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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I purchased a 86 prelude SI from facebook. In brief, the history is the previous owner died and it's been sitting for several years in a family member's yard. Mice and age have done damage to it. It was sold to me, now I have it, and I'm going to fix it. Decided to name it Miles.

Identified problems so far...
  • Passenger door handle broken
  • Damaged keyholes
  • Paint in poor condition
  • Front bumper cracked on right side
  • Damage to wires, vacuum tubes, cables from mice
  • Filth in cabin
  • Cranks, but doesn't start
  • All 4 tires are dry rotted
  • Some interior parts are sun damaged
There are likely more issues, but I can't try things like the heating and AC until after I can get it running. Hopefully the engine is in decent shape. I noticed oil varnish so if it's worn out it wouldn't surprise me.

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I removed the carpet. It's very dirty. Maybe it could be cleaned, but I'd rather get new carpet. Not surprisingly there's a trail of mice poop on both sides by the wiring harnesses that lead to the back of the car. I also noticed it's damp on the driver's side floor. I suspect there's a hole somewhere in the frame that's allowing water to get in. I've noted to investigate that later.

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I removed the rear interior panels to inspect the PGM-FI computer and wiring. The wiring for the fuel pump is the only wiring that had damage, and that was from a crack in the insulation rather than mice damage. One of the mounting bolts for the computer is missing and a screw on the computer case is loose, so someone was messing with it. I may have to replace the computer.

To my surprise, I found wall insulation was installed in the empty space of the frame. I don't understand why someone would do that.

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
When turning the key, I noticed that not all the lights on the instrument cluster turn on as they should. There was also an odd issue where if I turn on the headlights or use the signal lights, they would work after about a few second delay. I removed the panels under the instrument cluster and the instrument cluster itself to inspect the wiring. The first problem I noticed is someone put dielectric grease in the connectors, which was causing some of the electrical problems. I cleared out the grease with electric parts cleaner. The second problem is components on the instrument cluster are rusted, so water must be getting in from somewhere and dripping on the cluster and down to the floor on the drivers side.

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I replaced some tubing and did a hack job of splicing wires that were broken. The wiring job is temporary just to get things working. A proper job involves soldering and heat shrinking wire insulation.

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I replaced the spark plug wires and spark plugs, then cranked it with a spark test tool. No spark. I tested the coil with my multimeter and found a short, so I replaced the coil. No spark. I removed the distributor cap to inspect it and found that the distributor is no good. There is a gasket on the distributor cap, but it's dry rotted and broken which allowed water to get in. Replaced the distributor and now I get spark.

When removing the distributor I noticed a lot of RTV. There must have been an oil leak, and instead of simply replacing the O-ring gasket, someone slapped on RTV. I also noticed a break in the shielding around the bundle of wires that runs under the distributor. It doesn't appear that any of those wires are broken but I'll have to double check.


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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I tried starting it with the new distributor. The spark test tool shows I do get spark now. Sprayed some starting fluid in the throttle body and tried to crank it, but it won't start. I know it isn't getting fuel because I disconnected the fuel pump, but it should at least start with starting fluid. I don't know what's wrong.

If your ECU doesn't work I have one I pulled from a junkyard. Don't know if it works or not.
Thanks. I do happen to have a spare ECU.
 

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I tried starting it with the new distributor. The spark test tool shows I do get spark now. Sprayed some starting fluid in the throttle body and tried to crank it, but it won't start. I know it isn't getting fuel because I disconnected the fuel pump, but it should at least start with starting fluid. I don't know what's wrong.


Thanks. I do happen to have a spare ECU.
Check to see that your main relay is working - it should be on the driver's side under the dash and right up against the left side - it is a pretty large rectangular box (about 2.5x1x1 inches). This relay turns on the fuel pump and also energizes other circuits. Also, another thing to check is the fuel regulator - it should be at the end of the fuel rail on the driver's side, has a vacuum hose that goes down to the air intake box or manifold (I don't recall exactly which one). Finally, check to see that your valves are opening and closing when the engine is rotated - the timing belt on these things can skip teeth if they are worn! If you have the two original user's manuals they would be invaluable to you! Good luck with the project and keep us posted.
 

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Check to see that your main relay is working - it should be on the driver's side under the dash and right up against the left side - it is a pretty large rectangular box (about 2.5x1x1 inches). This relay turns on the fuel pump and also energizes other circuits. Also, another thing to check is the fuel regulator - it should be at the end of the fuel rail on the driver's side, has a vacuum hose that goes down to the air intake box or manifold (I don't recall exactly which one). Finally, check to see that your valves are opening and closing when the engine is rotated - the timing belt on these things can skip teeth if they are worn! If you have the two original user's manuals they would be invaluable to you! Good luck with the project and keep us posted.
One other thing - check your cylinder compression - if you don't have adequate compression the will not be any ignition at all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
One other thing - check your cylinder compression - if you don't have adequate compression the will not be any ignition at all.
Good suggestions. I did a compression test. 90/40/120/130 dry. This engine is done. I should have done a compression test as soon as I got it. I do have a working engine on a parts car, so my plan now is to swap it over. It's so much more work now since it needs an engine swap. I'll have to find some people with experience doing that since it's too much work for one guy to handle.

The donor car is an 87 prelude (base model, with carburetor) that got smashed in the quarter panel and has a rusted frame, so there's no fixing it. The engine, doors, bumpers, interior are good. So this project is mostly take parts from that car and put it in Miles.
 

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Good suggestions. I did a compression test. 90/40/120/130 dry. This engine is done. I should have done a compression test as soon as I got it. I do have a working engine on a parts car, so my plan now is to swap it over. It's so much more work now since it needs an engine swap. I'll have to find some people with experience doing that since it's too much work for one guy to handle.

The donor car is an 87 prelude (base model, with carburetor) that got smashed in the quarter panel and has a rusted frame, so there's no fixing it. The engine, doors, bumpers, interior are good. So this project is mostly take parts from that car and put it in Miles.
Good luck with the engine swap. If you have any spare parts of the donor car and the body is similar to the '86, I am looking for the passenger side molding - it is about 11-12 inches long and about 1.5 inches wide.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Good luck with the engine swap. If you have any spare parts of the donor car and the body is similar to the '86, I am looking for the passenger side molding - it is about 11-12 inches long and about 1.5 inches wide.
For your 86 SI? The base and SI models have different "door protector" styles, and it comes in three pieces. Is that what you're referring to?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Last couple of months has been a wild ride, but not the good kind. Sent Miles and a donor to a mechanic for an engine swap. Turned out to be way more complicated because the donor is the base model and Miles is the Si model. It's my fault, I should have done more research and planned better. The mechanic did swap some parts and he was nice enough to let me strip the interior on both cars during the weekends. The mechanic took care of the engine, trans, fuel tank, exhaust and wheels. I stripped so many parts from the donor car, it's easier to list what I didn't take. It was at least 20 hours of work, which I had to do in 90° weather.

There's still much work to be done. Minimally to get the engine running I'll have to hook up the gas tank and swap the wiring harness. To get it moving, I don't know what has to be done for the transmission. So far all I know is the shift stick isn't hooked up.

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Removed the fenders, front bumper, and wiring harness. Partially installed the wiring harness from the donor car. The mechanics cut the engine wiring harness so I had to crimp that back together. I haven't installed the wiring harness parts that go in the cabin yet because it's getting cleaned. Removed the old fuel pump. I'll have to figure out how to get the new fuel pump mounted in there since the carburetor and fuel injected pumps have different brackets. The cabin is now getting a much needed scrubbing. Some of the matting from the carpet is stuck to the floor, and there was a lot of mouse poop. Most of that is cleared out, but it's going to take a few iterations to get it to my standard. In-between cleaning, there are some rust spots that I want to grind out with a Dremel.

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
The front bumper is cracked, so I was hoping that I could put on the bumper from a carb model prelude on. Sadly, the bumper reenfocement from a carb model prelude cannot be bolted onto an SI prelude. The mounts that are welded onto the frame are different, so it doesn't line up. The bumper itself fits but I'd have to somehow mount the bumper on the reenfocement for the SI prelude, which is more work than I want to do, but it has to be done.

I did clean out the cabin and fix a lot of rust spots. Most of it was surface rust but there is a hole on the front drivers floorpan. I'll have someone weld a patch.

The mechanic that put the engine welded a transmission mount to the subframe. The weld job doesn't look good, so I'll have someone do a second pass of welding to make sure that mount is secure.

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I did some work on the trunk removing rust. There was a lot of dirt caked in the gap by the rubber seal where the water is supposed to drain, so water was sitting in the trunk for some time and caused rust. The rubber liner hardened so much I could brake it off with a hammer, which is what I did. Then I cut out some rust and applied POR15.

The sun roof assembly was somewhat rusted, and the glass was in bad condition, so I swapped it out. This turned out to be much more difficult than I anticipated for two reasons:
1) The replacement sun roof didn't move. Turned out that one of the tracks was stuck in the metal tube that holds it. I don't know how that happened. I had to take apart both sun roof assemblies to swap that part.
2) After reinstallation of the sun roof assembly, I tested it to make sure water was draining properly. Somehow water was getting into the floor pan. Water that gets between the sun roof glass seam is supposed to flow down through one of the four vinyl hoses, into the frame on either side, and out. For whatever reason, water is leaking out of the sides of the frame onto the floor pan. Maybe a mouse stuffed insulation into the frame. I fixed it by attaching longer vinyl hoses (3/8ID front, 1/2ID back), and having them go through the factory holes in the floorpan.

Also spent some time removing window tint. I still have to do the rear window, which I'm sure is going to be a nightmare because I'll have to fix the defroster too.

At some point this car had a killer sound system because I can see two round holes cut out where the rear speakers go. There's also about 9 small holes drilled into the rear part of the floor pan on both sides. I don't know why they were drilled but my guess is they put LED lights under the car and the holes are for the wires. Because, you know, fuck removing the rubber grommets on the factory holes.

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