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Old 05-25-2013, 03:56 AM
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4th Gen Buying Help

I am considering buying a 4th gen and was wanting to know if there is anything in particular I should inquire/know about outside the basics. I am looking at 94-96 and found a 96 that I want to get more info on. I am also searching for one that is automatic so any info on common problems or years to avoid would be great.

Not trying to be rude but I hear enough crap about automatics so spare me. I just want to to know which year if any is the best or should be avoided and what common problems I should expect.
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Old 05-25-2013, 04:51 AM
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Re: 4th Gen Buying Help

Id stay away from autos and 4ws.... those bring you problems
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Old 05-25-2013, 05:10 AM
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Re: 4th Gen Buying Help

Has to be auto. Good to know about the 4ws. I hear only the mechanical one was ever worth a damn.

I like to think of my build as "If I was going to build the best auto Prelude what would it be". I know the 5 gen auto was total crap until 99 but I found a 96 auto for 1400 and the body looks clean. I would still have room in the budget to do a H22a4/auto swap. So even if it does go to hell I can replace it with something not as bad. I just don't know if the 96 auto had the same crap tranny that the 97 and 98's did.
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Old 05-25-2013, 05:27 AM
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Re: 4th Gen Buying Help

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Originally Posted by shaky View Post
Has to be auto.
no, learn to drive with normal transmission and your life gets much easier!

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Originally Posted by shaky View Post
I like to think of my build as "If I was going to build the best auto Prelude what would it be".
do have you enough money to get some company to design and make a custom auto tranny for you? I dont think that theres other way to make decent auto build...

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I know the 5 gen auto was total crap until 99
theyre crap after that as well
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Old 05-25-2013, 02:02 PM
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Re: 4th Gen Buying Help

It all depends what you want 92-96 quality wise are fairly close main difference is options on the interior and few exterior things. In my opinion 94-96 are the better in the interior part where as 92-93 have different style consoles etc. an auto is fine they aren't total junk if you want power just get 5 speed if you know later down you want more power just save a headache and get 5 speed. Autos are fine only if there is no real power added to the car ( basic upgrades are fine but I wouldn't reccomend seeing any numbers higher than 30 to 40 hp above stock just my opinion
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Old 05-25-2013, 02:20 PM
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Re: 4th Gen Buying Help

^ + auto is always slower than manual so IMO its just waste of money to build auto

NA 30-40hp is a lot, you need to build whole engine over again to see those numbers
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Old 05-25-2013, 06:28 PM
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Re: 4th Gen Buying Help

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^ + auto is always slower than manual so IMO its just waste of money to build auto
This is very wrong. I don't care how fast you think you are, you cannot out shift an automatic. With the right gear ratios and shift points, it will be faster on the track.

OP, I prefer the interior of the 94-96 as well. And i love my 4ws when it works. But.. its just one more thing that can go wrong.
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Old 05-25-2013, 06:52 PM
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Re: 4th Gen Buying Help

my auto is fine... was rebuilt 7k before i bought my prelude, now has 25k on it and still running strong. i want a manual though, because after i learned to drive stick i love it. its a lot more fun, and you are in better control of the car imo.

but manuals save you gas mileage at higher speeds, because of the 5th gear. so if you are a highway driver, then get a 5spd, you wont be at higher rpms constantly going 60+mph
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Old 05-25-2013, 07:40 PM
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Re: 4th Gen Buying Help

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Originally Posted by N8thegreat1 View Post
you cannot out shift an automatic.
exept if it cannot handle the power
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Old 05-25-2013, 08:33 PM
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Re: 4th Gen Buying Help

Make it able to handle the power. You don't throw a 200 horse rated clutch in a 600 horse car... lol
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Old 05-25-2013, 09:02 PM
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Re: 4th Gen Buying Help

Get the 96 if it's clean. You can go 5 speed later. The close ratio of some 5 speeds gives you more thrills per mile. But the accord type 5 speed and it's gearing similar to the auto in that it's not as thrilling. That's what came in my son's 93.
Now he had a 95 (rip) with a jdm H22 and an accord automatic. That was a sleeper/keeper. Plenty of get up n go without being hassled by a stick shift while daily driving in city traffic.
You'll not get as much mpg with auto, and the accord tranny has it's issues about 5-10% of the time.
(I'm studying auto for another 5g someday)

Bottom line is, it's your decision. It'll be your car and if you want auto there's no shame in that.
I have a 3g with auto and a 3g with stick. They're both fun to drive. The auto is a lot less hassle when I want to chill while cruising down the dirty boulevard but can hold it's own on the open country road. The stick, that's my ocd-mid-life-crisis-continues chapter 2 car. It's for show mostly.
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Old 05-26-2013, 10:55 AM
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Re: 4th Gen Buying Help

The build is for me to deliver pizza in.

I have nerve/muscle damage in my hip that makes it painful for me to shift 30+ hours a week.

I am only concerned with 0-60, stoplight to stoplight, and cornering aspects of the car performance.

MPG is a factor but I understand the balance between performance.

I was wanting to swap in a H22a4 and auto trans at a later date or find a clean shell and to do it in. Can you take the auto shifter "column" from the gen 5 and place it into a gen 4?
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Old 05-26-2013, 11:05 AM
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Re: 4th Gen Buying Help

you should really buy another car for work, maybe some cheap civic preludes aint best for that purpose
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Old 05-27-2013, 01:15 PM
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Re: 4th Gen Buying Help

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The build is for me to deliver pizza in.
For once, I'll agree w/ Type T. As a former pizza delivery driver (back when Dominos was really "30 minutes or free"...and I didn't give away free pizza!), I can't think of too many cars less suited for delivery than a 4th gen Prelude. Even if you're just using a thermal bag (forget about a hot box), the front seats won't hold the pizza level. Only the right back seat folds down, and pulling 16" pies out of the back without tilting them would be a pain. Honestly, you're better off with a big sedan or a hatchback.
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Old 05-28-2013, 09:39 AM
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Re: 4th Gen Buying Help

Just my 2 cents..

Not sure about where you are and your emission controls, but the 96 has an ODB2 engine, the 95 and earlier are ODB1, which are usually easier to pass emissions with and especially useful if you want to tune it. You can always get an ODB2 to ODB1 converter, but if you go in for emissions they will probably want to pull the ODB2 data so you would have to go back, not sure how much work that might be.

Other then that, check the rear quarter panels for rust, this is the first place where it creeps up, check on the inside for fiber glass/bondo to see if it was filled already.

If its a VTEC, take it for a drive and put it in VTEC, check every light on the dash...etc

Just some ideas.
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Old 06-02-2013, 02:16 AM
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Re: 4th Gen Buying Help

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For once, I'll agree w/ Type T. As a former pizza delivery driver (back when Dominos was really "30 minutes or free"...and I didn't give away free pizza!), I can't think of too many cars less suited for delivery than a 4th gen Prelude. Even if you're just using a thermal bag (forget about a hot box), the front seats won't hold the pizza level. Only the right back seat folds down, and pulling 16" pies out of the back without tilting them would be a pain. Honestly, you're better off with a big sedan or a hatchback.
Been delivering for 13 years. You should also know that holding a pizza level doesn't matter. The cheese holds everything together and you can flip them at an 80 and not know the difference. I am a small guy and I can get 6 pie order in and out of a 71 Super Beetle w/o missing a beat so a Lude will not be an issue.

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Now he had a 95 (rip) with a jdm H22 and an accord automatic. That was a sleeper/keeper. Plenty of get up n go without being hassled by a stick shift while daily driving in city traffic.
You'll not get as much mpg with auto, and the accord tranny has it's issues about 5-10% of the time.
(I'm studying auto for another 5g someday)
Tell me more about the 5 speed auto. That sounds like something I might want to tackle. Missed being able to offer on the 95 due to an e-mail glitch. Two days from him posting and me figuring out my email didn't go through and someone had already scooped it up.

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Just my 2 cents..

Not sure about where you are and your emission controls, but the 96 has an ODB2 engine, the 95 and earlier are ODB1, which are usually easier to pass emissions with and especially useful if you want to tune it. You can always get an ODB2 to ODB1 converter, but if you go in for emissions they will probably want to pull the ODB2 data so you would have to go back, not sure how much work that might be.

Other then that, check the rear quarter panels for rust, this is the first place where it creeps up, check on the inside for fiber glass/bondo to see if it was filled already.

If its a VTEC, take it for a drive and put it in VTEC, check every light on the dash...etc

Just some ideas.

Good info and I live in FL and don't have to worry about emissions. If that was the case my Mark 7 that I am driving now would be banned off the road in a heartbeat. Thinking about checking out a 99. Talked to the guy a few weeks ago and wasn't really that interested after hearing him. He dropped the price by 1000 today so now it is starting to look a little better. Its not as clean as I would like but if I can get a good deal on it I might just go 5th gen. A shame Honda made the 5th gens a little more standard looking.

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Old 06-02-2013, 02:47 AM
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Re: 4th Gen Buying Help

so what happens if you get an order for 25 pizzas and they won't fit in the lude


he dropped the price 1000? seems sketchy i bet it has a slipping trans
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Old 06-03-2013, 11:05 PM
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Re: 4th Gen Buying Help

25 may be a slight challenge./grin

Yeah he dropped it by another 200 I know he wants to get rid of it so he has more cash for a hatch he is working on. Never looked at it just because it didn't sound that great just from talking with the guy. Going to look at a 5th gen tomorrow that has 190k, clean carfax, and what appears to be clean in side and out. It is the black on black with clothe interior that I want. 1 owner (well second owner selling after nor wanting the car a month in) and has a ton of paper work. Carfax backs up some of the service claims. I am just uneasy about the situation. Guy just insured it and hasn't registered it yet. The title is signed by the 1st owner but blank on the purchaser. Car does show FL registration a couple months ago and carfax matches everything he said. Just bothers me when someone wants to sell a car they just purchased...
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Old 07-13-2013, 06:01 PM
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Re: 4th Gen Buying Help

Lol the guys called me 30 min before getting there to say he was going to keep the car.

Still searching...

Looked at a few but they have either been modded or wrecked and home repaired to hide the wreck. Found a 96 that was over heated but is a stick.

Would swapping from manual to automatic be same issue as far as mounts?
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Old 07-15-2013, 02:53 PM
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Re: 4th Gen Buying Help

Serious question about burning oil.

I know it isn't uncommon but how about on the h23a1 in a 96?

Owner said it burns oil but not enough to trip the light before oil changes. So that should be less than a quart every 3k or so? This seems acceptable to me and until I get a chance to see the car run/the vin its the only flag.

I read the some posts with similar usage and just wanted to see if anyone else had more input. There doesn't appear to be any signs at the rear to indicate that it is burning oil.
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Old 07-15-2013, 06:14 PM
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Re: 4th Gen Buying Help

Meet the guy somewhere... take someone with you. Chat with the guy, check the dipstick... should be full if he gives a hoot about the car and/or selling it. Smell it. You will probably smell some unburned gasoline. It's normal. If it's a real strong (wouldn't light a cig nearby) smell, that's not real good but not a deal breaker. Just a sign of a high mileage engine that needs rings and valve seals. Should start fairly quick. 10 seconds or less. Hopefully 2-3...
Take test drive. See if it shifts smooth. Have your partner stay behind and check where the car had been sitting for oil spots. Have them observe as you leave for test drive for smoke from the exhaust.
If what they say is true, any spot should be tiny. Certainly no bigger than a penny. Preferably pencil sized or less. And any smoke should be minimal and only at initial take off.

And if paying cash... do it in a busy place... maybe meet in a burger king or bank lobby for the cash/title swap.

The owner of the 5th may be flipping the car. Making a profit. Stay away from auto 5th's.
Sounds like he hasn't put it in his name yet. That is required...
Once he's done that, check taxes paid on the title. Divide by your state tax rate and you'll have an idea if dudes just making a fast buck. If he is... kool & the gang...
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Old 07-16-2013, 04:48 AM
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Re: 4th Gen Buying Help

Thanks those are good tips. Would not of thought to use a partner like that to check.

Yeah the kid that bailed on my way up told me he paid 3k for it and then listed it for 3k. He sounded a little slow...

Talked to another kid today and when I ran the vin it was a rollback odo. So far all the 5th gens that I have looked into have all been flakey. I think its a sign.

The 96 I am currently looking at seems really great but the owner is out of state for two more weeks. I could go and look at it now but might as well wait and deal with the owner. From the pics it it looks clean inside and out. Vin is super squeaky clean. The bad is it needs both front axles replaced and is throwing an o2 code plus burning a little oil. 175k on a h22a1 a little oil burn seems ok with me. The owner is asking 2k. If everything checks out I feel ok paying around 2k for a 96 Si.

Going to be a long two weeks. The mark7 beast is eating my wallet and I'm tired of looking at wrecked ludes people are trying to sell as mint./grin

Anyone know what years the two toned black and beige interior came in? I love that look but think I have only seen it on the 5th gens. Did 4th gens have any similar options?
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Old 07-16-2013, 10:31 AM
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Re: 4th Gen Buying Help

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Originally Posted by TypeT View Post
you should really buy another car for work, maybe some cheap civic preludes aint best for that purpose
Get off this dude's d!ck about wanting an automatic.

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Originally Posted by shaky View Post
Thanks those are good tips. Would not of thought to use a partner like that to check.

Yeah the kid that bailed on my way up told me he paid 3k for it and then listed it for 3k. He sounded a little slow...

Talked to another kid today and when I ran the vin it was a rollback odo. So far all the 5th gens that I have looked into have all been flakey. I think its a sign.

The 96 I am currently looking at seems really great but the owner is out of state for two more weeks. I could go and look at it now but might as well wait and deal with the owner. From the pics it it looks clean inside and out. Vin is super squeaky clean. The bad is it needs both front axles replaced and is throwing an o2 code plus burning a little oil. 175k on a h22a1 a little oil burn seems ok with me. The owner is asking 2k. If everything checks out I feel ok paying around 2k for a 96 Si.

Going to be a long two weeks. The mark7 beast is eating my wallet and I'm tired of looking at wrecked ludes people are trying to sell as mint./grin

Anyone know what years the two toned black and beige interior came in? I love that look but think I have only seen it on the 5th gens. Did 4th gens have any similar options?
You're looking at a '96 with an H22A1? It's an original VTEC model, not a swapped car? Reason I ask is that VTEC 4th gen Preludes were never available with an auto tranny.

4th gens had the two tone option, but IIRC it was only available on the SE trim, which came with an H23. IIRC the SE trim was only available in 1995 and 1996.
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it'll sound like an ultralight airplane or a moped exhaust funneled through a kazoo.

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Old 07-16-2013, 07:08 PM
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Re: 4th Gen Buying Help

Whoops I meant an h23. It is indeed an Si and not a VTEC. I would want to do the swap eventually but would just be happy with a clean and unmolested car for now.
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Old 07-16-2013, 07:36 PM
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Re: 4th Gen Buying Help

The partner I take is me when my kids are buying a car.
I use phrases like H27 so they think I don't know jack...
And they figure I'm the smart one and my boy is REALLY stupid. Lol, they know more about Hondas than I do.

If the car has wore out gas pedal and brake pedal is still pretty good, that means mostly highway with minimal stop n go driving.

Autos are fun as h3ll and don't let anybody tell you otherwise.
Hope you don't spontaniously burst into flames in the next two weeks.
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I remember my first thread, asking what a noise was when I got going 110mph.
Pretty much got flamed for driving like a jackass and was told to slow down. And I'll be damned, slowing down fixed it.

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Old 07-30-2013, 01:13 AM
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Re: 4th Gen Buying Help

Finally got to look at the 96.

Front of the car had some deep scratches that were painted over. Looked like hurricane damage or rather a tree or bush had been dragged across the hood starting at the drivers front quarter. A little rust here and there but over all fairly clean. Frame looked straight and the underneath wasn't beat up. No dents outside the very front of the driver's quarter where the scratches start. Not what I was expecting based on the pics but not enough to flat out turn the car down. At this point I'm thinking quarter panel and passenger side mirror( housing was busted at the bottom and a home made fix for the mirror). The hood could be filled easily.

The interior was a little rougher than expected but not by much. I was happy with the inside and all the power stuff worked. No smells, no real discoloration, just a few very minor cosmetics. I could easily fix the few things.

At this point I am thinking I can still make an offer but the moment of truth is coming up. Time to start the car.

Starts right up. Idles a little rough but smooths out after a minute. A little concerning but just seemed like it needed a basic tune. AC blows cold although the blower motor was struggling a little. No big deal. No obvious noises inside or underneath the hood so time to do the rear end sniff test.

Walked to the back of the car and my heart sunk. All I could smell was coolant. I failed to notice the new head on the car on my first look at the engine. Story was that it was replaced about a year ago. I asked how much and how often coolant has to be added. All I got was a blank look.

"You mean water?" "Yeah water...", I said. "Well I'm not sure but I always make sure it is full."

Now I'm thinking really hard on if I even want to make an offer. I could of dealt with everything else. My first thought after that was this car is a grenade. The CEL was on so I followed up to Discount to have it read. What probably was thought as smoke was water vapor. It looked like an old train. I didn't smell any oil burn but the coolant was so strong I doubt I could of noticed. Nothing major on the CEL but I couldn't get past my initial thought.

GRENADE

Now if you have bothered to read this far I have a question. The asking price was 2k. I don't expect a car to be mint. I expect it to have some issues. In this case the disclosed issues were both cv axles slight oil burning and an O2 sensor. My max if everything else checked out (meaning no dents and major scratches interior not ripped and no obvious engine issues) would of been 1800-1900. Kbb lists it at 2200 for good and I was taking off to cover known repairs.

What would a reasonable offer of been had I not been able to steam clean carpets with it? Am I being unrealistic when looking at a 1996 car for 2k?

I love the 4th gen looks. I am starting to wonder if the price range I am comfortable paying for one (2-3k) is unrealistic for "good" condition.

Now to ponder about looking at a 98 that fractured the keyway at the end of the crank. Its just a flat out offer and highest takes it. Based on the time and response from seller no one has offered. 1 owner vehicle adult driven. Looks clean from the pics but is close to me. I think its worth a look but I would have to swap in a new engine. I am not comfortable enough to tear down a bottom end to replace the crank. I would like to have the extra engine to do that at my leisure. Wife thinks I am nuts but to be honest I am fixated on Preludes. I look at other cars and just don't get excited about em.
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Old 07-30-2013, 02:04 AM
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Re: 4th Gen Buying Help

Keep looking, I got my 95 bb1 vtec with no body rust at all, only one dent in front quarter panel. Few paint chips here and there with immaculate two tone (black & tan) leather interior for 2900$. There are some nice preludes for sale in my area around 1500-2000 range, what part of FL are you in?
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Old 07-30-2013, 03:55 PM
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Re: 4th Gen Buying Help

I am in SW FL. Mainly just been doing craigslist searches. Not sure how far I would drive to check one out. I did just do a 400 mile round trip with a tow dolly to look at the grenade. Going to look at the bad crank one on Thursday.

Thats nice upngogos. I like that two tone look. Just don't really care for leather seats any more. I have seen it with the clothe seat though. Any listings or finds you come across I would greatly appreciate. I am open to traveling a few hours to check out some cars.
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Old 08-02-2013, 01:57 AM
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Re: 4th Gen Buying Help

Looked at the 5th gen with the bad crank. I have to say that this was the nicest 15 year old car I have seen in a while. Clean to almost flawless inside and out. 6 years of history at the same shop. Personally met and talked to the guy that did majority of hte work on the car at the shop for the last 6 years. Just kills me the crank is bad and the 1 owner loves the car. Makes it harder to bargain.

I was considering swapping in a used motor but considering all the work that has already been done to original engine I'm not sure what I would be gaining. Everything I would do to refurb a used engine for the most part has already been done it is just the damn crank. I don't really want to do it myself and the shop is quoting around 800 in parts and either 2000 or 2500 for the job. I know I would be about 2k in for an engine swap by the time it is all said and done.

Not sure where to go on this one.

What is top dollar for a 98 in excelllent condition barring the bad crank? There is about a 2k different in price from NADA and KBB.

Does a crank job for 2500 sound reasonable. I think it was including replacing a few other things in the lower end since it was out and open. I know the price is not purely for the crank.

Any feedback on this would be great. I know I can always make a low offer and worst thing he can do is say no...
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Old 08-02-2013, 11:43 AM
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Re: 4th Gen Buying Help

over here in Houston a good prelude 92-96 will cost you about 2500 and 97-2001 is about 4000. you can find some 92-96 prelude for about 1500 but they do need some work and interior is about 7 out of 10. just keep looking i got my 95 prelude for 1200 but it was wrecked before but the interior was really clean and had a F22B swap but was leaking oil out of the head and burning some but not that much to not be driveable, i still need to change out the core support, which i am planning to do very soon. ive done a engine swap and alot of other work since ive bought it about a year ago and only have in about 3200. just keep looking and eventually youll find one with a good price and not much work, i wait to find good prices on everything. i have my build on here if you want to check it out

Last edited by KT95; 08-02-2013 at 11:46 AM.
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