del Sol Projects and Maintenance Log

del Sol Projects and Maintenance Log
Maintenance Log

Just to give you some idea of what one of these little guys takes to maintain (not much, Honda engineering is incredibly awesome), I've decided to track maintenance on the web.

~273500 milesThe end is near. Due to hail damage suffered earlier this summer and an engine that's just wearing out, I've decided to replace it with a new del Sol. The new 96 S is in the garage, and my original will likely be sold soon.
272200 milesIn recent very hot weather, the brake pedal started sinking all the way to the floor. Time for a new master cylinder...
268000 milesShifting didn't feel quite right, so did the first drain/fill on the transmission. After some research, settled on Mobil 1 ATF, since my transmission is old enough that the spec fluid is Dexron II. M1ATF meets Dexron II/III, and also is supposedly compatible with Honda's ATF-Z1, so we shall see. Test run afterwards shows that shifting is much improved.
267400 milesRotate/balance tires
267200 milesRoutine upkeep time... Reset the valves (14 of 16 were out of spec) and changed plugs/wires/cap/rotor.
256770 milesThe radiator fan blower started making a horrible howling sound and needed to be replaced. Unfortunately, in the process I think I nicked the radiator and caused a small leak. We shall see.
~255000 milesRotors (again) and brake pads. The pads (Akebono ProACTs) lasted about 120k miles, so I can't complain. New pads are Akebono Street Performance series - hoping for a bit more braking power.
~255000 milesI believe I had probably two leaking injectors that, if the car was left parked for a week or so, would drip into the cylinders and flood the thing. Trick to starting: Hold the pedal down before cranking the engine and just keep it there until it starts. Injector cleaner seems to have helped the problem.
~252000 milesTime for tires again. I wasn't thrilled with the last set of Michelin Pilot Exaltos - a bit too hard and thus not terribly grippy in corners. I switched to Bridgestones this time.
246100 milesStarter went up in smoke in my driveway in Colorado, replaced it with a used Honda starter... Amazingly about a 20 minute job to do.
244700 milesOuter CV boot failed on passenger side axle just outside Janesville, WI. Drove all the way home (~200 miles) to Iowa and the joint was still clean, so just had my mechanic clean, repack, and reboot it.
220433 milesNew fuel filter, just since it was due for one. Since I put the money in the timing belt, might as well take good care of it.
218009 milesCar wouldn't start - after messing with the ignition to no effect, turned out that my timing belt tensioner had failed, allowing slop into the timing belt. It slipped a notch, knocking my compression down to something like 35psi. Belt, tensioner, water pump replaced.
211017 milesReplaced oxygen sensor after milage has been down 25% (only 30 mpg :). We'll see if it helps, but I can't come up with any other reason for the fuel economy dropping and the sensor was the original factory one...
~203000 milesNew tires again - The "Warrior" tires that were on the five-spokes when I bought them at 180k were craptastic. Replaced with some good old Michelins.
~203000 milesRealign car - turns out nothing was loose, just out of alignment in a strange way.
202988 milesReplaced front brake rotors - the old ones had warped significantly. There's still something loose in the front end, but at least it doesn't shudder to every stop now.
200000 milesNo maintenance really, just a notable point on the odometer. Rolled over 200k passing under North Academy on I-25, here in Colorado Springs, on 16-Apr-2006.
183227 milesNew Gentex 50-GENK20 compass/temp dimming mirror. I guess I got spoiled by my Yukon's auto-dimming mirror over the last five years - I just had to have one on the Sol.
182883 milesNew KYB shocks and NGK Iridium plugs (stuff that needed to be replaced, upgraded at the same time)
182813 milesNew ignition switch - old one had corroded contacts, causing car to die randomly or not start. Since Honda wants some $273 for the whole thing, I found a new Acura GSR switch on eBay that fit almost perfectly for $50. Just had to move the automatic transmission-related wires over from the old 7-pin connector.
181372 milesNew CSF radiator, Honda Type 2 coolant, and hoses. Didn't really need replacing, but the old radiator didn't cool well enough for the long climb up I-70 on a hot day. After 11 years of bug/rock impacts, it wasn't worth fixing, so I upgraded it to a new aluminum one with a thicker core. (After tests in 100+ deg weather, the new radiator absolutely rocks!) If you need a new radiator, might I suggest Radiator Barn - good prices, good quality, and I've always had excellent service from them.
~181000 milesThe decision is made - rather than selling this one and buying a new one, I'm going to keep mine and do all the rebuilding/replacing necessary to keep it going indefinitely. As I approach 200,000 miles, it was one of those things that had to be decided.
180200 milesNew wheels! 14 inch thin fives bought off a guy with an Si in Denver
179300 milesWhat's with my luck? Rear-ended in Amarillo, TX. Not serious, needs bumper cover painted
174000 milesWRECKED! Don't worry, not my fault. She'll be rebuilt by mid-May
170002 milesNew thermostat, stays open intermittantly on cold days
169922 milesChanged spark coil, producing weak spark, wouldn't start (again)
169227 milesAdded PriorityStart unit to save my battery
~157000 milesNew set of tires - Michelin this time, no more Firestone junk
~155000 milesChanged spark coil, original one failed (shorted)
~149000 milesReplaced another FR380 under warranty, yet another bulge
~138000 milesNew tires, one of the Firestone FR380s developed a bulge
~126000 milesNew timing belt and water pump, valves adjusted (Honda dealer)
119000 milesPurchased in Cedar Rapids, IA. All regular maintenance items changed (fluids, filters, plugs, etc.)
Projects In The Works

Obviously, being my new focus of fascination, the del Sol will also be the target of a few new projects. My first (and only) big frustration with the car is leaving my lights on and killing the battery. The car has no headlight warning buzzer, and because I've always been a staunch supporter of running lights (which my US market car does not have), I tend to leave the headlights on during the day. Oops. So, project one is going to be some sort of headlamp controller system, probably a cross between daytime running lamps and ambient light-sensitive automatic headlights. I haven't exactly figured it out, but when I do I'll post the schematics and a howto on it.

Update on the dead battery problem (9-Jan-2005): Sure, buzzers can be kludged in, but I've been far too lazy to develop the auto DRL circuit that I really want. So, in the meantime, I found an automatic battery cutoff unit sitting around the house while I was visiting my family over the holidays. My dad had picked it up over a year ago, and had never gotten around to doing anything with it, so I convinced him to let me take it home. Basically, it monitors the battery and isolates it from the car if the voltage drops too low, retaining enough charge to run the starter. It's a PriorityStart Pro unit, and so far it seems to be working as advertised. See pictures of it installed here and here.

Project 2, a bit further off (possibly doomed to always be a future project), is to tap into the ECU and start reading back more sensor data than Honda made available on the dash. I like data - lots of it. I also prefer gauges with real numbers. Honda didn't give me either of these, so my eventual goal would be able to strip this information straight off the computer itself. Like I said, far future project, since nobody seems to know anything (at least nobody that's not NDA'd into silence) about the protocol.

  Questions? Email Nathan Holmes
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Last modified on August 08, 2010, at 08:35 PM
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