuum lines and pre-fuel injection. Very reliable and sturdy, small by modern Accord standards, but very well conceived and executed. I bought a '95 EX Wagon in 2000 and still drive it daily. It runs very well, rust-free, and has much greater convenience than the four-door sedan. Over its 225K miles, I've replaced: the muffler twice (the Midas shop guys don't like lifetime warranties in the hands of a guy who keeps cars for 20-plus years); half-shafts (after markets 12 years ago); ball joints, timing belt/water pump (twice); front engine mount (twice); and did thorough EGR and VTEC system clean-ups at 200K. Normal maintenance like brakes, distributor cap/rotor, good filters and synthetic oil, and it really doesn't add up to much on a 25-year old wagon. It's OBD I and very easy for DIY repairs. I wouldn't trade it for a newer model and will drive it until something catastrophic occurs. Your instinct for a classic Accord is spot-on to me. Look for an EX wagon (they ended in '96). You'll love it.
 

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Prelude!!!! Still a great looking ride.
 

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I currently own a 7th gen 2004 Accord sedan 2.4L with a 5 speed manual. I love it and when the time comes to find a new daily driver, I'm considering tracking down a classic Accord. I've heard they are easier to work on and that 5th gen and earlier seems to be the heyday of the Accord. I've always liked older cars and I want something where when you step inside the car, it feels like going back in time. I also want something very well built and easy to fix at home. Right now, I am considering a 4th gen (1990-1993) or a 5th gen (1994-1997.) The 4th gen is my favorite Accord aesthetically, but I understand that the 5th gen has some notable improvements like safety. Buying an older car, I understand that safety isn't going to be anything like modern vehicles, and that's fine as long as I at least have an airbag.

Anyone have any thoughts or suggestions? What are the best classic Accords in your opinion and why? What are things I should look out for? Sedan, coupe, or wagon? Are classic Accords that much easier to work on compared to later ones? Should I go even older and look for a 3rd gen?

Thanks!
For me the best option is the 3rd gen.
My grandpa has an Ex and it is one of the most 'fun to drive' cars I've ever driven Also this car is what you call undead, it has survived tons of jobs and tons of cargo without even a single problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I previously owned two Gen-2 Accords, '84 and an '85, both five-speeds. Great cars but full of vacuum lines and pre-fuel injection. Very reliable and sturdy, small by modern Accord standards, but very well conceived and executed. I bought a '95 EX Wagon in 2000 and still drive it daily. It runs very well, rust-free, and has much greater convenience than the four-door sedan. Over its 225K miles, I've replaced: the muffler twice (the Midas shop guys don't like lifetime warranties in the hands of a guy who keeps cars for 20-plus years); half-shafts (after markets 12 years ago); ball joints, timing belt/water pump (twice); front engine mount (twice); and did thorough EGR and VTEC system clean-ups at 200K. Normal maintenance like brakes, distributor cap/rotor, good filters and synthetic oil, and it really doesn't add up to much on a 25-year old wagon. It's OBD I and very easy for DIY repairs. I wouldn't trade it for a newer model and will drive it until something catastrophic occurs. Your instinct for a classic Accord is spot-on to me. Look for an EX wagon (they ended in '96). You'll love it.
I'd love to get a 5th gen stick shift wagon (a la Regular Car Reviews,) but they seem incredibly hard to find. I will definitely keep my eyes out though. What makes OBDI Accords easier for DIY repair? I've never had an OBDI car before and I've done a bit of research but information seems a bit limited.



Thanks for all the replies, everyone! For right now, I'm thinking the best option for me as a daily driver would be a 5th generation. I love the look of the 4th gen and earlier, but I drive around with my girlfriend and other passengers a lot and I'd like them to have at least some level of safety. Unfortunately, it sounds like none of the 4th gens have passenger airbags. The 5th gen has really grown on me though. It's old enough to be a "classic" Accord at this point and it still has that 90s Honda styling, but new enough to have slightly more modern safety. The '96 and '97 are also OBDII (easier to diagnose problems?), and 5th gens in general still seem somewhat easy to find compared to 3rd gens and even 4th gens at this point. It's also my understanding that the clutch is much easier to change on 6th gens and earlier, is that correct? From what I've read, 7th gens are a bit of a nightmare to change the clutch on, so I'm kind of dreading when that day eventually comes if I end up keeping my 7th gen for that long.

I recently found a deep red 1997 Accord sedan with a 5 speed manual and about 168,000 miles on it and it looks to be in very good cosmetic condition. Unsure if it has an I4 or a V6, but I'm thinking it's the I4 (which would be what I want; only one catalytic converter to worry about until the car turns 25, more room to work on stuff in the engine bay, and generally easier to maintain than the V6 from what I understand, but please correct me if I'm wrong on any of this). Their asking price is a little bit high (would see if they would come down) and it's about a 3 hour drive from where I'm at. It LOOKS like it's exactly what I'm looking for, but that's a long way to go if it turns out to be a piece of junk. Any thoughts, suggestions, or warnings? Should I even bother? Are 5th gens as all that as I think they'll be? Would a 5th gen be an upgrade or a downgrade from my 7th gen?
 

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'07 EX-L Navi 6-6 Sedan
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If it is a manual transmission Accord sedan, it can ONLY be the l4. The v6 MT Accord sedan was only made in 06-07.
I have a 97 Accord sedan 5 spd MT. It has 240k miles on it and still drives beautifully...with the original clutch too! That being said, going from a 7th gen Accord to a '97 would be a huge downgrade. I have an 07 Accord sedan and the '97 Accord sedan, and the 07 it much nicer. But the '97 is still a great little car(y)

Peter
 

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I'd love to get a 5th gen stick shift wagon (a la Regular Car Reviews,) but they seem incredibly hard to find. I will definitely keep my eyes out though. What makes OBDI Accords easier for DIY repair? I've never had an OBDI car before and I've done a bit of research but information seems a bit limited.



Thanks for all the replies, everyone! For right now, I'm thinking the best option for me as a daily driver would be a 5th generation. I love the look of the 4th gen and earlier, but I drive around with my girlfriend and other passengers a lot and I'd like them to have at least some level of safety. Unfortunately, it sounds like none of the 4th gens have passenger airbags. The 5th gen has really grown on me though. It's old enough to be a "classic" Accord at this point and it still has that 90s Honda styling, but new enough to have slightly more modern safety. The '96 and '97 are also OBDII (easier to diagnose problems?), and 5th gens in general still seem somewhat easy to find compared to 3rd gens and even 4th gens at this point. It's also my understanding that the clutch is much easier to change on 6th gens and earlier, is that correct? From what I've read, 7th gens are a bit of a nightmare to change the clutch on, so I'm kind of dreading when that day eventually comes if I end up keeping my 7th gen for that long.

I recently found a deep red 1997 Accord sedan with a 5 speed manual and about 168,000 miles on it and it looks to be in very good cosmetic condition. Unsure if it has an I4 or a V6, but I'm thinking it's the I4 (which would be what I want; only one catalytic converter to worry about until the car turns 25, more room to work on stuff in the engine bay, and generally easier to maintain than the V6 from what I understand, but please correct me if I'm wrong on any of this). Their asking price is a little bit high (would see if they would come down) and it's about a 3 hour drive from where I'm at. It LOOKS like it's exactly what I'm looking for, but that's a long way to go if it turns out to be a piece of junk. Any thoughts, suggestions, or warnings? Should I even bother? Are 5th gens as all that as I think they'll be? Would a 5th gen be an upgrade or a downgrade from my 7th gen?
A five-speed manual wagon is the dream. Never saw one, but a more capable mechanic could probably retrofit from junkyard parts. The four-speed auto in this one is very simple in design and works reliably. I do a drain-refill about once a year to keep fresh fluid in it. It comes out clean, and I prefer this to letting it wait for 45K miles and doing a three-times flush with 15 minutes between flushes. That does something good if you have let it go for a few years as it replaces dirty fluid better than my method. Take your choice. The OBD I is based on a simpler system with many fewer sensors. It will only throw 'important' codes, unlike OBDII, which can set all sorts of errors and codes for evaporative emissions system leaks and all sorts of things that an older car can suffer. It works well, and this generation has a good VTEC system that works well if you keep the right weight oil in there and keep it clean. Maybe I'm a Luddite, but I don't need a car with a hundred sensors, direct gasoline injection and a continuously variable transmission. Read the comments on recent generation Hondas (and Toyotas/Mazdas--forget about Nissans). I call them variable reliability trannies. They'll work them out sooner or later. Until then, grab a good older Accord.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
If it is a manual transmission Accord sedan, it can ONLY be the l4. The v6 MT Accord sedan was only made in 06-07.
I have a 97 Accord sedan 5 spd MT. It has 240k miles on it and still drives beautifully...with the original clutch too! That being said, going from a 7th gen Accord to a '97 would be a huge downgrade. I have an 07 Accord sedan and the '97 Accord sedan, and the 07 it much nicer. But the '97 is still a great little car(y)

Peter
Oh interesting, I didn't know that about the manuals! And that's pretty incredible about the original clutch after that many miles. What's nicer specifically about the 7th gen?


Are there any benefits to having a non-VTEC engine in an older accord? The 1997 model I'm looking at looks like an LX model which, if I'm not mistaken, would give it the plain 16 valve non-VTEC F series engine (F22B I believe). Are they any easier to maintain or fix since they're mechanically simpler? Are 5th gens any easier to work on in general than 7th gens? I suppose I should also mention that I'm not wishing to modify this car at all, I want to enjoy it in its completely stock form. In fact I would want to do a minor restoration on it by putting back in an original Honda radio (the 5th gen for sale that I'm looking at has an aftermarket unit) just for the fun of making it period-correct. I'm really into that sort of thing. I guess my desire is to experience a nice example of simple, quality, classic Honda design and engineering that I can have some fun with but still drive daily; I don't want to customize it into something else for convenience, added performance, or modernization. Not that I'm against modding, it's just not what I want to do in this case.

TL;DR: I want an easy-to-maintain Accord that's a little bit more 'raw' Honda, but not so raw that it's impractical for regular use or scary for passengers if that makes sense. Base model 5th gen seems like a good happy medium, but I'm very open to suggestions and different perspectives.
 

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Are there any benefits to having a non-VTEC engine in an older accord? The 1997 model I'm looking at looks like an LX model which, if I'm not mistaken, would give it the plain 16 valve non-VTEC F series engine (F22B I believe). Are they any easier to maintain or fix since they're mechanically simpler? Are 5th gens any easier to work on in general than 7th gens? I suppose I should also mention that I'm not wishing to modify this car at all, I want to enjoy it in its completely stock form. In fact I would want to do a minor restoration on it by putting back in an original Honda radio (the 5th gen for sale that I'm looking at has an aftermarket unit) just for the fun of making it period-correct. I'm really into that sort of thing. I guess my desire is to experience a nice example of simple, quality, classic Honda design and engineering that I can have some fun with but still drive daily; I don't want to customize it into something else for convenience, added performance, or modernization. Not that I'm against modding, it's just not what I want to do in this case.

TL;DR: I want an easy-to-maintain Accord that's a little bit more 'raw' Honda, but not so raw that it's impractical for regular use or scary for passengers if that makes sense. Base model 5th gen seems like a good happy medium, but I'm very open to suggestions and different perspectives.
Good question. Yes, non-VTECs have the advantage of less complexity, so in theory, less to go wrong or maintain. The service is usually a simple one, i.e. to clean/replace the screen that keeps the oil clean. There are small gaskets that would need changing as well, but it's not hard once you take apart a few things to reach it. There are You-Tube videos to illustrate. After many years and miles, oil may leak from around the VTEC solenoid valve, and that's the sign to replace the screen/gasket. A small price to pay for the better performance, but if your car has not had good maintenance over the years with frequent oil changes with the right grade oil, VTECs can be a problem because the small oil passages can clog. That would be a major hassle. Replacing the screen/gaskets or solenoid is not difficult, so I would take either a VTEC or non. The important job to do at high mileage (over 200K) is to remove and clean the EGR assembly. That job takes a few hours but is not a problem if you have the tools hand a bit of confidence. If your engine has good compression (about 170 psi), it's worth doing the above and maybe a valve lash adjustment at some point. Honda makes of the best engines ever (that's what started their business), Clean oil is the key, and a bit of maintenance as it gets older.
 

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HondaJeff, I have the Honda OEM radio/cassette and CD player that I pulled from my '97 Accord when I replaced it with a modern 2xDIN touch screen radio. It would be a perfect fit for your '97 Accord. Drop me a PM if you are interested in it.

Peter
 
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