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Honda Prelude 1997-2002

Hi Everyone,

This is a continuation of the popular Honda
Prelude topic, which now has enough posts to start
a Part 3.

For newcomers, you can review all the posts in
Parts 2 and 1 by linking here:

Honda Prelude--Part 2 (topic 629 now retired)

For "regulars", please continue your discussion
here, and thanks for your enthusiastic



  • A new topic! JOY!

    All the posts... all the old debates we get to rehash again!
  • Your post#2 (advertisement) has been deleted, because it is in violation of our Town Hall rules. Please feel free to participate here within the guidelines of our Participant Agreement. Thanks.

    And now back to the subject of the Honda Prelude. ;-)

    Pocahontas, Host
  • only1harryonly1harry Posts: 1,136
    all that valueable information gone.. oh well I guess we 'll repeat everything all over again..

    Maybe I can sum it all up in a few words?

    Prelude = a GREAT CAR! :-)
  • jk111jk111 Posts: 125
    oh well, I think we achieved this many posts due to trolls..hehe.
  • Mr.Shiftright , thank you a lot for your answer for another topic , now i want to ask your advice about a Honda Prelude 1981 , auto , 115K . the main question is about reliability of it . engine , gearbox . is it a strong car ? thank you .
    Tatiana .
  • only1harryonly1harry Posts: 1,136
    Don't know. A friend of mine had an '82 and had problems with it. Got rid of it when it had around 130k on it. He went through a radiator, starter, water pump, brake calipers, voltage regulator, alternator and many other things. I don't think they compare to today's Hondas or mid-late '80s ones.
    My other friend had an '86 Prelude Si (that's when I became a Honda fan - he let me drive it a lot). That car was awesome as far as handling, high speed stability, gear box, drivetrain.. I liked everything about it (except it was a little cramped in there). He sold it in '91 when it hit high 90's and bought an Eclipse GS (he regreted it - way too many problems with that car). He didn't have a single problem with the Prelude. I think he only replaced the front brake pads the whole time he had it. He didn't even follow the regular maintenance schedule and changed the oil every 5-6k mi. He was never good at taking care of his cars. I remember begging him to replace the air filter on the Prelude which was pitch black from the dirt. I don't think he ever did that or got the car ever tuned up. Ran great though. He paid $14,900 for it new and sold it for $8,000 5yrs later with almost 100K on the odo! Anyway, we ran into the owner a couple of years later and he said he had sold it with 150k mi. and no major problems. So my advice to you would be to get an '85-88 Prelude if you can. Early 80's ones were not as reliable from my experience.
  • canadianclcanadiancl Posts: 1,078
    An '81 Prelude would be a 1st generation Prelude.
    Unless you're getting it for next to nothing, I would go for a later generation one. A friend of mine had a 1980 model. It was cramped and underpowered. He only had it for about 5 years, and near the end it was falling apart. Rust was also a problem, like all earlier Hondas. I just think the 1983 - 1987 generation was such a huge improvement over the 1st generation.
  • dug5dug5 Posts: 2
    Hey everyone.....just had a few questions about the SH model. I'm buying a black '97 SH tomorrow...and was wondering if someone could give me some info. The car I'm buying is lowered with 17'' rims and I was wondering if that would mess up the upgraded suspension that comes with the SH model. Also, it has a different head unit, and I was wondering if the distortion reduction audio uprade(microphones in the speakers) works without the factory cd player and if anyone knows the specs on the facory system. thanks, Doug.
  • 1st, 17 inch wheels will most likely be heavier, unless they are good quality.

    2nd, the ride will be somewhat rougher because of the lower profile tires

    3rd, the suspension is almost identical to the base lude, it's the ATTS that is the big difference. The tires won't make much of a difference to the handling of the car (I'm guessing this is what you are really asking). In fact, it may improve it in perfect conditions, but it will hinder it in not so perfect conditions.

    4th The head unit will not work with the Acoustic Feedback Control. It must be disconnected (it probably is) for an aftermarket head unit to work. This in the end is a moot point - crank the stereo and listen to it. Number one thing they teach you in Audio classes is that everyone hears differently. Bottom line is, don't be concerned with what does and doesn't work (and I don't think it makes that big of a difference - it's not like it cuts out road noises - it simply tries its best to cut out distortion - but you can still make it sound like crap if you try). The head unit is pretty week in the lude, which is why he probably changed it. It works fine for me though, I don't listen to any system cranked (killed my hearing mixing live shows at a younger age).

    The specs you can find online with a bit of sifting - I don't know them off-hand.

    Here is some things to watch for though:

    Cracked seals
    Rattle in the sunroof
    Clunking sound in the trunk (It's the suspension having fun over bumps)
  • dug5dug5 Posts: 2
    5GenPrelude....thank you so much for your info. on the SH model. I really appreciate it. yeah the head unit in the car is a sony cd player w/mtx amps and 8''sub in the back...seems pretty old...I hope it's better than the stock acoustic feedback control. Anyhow, Thanks, Doug.
  • ramonramon Posts: 825
    can you tell me how does the ATTS work? It's not the same as the front LSD on the Type R right? any diagram?
  • My 92 Prelude is seem to have problems with the electric...especially the air control unit is not function properly. My friend, she has the same model and her car got the same problem, too. Does anyone have the same problem?
  • Dug: You're welcome - wish I had known about the dreaded shock-knock when I got mine - fortunately it's gone away for me.

    Ramon: Okay - the first place to start with about ATTS is Honda's site - It has a pretty good explanation there of what it does. But, in a nutshell, it stands for Active Torque Transfer System. In any given turn that your car makes, the outside tires - in this case specifically the front outside tire, has to rotate more times than the inside tire to complete the same turn. With a front-wheel drive car (which the lude is), and this over-rotation of the outside tire, causes a push or understeer (basically the outside tire doesn't want to turn those extra revolutions and fights it by going straight - ie push). Now what the ATTS does, is force the outside wheel to turn slightly more than the inside tire, decreasing the tires desire to go straight. So kind of like 4x4's "...wheels that slip, to wheels that grip", except that it's not based on slippage, so much as a calculation of steering input and speed.
  • ramonramon Posts: 825
    sounds almost the same as a front LSD to me.... I guess it's a fancy Honda name. Does it work well in regular driving or only work if you push teh cars in track days?
  • only1harryonly1harry Posts: 1,136
    The ATTS works very well when you push the car hard or near its limits. My friend has a '98 SH and we go auto-x racing together all the time. His Lude is stock and amazed me that it 3-wheels (like the Type-R) with the factory tires and has overall pretty good traction for a car that's not modified. He has won numerous trophies in the STS (Street Touring w/street tire) and Street Tire (ST) classes. I don't believe the ATTS helps in regular every day driving unless you drive like a maniac and take every turn really fast. Its suspension is identical to the base Prelude. It took aftermarket springs, adjustable shocks, & rear sway bar in my GSR to be able to 3-wheel like the SH when auto-xing.
    And the statement about the 17" wheels is correct. Unless they 're ultralight wheels, they can affect handling, gas mileage and create extra wear & tear on your suspension and brakes. Now someone said tires don't improve handlign. That is not true at all. Good ZR summer tires can improve handling dramatically. My friend (SH) and I put on Bridgestone RE730s on our cars and it was a noticeable improvement over the stock tires, on the street and on the track.
  • There is a big difference between the two - well maybe not in the end, but it comes down to what I said at the end. An LSD is activated by slippage, the idea behind ATTS is keep all four corners of the car on the ground by preventing the car to roll onto the outside tires. Actually perhaps a better way to think of it is the world of outlaws. You've seen these cars right? The right side of the car has bigger tires than the left tires. This is essentially doing the same thing - with ATTS, you make the same diameter tire rotate faster, with the outlaws, you just make the same speed with both tires, but because of the taller tire, one rotation covers more ground than the smaller tire, thus making it want to turn left. I'll use the infamous strofoam cup example here - roll a styrofoam cup on the ground and it will tend to turn into the smaller end. So, yes in some ways it's very much like an LSD, but it's not really - an LSD prevents power from being wasted to a wheel that does not have the necessary grip in the corner to be effective, and ATTS system uses that extra torque to turn the wheel a bit faster. The latter will work in almost all conditions - AutoX being a good example, an LSD however (at least the kind you get on stock cars) will be helpful more at higher rates of speeds than lower.
  • canadianclcanadiancl Posts: 1,078
    I'm not 101% sure, but I think that, aside from the ATTS, the SH's suspension is different from the base model's. It's tuned more for handling.
  • There are some slight differences in the two, however the differences are slight - I think the sway bar is slightly bigger in the SH, have to look it up though.
  • ramonramon Posts: 825
    a spoiler whereas the base is optioned. That has to attribute for say 10hp right? =)
    Thanks for the info guys.
  • Actually, the spring rates are the same for the base and SH and the base has a slightly LARGER sway bar.
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