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That noise doesn't sound like "normal" CR-V noise. Unfortunately, there are a number of things that it could be. Some CR-V IX members posted a problem with a "buzzy vibration" at specific rpms. You can read about it here. And these are the alignment specs for the CR-V if you want to check on those. Now, if you were experiencing a "clunking" sound from the front of the car, I would recommend that you check out this, but that fix hasn't been needed in quite some time.
From personal experience the CR-V does just fine off road, assuming you're not taking it boulder crawling. I've driven my '99 CR-V EX 5spd through fields, dirt roads, gravel roads, snow mobile trails (covered with snow), and a healthy dose of mud and shallow streams. The earlier CR-Vs had a front skid plate available as an accessory, I don't know about the 2002. The muffler and rear differential are not protected on the earlier CR-Vs, again I don't know about the 2002.
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