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J1000 New Reader
6/16/18 3:35 p.m.

Bummer all that work and then in the end it doesn't work. I've been there. Never had any kind of paint stick to my headers. I either use a heatshield or wrap now.

FunkyCricket New Reader
6/18/18 9:28 a.m.

Damn clean oven. 

malibuguy Reader
6/21/18 7:30 p.m.

are they SS?  Paint has a hard time sticking to SS

Run_Away HalfDork
6/22/18 10:36 p.m.

In reply to FunkyCricket

Funny you say that, it's a new-to-us hand me down from the in-laws. Baking the header was the first time I've used it.


In reply to malibuguy :

Pretty sure they are just mild steel with a factory ceramic coating that has started to fail.



Last weekend I scored some shocks with Ground Control sleeves off a CRX for $50. I was too excited by the deal and didn't realize they use a set screw instead of the pinch bolt setup my other ones have.

I think they're pretty old. One spring is broken, they're all too rusty to read the part#/spring rates, but I know at least one isn't seized. Still very worth the $50.

I put my two other sleeves into a jug with a full can of penetrating fluid in it and let them sit for a couple days.


Today I was able to get the last two sleeves apart undamaged. A T30 torx bit smashed into the allen head did the trick after the fluid soak. 3/4 apart without damage ain't bad, worst case I use one of the set screw style perches from the $50 set.



I also finished sanding the interior a second time. My garage has terrible lighting so I've been mainly using a headlamp.


Painted. Wish I had used a finer grit paper between the coats, the marks are a little visible still. It'll all be covered up though.


Dash pad in, ebrake in, fuel and brake lines all clipped into place and grommets re-installed. Wrestled the sunroof into place by myself. Started to lay out the wiring.


Super busy weekend with work and a dinner tomorrow, and a double header auto-x event all day Sunday. Canada day weekend is next, hope to roll it outside and make some real progress with the shell then.

We also got a new family member this week providing plenty of distraction from making progress.

Run_Away HalfDork
7/3/18 10:26 p.m.

Did some more red over spray removal on the washer tank and the vacuum reservoir for the cruise. Both live behind the bumper, but I can't leave them like that. Still not sure I'm keeping cruise.


Also painted some more bits.



Injectors installed. They're so pretty, shame they're not more visible.


Bought a crimp tool and did my first terminal ends for the new injectors. Turned out pretty good I think. I've started de-pining and sleeving the engine harness to match.


Started hanging the dash harness


I have 5 sets of pedals, and not one good pedal pad. A bunch of the pedals are bent too (including the originals - bottom left), it's pretty odd. I considered taking one apart and painting it up but said screw it and tossed them in. Rather than buy new pedal pads or cheesy aftermarket covers, I've ordered some skateboard grip tape off Amazon. See how that holds up.


The dash bar got painted and installed, the harness routed a little more, the steering column put in, and the heater box installed. I'm going to put new foam tape on that plus the blower box. The blower box isn't in yet, I want to clean it out a little better since it had mouse nest in it a couple years ago and I've got better access now.


I also have to figure out how I'm going to build a duct between the two since I'm not running A/C. The factory A/C is kind of modular and fits in between the blower and heater box. I never saved any non-AC bits from when I parted these cars out, and they're no longer available new. Might rig something up with coroplast and duct tape for now. Suggestions for a permanent solution? Fiberglass?



I also need to start paring down these harnesses that go from the dash harness up to the headlights on each side. They've got a ton of red overspray on them too.

MazdaFace Dork
7/6/18 7:57 a.m.

Awesome progress so far! Even in the shape they are in, $50 seems like a good deal for those coilovers. good find

BA5 Reader
7/18/18 2:28 p.m.

I used grip tape on mine.  It worked quite well and I am very happy with it.

Run_Away HalfDork
8/12/18 7:12 p.m.

Hokay, so. Updates.

Took your guy's advice and put some degreaser and a hand full of screws, shook them around for a bit. Coolant overflow now sludge free!


Weak original keyhole LED


New white LED with more powar!


Looped some unused coolant nipples on the hard pipe. What say you, is fuel line okay for coolant? I get both answers from Google.


July 28th I was done sleeving the engine harness, loaded it up and brought the engine home


In it goes. I was able to sneak it in without scratches thanks to some well placed cardboard.  Fitment is really tight on these, Civics are much easier.


July 29th replaced the front brake hoses, installed axles, and since I couldn't wait I tossed on the front suspension and wheels.


Run_Away HalfDork
8/12/18 7:30 p.m.

Disassembled and painted the headlight motors. The brushes were pretty low on one, but I didn't remember to mark it. They needed paint as the passenger side one was pretty gross from the battery acid that ate everything in the RF corner from it's accident.

Aug 4th replaced rear brake hoses, installed rear lowering suspension and wheels. GF helped bleed all four corners and the clutch.
The radiator is pretty gross but doesn't leak and kept the car cool so it just got a rinse and a coat of rust paint. Waffling between replacing it with an oem Denso from Rock Auto, or the chinese ebay aluminum rad. The ebay rad has the lower temp sender at an angle that makes it impossible to use apparently, but my ECU has the capability of fan control. Also new heater core hose and upper rad hose.


Aug 5th got the front chassis harnesses wrapped up and installed. Only from under-dash to about center of front wheels, the forward light harness I still have to revisit. Fuel lines all hooked up, all power steering lines installed and filled, wiring all connected, new coolant hose almost everywhere. Filled it with fluids, only to get this.
Leaking from hard pipe o-ring going into the back of the water pump.
Decided to continue forward and plug the ecu in and turn the key. Promptly smoked something in the ECU.

Turns out it's transistor Q31 for the purge valve circuit.  I de-pined the purge wire at the ECU, loaded a tune and started it up 10pm with open header. I was angry and frustrated, really pissed with myself.


Aug 6th long weekend Monday I hit reset and made myself slow down. The smoked transistor is a pretty common thing on swappped Civics apparently when people mix up the IAT and purge valve connectors. Luckily it doesn't affect operation (or even throw a code) and can be fixed pretty cheap if you send it out, or for under $5 if you DIY. There are how-to's on Youtube. In my rush I had taped up the un-used pins inside the RF fender harness without insulating them and fed 12v directly to the purge control wire. I am not a smart man.

Spent 3.5 hrs extracting the coolant hard pipe from the back of the block, replacing the O-ring with new OEM, adjusting the positioning tab, and making damn sure it went it without rolling or pinching. The old o-ring looked fine, I'm not 100% sure what happened. I took off the intake manifold support braces to get to it, and have left them off. Not sure if they're really needed. Anybody have any experience with them causing issues?

Finished the day by quickly wiring up the front turn/marker and fog/drl lights for the '88-'89 front end conversion so I could drive it to work to get the exhaust welded up.

Run_Away HalfDork
8/12/18 9:49 p.m.

Aug 7th was the maiden voyage.

I scavenged a crusty flange from my parts shed so I could join the DC header to the factory exhaust rather than weld it all together. Someone had repaired it once before and it was pretty bad.

Even though this is a temporary exhaust I had to fix it up a bit

Downpipe now bolts on. Added a second O2 bung for the wideband. My ECU is running a Moates Demon module with Neptune software. I did a simple mod to the ECU when I was using it in my it was my Civic many years ago that allows me to use the full 5V wideband signal for closed loop correction on one of the unused input pins, but I'm not sure if the ECU would be able to take advantage of the more accurate data. It may work better if fed a switching 0-1V like it was originally designed...does that make sense? I'll have to do some research.

The fresh air inlet under the cowl had some plastic mesh the mice went right through when the car was sitting. I made a mouse proof version with a spare stainless grille insert from a truck. Free upgrades FTW.

Aug 8th, 9th, and 10th I sorted all my weatherstripping, removed overspray, replaced broken clips, applied Shin-etsu grease, and installed. S2000 guys swear by this stuff to keep the softtop seals nice. Hopefully it does something for my 27 year old rubber.

Also spent hours cleaning my own overspray from around the sunroof opening. Never again am I being lazy with the masking. An once prevention of is worth a pound of cure is berkeleying right.
The morning of the 10th the car went it to have it's government required immobilizer replaced under recall. I also got them to relocate one of the cuts they had previously done underhood to inside as I welded up the hole they had previously drilled in the firewall.
Door glass, door trims, cowl trims, windshield trims, and hood washer bar were also installed.

Still need to clean up the harness in the passenger rear corner. I'm running a civic MAP sensor ziptied in place by the fuel filter for now.


Run_Away HalfDork
8/12/18 10:01 p.m.

Aug 11th I brought the car to work and mounted the rear bumper properly instead of with painters tape. Also installed the fresh air vents.

I can't believe the little M5x0.8 screws for the neat contraption used to mount the leading edges of the rear bump all came out without stripping. Southern cars are amazing!

New license plate light lenses. They're very cheap from Honda.

Done for the day. Stopped at Canadian Tire to get some detailing supplies.

The big push to get it looking/driving is because the shop that painted the car is a sponsor at a car show a little out of town today (Aug 12th). This is the first car show I've been in. I had no idea what to expect. It was huge, there were over 350 cars. It was also brutally hot.

Apparently last year there were close to 700 cars. My spot for the day.

I think there were 3 Hondas there. Lots of cool hot rods and muscle cars though.

I'm just going to put a bunch of these here, because I can't stop looking at my car. Love the way it looks.

The colour is so cool! At the end of the show I drove down closer to the water to take a couple shots.

So the big push is over, I'm going to take it a bit easier now and finish all the loose ends I rushed past in the last week. Also get started on putting the interior back in.

AngryCorvair MegaDork
8/13/18 6:58 a.m.

I worked at a Honda dealer when this generation Prelude came out.  Haven't seen one this clean since they were new.  Beautiful car, man!  You've done a fantastic job so far.

Gunchsta Reader
8/13/18 8:03 a.m.

Man oh man that's a pretty car. 


Love to see that some of these are getting restored now - I come from an ilk that kinda blew off the 90's cars as worthless (my dad is way more into hotrods/muscle cars) but there is some seriously neat stuff that is worth saving. Four wheel steering on a prelude definitely falls into that category. 


Keep up the good work! 

MazdaFace Dork
8/13/18 10:20 a.m.

Absolutely stunning work. Love following this and glad to see it running! It looks amazing?

wheelsmithy SuperDork
8/13/18 2:19 p.m.


Run_Away HalfDork
8/24/18 10:38 a.m.

Not too much done in the last couple weeks.
Put the B21 from the now-blue car into the parts car. ALB sure makes that a pain with the reduced clearance. It has a bouncy idle now, but I don't care because it just has to make it 10 minutes home where it'll sit indefinitely. Still going to grab the interior from it.

New foam on the blower and heater box.

And made a replacement for this

that looks like this

and fits like this

I need a more permanent solution. I was maybe thinking sheets of ABS plastic, but I can't think of a way to join the corners that I'd be happy with short of learning to plastic weld. Seems like a lot of work.
My other thought it fiberglass?

Anyone have a better idea?

Dusterbd13 MegaDork
8/24/18 11:14 a.m.

I usually just take the evaporator out, and plug the extra holes with aluminium flashing. Essentially turning it into a duct made from the factory plastic. 

FooBag Reader
8/24/18 11:31 a.m.
Run_Away said:

Looped some unused coolant nipples on the hard pipe. What say you, is fuel line okay for coolant? I get both answers from Google.

Notice the NBR on the line?  That stands for the elastomer nitrile.  While it is rated excellent for propylene glycol, it's temp limited to 210 deg F, which I would consider marginal for coolant.  Standard coolant hoses are EPDM, which is rated to 250F.

Love the color you painted the car!  It's very sharp.

Run_Away HalfDork
8/24/18 11:40 a.m.

Yeah that's an option. The box is massive though, and I don't have a spare should I cut it up. If I had a spare I'd definitely cut it up.

I've bought a remote start/alarm combo that I'm going to be installing, and the extra space under the dash would be nice.


Also toying with getting fancy with lighting.


Maybe that, or maybe a junkyard BCM hooked up just to the lock and lighting circuit. The above module doesn't have the ability to turn on the lights when ignition is shut off or the doors unlocked remotely. Would be pretty cool.

Maybe some LED strips in the footwells, or puddle lights on the underside of the mirrors.


I digress. I'd like the extra space if possible so it's not so cluttered underneath.

Run_Away HalfDork
8/24/18 11:44 a.m.
FooBag said:
Run_Away said:

Looped some unused coolant nipples on the hard pipe. What say you, is fuel line okay for coolant? I get both answers from Google.

Notice the NBR on the line?  That stands for the elastomer nitrile.  While it is rated excellent for propylene glycol, it's temp limited to 210 deg F, which I would consider marginal for coolant.  Standard coolant hoses are EPDM, which is rated to 250F.

Love the color you painted the car!  It's very sharp.

Excellent, thank you! I'll have to pick up some proper stuff. Good thing the intake manifold support braces are still off.

java230 UltraDork
8/24/18 1:00 p.m.

This is amazing! I really like to look of those little cars.  Way to bring this one back to perfection.

wawazat Reader
8/24/18 4:14 p.m.

Your Prelude looks great and I love the color with the dark wheels!

84FSP SuperDork
8/24/18 7:16 p.m.

Looking great - how is the interior coming?

mikedd969 New Reader
8/25/18 3:54 p.m.

I'm loving this thread!!

First, let me compliment you on your workmanship, first rate.  I enjoy the obvious love and passion you have for these cars, it makes me happy. smiley It's one of the things I love about this community.  We all love the cars we love for our own reasons, there is no right or wrong, good or bad.  That's awesome.


I've always had a particular soft spot in my heart for these Preludes, ever since they came out.  Way back in 1990 I came so very close to buying one of these brand-new.  I'd just finished up my first enlistment in the Navy, and was returning to the U.S. from a tour in Sicily.  I had a pocket full of reenlistment bonus cash in my pocket and needed a vehicle, having left my beloved but ratty 78 Porsche 911 behind because it didn't meet DOT specs, crying and because even though I did love that car, it was pretty rough. cheeky The only question was, car or truck?  It came down to a Honda Prelude 2.0Si 4WS (A friend had one and I knew I loved the car) or a 1990 Nissan pickup.  My heart said buy the Prelude, but......  I had enough cash to walk out of the Nissan dealer with a brand new truck, fully paid for, with cash left over.  If I bought the Honda, I'd be making sizable payments.  I went back and forth, really struggling with the decision, but in the end, the lack of car payments won out and I bought the truck.  For me at the time, it was the practical choice.  I'd be moving around the country for the next few years, hauling all my (admittedly small) worldly possessions from  one duty station to the next, and also, I was headed for sea duty and whatever I bought would spend long months in uncovered long-term outdoor storage lots.  I made the right choice for me at the time, and that little truck remains one of the very best vehicles I have ever owned.  Almost 200K completely trouble-free miles in 5 years, despite the terrible abuse I heaped upon the poor little thing.  It still ran like a top when I finally sold it 5 years later.

Still, to this day, I always get a little nostalgic whenever I see a 3rd gen Prelude on the road, particularly an Si 4WS.  It doesn't happen very often, particularly here on the Alabama Gulf Coast, but I just spent most of the summer in San Jose CA, and, while still not plentiful, I did see quite a few examples out there, some in amazing condition.

Thanks for the trip down memory lane!!!

Run_Away Dork
9/22/18 4:42 p.m.

Installed a remote start with alarm kit, found and installed all the HVAC ducting, replaced some old foam and tossed the dash back into place.


Gave it a quick toe adjustment as it was severely toe'd in after lowering. Once my work gets an alignment rack I'll get a locking tool to center the rear steering rack and give it a proper alignment.


Swapped out the stock sway bars and end links.

Front bar is a Whiteline unit, end links, rear sway bar, and shock tower bar are all from MustardCat on the Prelude forums.


I did have to notch the muffler support to fit, but that's okay.


The stock muffler has some loose baffles inside and sounds like ass. I scored big at the junkyard and found this Vibrant 2.5" polished twin tip muffler, which is pretty much exactly what I wanted and pretty much the same muffler I put on the V6 Sentra, except polished. I paid $15!!


Finished wrapping up the wiring underhood one evening.


Bought a small battery on eBay that was highly recommended on another forum. Only $35, it's much smaller than I expected.


Only tests at 194 CCA, not sure if it's going to work for me.


Finally wired up the wideband input to the ECU. I'm hooked into the unused ELD pin and the car can run closed loop on a 0-5v input instead of the stock narrowband signal.


Also hooked up the TunerViewII display.


Unfortunately I plugged my laptop into the ECU yesterday and seemed to have bricked the Moates Demon unit so the car basically doesn't run anymore. Waiting for a reply before I send it in and get it fixed up. But it might be storage time for the car by the time that happens.


Did make it out to a car meet a couple weeks ago.



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