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Serious need of info/advice: 2000 Honda Prelude


WolfShade

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Hello, everyone.

 

I have recently purchased my first Prelude (I'm pretty stoked about it), and have some questions.

 

But, first: 2000 Honda Prelude, black/black, 140k miles. I don't think it's the original engine, because the engine has VTEC on it, but there are no VTEC badges on it. Yeah, someone could have removed it if it was there, but I don't see anything on the paint that would indicate that it ever had the VTEC badge. I could be wrong. I bought it from a dealership (one headache after another - for those in the St. Louis, MO, area, never go to West County Honda) and they didn't have much history other than the CarFax report (which I suspect.)

 

Now, to the brass tacks.

 

1. When I mentioned to a co-worker that I now own a 2000 Prelude, he said that he heard, somewhere, that you have to put high-octane/premium gas in the tank, or it won't run very well. I'm inclined to believe him, as for the first few days it ran like a champ, but now has suddenly developed idling issues. I have not, yet, been able to determine what causes it, but half the time when I downshift and come to a stop, the idle will drop to almost zero, as if it's going to die, then hover around 500 RPM (I think it's supposed to idle at 750?) for a minute before coming up to 750. Am I stuck buying premium gas for as long as I own this? Despite some hail damage, I really like this car! The A/C is ICE COLD, it looks great, and it has some zip to it.

 

2. Oil.. I'm pretty sure it's eating it, because it doesn't leave any marks on the driveway, but I'm losing about half a quart every 14 days. The same co-worker from #1 said that it might be burning oil "under load" (ie, anything over 60 mph, or high acceleration.) What could be causing this, and how much (ballpark) will it cost to fix it?

 

3. "Honda Feedback Acoustic System". I hate it. It sounds distorted, and there isn't much that can be done with the Bass-and-Treble-only controls. I would like to put a better stereo system in it, but don't want to upgrade the speakers if I don't have to. Thoughts?

 

4. Hydraulic clutch: how long should it take to get used to driving a car with a hydraulic clutch? I've been driving it since July 11, 2012, and still have some learning to do. Sometimes I get excellent acceleration (cops start staring at me), other times it feels like it's being starved of fuel. Possibly related to #1 idle issue?

 

5. Radiator temperature gauge - what is the normal operating temperature indication? Every other car I've ever owned, after 5 minutes or more of driving the needle usually hovers around 1/3 of the way up from cold. But this is almost at half. Has a previous owner (apparently one) replaced the thermostat with one that opens at a higher temperature? Or is almost halfway up from cold the norm? When I adjust the environment controls from cold to hot, you can almost cook a Porterhouse from what it coming out of the vents. (Okay.. that's a slight exaggeration.. but the air coming out of the vents is hotter than any other car I've had.)

 

6. Semi-related to #5: Electric radiator fans. I have owned a few Hondas in my lifetime, and all of them (except this one) will turn on the electric radiator fans a few seconds after I shut off the engine. This Prelude isn't doing that. I can come home from work, park in the garage, and return 3 hours later and the hood is almost as hot as it was when I first got home. This kind of worries me. Right now I am running the dash vents on heat (windows down) for the last 15 minutes of my to-work commute, and when I return home I have a box fan in front of the car that I turn on for an hour after I park. The fans do run when the engine is running, but I did have a bit of a scare a few days after I took possession of the car, sitting in bumper-to-bumper, hardly moving traffic, and the temp gauge hit 2/3 of the way up from cold - engine started bogging down (very little acceleration) until I turned on the interior heat.

 

I really did not want to write a novella for this, but as you can see, there is a lot on my mind. I really like this car, and want to take good care of it.

 

Thank you,

 

^_^

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I don't have time to go into all of your temp details yet but here are some of the others:

 

#0 Most preludes had a VTEC emblem on the rear trunk lid that was a sticker, not a physical logo. That sticker may have come off with age or the car was repainted and the sticker not replaced. It is somewhat doubtful that the engine would have been replaced with anything other then an original replacement. There just isn't a lot of options better then what it had to start with.

 

#1 Your prelude requires a premium fuel for correct operation. 89 should be a base, 91+ would be preferable.

 

#2 It is common for a VTEC equipped engine to burn a little bit of oil if you are consistently engaging it under hard acceleration. That is normal. When I owned my 00 Prelude (it was 4 years old and had 20k miles on it) I could burn up to half a quart over an oil change duration if I was exceptionally hard on it. Half a quart over two weeks is a lot.

 

#3 Replace the head unit and blow the stock speaker eventually. Then you can replace those at that time. The stereo and speakers are 12-13 years old after all.

 

#4 Sluggish response may be due to the fuel issue. Use the recommended fuel and then let me know how it's behaving.

 

#5 (more later) Before you start getting too deep on any part of this you might want to do a cooling system flush.

 

#6

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Hi, Xeryon.

 

Thank you for your input. I really appreciate it.

 

0. Before I purchased this Prelude, I was looking at a 96 delSol. The owner had removed the original factory engine and replaced it with a VTEC engine, so this has been on my mind. I'm pretty sure the paint on my Prelude is original, but yes, it could have been repainted and the sticker not re-applied. Is there an online resource where I can enter the VIN and see what engine originally was installed at the factory?

 

1. I'm on my third tank of 91 octane fuel. I _was_ using 87 from Sam's Club, but the engine started rattling. I have since switched to Costco 91 octane.

 

2. If it was half a quart during an oil change period, I wouldn't worry about it. But half a quart in two weeks makes me nervous. What do you think could contribute to the increased loss?

 

3. I like it! :)

 

4. How many tanks of 91 octane should it take to even out?

 

5. Next paycheck, I'll schedule an appointment with my mechanic.

 

Thanks, again.

 

^_^

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What is the miles on this bad boy? You might want to budget in spark plugs, wires, distributor cap and rotor. They may be the cause of your falter as well.

 

You should have an H22A4, that number will be stamped on the block: when standing at the front bumper look to the left side of the engine just below the valve cover and head. There will be a small flat plate facing upwards with the numbers stamped in the metal. You might have to clean it off.

Edited by Xeryon
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