How to Replace the Distributor in a Honda Prelude

Written by ehow cars editor
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The Honda Prelude saw its last production in 2001, but it was a popular vehicle. If you're replacing the distributor, it's really important to know the model, year and engine size because Honda changed the distributor procedure frequently. During certain years the Prelude had both distributor and distributorless systems. The home mechanic can replace the distributor without special tools.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Wrench
  • Screwdriver
  • O-ring
  • Ratchet with extension

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Instructions

    Replacing Distributors on 2.2L and 2.3L Engines 2001, 2.7L and 3.0L Engines 1996 to 2000

  1. 1

    Look for the distributor on the engine block; it will have cables from the spark plugs leading to it. Take the negative cable off the battery; the battery is on the driver's side near the front of the vehicle. Use a screwdriver to remove electrical connectors from the distributor.

  2. 2

    Number and disconnect the spark plug wires so you'll know which is which when reconnecting. Take a wrench and unbolt the distributor mounting bolts. Pull the distributor out of the cylinder head.

  3. 3

    Get the piston to the No. 1 cylinder to the Top Dead Center (TDC) spot by turning the engine with a long-handled ratchet. Use it on the pulley near the bottom of the engine. You must have the piston at TDC for proper engine functioning after distributor replacement.

  4. 4

    Install a lightly greased new O-ring on the end of the distributor shaft and put the new Honda Prelude distributor into position. You need to purchase the O-ring and distributor separately. The distributor part number from Parts Train is 83677N (see Resources below), but numbers vary at auto parts stores. Know your engine size and model year when ordering.

  5. 5

    Replace and hand-tighten the mounting bolt or bolts. Connect the spark plug wires and reattach the electrical connector to the distributor.

  6. 6

    Tighten the mounting bolts. Hook up the negative battery cable.

    Replacing Distributors on 2.2L and 2.3L Engines 1996 to 2000

  1. 1

    Look for the distributor on the engine block; it will have cables from the spark plugs leading to it. Note the radio code for theft protection before disconnecting the negative cable to the battery.

  2. 2

    Get to the crankshaft pulley bolt from the inner fender liner on the left. Use a socket, long extension piece and a ratchet to rotate your engine counterclockwise. The white Top Dead Center (TDC) mark on the pulley must line up with the pointer mark on the engine cover. Put a label on each ignition wire; don't remove them.

  3. 3

    Unhook the distributor cap and look at the ignition rotor. Be sure it is pointing toward the distributor cap terminal for cylinder No. 1. If not, rotate the crankshaft one turn counterclockwise to line up the (TDC) mark with the pointer on the engine cover.

  4. 4

    Make a mark to line up the distributor housing and the cylinder head, as well as a mark for the rotor on the distributor housing. It's important that all these marks be in the proper place for the engine to function properly after you complete the job.

  5. 5

    Disconnect electrical connectors on the distributor's side with a screwdriver. Take out the three distributor mounting bolts with a wrench and lift out the distributor.

  6. 6

    Grease lightly a new O-ring and put it on the distributor shaft, and put the new Honda Prelude distributor in the cylinder head, making sure the marks you made line up. You must buy the O-ring and distributor separately. From Parts Train, the distributor part number is 83677N (see Resources); however, other manufacturers use different numbers.

  7. 7

    Hand-tighten the mounting bolts and attach electrical connectors on the distributor's side. Reattach the negative cable to the battery.

  8. 8

    Start the engine to reset the Powertrain Control Module idle memory. Keep it at 3,000 rpm until the fan comes on, idling for 5 minutes with accessories off and the vehicle in neutral or park. Put in the radio security code.

    Replacing Distributors from 1995 and Earlier

  1. 1

    Look for cables from the spark plugs leading to the distributor on the engine block. Pop spark plug wires off the distributor cap and number them for re-installation later.

  2. 2

    Put labels on and disconnect the vacuum hoses, the primary wire and the high tension wire. Label and disconnect any external wiring connectors at the distributor.

  3. 3

    Use a wrench to unbolt the mounting bolt or bolts and pull the distributor out of the cylinder head. The number of mounting bolts varies by year.

  4. 4

    Install a lightly greased new O-ring on the distributor shaft; it is a part separate from the distributor. Fit the new Honda Prelude distributor in place. The distributor part number is 83674N if you get it from Parts Train (see Resources); other stores have different numbers.

  5. 5

    Replace the mounting bolts, hand-tightening them lightly. Reattach the external wiring, hoses and spark plug wires. Tighten the distributor bolts.

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