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Old 09-07-2008, 03:13 AM   #1
elphias
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Question 89 prelude S3/tranny/speedometer issue

hi im new to this site but the proud owner of the best car i have ever owned, a 1989 honda prelude 4cyl (dual cam?) automatic with a few issues that concern me.

1) first gear is intermittent, it's almost like the clutch dosen't always grip second and all the other gears seem to work.
once the car has shifted into another gear from second gear, the S3 light begins to blink stedly, sometimes if i put the car in drive 1st gear works other times it does not, it just revves the engene, is there a way to fix this or do i need a new transmission?

2) im haveing trouble telling if my car has a speedometer cable or a sensor, the tachymeter works fine indicateintg the RPM's of the engene but the speedometer dosen't work nor the odometer, all of the other guages work fine. am i missing something here? any info you guys could give would be greatly appriciated.

im trying to save this car, the body is in perfect condition, no rust a small dent here and there that can be fixed without bondo ^_^ so it's kinda my baby and i want to fix it ^_^

thank you for your time.
Elphias
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Old 09-07-2008, 04:03 AM   #2
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Check your tranny fluid and yes you have a dual cam.
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Old 09-07-2008, 06:11 AM   #3
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You should have a cable in between the tranny and speedo. There is a little clip that hold the cable into the transmission that may have come off. If its not that, the cable should be a two piece cable if it hasnt been replaced with a advance auto one or something of the likes. Take the cable apart in the middle (I believe its located between the valve cover and intake manifold) and you will see that one piece of the cable sticks out some, pull it out just a little bit with some pliers and then proceed to make a thin little spacer of sorts (about 1/8 inch is what I made) and slide it behind the protruding part. Then just put the cable back together. If that doesnt fix it, then maybe some one else may chime in and help. I wish I would have took some pics when I done mine.
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Old 09-07-2008, 06:46 AM   #4
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hmm well pics or images or something would help, as for a spacer you mean like a tiny washer or something?

and the tranny has fluid in it, wether it's doing anything or not i don't know,

but i would like for now to try the speedometer thing, this is my favorite car in the world and i hate the fact it isen't running right, though for her age the car is amazeing and runs like a dream besides the tranny and the speedo issue.
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Old 09-07-2008, 05:46 PM   #5
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I'll try to take some pics tomorrow when I get home and put them up for yas.
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Old 09-07-2008, 07:28 PM   #6
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I'll try to take some pics tomorrow when I get home and put them up for yas.
If you could get some pics that would be great for me too! I replaced my timing belt over the weekend and everything is great except my speedo stopped working now. I can't seem to find that cable (from my searches it sounds like that's the likely culprit). So a pic would be awesome.

-Dan
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Old 09-07-2008, 08:50 PM   #7
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There is a chance the speedo cable isn't pushed into the transmission completely. A clip should hold it on. Also try cleaning and lubricating the speedo. Spray it with cleaner that evaporates and let gravity do some of the work. A good lubricant would be 'white lithium grease' in a spray can.

You say the transmission has enough fluid. There are some other important details about the fluid.

Where, on the dipstick, does the trans fluid come up to? There are marks and if the fluid is too low it can cause problems. Also, if there is too much fluid it may cause issues.

What color is the trans fluid? Get a clean white paper towel and wipe the fluid from the dipstick.

Also, how many miles are on the transmission?

And, has it been shifter to S3 often or neutral-dropped? Neutral-dropping is when the car is in Neutral or Park, the engine revved up, then drop the shifter into Drive, S3, 2, or Reverse.

Until you get the trans issue solved, you can still drive it if necessary. Start out in 2 and when the RPMs are at 3000-3500, shift to Drive. I did this with an 84 Civic I had years ago. The car had lots of mileage and would just rev when it was in Drive. The transmission completely skipped 1st gear.
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Old 09-08-2008, 11:49 PM   #8
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Here you go guys, pictures of where the speedo sensor goes into the transmission:




And for those of you who do not know the difference, below are the two types of sensors for the different year 3rd gens:

Left-88-89 sensor Right-90-91 sensor


Preludes from 1988 and 1989 have a mechanic speedpulse which is transferred to the cockpit by a rotating cable. Preludes from 1990 and 1991 have an electronic speedpulse, which is transferred electronically. This pulse is generated by the speed sensor, mounted on top of the transmission.
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Old 09-09-2008, 08:00 AM   #9
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Thanks for the pics, but unfortunately I had already seen those many times and to be honest, they aren't terribly useful. Those pics show a removed engine. To find the VSS on a fully assembled engine compartment is very different.

I did finally find the speedo cable by following the tube coming through the firewall. For those of you still looking for it, see that cable on top of the intake manifold with the silver bolt holding two cables together? That's the speedo cable. Follow that down into the darkness to the left and that's your VSS.

I'll get some pics when I get home, but long story short, mine was unplugged from my timing belt replacement when I undoubtedly bumped it loose.

-Dan
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Old 09-09-2008, 08:19 AM   #10
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The s3/s4 light is normal when your speedo cable isn't working. Mine stopped working after I bought the car and to be honest, I really don't care if it does, I know how fast I'm going. It will effect the odometer, it won't work anymore (duh). The speedo cable over time goes out, you might have to replace it. First gear just revs? It could be the shift linkage, mine I have to drop a little bit below drive to get it in gear, I doubt thats your problem, my second guess would be low tranny fluid, but you said you were good. Hope your tranny isn't messed up. Hoped this helped some. Your check engine light should come on and if you read the blinks under the passenger side floor board it should give you the VSS code (I think its 17, been awhile) the code is in the stickies.
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Old 09-14-2008, 10:59 PM   #11
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if an auto trans starts to not shift into gears its basically done u need a new one... imo....
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Old 09-15-2008, 12:15 AM   #12
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if an auto trans starts to not shift into gears its basically done u need a new one... imo....
X2 on what he said, mine went out real quick once the shifting started to get quirky.
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