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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hey everyone! new to the forums.
I found a used 2k honda prelude base with the auto-trans.
the guy is asking 1900 for it, its in decent condition (some rust on the back quarter, nothing major that I can't do on my own)

I was buying the car for my daily driver and to learn how to wrench (as I'm not really mechanically inclined- i just changed the heater blower motor on my esclade, that was my weekly accomplishment lol)

With that being said, the car has 200k miles on it, adult owned. two owners, clean carfax.

after reading things online, im afraid to purchase from the horror stories of the trans.
Are they really THAT Bad? I didnt hear any clicking and it didnt shift wierd at all when i drove it, and I did highway and stop-n-go.



Two other questions: From people who have had it done: how much did the 5mt swap cost you? And does anyone know reputable mechanics in Pennsylvania that could handle such a beast?

I planned on building this car for my own personal goal of finally getting into tuners after many years of reading articles, and never having the balls to do one myself. I'm looking for long term project, not sinking tons of cash up front. Just something fun, and something to use as a platform to learn more about vehicles.

Thanks!
 

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If this is one on CL, I believe I saw it a few days ago.


The conversion can run you anywhere from $800-2500 depending on the parts you get and if you have to pay a shop to do anything. Rompirate has a decent writeup on the subject and many others are experienced in the conversion.


However with that mileage, I would expect it to need a timing belt, water pump, tensioner, oil seals and the big question: what's the compression looking like?


The transmission will fail. No say on how long it could last you - anywhere from the drive home to a year from no.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
If this is one on CL, I believe I saw it a few days ago.


The conversion can run you anywhere from $800-2500 depending on the parts you get and if you have to pay a shop to do anything. Rompirate has a decent writeup on the subject and many others are experienced in the conversion.


However with that mileage, I would expect it to need a timing belt, water pump, tensioner, oil seals and the big question: what's the compression looking like?


The transmission will fail. No say on how long it could last you - anywhere from the drive home to a year from no.
I used Rompirates Guide with the help of a friend who knows Honda inside and out, and we're figuring around $900, and he has two rebuilt transmissions ready to go (he races hondas)

The car was meticulously taken care of, which is the only reason I'm buying it. It was adult owned

50k miles- Transmission service, flushed, Valves Adjusted

100k miles- same, tune up

180k miles- Trans Serviced, flushed, valves adjusted, tune up

All done at Open road Acura.

New timing belt/Water pump, not sure about seals.

It was on craigslist on the Phildadelphia/Levittown CL.

I checked it out on the whim on saturday, its BONE stock, clean inside and out, stock CD Player, books in a bag in the glove compartment, stock floor mats dirty, but not destroyed. All in all, minus some cosmetic work, the car is in good condition.

I called my friend (honda racer above) and he's going to take a look at it this week and give it a good tune up and service for me


I Test drove it around Levittown for a good 20 minutes, no bucking, no CEL, no wierd smells, no wierd shifting. Hoping I made a good decision.

as for the "just buy manual" comment- I thought about that, problem is, almost every car I've found for the better part of 4 months has been beat to shit in this area. I test drove one earlier in the day that literally felt like it was going to break down or fall apart as I drove it, and thats only one of the horror stories I've experienced.
 

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Well, if it's that clean and well taken care of, then it may be worth your time to convert. But, I wouldn't expect it to be easy to sell after you've "converterted" it, if it's something you ever plan on selling. The return you get on spending a lot of money to make it a 5-speed is literally a wash.

Still, it's nice to see a clean car get scooped up and brought to the right side of the tracks.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Nah, I wont get rid of this. I've been a fanatic for a while, just had other priorities (family, kids, career..) and I'm finally settled in enough to be able to buy a wrench car.

My fiance laughs. shes a Muscle car type. She loved the Harley, but I sold that and my Subaru to buy our house a few years back.

As i explained to her- its an obsession, this is my equivalent of a classic Camaro or Mustang. Gen 5s always turned my head when I'd see them (which is rare)

I'm looking at tuning it for a fun ride to take on trips or when I hold concerts (I work in the music industry).
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thank you!

Ironically, I came across another posted to craigslist last night around 10pm, called the guy. 140k miles, rebuilt transmission last year, new tires, V2 intake w/ bypass. no exhaust work.

everything else is stock, the guy who owns it has family priorities first and it's been sitting in his garage. I'll be checking that out.

He's throwing in the water pump, timing belt, tensioner and other parts that he bought but never finished working on. May be a better choice, although still automatic.

and garage kept- no honda AIDS on the rear quarter.
 

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That's pretty close to an exact description of my purchase. Wasn't quite as high mileage (I think it was 150-160.... maybe it was 180...), but it was a well cared for bone stock car by a guy who had family that had to come first.

It has required some routine maintenance. I had to change the timing belt. I had to change the clutch (you won't have to do that with an A/T!). I had the oil cooler o-ring failure. Brakes. Belts. All fluids. I am mechanically inclined, so none of this took me more than a day or two to whip through. It's all pretty basic stuff that you just have to do on a car at some point.

But now I have a great, fun, clean car. It has 230k on the clock, but I'd hop in it and drive it across the country tomorrow without a second thought.
 

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JB02

From what I have been told by the guys at my old mans dealer ( He's master tech and just retired with 28 years of service with Honda) the 97-98 auto did give problems to the point that the dealer would not even service the auto trans till they failed, then they would be swapped out for a rebuilt howard tranny. There are two guys at the dealer that are original owners of a 98 and a 2000 base preludes and have the original tranny, what they have done since new is replace the ATF at no more than 4-5K so basically every time they change the engine oil they would also do fresh ATF. they would also add conditioners and they have been going strong. One of them has a tranny cooler and both drive and shift completely fine, its one of the reasons I got mine auto (well to be honest it was extremely cheep $700 at auction as a clean title car)
 
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