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Old 11-25-2012, 10:50 PM   #1 (permalink)
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5th Gen H22A4 Problems

Hey all, long time lurker, first time poster.

I figured I'd throw this thread together to compile all of the problems and attempted fixes I've run into the past month or so. Hopefully I can properly list a chronological sequence of events so you fine people can help me troubleshoot.

A while back, I swapped a motor in my 5G, same in as came out, USDM H22A4. Initially, I had starting problems, which ended up being self induced (with NO help from the less-than-accurate diagrams in Haynes manuals). Spark plug wires were in the wrong sequence. Fix't.

About 25 miles into driving this thing it threw a CEL, VTEC something or other. I removed the vehicles current VTEC solenoid, and installed a cleaner, fresher one from my old head. Fix't.

After daily driving the car for a few weeks (strictly to and from work) I ran into another issue; it began overheating when stopped. I checked the normal stuff, coolant levels, cap condition, changed the thermostat/seal. I'm still having to add coolant semi-regularly - previous owner used stop-leak which led me to believe the radiator leaks; new one on order. Upon further investigation I noted that my fans weren't coming on (no clue how I missed that) and if I jumped the connector that goes to the fan switch (located on the thermostat housing) my fans would kick on. Removed and replaced that switch, all should've been good. Nope. Idle overheat continued. I cleaned the IACV, and cleaned and adjusted the FITV to no avail. After some research, I found out that there are 2 coolant temp sensors that have input on fan operation, the one I hadn't changed yet was a 2-pin connector underneath the distributor. It was cracked around the base of the plastic connector, so I swapped it out with my old one and the overheating has come to an end. Needless to say, I am extremely proficient at bleeding the cooling system. Fix't

While all of the cooling issues were happening, the car threw its' first CEL. Bank 1 sensor 1. Changed the pre-cat o2 sensor, fix't.

After getting the VTEC, and cooling system handled and the o2 sensor code cleared, I began driving the car heavier, more often. Then a few other CEL's reared their ugly faces. Misfires, cylinders 1 & 2 and random/intermittent misfires. All clues pointed to an EGR malfunction. I yanked that EGR valve out, cleaned it up and op's checked it. All good, reinstall and press on. About the time this misfire junk showed up, I noticed the car began having a difficult time starting after it was warmed up (cold starts no problem, gas station trips no bueno). There's a very good chance it always had the starting issue, but I never drove it enough to run into it. So I got the misfire codes cleared by cleaning the EGR.

Let's recap:

No Start: Swapped plug wires - fix't
CEL #1: VTEC solenoid - fix't
Cooling Problem: Changed both fan temp switches - fix't
CEL #2: B1S1 O2 sensor - Replaced - fix't
CEL's 3, 4, 5 & 6: Cylinders 1 & 2 misfire, random/intermittent misfires - Cleaned EGR valve - fix't

Vehicle has a difficult time starting when warmed up.

Moving on. After much research into the starting problem (I've read and accomplished steps listed in countless 'Final Starting Problem' threads), I moved onto the infamous main relay. No dice, the relay was in perfect working order. After the relay fiasco I was parked in front of my house and the car began to idle extremely rough, and my CEL began to flash. Misfires! I saw fuel filter mentioned in some of the threads I'd read regarding the hard starts and thought it may help the misfire thing, so figured, "eh, easy enough I'll change it." **** me right? Worst job ever, I'd love to meet the genius who determined a fuel line should be torqued to eleventybillion ft lbs.

I digress. Hard warm starts, stumbling idle/misfires & new fuel filter. After the fuel filter replacement the car has become excessively difficult to start when cold or warm. It'll turn over and stumble for about 15+ seconds, and with some throttle manipulation, start (this sequence will be referred to as 'the gauntlet'). The only 'quick starts' it's capable of are after its warmed up and sits for under 5 minutes. Any longer and its a gauntlet. Once it started, it warms up normal, drives like a dream and idles great. It's almost as if it's trying to start utilizing only 2 cylinders. I figured now would be a good time to replace ignition components, so I did. I replaced the distributor rotor, cap, plugs and wires; I also slaved in a spare coil for good measure. I've also tested the TDC and CKP sensors with good results.

While troubleshooting the starting issue, I noted that the running conditions didn't change when I pulled the #2 plug wire, while the car was actively misfiring and idling rough. I positively eliminated any ignition problem. I checked for positive fuel pressure post-filter, pre-rail and post-rail; all good. Leaves the injector. I changed the injector and all is well for now.

I just tested the CYP as per a how-to I was directed to (test resistance between the yellow and black wires on the 4-pin plug on the distributor). It read 375.5 Ohms between the yellow & black wires, I'm told 260-460 Ohms means a good sensor, so I guess that's not the problem. What are the other 2 wires in that plug for? Also, what is the 2 pin plug for?

I've been thinking about it. Sort of a long shot, but what are the chances that my problems are caused by a base timing issue? As in, tensioner failure, belt skipped some teeth and is causing the starting issues because the ECU hasn't had a chance to correct the timing electronically? It shows 15* BTDC when I put a light to it, but that could be corrected by the ECU.

I've also thought maybe the ECU goes into safe-mode during start because of the possible timing issue - therefore causing a '2 cylinder start', and takes itself out of safe-mode once the timing is corrected/compensated for.

I did a compression test (cold) just a few minutes ago. Numbers were as follows:

Cyl 1: 160
Cyl 2: 160
Cyl 3: 150
Cyl 4: 160

I suppose those are decent numbers. Within the 10% deviation rule at least...

I noticed that a few drops of water were ejected from cyl 2 while doing the test. I had a sneaking suspicion that the HG was leaking, but I don't think that's the source of my starting problems.

I'm at a loss now, gents. I'm going to tear into the timing covers and see what's going on under there, unless anyone can come up with an alternate theory (see paragraph regarding base timing).

If you've managed to read this far without losing interest, I'd like to ask for your help. Does anyone have any troubleshooting procedures/fixes I've overlooked for this starting problem? I also feel that this misfire thing isn't completely solved, but I can only throw so many parts at it. Please let me know if there's any other information you may require to make this process easier. I'm also looking to get a good procedure for testing the MAP sensor if anyone's got info on that.

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Old 11-27-2012, 11:18 AM   #2 (permalink)
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That was quite a bit to read!

It seems that you have been attacking each obstacle the right way - direct diagnosis and replacement of each item that fails. While the (possible) leaking head gasket can contribute to a number of issues both starting and overheating, I think it's safe to assume that your best bet is to remove the crank pulley and timing cover entirely and make darn sure that the timing was set properly before you acquired this car.

Aside from Main Relays, ECTS and Crank are the only two sensors that I can think of that would give you this much of a cold/warm starting issue at this point.

I know I haven't helped much but I look forward to hearing an update.
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Old 11-30-2012, 12:06 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks for the input White91,

My cold starts were fixed by tightening my G101 engine bay ground.

I've pretty much eliminated all sensors by either testing or replacement. My bet is now on the head gasket. Someone on another forum came up with a theory that made some sense:

So when the engine warms up, the coolant system pressure rises. Theoretically my head gasket has a leak, so when the pressure rises water passes into the combustion chamber (into cyl's 1 & 2 where water was found) causing the misfires due to contamination of the plugs. Hot starts are an issue because cylinders 1 & 2 aren't firing due to the entering water therefore causing a '2 cylinder start'.

This theory also explains the constant topping off of coolant and the original overheat issue. My only question is, why doesn't the water immediately vaporize upon entry into the combustion chamber?

Regardless, HG/timing component replacement is on my agenda once funds become available (holidays...).
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Old 05-20-2013, 08:57 AM   #4 (permalink)
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hard starts

what ever was the outcome? what fixed it in the end? final info would be great as i have done the same things on trying to locate my issue, cold is fine warm the engine and it acts like there is no gas or spark. thanks
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Old 12-11-2013, 08:01 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I have a 1994 Del Sol with an H22a4 swap from a 97 prelude, having same problem car runs fine when cold but when it warms up it acts like its not getting gas or misfire or something if you figure anything out let me know im ****ing clueless when it comes to engines, also i thinks its getting to much gas like flooding or something i bought the car off a friend he had just the h22 when he had it and swaped the h22a4 when he sold it to me he said some of the sensors may need to be changed if anyone knows what all would need to be done please let me know. At first the car ran fine every now n then the check engine would come on he said it needed a new o2 that it was giving the computer a bad code or something but ran fine. iv had the timing belt changed it started running bad about 600 miles after it was changed idk if that would have anything to do with it or not since it was running okay for that amount of time, but if anyone has any suggestions or anything important to let me know id appreciate the help new to this and have hardly any info when it comes to engines

Last edited by DelSolBo; 12-11-2013 at 08:09 PM.
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Old 12-12-2013, 07:56 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I cleaned the egr port openings on the intake just under the fuel rail. If you just cleaned the egr and not those that will most likely be your concern, it cleared hard starts and misfires right off the bat.. now this is a yearly thing on cleaning.
Sorry thought I had posted that since it was something so simple and can save people a lot of time/frustration and money...

The other thing to look at is the electronic ignition switch, it heats up and starts shutting down the motor because the electrics have cracks and spread open with heat causing loss of current to ignition and fuel supply..

Last edited by splashed; 12-12-2013 at 08:00 AM.
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