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I don't think my car is running right

772 Views 7 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  natedawg
My car doesn't seem like it is running where it should be. My roommate drives a stock 99 neon expresso and we raced the other day and I didn't feel fast enough compared to him. I was able to take him from a stop up to 90, but I don't think I had more than 2 cars on him. We played around a few times and once we started right at the beginning of my 3rd gear VTEC and I didn't really start pulling on him until about 6-6.5K.

What do you guys think. I have a 94 Prelude VTEC and about 20K miles ago I had the bottom end rebuilt. I replaced my spark plugs last semester and I've got some plug wires on the way, but they probably won't do anything. I'm thinking about getting a compression test done to see if I'm healthy or not.....

What kinds of things should I start looking at/replacing? I'm waiting on my wires and a new fuel filter, but unless I have problems right now, they won't really help. I have 95K on the car, could the distributer be getting weak?

I guess what it really comes down to is, do I have a slow prelude or does he have a fast neon... I've raced stangs and my bro's modded GS-T and faired very well against them, but I just had my car worked on, maybe its slower, but it really doesn't feel that way.

Any inspiring words of hope anyone can give me?
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you should obviously start by a compression test, then maybe a leakdown test.
Why did you have your bottom end rebuilt?

There could be a lot of things that would cause your car not to run its best.

If it seems really slow you might want to have a back pressure test to see if your converter is melting down. When this happens large pieces, or rocks, from the converter can block your exhaust up causing terrible performance.

What kind of plugs and wires are you using?

Have you changed the air filter lately?

What weight of oil are you running?


93 Prelude VTEC N/A (lots of mods) [email protected]

00 Honda Accord SE (stock)
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Ok, some good questions there.

The reason it was rebuilt was because I spun a rod bearing and ended up bending the crank. I replaced everything with honda oem stuff, which was the crank, rods, pistons and of course bearings.

The cyclinder walls of the block looked fine to me, so I didn't think I was going to get leak.

I have an AEM intake, so I use a K&N filter, and it should still be clean, I'll check it though.

I use the Platinum plugs that are listed in the manual, NGK something. The wires are also OEM.

My oil is usually Mobile 1 full synthetic 10w-30, but the dealer when they did the service put castrol in there I think.

How much am I looking at for a compression test? $20-30.

Thanks guys,
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When my filter becomes dirty I do notice a loss in performance.

Also, the plugs could be fouled a bit. Pull them out and look. If the resistor looks dark, then they more than likely need to be replaced. If you replace them it would be a good idea to do the wires as well.

When I spun a bearing one of the cylinder walls was messed up pretty bad. But if that was the problem, I think you would have known right after the rebuild.

If your oil pressure being low was the cause, then your head and valves might be in rough shape too. Did you have a look at them?
Well, low oil pressure did lead to my engine failure. For whatever reason, I didn't check my oil like I should have and I ended up driving around very low on oil for a week, maybe even two weeks. The oil was low enough for those weeks that I thought I had an electrical problem because when I would take turns and try to cross into VTEC, I would hit my rev limiter at 6.5K. Like I said, I thought it was something electrical, so I didn't even think to check the oil. Durning that time, I can distinctively remember racing a 1st gen eclipse on the highway doing 110 through some WV mountain roads and hitting my limiter, so I know I beat the hell out of it. It wasn't until the trip back down the same road that I got a check engine light and then thought noticed that I wasn't showing any oil on the dipstick.. So yeah, oil pressure was a big deal with this one.

So can you explain a little about the head. What would a worn out valve train do to performance? How much would it cost to upgrade this?(didn't you just upgrade your engine to a more racebred one?) Like I said earlier, Honda did crack open the head to adjust the valves, do you think they would have told me if they saw excessive wear?

Just for some reference, I'm going to list everything I've done to my car just incase it matters.
RSR Cat back SS
ACT Clutch
ACT Flywheel

Thanks VeeTec
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If your valves are rough, then you lose smooth air flow in and out of the combustion chamber. You can also lose compression. I would suggest a leak down test as was mentioned by vabeach_lude.

If the compression loss is bad in any one cylinder than more than likely its not the valves, or at least not them alone, but the cylinder or rings. They did do the rings too right?

Hopefully its just a small tune up issue, but if the plugs, wires and air filter don't help, then it gets more complicated.

They should have told you if they looked bad.
Yeah, they did the rings also, I got them from H-Parts for $41 a piston set I believe. Ok, about this leak down test. Wher would I go to get a leak down test? How much would you guess it would cost. Thanks for all your help guys.
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