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Honda Prelude 1997-2002



  • sphinx99sphinx99 Posts: 776
    That's very odd. I suppose the blown fuse is possible but the fact that the rotors warped this quickly is very strange. Do you brake aggressively? I put about 60k miles between two fifth gen Preludes and while I ate through the pads and tires quick enough, the rotors stayed good. I'm also concerned that you went with cross-drilled rotors as a replacement, by all accounts there is no benefit unless you are running heavy laps at a track, but now you risk rotor fractures and significantly increased pad wear. Have you noticed a difference with the new rotors, in terms of stopping ability?

    It sounds as though the car had some serious wear right off the lot, or you picked up a rare find - a Prelude lemon. Like others I'd stick with it for a while - these problems are *not* typical for the Prelude, and eventually you notice that its charm is in its improved handling and precision over more charismatic vehicles. But, if you feel the experience is already tainted, then by all means dump the car and look for an appropriate replacement. (With, hopefully, a good 5-speed or 6-speed!)
  • joe249joe249 Posts: 95
    They got to be the hardest cars to find. Well, that's how I ended up with my Type S.I found the last 01 SH in N.E. but,I swear it was Barney purple.
    My Integs had more torque in 1st and second and wasn't as knotchy.(synthetic MTF next)
    Honda doesn't get it. The Prelude should of never been replaced by the RSX.)IF that was their intention.)
  • grbeckgrbeck Posts: 2,361
    verozahl: From what I've read, the only Oldsmobiles I can afford - the Alero and Intrigue - are even worse! And I grew up in a family that faithfully bought Oldsmobile 88s up until 1999, when my parents switched over to a Park Avenue.

    sphinx99: I try not be aggressive with the brakes. The service manager told me that these rotors would better resist warping. I figured that instead of fighting with the dealer over replacement rotors (or merely having them resurface the rotors), I would just go with the cross drilled rotors. Around town, in very low-speed situations (25 mph and below), the new rotors do give a better feel through the pedal. Otherwise, at higher speeds, the vibrations are still there, because the "pads haven't conformed to the new rotors yet," according to the service manager.

    I guess my disappointment stems from my previous very good experiences with my Civics (aside from the rotors). I wanted an affordable sports coupe, and there aren't many left on the market. The Acura RSX was a little too tightly strung for my tastes...very noisy, with a ride that bordered on harsh. It seemed like a car built for the 20-year-old tuner set.

    The Toyota Celica is, to my eyes, rather unattractive, while the Mercury Cougar has many niggling problems. Also, I didn't relish the prospect of getting a Cougar serviced at dealerships more used to dealing with grandpa's Town Car. Judging by their placement on the lots, most Lincoln-Mercury dealers already regard the Cougar as an orphan. Granted, the Prelude is already gone, but it did fit well into the Honda lineup and Honda dealers should keep Prelude owners happy on the chance they will trade for an Accord coupe. There really isn't anything else in the Lincoln-Mercury lineup for current Cougar owners, so I don't think dealers have a real incentive to keep them happy. They'd rather focus on selling grandpa one more Town Car.

    The Dodge Stratus R/T and Chrysler Sebring LXi are available with a five-speed and a V-6, plus they are the best looking coupes this side of a Mercedes E-Class. Unfortunately, judging by the posts on, they still have quality control problems, and I've heard very few positive experiences from people when they deal with their "five star" Mopar dealer.

    Moving up, the Pontiac Firebird is so over-the-top it's almost a joke, while the Chevrolet Camaro gave me the impression I was driving a bathtub. The dashboard alone seemed to stretch for a few feet. Plus, neither is a paragon of quality.

    The only real competitor, in my view, was the Ford Mustang GT coupe. I felt comfortable in it, and I loved the sound and performance of the V-8 and five-speed. Unfortunately, I would be paying a good $500 more a year in insurance over the Prelude and the interior materials were nothing to write home about. (Forget the V-6.) And, of course, we all know that Fords are more troublesome than Hondas. At least, that is what I DID think. I'm beginning to wonder...

    So, I bought the Prelude and it's off to the dealer AGAIN tomorrow morning. Boy, I can hardly wait...
  • verozahlverozahl Posts: 574
    grbeck, is the dealer as evil as your Ford dealer? I mean, if you got a Mustang lemon, then you would have to put-up with Ford service departments, and if you live in an area (like around here) where one is on every corner, it still wouldn't matter, they all act the same.

    What's left on the market currently is the Celica, RSX, and Tiburon. Did you consider a 6-cyl Tiburon?
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 7,104
    Have you tried servicing your car at another dealer?

    2001 Honda Prelude Type SH/ 2011 BMW 328xi / 2011 Honda Pilot EX-L w/ Navigation

  • grbeckgrbeck Posts: 2,361
    verozahl: Even in a small city like Harrisburg, there are no less than five "quality plus" Ford dealers reasonably close to my home. The biggest one in the city is within walking distance from the state Capitol (where I work). Plus, a friend of mine used to work in the local office of Ford Credit (before it was closed down by Ford as part of a restructuring effort), and she said that if I ever buy a Ford, she will give me the scoop on which dealers to avoid.

    As for the Tiburon - thanks, but no thanks.

    nyccarguy: This dealer has been good to me in the past, so I'm inclined to be forgiving. The fuse and "check engine" light are not the dealer's fault. As for the's intermittent, so it is difficult to track. With the rotors - I probably made a mistake in jumping to the cross-drilled rotors. Once again, I don't blame the dealer for the initial rotor warpage. I blame Honda for using cheap rotors on what is supposed to be a performance car. Believe me, I've quizzed the service manager (who used to live five doors up the street from me) about the dealership's service procedures (tightening the lug nuts, etc.), and he seems to know what should and should not be done.
  • himilerhimiler Posts: 1,209
    Honda typically under-specs the brakes on its cars, but because your rotors warped so early, they were probably defective from the factory.

    As for the other stuff, if the dealer is treating you and your Prelude well and addressing all of your concerns to your satisfaction, I say stick with the 'lude.

    No car is perfect (including mine), but at least you've got a better shot at a having a car that lasts and perfoms over the long haul when you own a Honda.
  • grbeckgrbeck Posts: 2,361
    Good news - the "check engine" light is just an oxygen sensor. The dealer has to order the part; it should be in next week. The dealer also fixed the brakes (without machining the rotors); the vibration is gone. The car is MUCH nicer to drive. Now I feel as though I'm getting what I paid for when I bought the car.

    himiler: Yes, I was reminded of that last night when a friend of mine described the total failure of the air conditioning in her only 69,000 miles. She was quoted a repair bill of $1,600.
  • sphinx99sphinx99 Posts: 776
    What was wrong with the brakes?
  • shmangshmang Posts: 297
    Let me take a guess here:

    Actually, it was not the brake or roter, instead it is the tire/wheel that is not aligned properly. There are 2 ways to fix this: 1. get it aligned/replaced. 2. Rotate the wheel from front to back.
  • grbeckgrbeck Posts: 2,361
    sphinx99: The service manager told me over the phone that he replaced the pads. The service order, however, says the rotors were turned! I hope that wasn't what needed to be done.

    I worked late, so I didn't get the chance to talk to anyone when I picked up the car. After the 4th I left for vacation and didn't return until Sunday, so I'll ask him when I take the car in for the oxygen sensor replacement. Whatever he did, the brakes worked beautifully from Harrisburg to Ocean City, Maryland and back.
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 7,104
    good to see your car was in working order for your 4th of July trip. How was the car on the highway? Did you experience any fatigue while driving that distance?

    2001 Honda Prelude Type SH/ 2011 BMW 328xi / 2011 Honda Pilot EX-L w/ Navigation

  • sphinx99sphinx99 Posts: 776
    Well, I drove my base from Baltimore to Maine back in '99 or so, no fatigue although the back seat was sure littered with half eaten bags of pretzels.
  • kkl1kkl1 Posts: 16
    I would appreciate advice and opinions on my '98 Prelude SS with 38,600 miles. Today I took my Prelude to evaluate a potential oil leak--I have had a small wet spot in my garage for the past 4 months--and the Honda shop found that the bolt to the transmission fluid opening was not completely sealed and that the ATF was 1.5 quarts low. For one week prior to this, my transmission would sometimes rev high briefly when I accelerated hard in 3rd or 4th gear. I did not hear any grinding or other worrisome noises. The Honda tech refilled the ATF, tightened the bolt, and assured me that the transmission was not harmed by this. The SS transmission seems to run well, shift normally, and no longer revs briefly (as if hunting gears) when I accelerate hard. The Honda shop also did not charge for this service, even though my Prelude is out of warranty. I should also add that the ATF was changed a few months ago by another shop and that I suspect that shop did not tighten the transmission gasket bolt well.

    Is the technician correct, or should I anticipate that the SS transmission suffered some long-term damage?

    Thanks much for your insights.

  • jsh139jsh139 Posts: 42
    Yikes! 1.5 quarts low? My car only takes 1.8 quarts of tranny fluid! Granted, it's a totally different car, but 1.5 quarts seems like a lot.

    I would go back to the place that changed the tranny fluid and explain to them what happened. Maybe get them to sign something acknowledging the fact that they put the bolt back on wrong (yeh right, like that'll happen.) But, it's worth a shot.

  • himilerhimiler Posts: 1,209
    Since you didn't describe any shaking, burning odors or odd grinding noises when accelerating hard, I'm inclined to think that your tranny is no worse for wear.

    If the Honda tech had suspected any real trouble, I doubt that they would have wasted any time in trying to sell you a tranny service or partial rebuild, the charges for which the shop that left the drain plug loose would be responsible.

    As long as you're not currently noticing anything odd perfomance-wise, there's no need to worry.
  • grbeckgrbeck Posts: 2,361
    nyccarguy: The seats were problem with back strain or fatigue because of the seat. The car is nice on the highway, with a smooth, peppy engine. The suspension and steering track well, which, surprisingly enough, also really reduce fatigue. No need to make constant corrections.
  • shmangshmang Posts: 297
    I agree that the seat of Prelude is very comfortable. I remember in '99, I drove the Lude from Penn. all the way to Dallas (in 2 days) and I made 950 miles in a day, I drove 13 hrs and although the arm is pretty tired, but my back and butt are OK, no need to do any extensive stretch before I can run a 5K after that.
  • kciglovrkciglovr Posts: 1
    What is meant by a 4th or 5th generation Honda? My son has found a 90' Prelude LSi, 5 spd. that he wants to buy. It's his first car. Does anyone know anything in particular with this year?
  • pangapanga Posts: 23
    I am new to this list, and am amazed by the amount of useful information. It is very helpful ...

    I recently bought a used Prelude (97 base, 68K mi., black, 5-spd, leather, no spoiler) for $12.1K, in Los Angeles. This is in the same range as Edmunds/Kelly's (+-$200), but I wanted to see what people thought about the deal, I am not really sure how accurate the blue book values are.

    Over the last couple of weeks, I noticed that the moonroof seems to be rattle/shake when I open it, but this happens about1 out of 3-4 times. Has anyone else seen this, and is it something simple like a lube issue that I can fix? Also, the car rattles and makes some sounds when I go over speed bumps (only if I go somewhat fast, though), is this common?

    Overall, I love the car so far. Always wanted a prelude, great to finally have one!!
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