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1997 Prelude - AWD Conversion Pending
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First off, I am a middle age male having a midlife crisis. That is at least what I tell my wife. I call my 97 Prelude my midlife crisis car. I acquired it a year ago with spun bearings for a cheap price. I drove through the mountains of B.C. to pick up a different Prelude and trailer it home to Alberta only to find out the original car was destroyed and falsely described. I did not drive for hours through blizzarding mountain passes just to come home with an empty trailer, so my son and I did some frantic searching to see what else was for sale in the area. Luckily we got a hold of a black auto Prelude nearby for a decent price and the engine lasted just long enough to get it up on the trailer. (I had no winch)
After getting back on the road, even worse blizzard conditions rolled in and we had to pull over just before the first pass to stay overnight on the side of the road. We finished our trip home the next day averaging about 50 kph due to severe weather. I will post up pics of this event later.
I bought a JDM h22a4 from a guy in Calgary that had lower mileage and got the lude running and have been driving daily since. I love driving it, but it's not an SH and cornering leaves me wanting more. I also live in Alberta so snow is a 6 to 12 month a year threat. I soon decided my midlife crisis car needed some love to keep it on the useful side for my needs.
I looked into doing an AWD conversion and found info for some peoples RWD conversions and one AWD using the h22 and crv drive train. I wanted something more modern. I also chatted with the people at S1 built about their upcoming conversion for the 5th generation, but I am wanting something different. It came down to two options, using a Cadillac 3.6l from a CT6 and its drive train or an acura with J35. It came down to less fabrication and lower price so the Acura won. I started my search and, after almost a year, I finally found a salvage 2015 Acura TLX for $1500 with engine, drivetrain and rear suspension completely intact. It had 62000 km and I just couldn't say no. I jumped on it and drove the other direction to Saskatchewan to trailer it home.
Again snow storms made roads nasty but the lack of elevated terrain made it much easier. I took my son again and brought the donor home.
So here I am. The project for this year and maybe longer is to swap out parts like mad and fabricate until the 97 Prelude is SH-AWD worthy. I know this is insane and a lot of work. I know it will take money and time, but this is a midlife crisis!
I will be using almost the entire TLX electrical system, including instrumentation and interior controls, steering column, cameras and sensors. That includes lane departure and rear cross traffic warning systems. I have access to LDWS calibration equipment at work to make sure it is functioning properly. I will have to 3d print and finish a ton of parts to get the dash to look "factory" with all the additions and dual screens but I think it should work.
I am planning on using the rear suspension from the TLX, as well as almost everything under the hood, braking system included. A shortened prop shaft will be needed as I will be a few inches shorter than the TLX and custom front axle shafts will be a minimum. I am still looking into the front wheel speed sensors and brake mounting as I don't want to use the TLX Macpherson strut garbage. Steering will have to be changed for the electric power steering and the gas tank is a real problem as well. I want to stick with the Prelude airbag system too.
I have all the wiring printed out for both vehicles and have been planning the whole thing out for a while, but have reached the point where until I start dismantling and swapping, I won't know what will really work until parts are in my hands to see it all in person.
Really, it will be a TLX with shortened wheelbase and a Prelude body with not much left untouched. I will begin work as soon as the weather here starts to warm up and try to update as I go along. Images will be included as well. I am stubborn enough that this might actually work. I hope this project is of interest to some of you luders out there.
Here's to my midlife crisis!
 

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This is a madly cool conversion, and u can't wait to see it getting built. Hopefully it will work out as hoped, but there will be a lot of snags in between I feel. If finished it could inspire others to do alike. Definitely one of the more daunting builts out there I feel. A lot of pics will be appreciated. I wish you all the luck, and hope your skills will be as long as your post is .
Keep us updated, hopefully your midlifecrisis will last until the built is done.

Verstuurd vanaf mijn E5823 met Tapatalk
 

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1997 Prelude - AWD Conversion Pending
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6 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Last year went by too quickly and weather, family reunions, and other projects took priority. I did not get near enough done. I have completely stripped the TLX except for the fuel tank and emissions canisters. Wow, there is a lot of wiring in there. I will have to remove a few things from the harness and shorten it up in a few places. The Prelude is looking like a husk, too. I have acquired a pair of RL 4 piston calipers that I have rebuilt and mounted on the front of the Prelude. With my 17” rims there had to be a 5mm spacer added to clear between the caliper and the wheel but they fit nicely now. I am going to tackle the rear suspension next. The rear subframe from the Acura is out and my wheels clear the rear brakes just fine so the rear suspension is going to be used completely stock from the TLX. I will have to get coil overs for the rear as the rear shocks will be too tall no matter what I do with the stock ones. Either that or I have to cut and lift the shock towers higher. I think that I may cut out the rear frames of both cars and weld in the TLX into the prelude to just bolt on the subframe. The fuel tank will be an issue. I may have to get fuel cells installed later. I am out of town now but will post up some pics of the rear TLX subframe and the new 4 piston brakes shortly.
 

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1997 Prelude - AWD Conversion Pending
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The rotor from a 350z was easier to modify than the stock TLX rotor. Here are some pics. You can see the spacer in there to get the clearance needed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I have been measuring and remeasuring the TLX and both my whole Prelude and the shell of my project Prelude (I have a 1997 for the project and another complete and running 2000 just in case I need to measure parts and see where things should be located). I have determined the precise locations of the rear subframe mounts on the Prelude so I can start chopping out and fabricating when the weather gets better. Here are the frame diagrams with the locations. I have scaled the drawings and added in the tires and fender locations to show how much wider my rear track will be. The rear differential will be sitting about 6” above the ground. I am seeing that I will probably have to modify the exhaust tunnel to allow room for the propeller shaft to run through but I will wait until the J35 is in and positioned before that gets done. The project is going slowly but I am committed. It is getting done!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Here is the removed J35 from the TLX. She is heavy with everything still attached and full. I hope it doesn’t weigh down the front end of the prelude too much. I also have the rear suspension from the TLX with the prelude wheels on it so I can measure from. I tried 3D scanning it but I keep losing track with my pop3 so I am just measuring like an old man. I also included a pic of my sons Dodge D50 that he is putting a lexus 1uz into. It’s a race to see who finishes their project first.
 

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