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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK, I’ll play along!
Been told I need to UP my count of posted messages BEFORE I’m allowed to send a pm (grumble grumble)... ... to "Bones" by the way.
No talent or time or tolerance for arguing rules at my age, so here’s one question that’s been working on me for awhile. It just might rope me into a discussion.

Which of the FOUR production years (1988-1991) did Honda roll out it’s BEST Gen3 model?
Did they steadily make improvements with features, etc, or is it the feeling here that they immediately “hit the production mark” in 1988, & then slowly declined over the next three years?

(There now.…5 more postings to go).
 

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This is far preferable to the way some people up their post count, posting completely useless responses on random threads until they hit 10.

There are really only two time periods to compare: 88-89 and 90-91, which we sometimes refer to as s1 and s2. Both are equal in quality to the best of my knowledge, and the differences are mostly cosmetic. I like the s1 front and s2 back ends, and the s2 interior styling.

My ideal car would be a 90-91 with a B20A5 and 4ws, painted one of the more unusual colors like the dark green or dark brown. It would have fog lights, the nicer Si seats, AC and power windows, but no spoiler. I'm not sure if this exact combination exists, but that's how I'd have mine if I could.
 

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Maybe you should have made this a poll. This is kind of like asking what is the best oil to use, or which tires are the best. But I'll play along. This applies to USDM models as I have no experience with other markets' models. I've owned at least one 3rd gen from each of the four production years. I would have to second what Andrew said at least cosmetically. I prefer the 88/89 front and the 90/91 back, enough so that I swapped the parts from a 91 onto one of the 89's that I owned.

I think the consensus would give the nod to 90/91 models, but Honda pretty much nailed it with the 88 models IMHO. Then they slightly refined it over the next three years, but not substantially. For engine swaps, the 90/91 Si models (b21a1) are OBD1 and less is needed to swap a newer engine into the car. The 90/91 Si models were rated slightly higher as far as performance goes, but were prone to oil burning because of the FRM sleeves and premature ring wear. And from what I've seen, excluding the elimination of the carb'd lude for the 91 model year, 90 and 91 models are pretty much identical except for some cosmetic differences in the 4ws and ALB models in 91. My absolute favorite would be a 91 Si 4ws.
 

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Easy one.
The UK 88-89 is the best. (ALB,4WS etc)
Unless you prefer the styling on the 90-91 in which case you can give up a small feel in handling for the better(?) cosmetics.
 

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91 si 4ws. It has the painted side mouldings and mirrors. I think alb in 91 was this way too. I think in 90 this wasn't offered. Sorry been over a year since looking at my brochures and been at least that long since this specific detail was brought up. I am also partial to the 90-91 si interior. I actually think it looks the best. Even better then leather interior and much more comfortable in winter and hot sunny summer days. I am also partial to the front and rear of 90-91. But I handpicked my lude from ebay over several months 13 and half years ago on ebay and made a 1800 mile round trip to get it. I live in the rust belt and it was one owner rust free and the color I wanted. Fortunately I made it home without any trouble. Had to add oil lots of times because every seal and gasket needed replacing. Including the rear main that was dumping probably the most. Back then they were plenty to choose from on ebay.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
THANX ALL for the replies so far. I’d like to keep this going - if only for that selfish reason I talked about. I have been lurking in the backgrounds of both Ebay & Craigslist for many months now. Trying to get “a feel” for what’s out there. Plenty of dogs. But every now & then one comes along that reads like it might be a diamond in the rough.

I’d like to own a manual shifting Gen3 (again) of the year of 19XX. Now trying to narrow that down by listening to the helpful experiences of others. Another requirement way-high on the wish list is one that has enjoyed care taken, & HAS NOT been rode hard, & hidden away wet to rust out & deteriorate.

Like I said, PLENTY of 24+ year old mistreated dogs out there (heavy sigh). Prices seem all over the map too – ranging from almost-fair, all the way up to LOL & beyond!

Another Question:
What's / Where's a good source for getting an engine-swap job done right on one of those high mileage vehicles?

 

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well if you don't have a good mechanic and your just looking for a good mechanic. mechanicfiles.com or something like that is what cartalk column and radio show uses in the usa. I haven't checked it out but it is suppose to be like a free angie's list type of thing for your area.
 

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91 si 4ws. It has the painted side mouldings and mirrors. I think alb in 91 was this way too. I think in 90 this wasn't offered.
Yup, 91 Si ALB also had the color matched side moldings and mirrors. The one I just bought has that along with the color matched sawblade wheels.

Sorry been over a year since looking at my brochures and been at least that long since this specific detail was brought up. I am also partial to the 90-91 si interior.
:emthup: I agree with this. 90/91 Si interior looks so much better than the other years/trim levels. The 88/89 2.0 Si is the next best on my list, then the 90/91 2.0 Si. The 2.0 S interior is terrible.

I actually think it looks the best. Even better then leather interior and much more comfortable in winter and hot sunny summer days.
I've owned cars with leather interior and I really prefer fabric. Leather looks better when it's in good condition, but it would be really tough to find a 3rd gen with leather seats that are in good condition. They are out there but rare.
 

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Well you need to say what is most important to you.
As so far people are commenting almost solely on cosmetics.
IMO not the way to choose the best of any car let alone a 3G Lude.

If that suits you look for one in the best cosmetic condition and go for it.
Otherwise have the 'niceties' in mind but don't let it control your purchases because you may end up with a very nice looking driveway ornament.

Any year of 3G in good condition and mileage is far better than one that looks nice but is rotted or unreliable.
Cosmetics can be dealt with, rust and neglect is harder to treat.
Also don't dismiss ones that have been used hard. Neglect is different to hard use. I tracked one of mine for 8 years and can assure you it got more abuse than pretty much anything you'll see. But it also got maintained properly and was in better condition than 99% of the cars I've seen in the US.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
well if you don't have a good mechanic and your just looking for a good mechanic. mechanicfiles.com or something like that is what cartalk column and radio show uses in the usa. I haven't checked it out but it is suppose to be like a free angie's list type of thing for your area.
Cudaboy:
Thanx for the link towards a reputable mechanic. It's actually http://www.cartalk.com/mechanics-files.
Good info to know because in scanning thru the local places with 5 star ratings, I noticed one that saved my bacon some time ago. Excellent work for the $$, but disappeared for awhile. I didn't realize they are back in business.
Tomorrow, I'll mosey on over, reintroduce myself, & perhaps have a little chat... ... about Preludes!

AND I'll ask (here & over there)... Does the 4ws feature REALLY make a huge difference in handling?
 

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I have owned 2ws ludes for several years and drove a 4ws one once, for ten minutes, so my opinion isn't worth much, but it was very noticeable at parking lot speeds. Less so on the road. One U-turn and I was grinning from ear to ear. I also nearly hit a shrub while backing out of a driveway because the turn initiated so much more quickly. I'd love to live with it for a while. No doubt I would have bought that car, if not for some really bad rust in the rear quarters. And there's what 88SE was talking about. The best lude is the one in the best condition. The options are less important. Just... probably avoid the carbeurated B20A3, for obvious reasons.
 

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As with any older car, rust and neglect should affect your decision on whether or not to buy it. Not sure why you assumed we were more concerned with appearance Jon, but no one said anything about cosmetics being more important than condition. We were merely pointing out the differences in the different 3rd gen years and trim levels. Which was in line with the OP's original question.
 

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Well his question was "which is the best". Then everyone went on about only the cosmetics/trim differences, no-one mentioned any of the mechanical variances.
Which implies that everyone thinks the cosmetics are the important thing. And tbh they are merely personal preferences as none are actually better than the other in an operational way.
Mechanically they are slightly different. And it's noticable. I prefer the older car, others prefer the newer version (which is actually a softer driving experience).
But ulitmately I never suggested anyone had said the cosmetics were more important, no idea where you got that from, I said that that was the main thing being commented on.


aeejbe.
The 4WS is a definite positive for road use. But only just. Mainly for manouevres and highway lane changing. Anything else it's not really any better.
I've had many 4WS Ludes (and just a couple of 2WS) and done probably 400k miles in them, a lot of it on the race track (all road miles were on UK/Euro roads which are nothing like as straight/open as US roads for the vast part). I now have a 2WS car and don't really miss the 4WS at all.
It's certainly not the thing to base a buying decision on unless you're just fixated with the 4WS thing..
 

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I should know this by now. What are the mechanical differences that affect how the car drives between s1 and s2? All I can think of is subtle stuff like the axles.
 

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OK, I’ll play along!
Been told I need to UP my count of posted messages BEFORE I’m allowed to send a pm (grumble grumble)... ... to "Bones" by the way.
No talent or time or tolerance for arguing rules at my age, so here’s one question that’s been working on me for awhile. It just might rope me into a discussion.

Which of the FOUR production years (1988-1991) did Honda roll out it’s BEST Gen3 model?
Did they steadily make improvements with features, etc, or is it the feeling here that they immediately “hit the production mark” in 1988, & then slowly declined over the next three years?

(There now.…5 more postings to go).
Having owned and driven quite a few 3rd Gen Preludes myself I would say the 91 is the best. my 1st 3rd gen was an 89 4ws and it was a wonderful car/very nice looking and I liked the way that the front end looked on the 88-89.then I started gravitating towards the 1991.91 being the final production year I think it is is the most refined and is my preference.

As far as 4ws vs 2ws I myself like the 4ws. The 2ws ludes handle great and feel very good when driving but the 4ws feels even better after you become accustomed to it.the main difference being that whenever you're driving at speed around a corner you don't feel like it's going to push or slide out from underneath you it feels like the car is on rails and tracking through the corner. as stated above the 4ws feels great when you're at slow speeds expecially when parking or maneuvering in tight areas and making a u-turn

So......... was there something you wanted to talk to me about?
 

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main differences I am aware of is the d2a4 manual tranny gearing in 90-91. The b21a1 is peppier being slightly bigger and maybe the intake manifold design. The exhaust cam is different too. But the benefit of the d2a4 could be had in the 90-91 2.0si as well. The si's with 4ws steering got other things like power door locks, Power mirrors, throughout all four years. Same with alb in 90-91. The 90 and 91 also or just the 91 got more reinforced side impact reinforcement in the doors. My 91 si 4ws also got the color matching as I mentioned before and it does have the rear window antenna, plastic foot rest next to the clutch pedal, I am sure there is more but not thinking of them right now. A refresher look at the sales brochures would help. One might be wheel width but that might be a carbed versus fuel injected. I think the si 4ws and alb and 88-89 2.0si w/4ws got the spoiler included too but not positive on that for the 88-89 2.0si.

Oh yeah thought of another on mine not found on all I am pretty sure. lumbar in drivers seat and memory setting mechanical for seat back tilt. As far as the 90-91 interior its not just the seats it is the addition of cloth matching door trim and rear seat quarter interior cloth trim but that is cosmetic.
 

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I should know this by now. What are the mechanical differences that affect how the car drives between s1 and s2? All I can think of is subtle stuff like the axles.
TBH I'd be more surprised if you did know them ;-)
Only because they are very subtle differences that add up to the whole.
Axles, clutch, ratios, suspension, steering... all have differences (not to mention interior stuff). On their own they make no difference, together the car is slightly softer (or some may say more refined) and make for a nicer drive. I prefer the less nice version ;-)
If you swap aftermarket parts from a S1 to an S2 (as I did from Evo to Grey) they feel almost identical.
 

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AND I'll ask (here & over there)... Does the 4ws feature REALLY make a huge difference in handling?
Yes. IMHO, its the biggest reason for owning a 3G (that and flip up headlights). I did the swap years ago. I've gotten used to it now, but whenever my mechanic drives the car he can't stop talking about how it handles. Its the most fun car I've ever driven (not that thats saying much).

It would be interesting if someone could find the old Road & Track slalom test numbers for the 2WS version. You always hear how the 4WS lude beat out every other vehicle at the time at 65.5 mph. I thought I had seen the comparison at one point and want to say it made about a 5 mph difference, but I can't find it now, so I could be entirely wrong.
 

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I think that article might be posted on mustardcat's prelude3g.com under documents. Or search here for links.
 

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TBH I'd be more surprised if you did know them ;-)
Only because they are very subtle differences that add up to the whole.
Axles, clutch, ratios, suspension, steering... all have differences (not to mention interior stuff). On their own they make no difference, together the car is slightly softer (or some may say more refined) and make for a nicer drive. I prefer the less nice version ;-)
If you swap aftermarket parts from a S1 to an S2 (as I did from Evo to Grey) they feel almost identical.
Huh, I thought most of that stuff was all identical. Cool.

bacon- it's not exactly what you were looking for, but I just found a Popular Science article that compares the 2ws and 4ws cars as well as Mazda's 4ws system: https://books.google.ca/books?id=mg...lude slalom speed&pg=PA52#v=onepage&q&f=false

I would love to run my lightly modified Prelude through the R&T slalom test and see if it's any better or worse than stock. I would think good summer tires alone would make a huge difference, more than enough to offset it being 2ws.
 
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