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1981 Prelude advice

 
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Old 07-21-2010, 11:56 PM
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1981 Prelude advice

Hello all!

So I am looking at buying a 1981 Prelude and wanted to make sure there was not anything too special I should check for when I look at it. From the pictures I have seen it looks decent without major body damage and most all functional parts. It needs a new head gasket which is why it is supposedly being sold, not a problem since I am a mechanic by trade . Besides that it is suppose to be in good working order.

My question is if there is anything "special" that has a tendency to wear out on them that I should pay special attention to. Suspension? How about frame and body, any place unique that tends to rust out first? Also, how bad is it to find original parts? I know they share a lot with the Accord so it should be easier... right?

Anyway, $400 takes her away... seems like a decent little deal to me!

Thanks in advance,
-Vincent
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Old 07-22-2010, 09:09 AM
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Re: 1981 Prelude advice

If the car's not completely trashed, I would jump on it for $400. I paid $800 for a fair one 2 years ago. Other than normal wear items, the only thing you'll probably have to do is work on the carb, which you will never get correct no matter how hard you try. Someone used to make adapter plates for a few other carbs but they're impossible to find
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Old 07-22-2010, 11:16 AM
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Re: 1981 Prelude advice

Yea, I am aware of the carb issues and use to it, I use to own an '83 Mitsubishi Might Max that was the same way. I did some more hunting around through other threads last night and feel like I have a pretty good idea of any problem areas, there is a lot of info on here!

Hopefully it will work out and I can start a rebuild thread here soon...
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Old 07-22-2010, 07:12 PM
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Re: 1981 Prelude advice

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Originally Posted by vg55 View Post
My question is if there is anything "special" that has a tendency to wear out on them that I should pay special attention to. Suspension?
Yes, suspension. The '81 cars had a safety recall for corrosion of the lower spring perch on both front and rear strut assemblies. NHTSA ID 84V086000. Shouldn't be a problem if the car's had the struts replaced, but it's worth checking, and check the rest of the lower suspension as well. The problem was due to inadequate corrosion protection and exposure to road salt, so if it's from a warm climate or it's been well cared for -- regularly washed during the winter -- it should be in good shape.

Just from observation, the metallic paint on 1st and 2d gen cars is prone to breaking down and allowing surface rust after 10 years or so, so if there's not surface rust now, expect it in the future.
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Old 07-22-2010, 07:31 PM
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Re: 1981 Prelude advice

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Yes, suspension. The '81 cars had a safety recall for corrosion of the lower spring perch on both front and rear strut assemblies. NHTSA ID 84V086000. Shouldn't be a problem if the car's had the struts replaced, but it's worth checking, and check the rest of the lower suspension as well. The problem was due to inadequate corrosion protection and exposure to road salt, so if it's from a warm climate or it's been well cared for -- regularly washed during the winter -- it should be in good shape.

Just from observation, the metallic paint on 1st and 2d gen cars is prone to breaking down and allowing surface rust after 10 years or so, so if there's not surface rust now, expect it in the future.
Thanks, that is very helpful!

So I just got back from looking at it and overall it was about as good as I expected. When the head gasket blew it covered the engine in oil and since it has now been sitting for a few months it is pretty dirty. Someone has played with the electrical system and so that concerns me a little but I am pretty good with that stuff. It looks like it had the undercarriage sprayed with some kind of protective coating when it left the factory and so there is very little rust on the lower section (thank god). There are a few surface rust areas here and there but nothing too deep to grind out. The battery will need replacing since it is a sealed type and has been sitting dead for a while.

Someone tried to break into the driver side door at some point and they bent the metal back around the handle a little. The handle still works and is secure in its bracket though, so really not an issue. Amazingly, all the glass is good and the interior is not that bad. It even still has a decent spare tire, jack, and tool kit in the trunk!

I think I am going to do it, especially if I can haggle the seller down some more
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Old 07-22-2010, 09:04 PM
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Re: 1981 Prelude advice

there is a honda carb genius that lives in my town.

... I need to find a first gen
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Old 07-23-2010, 07:25 PM
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Re: 1981 Prelude advice

Well I bought it!

Picking it up this weekend and already have the head gaskets on order. Thanks for the help, I will keep you posted!
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Old 07-23-2010, 09:50 PM
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Re: 1981 Prelude advice

pictures asap. congrats!
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Old 07-24-2010, 01:11 AM
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Re: 1981 Prelude advice

I will start a rebuild thread once I get her home and get things started. This is what she looks like though...

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Old 07-24-2010, 11:05 AM
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Re: 1981 Prelude advice

WANT!!!!!!!
That is in great condition.
CVCC carbs are a bit finicky
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Old 07-24-2010, 01:21 PM
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Re: 1981 Prelude advice

As close as you are to Canada you should be able to get your hands on an EL head so you can ditch that CVCC
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Old 07-24-2010, 01:37 PM
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Re: 1981 Prelude advice

that car is beautiful. MOAR pics!
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Reading this thread was like watching pulp fiction the first time...

Cool quote Utopia.
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Old 07-25-2010, 09:55 PM
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Re: 1981 Prelude advice

Well I have her home and am in the beginning stages of it all and wont really get into the fun stuff for another week or two. I decided to just create a blog for it all instead of trying to keep threads updated on multiple sites.

1981 Honda Prelude Restoration

Check it out

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