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Discussion Starter #1
Hey folks,

2001 Prelude, looking for some simple and inexpensive options to tune the car. Nothing crazy, just want a simple tune to lower VTEC and fine tune things. I've had good experience in the past with such from Cobb and Hondata but I'm new to the Prelude platform.

I've researched a good bit and it's hard to find info because this is 20 year old tech and 20 year old ideas and there isn't much out there. If you can help please chime in or link me to some good reading.

What I think I am understanding is that for the 5th gen one must get a OBD-1 chipped ECU, along with a jumper to convert the OBD-2 port to OBD-1, then get a tuner with the right software to tune the car using the above hardware.

Any help on this would be awesome, I'm looking at around $650 for the above hardware and tune session, not sure if it's worth it or not. That's a lot of money for a little power. From what I'm reading the first and best hardware mods (to go along with such a tune) would be an intake manifold and upgraded throttlebody, but that's another $450 plus install which I am not looking to spend.

Please chime in if you know anything and thanks in advance.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Hey folks,

2001 Prelude, looking for some simple and inexpensive options to tune the car. Nothing crazy, just want a simple tune to lower VTEC and fine tune things. I've had good experience in the past with such from Cobb and Hondata but I'm new to the Prelude platform.

I've researched a good bit and it's hard to find info because this is 20 year old tech and 20 year old ideas and there isn't much out there. If you can help please chime in or link me to some good reading.

What I think I am understanding is that for the 5th gen one must get a OBD-1 chipped ECU, along with a jumper to convert the OBD-2 port to OBD-1, then get a tuner with the right software to tune the car using the above hardware.

Any help on this would be awesome, I'm looking at around $650 for the above hardware and tune session, not sure if it's worth it or not. That's a lot of money for a little power. From what I'm reading the first and best hardware mods (to go along with such a tune) would be an intake manifold and upgraded throttlebody, but that's another $450 plus install which I am not looking to spend.

Please chime in if you know anything and thanks in advance.
OK after hours of searching and reading I found everything I needed. Bottom line is everything I supposed above is correct. Now I'm trying to decide how much money I want to put into this car. I need you guys to help. Sadly you've all sold your Preludes and probably nobody is reading this in 2019 so I'm talking to myself. I'll continue that conversation and if anyone chimes in it will be fantastic.

OPTION 1
Do nothing, drive my 304whp Fiesta ST when I want to go fast, enjoy the Prelude as is, I only paid $2900 for it so I shouldn't put money into it.

OPTION 2
Drive a couple hours to Atlanta where a reputable tuner (Jason Waters tuning) will, for $630 out the door, install a chipped OBD1 ECU and harness and custom tune the car on his dyno. The question here is will it be worth it without any hardware upgrades (except my axelback and panel filter)???

OPTION 3
Do the above steps in option 2 but also install a 70mm throttle body and intake manifold...both can be had for about $500ish...this allows the custom tune to make more power but I'm spending about double the money. Just hard to justify putting $1130 into the car. $630 (option 2 - tune only) feels a lot easier on the wallet.

errggg.......
 

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Well it all depends what you want out of the car, your option 2 which is tune-only on your setup will make it run more efficient like Slightly better gas milage and maybe gain a couple hp(under 10hp most likely, wouldn’t be surprised at a 5hp increase) and like you said a different vtec point. So if that’s worth 650 to you then go for it. That’s not too bad of a price for the dyno session,tune, and ecu install. My local tuner does dyno tuning sessions for 500 so it’s about the same price.
Your option 3 will yield the best results and biggest gains as far as HP, i’m not sure which intake manifold you’re talking about but there’s a few options, Ported stock manifold, a Euro R manifold, and Skunk2 manifold. Surprisingly skunk2 manifold is the “worst” as far as Hp, that doesn’t mean it’s bad, but people find better results with the ported-stock manifold and Euro R manifold( i would prefer Euro R). So a manifold and 70mmTB on top of your axleback and intake will definitely gain more HP than option 2, but still not much.
- So in theory lets say as your car as it sits which is the axleback and filter on a stock tune Ecu makes 170-175whp on a baseline dyno run. (Assuming it’s a healthy engine that’s a common number for a stock tune, which stock tunes run pretty rich and don’t give out full HP potential)
-Then option #2 which is exactly the same but now with a tuneable Ecu, will probably be able to squeeeze out a strong 180~ish Whp, and run a lot healthier since it’s tuned.
-Option #3 with a good aftermarket manifold and TB, should be able to squeeze out 190-195whp,
-Since it’s a usdm H22a4 it probably won’t see over 200whp without a GOOD header and exhaust, the header really makes a BIG difference in HP.
-If you want to save money and still have fun with your car, i would go option 2 then upgrade suspension stuff to make it handle better. As you see these motors don’t make Huge hp gains unless you upgrade a lot of stuff and upgrade it with Good stuff. These 5th gens are definitely more of a drivers handling car than a drag-car. A healthy 5th gen with a good driver can definitely surprise a lot of cars in a drag race, but with how much they weigh it can only do so much. For drag racing Preludes people prefer 4th gens, they weigh a lot less and a lot more weight can be removed than a 5th gen. Since you have a pretty powerful other car i would just focus on keeping the Prelude healthy, they can be super reliable as long as things are in good condition (hoses, sensors, ingition things, suspension)
 

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Hey folks,

2001 Prelude, looking for some simple and inexpensive options to tune the car. Nothing crazy, just want a simple tune to lower VTEC and fine tune things. I've had good experience in the past with such from Cobb and Hondata but I'm new to the Prelude platform.

I've researched a good bit and it's hard to find info because this is 20 year old tech and 20 year old ideas and there isn't much out there. If you can help please chime in or link me to some good reading.

What I think I am understanding is that for the 5th gen one must get a OBD-1 chipped ECU, along with a jumper to convert the OBD-2 port to OBD-1, then get a tuner with the right software to tune the car using the above hardware.

Any help on this would be awesome, I'm looking at around $650 for the above hardware and tune session, not sure if it's worth it or not. That's a lot of money for a little power. From what I'm reading the first and best hardware mods (to go along with such a tune) would be an intake manifold and upgraded throttlebody, but that's another $450 plus install which I am not looking to spend.

Please chime in if you know anything and thanks in advance.

It depends on what you want to do and how much you are okay with spending on the car.

Yes $650 for 5-10 hp is not much and you may not even achieve that much, it just depends on the parts selected and if the car likes them or not.

But with Hondata you at least have the ability to monitor and make changes to your ecu and bring out the most of your mods. I recommend an upgraded throttle body. On my current setup. I changed throttle bodies between the upgraded 70mm one vs stock. I definitely could tell the loss of throttle response and power between the two while driving around. It felt slower and a slouch with the factory throttle body vs the 70mm one. I never wanted to try OEM vs Skunk2 Intake Manifold, but I'm willing to bet I will lose power with the stock IM as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Well it all depends what you want out of the car, your option 2 which is tune-only on your setup will make it run more efficient like Slightly better gas milage and maybe gain a couple hp(under 10hp most likely, wouldn’t be surprised at a 5hp increase) and like you said a different vtec point. So if that’s worth 650 to you then go for it. That’s not too bad of a price for the dyno session,tune, and ecu install. My local tuner does dyno tuning sessions for 500 so it’s about the same price.
Your option 3 will yield the best results and biggest gains as far as HP, i’m not sure which intake manifold you’re talking about but there’s a few options, Ported stock manifold, a Euro R manifold, and Skunk2 manifold. Surprisingly skunk2 manifold is the “worst” as far as Hp, that doesn’t mean it’s bad, but people find better results with the ported-stock manifold and Euro R manifold( i would prefer Euro R). So a manifold and 70mmTB on top of your axleback and intake will definitely gain more HP than option 2, but still not much.
- So in theory lets say as your car as it sits which is the axleback and filter on a stock tune Ecu makes 170-175whp on a baseline dyno run. (Assuming it’s a healthy engine that’s a common number for a stock tune, which stock tunes run pretty rich and don’t give out full HP potential)
-Then option #2 which is exactly the same but now with a tuneable Ecu, will probably be able to squeeeze out a strong 180~ish Whp, and run a lot healthier since it’s tuned.
-Option #3 with a good aftermarket manifold and TB, should be able to squeeze out 190-195whp,
-Since it’s a usdm H22a4 it probably won’t see over 200whp without a GOOD header and exhaust, the header really makes a BIG difference in HP.
-If you want to save money and still have fun with your car, i would go option 2 then upgrade suspension stuff to make it handle better. As you see these motors don’t make Huge hp gains unless you upgrade a lot of stuff and upgrade it with Good stuff. These 5th gens are definitely more of a drivers handling car than a drag-car. A healthy 5th gen with a good driver can definitely surprise a lot of cars in a drag race, but with how much they weigh it can only do so much. For drag racing Preludes people prefer 4th gens, they weigh a lot less and a lot more weight can be removed than a 5th gen. Since you have a pretty powerful other car i would just focus on keeping the Prelude healthy, they can be super reliable as long as things are in good condition (hoses, sensors, ingition things, suspension)
THANK YOU for this. More than anything I think I just need a few voices of reason to help me here...I know it's not going to be a big gain with OPTION 2 but I know it will improve the car noticeably and that's what I'm after. And hearing that I'm on the right track is helpful.

Need to think some more but if a few more people chime in I might be convinced to shell out the $600...

Yeah I'm not trying to make this car fast just a bit more enjoyable. I knew what I was getting when I bought it and had no illusions of grandeur, but lower VTEC and a bit more torque would be very nice.

Hearing that it is tuned rich from the factory helps justify my thoughts.

QUESTION - Since exploring all this I've learned that going to OBD1 will eliminate both my ATTS and my engine immobilizer feature. Are you aware of any other side effects? Want to know exactly what I'm getting into if I do this.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
It depends on what you want to do and how much you are okay with spending on the car.

Yes $650 for 5-10 hp is not much and you may not even achieve that much, it just depends on the parts selected and if the car likes them or not.

But with Hondata you at least have the ability to monitor and make changes to your ecu and bring out the most of your mods. I recommend an upgraded throttle body. On my current setup. I changed throttle bodies between the upgraded 70mm one vs stock. I definitely could tell the loss of throttle response and power between the two while driving around. It felt slower and a slouch with the factory throttle body vs the 70mm one. I never wanted to try OEM vs Skunk2 Intake Manifold, but I'm willing to bet I will lose power with the stock IM as well.
Thank you. What throttle body are you using? I see Skunk2 is popular, are there other options? Will the car run OK with the 70mm TB installed before tune or will there be issues?
 

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You will no longer be able to run a fast idle valve with a 70mm throttlebody, if that's even of any concern to you. Skank2 manifolds also delete your EGR system. OBD1 conversion will not allow you to pass any emissions tests requiring obd2 - keep that in mind.

It's been awhile, but I believe an Apexi VAFC will allow you to adjust vtec engagement without killing your wallet.

Overall, the Prelude is a handling car. You won't gain enough power for your dollar on an H motor as you would an RSX or 8th gen Si with a K motor. As it sits bone stock, you're not even hitting 160whp. With intake/throttelbody/intake manifold/header/exhaust - you may be in the low 190whp range as mentioned but also at nearly the cost of the car if not over.

TLDR; I would focus more on the suspension if money had to be spent, or just leave it stock and enjoy it for what it is.

Mine is around 300whp, but I enjoy driving a bone stock 5th gen just as much.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
You will no longer be able to run a fast idle valve with a 70mm throttlebody, if that's even of any concern to you. Skank2 manifolds also delete your EGR system. OBD1 conversion will not allow you to pass any emissions tests requiring obd2 - keep that in mind.

It's been awhile, but I believe an Apexi VAFC will allow you to adjust vtec engagement without killing your wallet.

Overall, the Prelude is a handling car. You won't gain enough power for your dollar on an H motor as you would an RSX or 8th gen Si with a K motor. As it sits bone stock, you're not even hitting 160whp. With intake/throttelbody/intake manifold/header/exhaust - you may be in the low 190whp range as mentioned but also at nearly the cost of the car if not over.

TLDR; I would focus more on the suspension if money had to be spent, or just leave it stock and enjoy it for what it is.

Mine is around 300whp, but I enjoy driving a bone stock 5th gen just as much.
Thanks. This is exactly what I needed to hear and I appreciate you chiming in and doing so in such a cordial manner. I'm going to leave the car stock in terms of tuning. My Fiesta has too much power, so much it's unusable on the street, and handles like few cars can. With the Prelude it's less that I want a faster car and more that I love tinkering and modding so much I want to turn some wrenches on this car. But it's old and like you said the cost is not worth the gains in my case especially since it's not the car I want to put money into. Just needed to hear what you wrote above.

There is something to be said about the fun of driving a slow car fast. The Prelude is a great $2900 car, I'm going to leave it that way and just enjoy it for what it is - an aging, slow, heavy but very well built and well tuned analog coupe from the glory days of Honda engineering.
 

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If you like tinkering and have some time. Learning OBD-1 tuning should hold your interest. Here’s a link with a ridiculous amount of info if you want to venture into tuning yourself.

https://honda-tech.com/forums/engine-management-tuning-124/step-step-crome-tuning-101-basics-3289526/

Porting the stock IM, I believe, will net you some gains. Cost is a dremel and time. I’m in the process of putting mine back to together to see if it was worth anything. If you don’t want to do something irreversible, removing the secondary butterfly valves is an option as well.

https://imgur.com/gallery/hE7NAhr
 

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I have a similar question as OP, however I’m a first owner of a 2000 base with 188K on the clock (bone stock). My baby sister went thru it already and I’ve had it for a few years now after that. Since then I have replaced the radiator, starter, speed sensor, EGR valve and cleaned the EGR ports on top of regular maintenance items.
I will soon have a teenager (turning 13, he came home for the first time from the hospital in this very car) that would like to drive it too. I want to know what/how to tune/overhaul during my next timing belt change (instead of purchasing a used car or downgrade to a Civic).
I don’t want to delete anything and want to pass registration.
Thanks in advance.
From what I sense, my car can give me another 10 trouble free years easily.
 

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I have a 97 lude.. it makes 258whp all motor.. and i spent about 2k to get her there.. obd1 chipped neptune crower cams springs and retainers to match.. skunk2 tb and im.. 3" exhaust & cai

I have more in sensors and suspension and sound then i do in mods.. and she pulls hard...


That said im about to drop my fully built f20b in her with a .58 ar turbo kit.. so w/e

If your handy with a wrench its not that expensive to go fast.. parts arnt whT kills your wallet its the labor
 
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