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Advice on Which Gen to buy.

 
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Old 12-07-2012, 09:22 PM
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Advice on Which Gen to buy.

Hi all-

I am looking for a reasonably priced used car for an A-B to get back and forth to work. Lately the Honda Prelude has caught my eye as it seems to fit my criteria of being Economical & Sporty. The issue at hand is which one I should buy? I would like to identify a certain year/type/package and then search for one and buy it. Cheaper is always better, but so is newer. So should i just look for the newest model out there?
I know ABSOLUTELY nothing about the Prelude other than its a honda. I have never driven one either. I am not looking to Tune or anything, just drive it to work. Working on cars is no problem for me either.
I was hoping someone could offer me a little advise such as look for the "X" year with the "Y" motor type stuff ect. And better yet,stay away from the "Z's."

If anyone is willing to share I would apprecaite it.
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Old 12-07-2012, 09:59 PM
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Re: Advice on Which Gen to buy.

The 3 main gens you will find along with value are 3rd (88-91) $1000-$3000, 4th (92-96) $1000-$5000, and 5th (97-01) $2000-$7000.

Each are vastly different from the next, although the 5th gen brings back some of the 2nd and 3rd gen styling and all handle exceptionally well.

For the 3rd gen, make sure it has the 2.0L engine, not the 2.1L as that engine tends to burn a lot of oil. Very hard to find one in good condition these days, but this gen offered a thing called 4WS (4 wheel steering) which puts this car up there with supercars in terms of handling. Even without 4WS the handling of this car will put a grin on your face.

4th gen's are faster than the 3rd gen depending on the model you get and also have great handling. The top model is the Si VTEC (SR-V in Canada) and has the H22A1 dohc vtec motor, pretty quick for what it is (rated 190hp/158tq at the crank). The other two are more than good enough if you really are just using this as a DD: the mid trim one (Si, or SR) has the H23A1 dohc non vtec motor with 160hp/156tq at the crank, and lastly the more basic one the S trim has F22 SOHC motor good for 135hp/137tq at the crank. Interior is: either you dont like it, or you love it. Very good interior IMO. Seats designed by Recaro, the 93+ have digital dash display and Si VTEC usually has a leather interior.

Not familiar with the 5th gen, i've always wanted one but ended up with a 4th gen instead, which has grown on me a lot and fits me better than a 5th gen. Anyways, at all costs avoid the 97-01 Prelude with automatic transmissions, the autos tend to fail and are slow. Stick with 3 pedals and for the most part you won't have any issues with a 5th gen. All 5th gens from USDM/CDM come with the H22A4 dohc vtec motor good for 195-200hp/160tq at the crank.

A couple problems that can apply to all 3 of these gens are: lots of rust, oil consumption (just keep an eye on the oil dip stick) and on a lude with an H22 they use a timing belt component called the automatic tensioner which has a great chance of failing over the 150k mile mark so it should be swapped over to a manual tensioner.

Lastly, all preludes get between 25 and 35mpg highway/city mixed 50/50. 35mpg would be the F22 base 4th gen prelude due to the way its geared and using the Accord motor, the 25mpg being a prelude with an H22 motor. On top of that, they require use of premium unleaded fuel (91 octane) except the above 4th gen lude with F22 motor. These cars are not as cheap to run as an Integra or Civic as there are far fewer of them around meaning parts can be more rare/expensive.
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Old 12-07-2012, 11:01 PM
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Re: Advice on Which Gen to buy.

Get the one u like lol
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Old 12-07-2012, 11:09 PM
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Re: Advice on Which Gen to buy.

Well to add to what WegZzz said, 5th gens are pretty much all the same. They all have the same engine and 90% of the parts go across all trims and years so it's easier to maintain and find parts.

Watch out for High mileage, abuse, previously wrecked cars, oil burns/leaks, and if you're looking at 5th gens watch out for the SH because it has an ATTS system that has a decent chance to fail and wreck your suspension.
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Old 12-07-2012, 11:28 PM
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Re: Advice on Which Gen to buy.

-1st Gen Good luck finding one! Nuff Said!
-2 & 3rd gens are good looking cars from the exterior but its interior aren't as comfortable as the 4th or 5th gens.
-4th gens looks good both in the interior and exterior but is really only a 2 seater with a back seat that could only really fit a small infant with a small baby seat and thats on the passenger side, driver side forget about it!
-5th gens are great looking cars but same issue with the interior rear space. Also i would stay away from Automatics on the 5th gens since their trannys have loads of issue once they have enough miles on them. Also avoid the SH models parts will run you a fortune for suspension not to mention performance parts are a bit more scarce for this model. Base is the way to go!

Either way they are all good cars and are hondas so they aren't a pain to work on if anything does go wrong with them. Aways a plus for someone like me.
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Old 12-08-2012, 03:23 AM
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Re: Advice on Which Gen to buy.

The newest model is obviously the 5th gen and the last year it was produced was in 2001. Great car's with good gas mileage and a head turner for sure. Relatively easy to maintain but like any used car with "bad owners" you will have to put some money further down the road at one point either just to negligence and just the age of the car. Definitely STAY AWAY from autos. Many members have autos on this site that have no problems with the transmission but many 5th gens are pron to the tranny continuously failing. Go with a manual. Also the SH will give you better handling but requires a bit more of maintenance.
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Old 12-08-2012, 03:31 AM
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Re: Advice on Which Gen to buy.

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Originally Posted by AlexMightHaveAHonda View Post
Well to add to what WegZzz said, 5th gens are pretty much all the same. They all have the same engine and 90% of the parts go across all trims and years so it's easier to maintain and find parts.

Watch out for High mileage, abuse, previously wrecked cars, oil burns/leaks, and if you're looking at 5th gens watch out for the SH because it has an ATTS system that has a decent chance to fail and wreck your suspension.


um.. atts unit is attached to the transmission how would suspension "wreck" if atts fails? atts unit will turn itself off if its throwing a code and it won't put you in limp mode either..
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Old 12-08-2012, 09:58 AM
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Re: Advice on Which Gen to buy.

great question flienlow. thanx for posing it here.. at the prelude zone.

my answers will fly against most conventional wisdom here. reason: you said daily driver, reliable, cheap and not abused.

i'd say 3rd or 4th in your case with auto tranny. . 4th is a bit more comfy for long commutes but 3rd being a little less insulated inside gives a bit more sense of being part of the road from road noise if that's your desire.
either one has reliable automatics. and both are fun do drive. and because they are automatics were usually owned by people who didn't abuse them. plus they can be bought a little cheaper because the demand is for 5 speeds. many still have working a/c units.

wegzz is dead on with the 2.1 in the 3rd. the block has hardened piston wall sleeves. that tended to wear out pistin rings at about 125-150k depending on driving style. 5speed drivers tended to rev the motor higher between gear shifts. the auto shifts at lower rpm's so the 2.1 lasts longer. i have a pair of 3rd gen's with 2.1. the 5 speed has a broken motor at 145k. quart per tankful and nill compression in 2 cylinders. the auto has 155+k miles, uses about a quart per oil change and still runs like new.

5th is a bit heavier and longer. the stock motor tends to make up for the weight but the vtec requires more maintenance than the single cam motors due to oil leaks here and there. somone mentioned the timing belt tensioner issue. the 5 speeds tend to grind some going into 5th due to a synchronizer issue until fixed as a honda recall. ignition switch fails and that too was a recall. if the owner of the 5th doesn't have a red key with the car, getting a spare key made is expensive. new ignition, key then stealership charges $500 more to reprogram the car for the new key. the chip can be bypassed but that too is a couple hundred $ .

some would argue but i like the handling of the 3rd the best. 4th was a bit wider so handling improved. but any of the prelude are fun fun cars to drive. if you can find a 4th with a vtec either original or swapped, there's enough get up and go where the auto tranny is no big deal.

if i were looking for a prelude for reliable transportation i'd go with a 91 or 92-93 with auto preferably with 110 to 180k miles, for about $2-3 grand. but that's me,
you want a tool or a toy?
tool comes with automatic. toy comes with a 5 speed. forget 4ws, vtec and atts. all were tricky but expensive performance enhancers of the day. the newer cars have similar tech but time tested reliability. the prelude was the test pilot for that stuff.

look up honda prelude on wiki. they showcase the basic history of the rise and fall of the honda prelude.

if you choose to purchase a prelude, stop back at the prelude zone. tell us what you got, post pictures and study the resources. these guys know their stuff here and can either assist you or direct your inquiry to the right place. (*:
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Old 12-08-2012, 06:43 PM
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Re: Advice on Which Gen to buy.

94 Si ;)
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Old 12-09-2012, 01:43 AM
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Re: Advice on Which Gen to buy.

4th gen vtec. No less. The least amount of stress and hardest to come by, keep the intervals in check, and you will be fine.

3rd gens are scarce to find, and harder to maintain. You will need a parts car to followup on a 3rd gen SI. If you have the funds, making it yours is pretty damn rewarding. I'd do it again, if I were younger and had time. 3rd gens are the car you break your "toolin' cherry on."
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Old 12-09-2012, 02:39 AM
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Re: Advice on Which Gen to buy.

5th gen ftw
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Old 12-11-2012, 07:17 PM
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Re: Advice on Which Gen to buy.

I love my 5gen... But i upgrade parts. Since ur just gnna DD it.. Just get the best condition most appealing jaja
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Old 12-11-2012, 08:35 PM
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Re: Advice on Which Gen to buy.

5th gen (97-01) base model 5 speed.... in my opinion will be the best DD...
my reasons
1.Biggest of them all, so more comfortable , decent trunk
2.backseat you can use for adults and kids
3.the newest ,so least amount of rust, mileage , problems
4. easier to find a clean one.
5. All have the mighty H22 VTEC

however if you can find a clean 4th gen or 3rd gen with minimal rust and low miles , i'd say go for it . still excellent cars

I LOVE my 4th gen , however to me, its a tad small to drive everyday, and basically a 2 seater. To me my 4th gen is a FF sports car.
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