Honda Prelude Problems
RepairPal has identified the most common problems with the Honda Prelude based on complaints from actual vehicle owners. We'll tell you what the problem is and what it'll take to fix it.
The front axles are prone to failure on the 1992-1997 Honda Prelude. This will be evident as fast clicking or popping sounds will be audible while driving, most commonly when the steering wheel is turned while the vehicle is in forward motion.
Constant velocity (CV) axles, sometimes called a “half-shaft”, are designed to allow the wheels to be driven by the transmission, even when turning the steering wheel.
They are manufactured of a shaft with a gear at both ends. When one of the gears on the end of the shaft fails, it will make noise as the vehicle is driven.
The 1990-2001 Honda Prelude engine oil pressure sensor is known to leak from normal operation.
More information about the oil pressure sensor here.
To correct the leak, the sensor must be inspected, properly sealed and installed, or replaced with new.
Smelling burning engine oil is common on the 1992-1997 Honda Prelude, and is associated with oil leaking from the valve cover. It is most common to smell the oil burning at a stop light, or just after you shut off your engine.
Engine oil leaks from the valve cover, drains down, and settles on the exhaust manifold, which burns the oil upon contact due to high exhaust gas temperatures. This creates an odor that comes through the vents, and can be smelled around the front of the vehicle.
Valve cover gasket replacement will correct both the leak and the smell of burned oil at the same time. If the ignition coil or spark plug wire was soaked in oil, it will need to be cleaned or replaced to stop or prevent misfires.
This seal wraps around the camshaft to prevent engine oil from leaking where the camshaft exits the cylinder head.
The 1990-1992 Honda Prelude commonly has mechanical issues with the manual transaxle.
Drivers will notice that upon decelerating, the transmission will shift to neutral on its own, and some gears, normally second, will be difficult or impossible to select with the gear selector. Lastly, a grinding noise accompanies these issues. It changes with engine speed, and comes from the transmission.
The engine connects to the transmission with a clutch and shaft. The clutch engages or disengages the transmission input shaft, and the transmission input shaft drives the transmission. The input shaft is held in place by bearings which allow it to spin. When those bearings fail, the input shaft can move, and the problems noted above become very evident due to the loss of synchronization of the transmission.
To correct the situation, the transmission must be removed from the vehicle, disassembled, rebuilt, and reinstalled in the vehicle.
The best way to ensure this doesn’t happen to you is proper maintenance of the transmission.
The 1992-1997 Honda Prelude has a known issue with ignition distributor shaft bearing failure, which causes:
The ignition system uses the distributor to send high voltage electricity to the spark plugs at the right time. It accomplishes this timing mechanically by a shaft, which connects the crankshaft and ignition distributor, so they spin at the same rate. That shaft, part of the distributor, rests in a bearing inside the distributor.This bearing, the distributor shaft bearing, is known for failing, and allowing the shaft to move slightly.
As the bearing fails, it allows the shaft to move away from the shaft seal, and oil pours into the distributor cap, causing misfires.
The play in the shaft can also cause contact with the crankshaft position sensor, causing a no start problem.
Total bearing failure will be most evident from the grinding noise that changes with engine speed, and oil in the ignition distributor cap.
If the bearing is making noise, driving or running the vehicle can result in catastrophic engine failure.
To correct this issue, the ignition distributor and shaft must be replaced. Any damage to the crankshaft position sensor will necessitate replacement as well.
A faulty brake master cylinder reservoir filter can cause the brake system indicator to illuminate after a cold start and then go off. Replacement of the reservoir filter will commonly fix this problem.
The front brake rotors can warp and cause a vibration when braking. The rotors will need to be machined or in cases where they are worn to thin, replaced to correct this issue.
On certain models a faulty radiator fan motor can cause the AC not to cool properly. Replacing the faulty motor should correct this problem.
On some models the manual transmission fifth gear can grind on upshift due to a misaligned fifth shift fork. The transmission will have to be removed and disassembled and the fifth gear, the fifth sleeve set and the fifth gear shift fork will have to be replaced to repair this issue.
On models with manual transmissions, an AC suction line can rub against a radiator support bracket and cause a leak. Replacing the line along with an updated bracket from Honda will correct the problem and prevent it from happening again.