View Full Version : My 1988 Honda Prelude Si Build

01-13-2013, 10:33 PM
Vehicle Specifics: The car is a 1988 Honda Prelude Si 4WS. In the engine compartment sits a stock B20A5 w/ manual transmission. The car currently has 71,000 original kilometres on both the body and the drivetrain.

The Story Behind The Car: My dad purchased this prelude brand new from T&T Honda back in 1988. He drove the prelude sparingly, all it's life. There were a few occurrences when it was stored for 5-6 years without being started or moved. Unfortunately, when it wasn't being driven it was stored outside and uncovered, so the body started to suffer from the odd rust spot and fading paint. Luckily, my dad never drove the car in the winter so the weathering wasn't too bad (i.e. no "Honda rust" or rotting floors), but nonetheless there were some areas that needed serious attention.

My dad gave me the keys to the prelude in spring, 2010. At the time, it had about 62,000 kilometres on the odometer. The car still had the original michelin tires, which were bald to the point where the steel threads were showing. So my first purchase for the car was some tires that I found off of kijiji.ca (I think I paid $100.00). I had them mounted at the local Kal-Tire and began to drive it around that spring. Here is what it looked like at the time:

As you can see, the body was still pretty straight:
The worst of the rust (pretty typical spot for rust to start on these cars):

I drove the car around like that for the rest of the year and stored it for the winter.

The next spring (2011), I reconnected with an old friend from elementary school, who was as into cars as I was. He had just bought a side swiped S13 with a pre-swapped SR20 and I had helped him to repair/modify it. The mod-bug eventually caught on and it inspired me to fix up the prelude.

I got into contact with "mungo" from beyond and had the car painted at the Heninger Toyota body shop for $600.00. I think he was doing it under the table...but I didn't care, I was just excited about the great deal. I believe he was fired not too long after. I prepped the car myself (my first time) and he painted it. It was a dual stage paint job, I believe. Unfortunately, I did not know anything about body work, so I did not know anything about block sanding or the like. I just sanded the original paint with some 600 grit and just grinded/bondoed over the rust spots. :thumbsdow The paint job turned out okay though. Here are a couple pictures of the process and final product:


I also bought some Volk CE28N knock-off's shortly after the paint-job (pictured above). They were 17x7 Tenzo Formula 10's.

In fall of that year, I ordered some brand new ARC DC2 winglets from Speedtech Calgary. I thought I was the "sheit:"


Later that summer, I realized how terrible they looked and sold them off to a beyond member.

During mid-winter (2011), I purchased some "EK" civic Koni yellow shocks and ground control sleeves off of Kijiji. I installed them, along with some HUGE 25mm spacers...this was the result:


I also purchased a used Spoon N1 Exhaust off of a beyond member and had it installed (you can kind of see it in the first picture, above).

That same day, I accidentally dropped the car onto a jack stand and dented in the rocker panel on the driver's side. I pulled the trigger and decided to rebuild the car...and so began the tear down:

My failed attempt at taking out quarter panel glass:

I eventually got caught up with school and the regular occurrences of life, and eventually lost interest in the car. It was pushed into a corner and has been sitting on jack stands ever since.

Last year, I began to follow the Chronicles Blog (stickydiljoe.com) and joined the forum NWP4LIFE.com (now shut-down). I was in awe when I seen the Honda's on both websites, and it inspired me to take an interest in the prelude once again.

So that's the timeline up until now. I'm not expecting this build to be completed in the near future (mainly due to budget restrictions). Nonetheless, I hope you guy's will enjoy the journey.

- Sorry for the wall of text.

01-13-2013, 10:42 PM
Originally posted by spacerz
I think he was doing it under the table...but I didn't care, I was just excited about the great deal. I believe he was fired not too long after.

Mad props :eek:

This part's the funniest of the build so far.

01-13-2013, 10:50 PM
My first big purchase for the car was made at Tunerworks Calgary, earlier this year. I dealt with James, and I had absolutely no complaints about the service I received there. He provided me with constant updates on ETA's and answered all of my questions without hesitation.

I ordered some very wide, low offset, Ray's Volk TE37SL's. I was hesitant on ordering the 9.5's, but Ray's did not offer a 9 inch wheel for the 4x100 p.c.d, so I was forced to go with it. I will be running a FWD stagger, so the wider wheels will be going up front. Here are some pictures:


01-13-2013, 10:53 PM
Looks really nice!
I have a soft spot for those cars for some reason.

Any plans for the motor?

Or any test fit pictures with the wheels?!

01-13-2013, 11:05 PM
Durring September 2012, I purchased some Dunlop Z1 Starspec's. The sizes are 255/45/R17 and 245/35/R17 (that's right, no extreme tire stretching here).


01-13-2013, 11:09 PM
Wow. Can't even describe how excited I am for this build.
This is going to be amazing.

01-13-2013, 11:13 PM
soo sick!

01-13-2013, 11:18 PM
How much will it take for you not to fuck up an amazing car? Keep it stock you nasty fuck

01-13-2013, 11:24 PM
My second "big" purchase for the car was ordered in December, 2012. I purchased this item from [email protected] I was also quite pleased with his service and excellent communication skills.

These coilovers are meant for a 5th generation Honda Prelude. I will be the first to attempt to make them work on a 3rd generation Prelude. I'm sure there will be some fabrication involved, but I was expecting it. They are ZEAL/Endless Function-X coilovers with the aluminum body.


01-13-2013, 11:54 PM
Originally posted by TomcoPDR
Yeah, it sure was sketchy. Haha.

Originally posted by EM1FTW
I'm keeping the "bastard child" B20A5 motor in there. Everyone swaps H-series motors into the 3rd generation prelude, which is cool and all, but something just makes me want to keep the motor it came with from the factory.

There are a number of companies who make forged internals, so I will be sourcing those in the near future. I am also going to be sourcing a turbo really soon. The most exciting thing I have planned, is the one-off manifold and downpipe that [email protected] Unobtanium Welding will be fabricating for me, this summer.

There are no test fit pictures with the wheels yet because I wanted to set up the suspension before I attempted to fit the wheels!

Originally posted by Errol.
Thanks! I'm just as excited as you are!

Originally posted by troi.oi
Thanks, Simon.

01-14-2013, 01:41 AM
Finally made a build thread! Awesome!

01-14-2013, 06:35 AM
Originally posted by spacerz

I am also going to be sourcing a turbo really soon.

:love: sounds awesome. I like the shape of this generation. Just wondering why you chose 17s? You just like the look?

What are your spring rates on these bb6 coils?

The fact that it's been in the family its whole life just makes it that much better :thumbsup:

01-14-2013, 08:12 AM
I also picked up some really rare lug nuts from a beyond/driftwest member. They are made by Project Kics and are the special "Knight Sports" edition.


01-14-2013, 08:17 AM
Can't wait to see this progress. Always had a soft spot for 3rd gens, still looking for a clean bodied 90-91. Good thing it has the B20A5 and not the B21A1.

You should find yourself a 90-91 trunk and tails they look much better than the 88-89

01-14-2013, 11:19 AM
Originally posted by J.M.

I know, it took me a while to get around to it. Thanks, Jon!

Originally posted by slinkie

This car inspired me to go with the 17's:

I was originally going to purchase some 16'' Rotiform TMB's, but after seeing the car above, I decided to follow a similar build direction (more track-oriented). I haven't driven the car on the set-up yet, so I may still purchase another set of track dedicated wheels/tires.

The spring rates on the coilovers are 12k and 8k for the front and rear, respectively.

Originally posted by G-ZUS


I'm a fan of the 90-91 prelude rear end as well. However, the rear end conversion involves swapping the rear bumper as well. Unfortunately, the moulding on the 90-91 rear bumper is completely different than the 88-89 prelude rear bumper, so it will not flow with the rest of the car!

01-14-2013, 11:25 AM
One of the rarest thing's that I have purchased for the car so far, was a brand new set of OEM floor mats (discontinued long ago).


01-14-2013, 11:37 AM
so cool and neat to see an older but newer car (if that makes sense) get built like this

my older sister had a bf back in the day that had one of these in black i thought he was the coolest guy ever because of his car lol

01-14-2013, 12:06 PM
this car was the reason i became a tuner, i love these preludes, im not sure why i never did buy one, but definitely interested in this build without a doubt. :thumbsup:

01-14-2013, 01:41 PM
Originally posted by spacerz

The spring rates on the coilovers are 12k and 8k for the front and rear, respectively.

Woah! crazy, your head's gonna be bouncing off the roof...This thing is gonna eat corners. keep the updates coming. How does the mechanical 4ws feel?

01-14-2013, 02:02 PM
Originally posted by urrforce

Originally posted by 03ozwhip

Originally posted by slinkie
Yeah, the spring rates are very aggressive.

The mechanical 4WS is interesting for sure. It can go around turns pretty quickly. The tires really limited the amount of speed you could take turns at though. That's one of my main reasons for running such aggressive tire sizes this time around.

01-14-2013, 02:33 PM

My moms friend has one with around 77k in red also... really really mint car.

01-16-2013, 10:08 AM
Looking great man! Have fun with the build!

01-16-2013, 11:52 AM
Sweet project, although I am a 4th gen guy, I love all preludes!

Gotta say, for how much these cars are worth on paper, you are dumping a bunch of pricey parts on there! Should be quite the end result, and the fact that it is a single family owner car rocks!

01-16-2013, 12:23 PM
Looks good. I had 2 of them. I had an 88 Si for many many years, and then a 91 SR. Great cars. I've since moved onto a 4th gen lude, but there's nothing like the feeling of my old 88. So light and nimble when lowered. Rust pretty much killed it though.

www.preludepower.com is a great resource if you haven't already found it.

01-16-2013, 03:08 PM
man, i hope my son will take that much interest when i hand him my car:thumbsup:

01-16-2013, 03:29 PM
Awesome work so far! I always like seeing a less-than-common car being worked on.

01-17-2013, 07:58 PM
Originally posted by Shlade

That must be nice. I sure wish mine was in show room condition.

Originally posted by cr0n1c

Originally posted by ColoDano
Sweet project, although I am a 4th gen guy, I love all preludes!

Gotta say, for how much these cars are worth on paper, you are dumping a bunch of pricey parts on there! Should be quite the end result, and the fact that it is a single family owner car rocks!

Yeah, I've spent quite a bit on it already. I figured I better buy the quality parts from the get go, so I don't have an excuse to upgrade to better stuff later on!

Originally posted by ExtremeSi

Yeah, I'm already on preludepower.com!

Originally posted by asifka

Originally posted by Twenty

01-20-2013, 02:30 PM
Do you have a build thread going on Preludepower as well?

Eventually I may work on the appearance of my car again, but for now all the work is going into the engine. This year I am hopefully ony re-doing the head, as opposed to a full engine build like the last two summers.

Hopefully next winter I can start my stockpile of the really fun bits, and get to work on the sleeved engine to handle big boost

01-29-2013, 11:38 PM
Nice build man, thing is mint. I have a 91 SR, thing is awesome. It does have the B21A1 motor notorious for burning lots of oil. I've kept track and it's gone through 3 gallons in my 10,000 km's of driving it (it's now at 279,000 km's with original B21). BRB checking every 2 days and adding as necessary and never taking it over 4k RPM's.

Just driving it over the winter while I work on my 4th gen...but really want to keep it and swap a B20 in place of the B21 and continue DD'ing till rust makes it undriveable.

Sweet cars for sure, I'll be watching your build!

02-07-2013, 10:19 AM
Looking great!!! :poosie: cant wait to see this car done..

02-07-2013, 10:17 PM
Love the 3rd gen's.

It's so hard not to pick up a mint shell here in Vancouver and reminisce about my high school days.

I didn't see the part about engine. Are you keeping the B20A, or are you going to do H22?

02-09-2013, 08:39 AM
Originally posted by ColoDano

No I don't! I may start one up there once I get the ball rolling with respect to the motor!

Sounds like you have a fun build planned! I would love to hear the details once it's up and running!

Originally posted by tehwegz

That's too bad! I may be selling my B20A5 this summer. If you're interested, let me know!

Originally posted by Redlyne_jr

I can't wait either! Thanks, Rhys!

Originally posted by AutodreamMarvin

Marvin, I'm not going with either. I'm actually on the look out for a K20A2 swap right now. No one has successfully completed the swap in this chassis. There is a lot of fabrication involved (nowhere near as easy as a K-powered civic swap is), but I'm up for a challenge. It's just a matter of finding a good deal on the motor and trans.

02-09-2013, 08:54 AM
sick ride! totally makes me wanna get another lude... i had a 91 si which for years iv tried to find a replacement for but sadly cant find a decent 1....

02-11-2013, 07:04 AM
nice build thread! Looks really promising! I can't wait to see this in person one day. Good luck on the build! :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

03-16-2013, 09:21 PM
I had the tires mounted at UrbanX yesterday. As I'm sure everyone here already knows, they do great work!

I spent most of today messing around with my front fender. I think I have found a look/style that I will be following through with. Hopefully they turn out okay when I am done with the fabrication!

Before chopping the fender:

After chopping the fender:

03-16-2013, 09:23 PM
Psst, wrong way

Love the wheels.

03-16-2013, 09:31 PM
Originally posted by Sentry
Psst, wrong way

It just so happened that they were the first ones to be unwrapped out of the tire bags...haha!

03-17-2013, 01:42 AM
wow this is oing to be KILLER

03-17-2013, 11:38 AM
Sweet stance. What did you do to the fender?

03-17-2013, 12:32 PM
I chopped it in half just above the trim panel recess. I still have to extend the arch itself and the upper portion of the fender (where it level's off with the hood).

The upper half of the fender will blister out and the lower portion will remain in the stock position. I will account for the difference with some one-off sheet metal fab work.

The upper portion will blister out just like this car (my fenders will not have any vents though)...

03-17-2013, 02:24 PM
Originally posted by spacerz
I chopped it in half just above the trim panel recess. I still have to extend the arch itself and the upper portion of the fender (where it level's off with the hood).

The upper half of the fender will blister out and the lower portion will remain in the stock position. I will account for the difference with some one-off sheet metal fab work.

Oh I see. Should look sweet once it's finished.

03-17-2013, 05:24 PM
Custom widebody? Damn son :bigpimp:

03-17-2013, 05:35 PM
Damn man, that should look awesome. Want to come do mine after you're done? lol.

03-17-2013, 05:39 PM
Those fenders are going to look awesome with those wheels!

03-17-2013, 05:41 PM
fenders look great!

03-17-2013, 10:42 PM
this is awesome

03-17-2013, 10:51 PM
The fender - I like that. :)

03-18-2013, 03:22 PM
Damn! Fenders looks great!!!

04-20-2013, 05:18 PM
Small update!

I made a trip to Honda and ordered some brand new OEM bolts/bushings and gas lid section (1 of 3 that Honda had left, worldwide).


I also made a trip down to Mopac and picked up some black POR-15. I will be using this to undercoat the body/wheel wells.


I also ordered some brand new quarter panels...only to get a phone call an hour later, telling me that they were discontinued :thumbsdow

05-31-2013, 05:06 PM
Small update!

I finally got around to putting the Zeal's on. The rear's were pretty simple. The front's on the other hand, are proving to be a little difficult. I fabbed up a temporary top hat system for the fronts, but they will need to be redone properly (CNC machined). As for now, they are doing the job.

On the plus side, I finally got the car back down on the ground!

Rear w/ the Zeal's:


My favorite profile!

Despite the gigantic tire size up front, I didn't have any fitment issues (aside from the fender).

06-01-2013, 08:33 AM

08-16-2013, 01:19 PM
Finally got all four coilovers on and rolled it out the garage!


Suprisingly, I had no clearance issues with the inner wheel wells when I maxed out the steering capability.

08-16-2013, 02:09 PM
Goddamn dude your Z is gorgeous.

08-16-2013, 02:57 PM
Looks good man! :poosie:

08-16-2013, 09:07 PM
Thanks! That's actually my little brother's car.

I also gave the car a bath and started to work on stripping the paint from the interior and the roof.


08-17-2013, 12:06 AM
sick build! what color are you painting it?

01-12-2014, 11:22 AM
Same red.

Back from the dead:

Sorry for the lack of updates guys.

I recently recieved/installed my OEM front bumper, Chedda's extended top hats, and started to prep the interior for paint.

The top hats were paired with some modified drop forks to have the suspension sit where I want it. The drop fork solution I have right now is only temporary, I will be having a one off set made in the near future.


This is the current clearance in the wheel well. I might be having them modified so I can go lower. I am going to wait till my engine is in before I decide on it though.

I am just waiting on my H22 mounts to come in, so I can start on the engine bay.

01-12-2014, 11:27 AM

this thing is rad!!!

Can't wait to see this thing completed!!!

:bigpimp: :thumbsup: :drool: :eek:

01-12-2014, 11:49 AM
If you need a fender roller to help with clearance in the rear, you're free to borrow mine any time! Send me a pm if you do!

01-12-2014, 04:21 PM

01-12-2014, 05:21 PM
Thanks guys!

Joe - I might take you up on that offer sometime soon!

Just got this in:

Also decided on a manifold. I should be ordering it in a month or so:

01-12-2014, 05:24 PM
Nice wiring cover. I take it you're going with a mil harness? Rywire does some REALLY nice stuff.

02-04-2014, 10:48 AM
Can't wait to see this thing done!!!

Any chance it sees the road this summer... or just taking your time on it?

Must resist urge to tear my car to a bare shell :nut:

02-04-2014, 10:48 PM
Need more updates!!

This has to be one of the best prelude builds of all time!:love:

02-05-2014, 09:15 AM
this is sweet!

how the hell do you remember how everything goes back in when it's just a shell haha:dunno:

02-05-2014, 09:27 AM
:thumbsup: cant wait to see this thing done!

02-05-2014, 09:43 AM
I was just looking at some of the sheepey inc products a while back, looks like quality stuff, too bad only Mitsus and Hondas.

Originally posted by Dumbass17
this is sweet!

how the hell do you remember how everything goes back in when it's just a shell haha:dunno:

Just like anything else when you're rebuilding something but x100 lol

02-05-2014, 09:49 AM
Your car is a beauty. Thank you for not stretching the hell out of your tires..and those rims/the manifold are sexy :drool: