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Honda Prelude 1997-2002

Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 58,504
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


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  • 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 NYPosts: 1,140
    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! :-)
    '99 Integra GSR
    '06 Civic LX coupe
    '11 BMW 335i coupe xDrive
    '13 Honda Accord sedan (wife's 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 NYPosts: 1,140
    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.
    '99 Integra GSR
    '06 Civic LX coupe
    '11 BMW 335i coupe xDrive
    '13 Honda Accord sedan (wife's car)
  • 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 NYPosts: 1,140
    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.
    '99 Integra GSR
    '06 Civic LX coupe
    '11 BMW 335i coupe xDrive
    '13 Honda Accord sedan (wife's car)
  • 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.
  • Sorry to be a little of the subject guys. I bought a 97' Prelude 5-spd in the summer.
    (still kinda an amateur at driving a manual)
    I'm on the highway for about 5 minutes on my daily commute to school. But I have noticed that in fifth gear at:
    70 mph the engine runs at 3500rpm
    80 mph 4000rpm
    Aren't those engine speeds sorta high or is it just my car?
    Just wonderin' but during normal driving at what rpms do most of you shift up? I shift between
    2800 to 3000.(any advice)
  • I have a '98 and the weakest point is the automatic transmission which is unspeakably bad. Compared to my '95 BMW, the transition is painful when I switch cars.

    Also, sound system (like most Hondas) is total garbage with absolutely no image.

    As far as reliability, it is unmatched. This is my fifth Honda (2 Civics, 2 Preludes, 1 Honda) and all have been wonderful to own.
  • canadianclcanadiancl Posts: 1,078
    Those engine speeds sound right. The Lude's got pretty short gearing, so the rpm's at any speed will be fairly high. In regards to your shift points, I think if you shifted at 2800 - 3000 rpm, you'd find that the car doesn't seem all that powerful. That engine doesn't really wake up until you've hit about 4000 rpm.
  • asethiasethi Posts: 76
    >I have noticed that in fifth gear at:
    >70 mph the engine runs at 3500rpm
    >80 mph 4000rpm

    This is how this baby is designed to run, so don't worry about it.

    >during normal driving at what rpms do most of >you shift up? I shift between 2800 to 3000.(any
    I shift around 4000 during normal driving - definitely not below 3500! Everybody has their own preferences, but I wouldn't recommend going any lower than 3K for sure.

    Have fun!
  • jk111jk111 Posts: 125
    shift at 7000! :D
  • During normal driving, I shift at around 5000.

    During "spirited" driving, I shift at redline.
  • asethiasethi Posts: 76
    Okay guys, I have a confession to make. I'm not having fun driving my 98 base any more. :-( Here's why, would appreciate any advice.

    a)- SHIFTING. My major problem is shifting and I've driven sticks all my life so I'm not new to this. It's like everyday is my first day driving a stick - I almost stall sometimes. I don't know what's going wrong, I've tried all possible seat adjustments. The car is in a good shape and regularly maintained. Since there are days when I can just drive with no trouble, I'm assuming that it's me and not the car. So, I'd like some feedback from you guys. Is anyone having this kind of problem? Do you push the gas pedal down or back with your foot?

    b)- HANDLING. Doesn't seem to be that precise anymore. My major concern is while accellerating (not fast, just everyday driving) or turning on uneven/bumpy roads. The tires just seem to loose traction all together - they're almost new Toyo Proxies T1-Ss and sure are MUCH better than stock tires.

    Please help me!!! I want to get a better idea of what's going wrong before I waste my time at the dealership (car is under warranty). I know from my past experience with honda service that they won't do anything about it - car still burns oil and would occasionally refuse to shift. I don't really want to sell the car, specially now that I've spent a great deal of money on stereo updgades.

    Thank you all.
  • Lets take one problem at a time...Shifting-you say shifting but only refer to stalling as the problem. (1 Our hyd. clucth gives very little feedback or feel of resistance when you start letting it out. I have stalled due to this myself. Try to pay more attention to moving your foot slowly to engagement point. (2 I had difficult shifting during a trip in the mountain passes near Tahoe, 12k mi on car. Changed my MTF when I got home, it was way black, new was amber. Now will be changed at every 10k mi. How many miles has it been since your MTF was changed? Doug
  • Does anyone know about the 1994 Lude ? it's a G4, i think. I haven't seen any post about it yet.

    Actually i am considering buying one after i spot it at a parking lot waiting for sell. My old integra just got totaled. Lude is very few in town. A friend of mine owns a 1997 one, which looks more like an Accord coupe. The 1994 looks rather sporty.
  • only1harryonly1harry NYPosts: 1,140
    Asethi: Oh no, these are the tires that loose traction all of a sudden and slide and have killed and injured many people. They 're very unpredictable and many say there are engineering and design flaws with this tires.
    Also, it may be that you have the tires way over inflated or underinflated? Did you get a bigger diameter tire or wider lower profile tires? Don't know how much mileage you have on the Prelude, but the shocks can get worn out quickly or as soon as 20k mi. or so and you 'll feel the ride deteriorating or become more bumpy. It could also very well be that it needs a good wheel alignment. Suspension components and the car constantly settle and move. Signs of that is inprecise handling, instability on the highway and when going over bumps and constantly correcting the steering and direction of the car.
    I get a wheel alignment every 6mos. You should not be burning any oil or very slight amount if any. My '97 Civic with 115k mi. doesn't burn a drop of oil. My GSR with 21k mi. the same. How many miles are on your Prelude?
    '99 Integra GSR
    '06 Civic LX coupe
    '11 BMW 335i coupe xDrive
    '13 Honda Accord sedan (wife's car)
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