It’s been a mad few weeks for me with my ‘actual job’ (which isn’t restoring the car!) so sadly the Prelude has had to take a back seat but this hasn’t meant nothing has been done – far from it!
First off, I’ve managed to complete the aircon restoration work having already replaced the condenser, seals and pipe insulation. The last part needed before re-gassing with R437a was a new receiver/dryer. I had ordered a replacement from RockAuto in the USA but when this arrived it had no aperture for the pressure switch so a couple more hours of internet research were needed as everyone I found seemed to be listing the Prelude dryer without the switch connection. Eventually I found that the 1990 Accord dryer measure exactly the same and I ordered one online. This is the NRF 33024 and thankfully it’s a perfect fit. It would make sense that the Accord and Prelude of the same year would use the same part as in the UK the aircon systems were not standard and fitted as an option by dealers.
I’ve decided to move to a ‘drop in’ replacement AC gas as opposed to stripping and resealing the compressor to work with R134a which is the replacement for R12 (now illegal) and used widely. Although R437a doesn’t produce quite as low temps it will work much better in an old R12 system as it pressurises at a similar rate to R12 unlike R134a which much much higher and increases to risk of leaks in older systems.
Next up is the start of the suspension and brake reassembly. Here I have to give my good friend Gareth Davies of Chartist Garage in Hyde (UK) who kindly pressed in the new bushes and bearings for me. First slight surprise was that the front track-rod ends were slightly different. Thankfully the exact same length and fitment but the tapered shaft that goes through the knuckle was much longer than the original, so much so that it meant the lock nut couldn’t be tightened enough to secure the joint.
Weirdly enough both original front rod ends had no boots on them and were connected directly to the knuckle. As expected both, which looked original to the car, were utterly shot! To fix the issue I’ve used 3 x M14 washers as spacers to allow the nut to secure the joint, which seems to have worked perfectly.
This has been the only issue so far with rebuilding the front of the car. It’s so nice to be working with so many new parts and seeing the whole thing come together. I’ve been very slow and methodical putting everything back in place and have used the shop manual to get the exact torque settings for every bolt. Here’s the list of new parts just for the front suspension/brakes.
New Shock Absorbers (KYB)
New Springs (lowered 30mm)
New Upper Shock Bushes
New Track Rod Ends
New Lower Ball Joints
New Upper Ball Joints
New Lower Control Arm Bushes (inner and outer)
New Wheel Bearings
New Control Arm Bolts (Shock)
New Anti-Roll Bar Links and Bushes
Newly rebuilt Brake Calipers (new pistons, seals, sliders etc)
New Braided Brake Hoses (Goodridge)
New Brake Discs and retaining screws
New Brake Pads
And here’s how that all looks…
I quickly fitted a wheel just to be 100% sure they cleared the caliper without issues (as they ET38 offset and a 7″ wide rim). Thankfully they do!
Next up is to finish bolting up the rear of the car and then move onto filling the fluids and getting the car running again so I can check for leaks and set the timing. Very pleased with progress so far though it’s looking more like I’ll get this car ready around next spring/early summer. No point in rushing!!!