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Daily Lude

I got this when I still owned the BMW, it was one of those things where when discussing it with the better half that we decided the cars I wanted to own were no longer feasible as daily drivers anymore. Thus, we went hunting for a new daily.

The criteria was simple. It had to be cheap, decent condition, reliable and comfortable. I stumbled across this Prelude on Trademe and decided to take a look after work that night. It was an NZ New Prelude VTIR, so had the black top H22A manual, cruise control, not but 4 wheel steer. It had been lowered (pretty damn low, the front crossmember would scrape driveways and the mudflaps regularly hit the ground) and a cheap intake fitted, otherwise it was stock.

It had some issues, which I gladly pointed out to the seller, in the dark… in the pouring down rain, as a point of negotiation. The car had only been listed earlier that morning, so I was quick off the mark and went in with a lowball offer. I somehow managed to convince him it was a great deal, and off I drove, in my new Prelude.

The issues were fairly minor, a valve cover leak, a weeping clutch master cylinder and some wear and tear. Because it was manual and the better half prefers to just not drive manual because it’s a pain in the bum here, she drove the BMW home and I drove the Prelude. Half way home, get to the Ngauranga Gorge, and damn it, there’s been a crash and we are stuck in gridlock traffic up a steep hill. So whilst she is sitting there all comfortable cranking the beats in my auto BMW, im sitting behind her in the ‘Lude with no idea what will happen…. its my first drive, will it overheat in traffic? Will the clutch give out? Will my left leg give out from crawling up this hill? Thankfully it eventually opened up and we got out of the traffic without issue, the Prelude did well. Trial by fire and all that.

We put lots of KM on this car (at least compared to my previous ones), about 11,000KM in the year we owned it. Felt like we had it for ages, it was a part of the family for a while there. The trusty old Prelude.

I did eventually have to replace the valve cover gasket, which although isn’t a hard job and it’s one I have done before on an H22A, this one didn’t like me too much. I did the work and it all seemed good as. Went for a hoon 10km up the road and noticed a smell of burning oil when I stopped and wisps of smoke. Oh noes. I pulled into the far corner of a petrol station forecourt, took note of where the nearest extinguishers were, and popped the bonnet. Plume of smoke and oil everywhere at the back of the engine. Thankfully no fire, just lots of smoke.

Turns out I had pinched a section of the gasket at the rear of the head, well away from where I could easily see. I shot over and grabbed a fistfull of paper towels and began to mop all the oil up. I then pushed the car slightly out of sight so I could get to work.

One of the smarter things I did that day was take the tools I used with me, so on the passenger’s seat I had a ratchet with the correct sockets for the bolts. Score. 5 minutes later the valve cover had been taken off, gasket realigned (thankfully it hadn’t cut the gasket, it was a little creased but still lined up ok), and refitted. A bit more mopping up, a check that I still had some oil, and I set off home again. With my nerves on edge I made it home ok, and immediately jacked the car up and started the process of degreasing everything. Had no more issues with it after that, just smelt for a while until the oil burnt off the exhaust.

Never did get around to replacing the clutch master cylinder, as I kinda forgot about it. It only presented an issue if you held your foot on the pedal for a long period of time, it would lose pressure and would either be hard to get into gear or start creeping, until you pumped the pedal.

This was a great car, and only sold to upgrade to the Fit as the ‘Lude was getting long in the tooth.

Update 07/08/2018 – Car has noted as Stolen on Carjam as at 22-Sept-2017


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