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Just Purchased 1998 Prelude Base

 
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Old 03-27-2017, 10:22 AM
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Just Purchased 1998 Prelude Base

Hello,

First time poster. I bought the Prelude for my daughter and probably over paid a bit $4900 from a dealer. For my area I think I did pretty well as we live near Chicago and around here 5K doesn't get you much. Honestly, I was looking for an accord coupe for her, and they just happen to have this sitting on the lot "as is". I always liked these cars back when they came out, and my daughter really took a liking to it. The car has 95K miles on it and not a spec of rust. The hood has a recessed area to the left of the honda symbol that looks like someone may have sanded down a rust spot and repainted the hood and it has a dent front right fender that could easily be pulled. I told my daughter if she takes care of the vehicle I'll have that pulled in the fall. The rear bumper also is a slightly different red than the rest of the car. The interior is flawless, the wheels are in excellent condition. The seats and floor don't even look used. All interior controls and lights work. No warning lights on the dash other than the green maintenance light which from what I've read is a good thing.

Anyway, on to the mechanical... I got it up on a lift before I bought it to have my mechanic look at it. The suspension was well taken care of, no loose ball joints and nothing needs to be replaced at this point. There is oil coming from somewhere, but I'm not completely positive (and neither is the mechanic yet, until it's cleaned up) if it's coming from the motor or if someone had a little accident while changing oil/brake fluid. There's oil/brake fluid all over the engine compartment even where you would normally not have it like hoses and such. We've had it for about a week, and we've put at least 300+ miles on it and no change in oil level, and it doesn't seem to burn oil. A couple spots on the driveway, but nothing to be too concerned about. For now I was going to just check the oil level weekly to determine what loss of oil it's experiencing if any.

This is an automatic transmission and from the little reading I've done on these, apparently they are prone to problems. Right now, the car shifts and drives great so hopefully that will continue.

Anyway, my question to you guys is what should we be doing with this car right now to help with it's longevity? Any guidance, tips or recommendations would be greatly appreciated. This is going to be just a normal every day driver for her, and not at all interested in increasing performance. As is it performs really well and is a blast to drive. We may have a little fun with it, wheels, spoiler, etc... but really just looking to take care of if it and give it the longest life possible. Thanks!
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Old 03-27-2017, 12:01 PM
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Re: Just Purchased 1998 Prelude Base

Depends about maintenance history?

Ignition parts ok and when timing belt job was done last time?

Oil leaks are never good sign - you should figure out where its coming - oil pan, cam/mains/valve cover/oil pump etc?

Change all the fluids - rad, trans, break etc

Also would be wise to change air/fuel filters
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Old 03-27-2017, 01:40 PM
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Re: Just Purchased 1998 Prelude Base

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Originally Posted by TypeT View Post
Depends about maintenance history?

Ignition parts ok and when timing belt job was done last time?

Oil leaks are never good sign - you should figure out where its coming - oil pan, cam/mains/valve cover/oil pump etc?

Change all the fluids - rad, trans, break etc
Thanks for the reply. Unfortunately, we have no maintenance history on it. The dealer said they were going to see what they can find out, but I won't hold my breath on that. I talked to my mechanic this morning and they recommended the typical fluid changes too, but we are also going to see if we can hunt down that oil leak because I found another couple little drops this morning. Better safe than sorry. I also asked that they take a look at the timing belt as you recommended. It's going in the shop on Wednesday. I'll report back with the findings.
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Old 03-27-2017, 03:26 PM
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Re: Just Purchased 1998 Prelude Base

best way to make an auto last is to not drive it.
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Old 03-27-2017, 08:19 PM
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Re: Just Purchased 1998 Prelude Base

I'd get that oil leak sorted out immediately. I'm actually pretty surprised your mechanic couldn't pin point the leak, but still recommended the purchase. The body must be immaculate, especially with all the salt Chicago throws on the roads.

As for maintenance: spark plugs, spark plug wires, distributor cap/rotor, pcv valve, fuel filter, trans fluid(use honda fluid), all the other fluids. I'd also recommend throwing a bottle of sea foam in the gas tank(you should be using premium fuel as well), and run a bottle through the brake booster vac line. I recently purchased a 2001 and did all the above and it was like night and day.

Also, because you're a Chicagoan like myself I'll run a carfax for you if you send me your VIN. If you're lucky the previous owners brought it to mechanics that updated the service history via the carfax report. I was happy to see that my 2001 had the timing belt replaced every 80k.

As for the auto transmission; it will go out on you no matter what you do. "Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life."

Here's a link to download the 5th gen SERVICE MANUAL

Here's a link to download your '98 OWNERS MANUAL
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Old 03-27-2017, 10:33 PM
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Re: Just Purchased 1998 Prelude Base

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Originally Posted by ravedojek View Post
I'd get that oil leak sorted out immediately. I'm actually pretty surprised your mechanic couldn't pin point the leak, but still recommended the purchase. The body must be immaculate, especially with all the salt Chicago throws on the roads.

As for maintenance: spark plugs, spark plug wires, distributor cap/rotor, pcv valve, fuel filter, trans fluid(use honda fluid), all the other fluids. I'd also recommend throwing a bottle of sea foam in the gas tank(you should be using premium fuel as well), and run a bottle through the brake booster vac line. I recently purchased a 2001 and did all the above and it was like night and day.

Also, because you're a Chicagoan like myself I'll run a carfax for you if you send me your VIN. If you're lucky the previous owners brought it to mechanics that updated the service history via the carfax report. I was happy to see that my 2001 had the timing belt replaced every 80k.

As for the auto transmission; it will go out on you no matter what you do. "Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life."

Here's a link to download the 5th gen SERVICE MANUAL

Here's a link to download your '98 OWNERS MANUAL
Thanks for the info. The dealer provided the carfax on it before purchase and it wasn't very helpful. Even another Honda dealership I called that serviced the vehicle 2012-2016 wasn't in carfax for the service they did. They didn't really do much during that time frame. Oil changes, light bulbs, and a service on the transmission.

The mechanics didn't exactly recommend the purchase, he actually said they were asking a bit too much for the car and that they wouldn't be able to pinpoint the oil leak unless they had more time. This was a surprise visit to the shop and they didn't even charge me because they work with our other cars. They gave it a quick once over which is what I asked them to do. They all (There were 4 mechanics standing around the car, I think there are a few Honda fans in the shop) said the car was in great condition, and the only thing they couldn't give me at the time was an answer on the oil leak. We didn't, and they didn't have the time to leave it there for hours so I took a chance. We'll see what happens I guess...
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Old 03-27-2017, 10:53 PM
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Re: Just Purchased 1998 Prelude Base

Here are pics from a couple days ago.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 20170325_105716s.jpg (303.3 KB, 24 views)
File Type: jpg 20170325_105726s.jpg (294.4 KB, 23 views)

Last edited by MattC; 03-28-2017 at 06:22 AM.
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Old 03-28-2017, 02:20 AM
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Re: Just Purchased 1998 Prelude Base

You probably should do timing belt job, when you new all the seals related to that it should rule out places or reveal the oil leak
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Old 03-28-2017, 04:34 PM
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Re: Just Purchased 1998 Prelude Base

Hey guys, I'm not sure what the dealership had but I added the Prelude to my own Carfax account and it came up with this....

05/26/2016
95,000 mi
Illinois Inspection Station
Passed emissions inspection
--------
02/26/2014
89,000 mi
Illinois Inspection Station
Passed emissions inspection
--------
09/19/2013
88,118 mi
Honda Dealership
90,000 mile service performed
Alignment checked
Battery/charging system checked
Four wheel alignment performed
Steering/suspension checked
--------
07/03/2012
85,858 mi
Honda Dealership
Vehicle serviced
--------
05/22/2012
85,489 mi
Honda Dealership
Exterior trim checked
--------
04/13/2012
85,000 mi
Illinois Inspection Station
Passed emissions inspection
--------
03/22/2012
84,978 mi
Honda Dealership
Engine/powertrain computer/module checked
Headlight bulb(s) replaced
Oil and filter changed
--------
06/23/2010
79,147 mi
Honda Dealership
Recommended maintenance performed
Battery/charging system checked
Brake fluid flushed/changed
Power steering fluid flushed/changed
Tire condition and pressure checked
--------
04/05/2010
78,000 mi
Illinois Inspection Station
Passed emissions inspection
--------
03/24/2010
77,854 mi
Honda Dealership
Oil and filter changed
Tires rotated
--------
07/06/2009
75,557 mi
Honda Dealership
Engine/powertrain computer/module checked
--------
06/12/2008
71,885 mi
Honda Dealership
Battery/charging system checked
Oil and filter changed
Tire condition and pressure checked
Tires rotated
--------
06/15/2007
68,377 mi
Honda Dealership
Maintenance inspection completed
67,500 mile service performed
7,500 mile service performed
A/C system checked
Alignment checked
Battery/charging system checked
Tire condition and pressure checked
--------
11/09/2006
66,671 mi
Honda Dealership
Vehicle serviced
--------
10/27/2006
66,000 mi
Illinois Inspection Station
Passed emissions inspection
--------
01/27/2006
63,525 mi
Honda Dealership
Alignment checked
Alignment performed
Battery/charging system checked
Tire condition and pressure checked
--------
01/19/2005
59,752 mi
Honda Dealership
60,000 mile service performed
Battery/charging system checked
Brake rotor(s) resurfaced
Front brake pads replaced
--------
10/22/2004
58,000 mi
Illinois Inspection Station
Passed emissions inspection
--------
10/24/2002
43,000 mi
Illinois Inspection Station
Passed emissions inspection
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Old 03-28-2017, 09:17 PM
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Re: Just Purchased 1998 Prelude Base

Call the dealer and see if they have a record of what was performed at the 90k inspection. My carfax states 3 separate times when the timing belt/tensioner was replaced.
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Old 03-29-2017, 09:22 AM
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Re: Just Purchased 1998 Prelude Base

Quote:
Originally Posted by ravedojek View Post
Call the dealer and see if they have a record of what was performed at the 90k inspection. My carfax states 3 separate times when the timing belt/tensioner was replaced.
I called the Honda dealership that has serviced the Prelude since 2005. Apparently they purge their records of anything older than 7 years. So, they only have 2010 through today. Carfax didn't have the most recent service they did which was in 2015. They did the trans service, power steering flush, and brake fluid at around 90k. Looks like no timing belt in that time range. I asked her to double check.
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Old 03-29-2017, 10:15 AM
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Re: Just Purchased 1998 Prelude Base

Like I said: you should do it
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Old 03-29-2017, 05:21 PM
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Re: Just Purchased 1998 Prelude Base

Thanks for all the feedback. The shop degreased the motor today, and ran a tracer through it. They let it run for an hour and there were no leaks anywhere. They were thinking all along that it was residual from a spill mishap that was fairly recent, and it looks like they may have been right. We also had the timing belt, water pump, radiator flush, trans service, spark plugs/cap/rotor and wires done. Everything else checked out, and we'll just continue to watch it for any leaks.

Also, the dealership got a hold of the original owner for me and they don't ever remember doing the timing belt. I have to think the servicing dealership would have strongly suggested it back around 60k miles when it was coming up on 7 or 8 years old. It's likely they did it and don't remember, or else the motor probably wouldn't be running as good as it does on a 19 year old belt. I guess we'll never know for sure...
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Old 03-29-2017, 08:23 PM
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Re: Just Purchased 1998 Prelude Base

When changing timing belt, all the seals should be newd + tension pulleys

Auto tensioner also would be wise to change to manual
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Old 03-29-2017, 09:32 PM
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Re: Just Purchased 1998 Prelude Base

+1
There should be tell-tail signs if the timing belt service was done. I'd call around a few shops and see what they'll charge you for a timing belt/tensioner/water pump, then make the decision of whether or not to have the work done. You're going to have to weigh the importance for yourself, but IMHO you should have it done.
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Old 03-29-2017, 10:02 PM
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Re: Just Purchased 1998 Prelude Base

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Originally Posted by ravedojek View Post
+1
There should be tell-tail signs if the timing belt service was done. I'd call around a few shops and see what they'll charge you for a timing belt/tensioner/water pump, then make the decision of whether or not to have the work done. You're going to have to weigh the importance for yourself, but IMHO you should have it done.
Yeah, I committed to it. As I mentioned earlier in the thread we are having our regular shop do the timing belt, water pump, radiator flush, trans service, spark plugs/cap/rotor and wires done. I'm pretty sure they said the seals and tensioner were being done too to but I will confirm. We will have the car back tomorrow.
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Old 03-30-2017, 12:20 AM
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Re: Just Purchased 1998 Prelude Base

There are some super common areas where the H22 engine leaks oil. The biggest one seems to be oil cooler o ring. This leak starts at the base of the piece the oil filter mounts up to and runs down from there. The 2nd offender is the vtec solenoid o ring which is located on the RH side of the valve cover. You'll usually see oil all over the top of the trans. Other common spots are the valve cover gasket, cam plug/seals, front/rear main seals and balancer shaft seals. The later are more trouble to replace then the others.

The engine is also known to burn oil quite vigorously. It sounds like you got a pretty healthy one, but keep a close eye on it.

As others have mentioned unfortunately the auto trans is a time bomb but not much you can do about that without a lot of effort. I'd just enjoy it as is, it sounds like your already on the right track with your maintenance... the timing stuff is the most important thing to keep up... (that and keeping tabs on your oil level)
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Old 03-31-2017, 05:07 PM
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Re: Just Purchased 1998 Prelude Base

We got the Prelude back today. All is good with it. No leaks. I did confirm that they replaced all the seals, pulleys, and the tensioner. We, meaning "I" just took it for for nice drive through some country roads. I told my daughter I was just test driving it, because you know that's important right? After about 30 minutes... Dad, can I have my car back now?? LOL
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