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91 - Refresh for Street/Track Duty

9 July 2016
New owner reporting in.

Like many of the stories I’ve read on this site, I have had soft spot for this car since the day it came out. Even though I am a Ferrari guy at heart, I thoroughly enjoyed how Honda set a new bench mark with this car and put the Italians in their place. I looked at some 348’s briefly but very briefly.

Road to the NSX:

I, again like many others on this forum, came from an S2000, which was a fantastic first sports car. I set it up for mild track duty with GC coilovers, RPF1’s staggered, starspecs and a roll bar and it was flawless for the 4 years I owned it. At that point I wanted a little more power and instead of supercharging it, sold it, and got and E46 M3.

The S54 engine in that M3 is the best engine I have ever driven. It was raw and angry and felt much stronger than the numbers would let on. That car was mildly setup for track duty as well, with KW V3’s apex arc 8’s and 265 RS3’s square setup. The M3 was so easy to drive and when it stepped out very easy to bring back, but you definitely felt how heavy it was through hard cornering and braking. That car is probably one of the best cars for the casual HPDE enthusiast like myself. Reliable, easy to drive, and you can fit all the stuff you would ever need in the trunk and rear seats for any track event. But I sold it.

Why? I never wanted to take that car out on a Sunday with the wife. I never went into the garage, looked at it and started giggling to myself at how cool it looked. It was just a car. A really nice car, but to me looked like any other car on the road. I thought for a while I was going to get a 996 but the cylinder scoring and $20K engine rebuilds scared me away. I was starting to see if I could find an affordable Elise, but in Canada they are few and far between. I thought the same would be true for the NSX as prices have been steadily climbing on these cars until I happened to see one for sale here on Prime, in Canada and not too far from me.

1991 NA1
214,xxxkm (133,xxx miles)

The service history was not perfect but had the major items completed recently. Timing belt and water pump were performed by a well known NSX Mastertech in the Toronto Area (Rob .. don’t know the last name), the valve cover gaskets had recently been done, with tie rods and a pretty good record of regular synthetic oil changes for the last 5 years. Came with a recently completed pre-purchase inspection from a local Acura dealership in Toronto, who also changed the O2 sensor and all seemed to check out. Also, the owner was a long time member of the NSX club of Canada, which always makes me feel better as it was owned by an enthusiast. Unfortunately, the owner had fallen ill and decided to sell the car. I hope he reads this to see that his car is in good hands.

Here she is as I got her:


And now it was time to get to work on her:I started with driveline fluids and a new oil pan gasket, which appeared to be leaking:
The pan had been applied with gasket sealant, which I realize there are different opinions on, but I decided to clean it thoroughly and re-apply it dry. A lot of wire brush and brake cleaner and slowly the pan was getting clean.
Next came new transaxle fluid. The old fluid looked very clean, which was a good sign that it had been changed recently. I replaced it with regular Honda MTF, as the manual calls for motor oil. From what I researched the use of Honda MTF was fairly standard.
Shipment came in from SOS for a brake refresh. New SS lines and carbotech XP8/AX6 setup. I am coming from Performance Friction PF08’s on the M3, so not sure how these will feel, as they are a slightly less aggressive setup, but the car is also about 500lbs lighter. Also I am trying to get away with not having to swap pads for the street, so I am hoping this setup is not too loud. The PF08’s were ridiculous on the street.
Also in the same shipment was a new ss clutch line and pedals. I have had a clutch line fail on me before and just wanted to take care of it. Not sure if there are many reported failures of these lines but figured i would just do it. As for the pedals, I found heel toeing very difficult when first driving the car, so decided to see if the extended throttle pedal would help. Feels like the pedals are much further apart than the M3.
Shortly after the shipment from SOS came in a shipment from Ground Control arrived. I know that the preferred setup for this car are the KW V3’s, and they are a fantastic setup, but when I had them on the M3 i never made use of their dual adjustability. Tuning them was kind of a pain due to the location of the adjustments and I am not competitive so don’t really care that much. The simplicity of the single adjustment, endless spring selection and overall value led me towards the GC’s. Also as an added they come with new top hats so you don’t have to reuse the stock ones as in the V3’s. I went with the standard spring rate of 440f and 550r as I still want this to be relatively comfortable for street, and after reading a review here on prime stating that higher rates where a bit harsh thought this would do as a baseline.
When installing the brake lines I was quite worried about the flare nuts being seized as it appeared as though all was original, so I treat them with penetrating oil for a couple of nights before attempting to break them free. I also finally got a flare nut or line wrench set, which definitely prevented me from stripping them.
All went pretty smoothly until I got to this part. Why can’t Honda have a screw on cap for the master cylinder reservoir like BMW and Audi? And why is the NSX cap so freakin big? After reading up on another thread here on prime I found the proper procedure for getting the motive bleeder to work but must have glanced over the part that says to keep it close to 5psi. Well....mess, nothing got on the paint but mess. A lot of clean up later, and rereading of the thread and everything was flushed and bleed with motul 600.
Alsoinstalled new oem rear rotors as the existing ones were near the end of theirlife.
Coilovers went on next. This went pretty smooth. The only difficult part was aligning the rear upper control arms back up with their mounting points. I was very fearful of cross threading them. Took some time and patience but got everything lined up and started by hand before finishing with the torque wrench.
The rims the car came with were a little small and not my taste (16,17 setup), so i picked up a 17/18 setup from a local Prime member of Enkei Kojin’s. They are not the lightest rims but great value and awesome seller. Paired them with 215/40 front 265/35 rear Dunlop star specs and everything now looked as it should.
I was getting pretty pumped at this point and had a corner balance and alignment setup to finish things off before my first HPDE, but after driving around for a bit noticed I still had an oil leak. Super annoying as it drips on to the exhaust and smokes from the engine bay. The oil is still appearing at the rear driver side corner of the oil pan. However, with the help of a local shop we found a leak at the front bank of cylinders under the cam plug and near the spool valve or v-tec valve. So I am not sure if the oil pan was ever actually leaking. I think oil was coming from above and pooling there.

I have another order in from SOS for cam plugs, spool valve gaskets and valve cover gaskets. Also ordered the valve adjustment tool from the dealer. Those are supposed to come in, in the next few days so I will provide an update shortly. Hopefully if all goes well with some shots from the track too.



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Welcome to the wonderful world of NSX ownership. Lionel loved that car, and I'm sure he's happy a real enthusiast is her new caretaker!

Nice to see the thread Dave. She looks great. Glad to hear you found the source of the leak.

Misspelled from my iPhone using Tapatalk
really clean looking nsx, especially for the mileage. Looks like you got a great example and are making it much better with steady improvements.

You are definitely courageous tackling the oil pan gasket right away. It is definitely not a job for a nsx newbie.
Welcome to the wonderful world of NSX ownership. Lionel loved that car, and I'm sure he's happy a real enthusiast is her new caretaker!

I sent him the link. Hopefully he'll have a chance to look at it.

- - - Updated - - -

really clean looking nsx, especially for the mileage. Looks like you got a great example and are making it much better with steady improvements.

You are definitely courageous tackling the oil pan gasket right away. It is definitely not a job for a nsx newbie.

Oil pan is fairly straight forward, what will be courageous is if I have to replace the cam plugs. Hopefully it's just the spool valve that's leaking.

i just really want to be able to drive this car soon.
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So I went ahead and replaced the spool valve gaskets. But still no luck.

Was pretty frustrated at this point, so I took the car to Camco Acura and had their Master Tech take a look. He is very well known and has a lot of experience with NSX's. After looking at it he is thinking it is the rear main seal. Not very common on these cars and is a pretty big job. Don't feel like tackling that one myself so the car is going in next week.


While test driving the car noticed that idle was off and irregular so cleaned the throttle body and that fixed everything right up. At least worked.


While doing the throttle body noticed the air filter was pretty bad so got a new one. Decided not to go with the drop in oil treated type as many have complained about that affecting idle.


Another shot of the car, begging to be driven.



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Looks good!

i did the same with my universal brake reservoir cap from motive, it really sucks on the Nsx. All of my other cars have screw on caps and pump to 15psi, I made the same mistake and it overflowed on Nsx.
Another Canadian and Kojin owner checking in. Great refresh so far. Welcome to the club.
Thanks everyone for the kind words.

Another update.

So after taking it into the dealership the Master Tech (really awesome guy, who really knows the car well) confirmed the cause of the oil leak was the rear main seal. After deciding not to tackle this job myself (lack of time) I took it back and this guy really took care of me. We had spent a lot of time on the phone and he was helping me trouble shoot various things (again he went out of his way taking time out of his day to answer all of my questions), as a result he new that I had pre-purchased a bunch of things to try and solve this oil leak. Therefore, when I took the car in he told me to bring everything I had and in the same time he quoted for the rear main seal he did the following:

- rear main seal
- axle seals
- installed my braided clutch line
- cam plugs
- valve adjustment
- valve cover gaskets
- and detailed the engine bay!

All I can say is what a champ.

Oil leak is fixed and the car is running great.

Here are a couple of shots of the engine and cam plugs.



Now I was finally able to take the car for a corner balance and alignment.

Car weighed in at 2990 lbs with a full tank of gas, so I am probably under 2900 lbs. Not bad as the only thing out of the car was the spare tire.
Still had the cd changer and tool kit in the car. Also ignore the cross weights that was before the corner balance.


With me in the car and corner balance done:


And here are the final alignment specs:
A little bit more camber than I wanted but I 'll try this out for now and see how the temps are across the tires.


Next stop is a HPDE on Friday to see how this things feels on the track.


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Awesome works and posts.

What I liked the most is the lift in your garage.

It’s been quite a while between posts but after I got the car sorted I spent more timedriving and less time writing about wanting to drive. Here are a couple of shots from the track lastfall.


<strike></strike>Well at the end of last season I noticed that the clutch felt like it was nearing the end of its life, so I decided to go ahead and change it now to avoid any potential down time mid season. Summer is tooshort in Canada to have the car down for too long. I decided to go with SOS 275sport clutch and flywheel as I wanted it to feel as OEM as possible. No forced induction planned in the foreseeable future so this should fit the bill just fine. Also like the idea of the reduction in rotating mass from their flywheel.I think it saves 11lbs IIRC.
While I was at it and knowing I would have to remove the drive axles for the clutch, I went ahead and ordered 4 boot kits to rebuild both axles. One of the axles had a slight tear so it was a good time to rebuild them.

Here are acouple of before and after shots for the axles.




<strike></strike>Here are a couple of shots of the clutch install. After inspecting the discs in the original clutch they didn’t look as bad as I thought. First disk, closest to the pressure plate, was pretty worn, but the second disk, closest to the flywheel wasn’t that bad. Probably about 50% worn, but both discs and flywheel were pretty glazed over.




Well after a lengthy re-assembly where I installed the transmission and torqued everything down, I looked over at the work bench and lying there was the clutch release fork. I am now am pretty good at transmission re-assembly.

First test drive with the new SOS 275 clutch was brief, but very very good. The previous reviews are pretty accurate in saying that it feels very OEM if not better. I found it to require slightly less pedal effort than stock and the lighterflywheel doesn’t affect the driveability at all. Barely noticeable. Well done SOS. I will provide a more in depth review once i have had a chance toe put some miles on the clutch and done a couple of track days.




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Coolant Hoses

Coolant hose time. I had no idea if these had ever been done and by feel it was hard to tell if they were too soft. Nothing was crunchy but I decided to change them anyway. Rather have piece of mind.

I bought the SOS kit and after getting started with the removal noticed it was missing the two crush washers required for the centre pipe drains. Should of read the wiki first as I found this info specifically stated in there. Not a big deal as the Acura dealer near me actually had these in stock.


The other thing the SOS kit does not come with is the two O-rings for the rad bleed and drain plugs. Again all were mentioned in the wiki if I had bothered to read it.


I am glad I decided to go ahead and replace the hoses, as even though the coolant in the tank appeared blue, everything in that drained out was green. So I am not sure if the fluid had ever been changed.

Well after a lot of time, some choice words and a lot of silicone lube all tubes were replaced.

Filled and bled the system as per the manual. The sequence they recommend for opening and closing the bleed screws didn't quite work in the order written but in the end I got it to work. Ran the car until everything warmed up, no leaks so far and didn't require to top up the coolant. I will take it for a good run and monitor over the next few days to ensure the temp stays where it should.
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You will need the radiator o-rings for sure at least the top one when you bleed the air out of the system. The crush washers, I didn't remove. I just disconnected the hoses on the under side of the car.

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