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Old 10-31-2010, 06:41 PM   #1
tlr
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1986 Prelude 2.0 Si - surging problem?

Hi guys,

I just found this site!

I have a 1986 white Honda Prelude 2.0 Si that I bought new in June of 1986. 192k miles. I never thouight I'd ever drive a car that was 24 years old, but it's always worked great, been trouble-free, runs smooth. I love how it drives, and I have no intention of selling it. (It's also really great not to have car payments for the last 20 years!)

That said, there is a small, nagging, aggravating problem that the car has always had. The dealer, and also Dietz Automotive here in Boise, does not know what the problem is, because it doesn't occur when it's in the shop.

Has anyone else had this problem, and gotten it fixed?

The problem is very occasional, intermittent surging. It does NOT surge up. Rather, it loses power. That is, I drive along, and all of a sudden, power drops as if I just let off the accelerator, or even slightly braked. Then it surges up to original power, then drops, then up. It can be rapid-fire, and there is no pattern of the down, then up. Then, the problem goes away after a little while. Sometimes after 20 seconds, 30 seconds, sometimes a little longer. It doesn't seem to correlate to temp or humidity, etc. Happens in all seasons, after the car is warmed up. When it happens at idle, when I'm at a light, the revs drop to almost nothing, from the idle speed of about 900+ rpm.

Most often, the surging is mild, just a slight loss of power, then up again. But, VERY occasionally, this surging will be hard, almost violent, like somebody STOPS the engine and starts again, rapidly, real concerning. It's not unsafe, I don't think, but anyone watchng the car drive by slowly, would wonder why I'm pumping the brakes hard repeatedly.

The surging episodes happen several times a year, and the more violent episode has only happened several times over the last ten years.

Anyone experience this? Anybody know what it could be and how it could be fixed?

Thanks for your help!
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Old 11-01-2010, 01:13 PM   #2
86Si1stowner
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Welcome to the site. You bought your Prelude same year & month I purchased mine, and you have just a few more miles than mine does, so our stuff might wear out at about the same time.

Is your temperature/thermostat acting normally? How long's it been since you changed it?
Also, recently I changed the coolant temperature sensor (on the thermostat housing). This eventually threw a code on the ECU, but the symptom is the engine hesitating and/or stalling until the car warms up completely. I replaced it, and the problem went away.
Do you have the factory manual? If not, there are shortcuts to a pdf version on this website.

Good luck & welcome.
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Old 11-01-2010, 03:12 PM   #3
TimO
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wow youve got to love the original owners!!
sounds liek a weird problem for sure. is the car auto or manaul?

also you say it only does it once its warmed up...that would seem to indicate a temp sensor failure but if its always done it i cant see it beeing that. finding a random fault like this is very hard. if it was consistant you could change parts out for known good ones and see how its affected.
if i had to guess with the given information....random ecu fault.

next time it does it try accelerating hard and see if it still acts up. if it goes away under full throttle it could be as simple as a sticky fuel pressure regulator
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Last edited by TimO; 11-01-2010 at 03:20 PM.
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Old 11-01-2010, 10:13 PM   #4
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Thanks for the suggestions, guys! My Prelude is a 5-speed manual. (Of course . Even our 2005 Honda Accord is a 5-speed, maybe one of the last ones.)

Anyway, this surging has not happened when engine is cold. It always happens when the engine has run a little while, at normal temp., in cold weather or hot, rain or shine. When at a stop light, at idle, when this happens, sometimes it barely idles, and then when I accelerate away, or am just driving, the low-power surge happens.

Intermittant. Aggravating.

I'll show your suggestions to Greg Dietz, at Dietz Automotive here in Boise.

Thanks again.
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Old 08-23-2019, 08:09 AM   #5
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I have the exact same problem and still working on fixing it but one thing I did notice in the process was my brake booster. It pulls vaccuum from the manifold especially if you pump your brakes and upon looking at my master cylinder it was corroded. So I replaced both master cylinder and brake booster. Check these along on your quest as well. Pump your brakes a few times while at idle and see if the idle surges.
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