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1990 Honda Prelude vibration

 
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Old 10-07-2012, 03:18 PM
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1990 Honda Prelude vibration

I bought my teenage his first car, a 1990 Prelude with 140K on it. Car seems sound, was a daily driver for the previous owner the last 3 years. It does have a small oil leak which bother me, but I think it's the oil pan plug, at least it's in that general vicinity. It's worse after we drive it, but as the oil cools or the car stands the leak is much less. It isn't leaking a lot, but enough that it bothers me.

Also, the more important issue is after driving it daily (maybe 20 miles) for a week, it had a weird vibration today. Not continual, very intermittent. It almost felt like we were driving over bumps for about 5 seconds. It wasn't during acceleration, just while we were at a constant speed around 45 miles per hour. Any ideas what this might be? I'm sick that I made a mistake buying this car. We didn't have a lot to spend, the history was good, car is clean, ... but I surely can't afford to replace a transmission or engine (if the leak isn't the oil pan). I have a good friend who is pretty handy with cars who can help with some DIY stuff. He is going to do a good once over soon, but I would like to give him a heads up as well.

Thanks so much and I'm thrilled I found this forum!
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Old 10-07-2012, 11:32 PM
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Re: 1990 Honda Prelude vibration

possibly a strut as for the leak wipe the oil away and see if you can see where its running from the valve cover gasket might be pinched. or the oil drain plug might need a new washer.
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Old 10-07-2012, 11:47 PM
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Re: 1990 Honda Prelude vibration

Truthfully, I wouldn't worry about the oil leak too much...you do need to find and fix it, but it's probably something relatively cheap to fix -- if not the oil pan plug, then the gasket between the oil pan and the engine block or a cam seal near the top of the engine, or the valve cover gasket.

The vibration may or may not be in the same class. Could be as simple as bad tire or an unbalanced or bent wheel -- change the wheels to different positions and see if the vibration changes. If it stays on the same corner, it could be alignment (again, easy to fix) dying wheel bearing or constant velocity joint (more serious)...but start by checking the tires and wheels, especially if it's speed dependent.
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Old 10-08-2012, 12:29 PM
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Re: 1990 Honda Prelude vibration

Thanks for the advice. The vibration really surprised me yesterday. The gentleman I bought the car from had just rotated the tires himself so maybe there is an issue with that. I will start with an oil change and tire rotation (the oil change so I have a starting point for future oil changes) and go from there. The motor runs so strong, no smoke at all from the exhaust, etc. I think it will be a great car for my son, and he absolutely loves it! It's tough to find a car on a budget that Mom will like as well as her son.

My friend who knows cars fairly well mentioned the seal for the plug. He said most people who aren't Honda aficionados (sp?) wouldn't know about this. I bet it's never been changed. He did mention to change it every oil change. Does that make sense? I am typically one who changes the oil every 3-4k, with a tire rotation every other. I was thinking maybe the plug could be changed on the every other schedule as well. Any thoughts?

Last edited by aliza1999; 10-08-2012 at 12:33 PM.
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Old 10-08-2012, 03:20 PM
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Re: 1990 Honda Prelude vibration

The oil plug washer isn't a seal like a gasket -- it's an aluminum crush washer that allows the oil plug to be tightened down without damaging the pan. You can get away with changing it every other time, but they're cheap (I get 'em about 20 at a time -- two Hondas and the Miata need them), if not at your dealer, then in the speciality hardware department of some Lowe's or Home Depot stores. You can also find them in auto parts stores, but they're expensive there.
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Old 10-08-2012, 03:30 PM
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Re: 1990 Honda Prelude vibration

You don't have to replace it that often. I've had my Si for 5 years now. Many oil changes over those years of course. Other than the first time I changed oil, I've never changed that crush washer. And it doesn't leak. I do inspect it for damage each oil change, but so far I haven't had any problems with it. It won't hurt to replace it but it's overkill in my opinion. However, if it does leak from the drain bolt then you'll definitely want to replace it.
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Old 06-20-2013, 12:01 PM
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Re: 1990 Honda Prelude vibration

Sorry for asking after all this time, but, what happened with that vibration while driving at a constant speed? I have just bought 91 prelude A/T, and I have exactly the same issue with it, vibration stops if I slow down, or speed up, but at a constant speed it just shivers for 5-10 seconds.
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Old 06-20-2013, 12:18 PM
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Re: 1990 Honda Prelude vibration

I was told the vibration is because of bad motor mounts. They need to be replaced, but are low priority. The car does need new struts and brakes so we will fix them next. Had a new oil pan installed and no more leak. New tires, new cv joints. Most of the repairs are because of age, so we knew what we were getting into when buying a 20+ year old car. But it cranks every time we start it and hasn't left us stranded. My 16 year old loves his "retro" car!!
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Old 06-20-2013, 11:04 PM
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Re: 1990 Honda Prelude vibration

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Originally Posted by aliza1999 View Post
I was told the vibration is because of bad motor mounts. They need to be replaced, but are low priority. The car does need new struts and brakes so we will fix them next. Had a new oil pan installed and no more leak. New tires, new cv joints. Most of the repairs are because of age, so we knew what we were getting into when buying a 20+ year old car. But it cranks every time we start it and hasn't left us stranded. My 16 year old loves his "retro" car!!
If you do not change out those motor mounts, you are going to damage those axles due to the engine moving too much in the engine bay, as well as other parts that are not suppose to move that much with proper engine mounts.
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Old 06-20-2013, 11:16 PM
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Re: 1990 Honda Prelude vibration

When the engine does vibrate,..... Does the steering wheel shake from left to right real quick? That's a tire balance problem. If not, Might be your motor mounts. The front mount is almost gone on most honda's I've seen but the rear mount is important for acceleration. Try to rock the engine by hand forwards and backwards before you start it next.You can see the front mount but the rear is a lttle tricky to see.
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Old 03-16-2016, 11:21 AM
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Re: 1990 Honda Prelude vibration

Ok. Previous problem with vibration at constant speed and load was cleared with automatic transmission oil change. Now, 25000 miles later, different kind of vibration comes. Previous one was front and back rocking, this one goes up and down and left and right. It started three days ago. Vibrations can be felt on steering wheel, floor, shift stick. It started suddenly on freeway at 55mph on cruise control. It vibrates from 50 to infinity. It becomes stronger when I press gas pedal, and stops when I release it and the car slows down, then when the speed is constant it starts again. It also becomes stronger if I go uphill, and weaker or stops when downhill. And it's freeway, so uphills and downhills are minor at best. It also becomes little weaker if I floor it, but it is still there. Then when I release the pedal it stops when slowing down. The same happens when I floor it and then slip it into neutral. There are no vibrations when I hit the brakes at any intenzity or speed. At lower speeds there is a little feeling of vibrations but it just feels like these is sand on the road. Now, sometimes it just isn't there, but just for few minutes, and no apparent reason, but then it comes back again. The same happens in drive and sport with s4 on. I balanced the wheels last night, no difference what so ever. The only major thing that happened to car in last month is one of stabilizers, left one in the back, on the balance rod slipped of, so I was driving it without it for a month, I fixed it day before yesterday but it also, as the ballancing of the wheels, had no effect on vibrations.
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Old 07-05-2016, 01:39 PM
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Re: 1990 Honda Prelude vibration

Alot of times when Vibration it the inner can Axles are going bad....
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Old 07-07-2016, 11:01 PM
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Re: 1990 Honda Prelude vibration

Oh yeah, inner can axel. The right one. Stopped right when I changed it.
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