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I've been looking for a prelude to buy for a while now and this is my favorite gen but the car will need a bit of work and it would be tough to find replacement fenders. The car needs new valves, the seller says it's only at 12k miles so I'm not sure why the valves would be damaged enough to need replacement, the seller has offered to include a replacement tail light for the badly damaged one in the back. He's asking for $1,000. I would appreciate any input, thanks!
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Is that a 4WS badge on the pillar? In that case, the initial cost doesn't seem too bad, but you're right--finding replacement fenders is probably going to be a challenge. There's also a lot of body filler on the rear quarter panel, so it makes me wonder what other damage has been done to it. If you're a real DIYer, I don't see why it wouldn't be an okay project car. But if you're not, it could be a money pit.

Did you mean the original engine was rebuilt 12k miles ago? I also don't see why the valves would need to be replaced. Perhaps they meant the valve seals? In any case, it makes me question the quality of the rebuild. Also note that the original engine is a B21, which can go through piston rings faster than a B20 because of the FRM cylinder walls. Of course it might not matter if you plan to do an engine swap later on. Swaps are getting really popular these days.
 

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Given the condition of the engine and body, I would buy this as a parts car. Assuming there's no frame damage and the interior is perfect, you would have to do a lot of expensive body work to get it to look right again.
 

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1990 Honda Prelude 2.0Si, 1989 Honda Prelude 2.0Si 4ws, 1990 Honda Prelude Si 4ws, etc.
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If it runs and drives, it's worth $1000. Looks like it got sideswiped. Driver side mirror was clearly replaced afterwards - they'd have lost the original with the damage. The door is repairable and so is the rear quarter, bondo or otherwise. The front fender will likely have to be replaced. Doesn't look like it got hit hard enough to have tweaked the frame, but the body components will be tough to source. However, the deck lid in the back says "Si", not "2.0Si 4ws". It occurs to me that perhaps the entire driver door was replaced post-accident, and it happened to come from a 4ws model. The damage on the door could have happened from opening it into the fender like is obviously happening. If the other side says the same thing, maybe it is....but I'm not aware that those two badges ever appeared together, nor that 4ws ludes came with B21A1s under the hood. If it has 4ws, it was likely added by a previous owner - because you can do that. :)

Hayamate's a good member here and knowledgeable, but don't listen to the bad things anyone says about the FRM cylinder sleeves - that's not the problem with those engines. Nobody that says the FRM is the problem has had one apart and seen it for themselves - they're just parroting a long-held belief put forward by other people's speculation.....who also never had one of these engines apart and saw the things they describe. I was guilty of that myself once upon a time, but have since recanted that belief. ::I've got two B21A1 engines. One is blown - a thrown rod with a hole in the front of the block thanks the to the idiot teenager who owned it before me, the other has a lot of miles on it, but is otherwise fine and is currently being fully rebuilt. So, I've had two apart now, and neither exhibited the issues described, not even the one with the hole in it, damage to the related cylinder notwithstanding... but BOTH had issues in the top end: valves, valve guides and valve guide seals. Piston rings are fine in both blocks, the cylinder walls smooth with no indication of damage or piston slap or any of that. The head from the intact block had a really badly burnt exhaust valve in cylinder #1 causing it to use oil like no other. Also noticed that the exhaust valves were not lapped into the seats on either head - the finish is rough, which will cause the engine to smoke. The theory that it's the FRM in the cylinder walls that causes the oil burning is a MYTH. So, there's a lot of speculation about the FRM eating up piston rings, but I have literally seen ZERO evidence to support it, photographic or otherwise, and I've looked for it, HARD. They do tend to burn and leak lots of oil when not taken care of properly, but the problem is in the heads, not the block. Something wasn't quite right about those heads, and I'm beginning to wonder if that's where Honda messed up with those engines - seeing two identical heads, the exhaust valves for both having the same rough finish on the seating surfaces is where I would point the first finger, but my rebuild is not yet complete and although I intend to lap those valves, I haven't put everything back together again yet to see if that solved the problem like I think it will. They decently reliable powerplants, even if they are lackluster for power in stock form. They're quick (even bone stock, they go like they're angry), but they're not fast. They're easy to work on and troubleshoot, and the shop manual is comprehensive and easy to understand even for layman mechanics. They have no rev limiter or VTEC, so keep that in mind. Redline is probably around 6200rpm rather than what your tach might tell you because they're poorly balanced from the factory. Much above that, mechanical failure is imminent and inevitable. REMEMBER THAT. Don't drive it like a VTEC Honda. You will only destroy it. They're not good to make power outside of forced induction, so if you're looking for much more than the stock 120-ish, plan on a turbo build because you'll never make the lude a truly fast car with that engine under the hood in any other way. Turbo builds are well documented on this forum, and although the reliability suffers a bit with forced induction, most considered it a fair trade off and were pretty happy with what they got out of them. Swaps are also available and worth looking into, but they're not cheap to do. Takes dedication, but the support is available here.

If the rest of it's in ok shape, I'd say if you're willing to do the project, you should go for it! It will be a project, however. You'll get frustrated, we all do....but don't let it get you down. They're amazing cars!
 
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tjcross, I'm under the impression that FRM will wear rings at a rate faster than usual because the H22 has a similar reputation with similar cylinder walls. However, I'm not always right. I'll look into that. (y)
 

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1990 Honda Prelude 2.0Si, 1989 Honda Prelude 2.0Si 4ws, 1990 Honda Prelude Si 4ws, etc.
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@ Hayamate: After seeing the two I have, I find it really unlikely. The surface of the cylinder walls in the B21A1s I have is smooth...It looks like it's been lapped. No cross-hatching. Everything I've read so far says that's exactly the way it's supposed to be. There's literally nothing for the rings to catch on and erode, and they're still seated in the cylinders. When prepping FRM for rebuild, it is ok to wash the sleeves with dishsoap and water, followed immediately by drying and a light coat of oil applied with a rag or something. If you need to prep the surface to seat new rings (like I will have to), they say you can lightly sand the inside (in no particular pattern) with 600 grit aluminum oxide sandpaper (clean up after yourself afterwards, of course ;)), but no boring or honing is advised. The intact block I have had 262k on it when it was pulled from the car. With the head off, one can see there's only a miniscule ridge at the top - the B20A5 that replaced it in that particular car had a much larger ridge with only 130k on it. LOL Even the blown block looks the same - smooth finish inside the 3 cylinders that weren't damaged. The block and almost everything associated with the thrown rod cylinder is trash, of course....but there are a lot of salvageable parts on it which I'm keeping, the head and oil pump in particular. I don't remember how many miles were on that one...not nearly as many as my intact block, for sure. I'll take some pictures for you and post them as soon as I can - only the intact B21A1 is actually at my house, the blown one is at my friend's place. I haven't had the block hot tanked yet, so it's still filthy dirty, but you should be able to see exactly what I'm talking about with a couple good pics down the bores. :)
 

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I've been looking for a prelude to buy for a while now and this is my favorite gen but the car will need a bit of work and it would be tough to find replacement fenders. The car needs new valves, the seller says it's only at 12k miles so I'm not sure why the valves would be damaged enough to need replacement, the seller has offered to include a replacement tail light for the badly damaged one in the back. He's asking for $1,000. I would appreciate any input, thanks!
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Lot of body work needed on that one on top of other maintenance stuff. $500 tops.
 

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Is that a 4WS badge on the pillar? In that case, the initial cost doesn't seem too bad, but you're right--finding replacement fenders is probably going to be a challenge. There's also a lot of body filler on the rear quarter panel, so it makes me wonder what other damage has been done to it. If you're a real DIYer, I don't see why it wouldn't be an okay project car. But if you're not, it could be a money pit.

Did you mean the original engine was rebuilt 12k miles ago? I also don't see why the valves would need to be replaced. Perhaps they meant the valve seals? In any case, it makes me question the quality of the rebuild. Also note that the original engine is a B21, which can go through piston rings faster than a B20 because of the FRM cylinder walls. Of course it might not matter if you plan to do an engine swap later on. Swaps are getting really popular these days.
If you are looking to buy a 1991. I have one you might want to look at. It's a SI 4ws with a little rust and no body damage.
Text me at 586 208 4850 and I will send you some pictures.
 

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If you need to prep the surface to seat new rings (like I will have to), they say you can lightly sand the inside (in no particular pattern) with 600 grit aluminum oxide sandpaper (clean up after yourself afterwards, of course ;)), but no boring or honing is advised.
This is not Honda's recommendation. Additionally, the ring and bore interaction is based on the material differences. With normal iron sleeve cylinders, The idea is to use hard, usually chrome alloy, rings because they last longer. This was one of Honda's early developments that contributed to the longevity of their engines. FRM is a different beast, though. The aluminum is very soft, but the aluminum oxide finish is very hard. Also abrasive and self galling, like all other aluminum. Unfortunately, you can't really use chrome rings in this application, because they are stiff enough that they will damage the coating and wear into the body of the liner. So for FRM cylinders, you need to use softer cast iron rings, so the majority of the wear is to the rings. Because of this, they wear more rapidly than the combination of iron/chrome in the other engines.
Aluminum's self-galling tendency is why any machine parts which have aluminum components always have bronze or iron bushings installed in the connections between components. Even with lubrication and polishing of the surfaces, the naturally occurring outer layer of aluminum oxide is very hard and microscopically abrasive, and will eat away at any other material it contacts.
 

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All of that is true - rings for the B21 are not chrome-moly - they're too hard and will in fact chew up the surface finish on the bore. I've been warned that the iron rings are also brittle, and that they're easy to break...even moreso than the chrome-moly, so I'll have to be super careful. Those recommendations came from several different sites, not Honda specifically, though there was more than one Honda forum that contributed to my research . I looked for shops that specifically are equipped to rebuild engines with FRM and sought their advice. The sleeves themselves are much more like a ceramic than a metal - clearly, there's metal in the material, but it's not readily apparent with the eyeball. Even where it's fused to the aluminum of the block it doesn't really look like metal.
Bushing material can vary, depending on what it's used for - bronze is common, at least in part because it can be impregnated with oil, and serves really well as bushings/bearings, but obviously doesn't have unlimited service life. The company I work for uses bronze/brass a lot for parts like this. I've also see Zinc-coated steel with teflon liners used in DU style bearings (basically a cylinder of sheet metal). The heads are still where the worst problems of oil usage/leakage have been - I swear that engine when it was still in the car went through 4 quarts of oil faster than it went through a tank of gas. Most of it probably went out the cam seals, but it burned a lot too, especially in the cylinder with the burnt valve - there was a chunk the size of my pinky nail missing from the valve. I'm sure the guides and guide seals were causing some smoking too, and I'll have to have the guides gauged and replaced if necessary - they might be overly worn.
 
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