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Honcho's Long Road to Imola Type-S Zero

27 July 2007
Denver, CO

The goal:


The plan:

Imola Type-S Zero STAGE 0 --->> 2018 - 2019. Main points of concern are the auto transmission (working fine, but 139k miles and unknown maintenance), intermittent EPS light, brake light warning light in dash and the windows, which are popping and slow to come up. Also need to repair the front bumper. Once I sort those issues and do a full inspection, making notes of all areas to address, I will do a full "super clean" and some paint correction so the car at least looks ok. Then, I will start on the Type-S Zero path, which will involve removing:

(1) Air conditioning and all lines;
(2) All audio and wiring;
(3) Power antenna;
(4) TCS;
(5) ABS and all wiring/computers (gonna fab up my own ABS delete rig with prop valve and go to a FF/RR bias split);
(6) Cruise control; and
(7) Engine fan

I will also DIY my very own NSX-R mesh cover (and [MENTION=16180]comtec[/MENTION] style prop rod holder) out of the existing cover. Goal is to not know it's a fake unless you put it next to the $2,000 OEM version. Home Depot mesh, glue and a jig saw....what could go wrong? Should be super fun!

All of this should keep me busy well into 2019 for essentially zero cost, when I can approach Mrs. Honcho and request (beg) to begin...

Imola Type-S Zero STAGE 1 --->> Late 2019. Color change to YR-514P Imola Orange, along with full Type-S interior (including seats!), badges, NSX-R bars, etc. Definitely coolant hoses and Koyorad. Possibly suspension, if the $$$ is there.

Imola Type-S Zero STAGE 2--->> 2020 - 2021. Conversion to 6-speed, engine refresh, cams/valve springs and EPROM tune. Stage 2 will also see NA2 brakes, Spoon rigid collars and manual steering.

Then, some time after 2021, if the stars align, we will achieve....

Imola Type-S Zero STAGE 3--->> 2021 or later. Full 3.3L ITB engine build. I'm starting to waver on this, as ITB might be more trouble than it's worth. At least I have some time to figure it out.

Delivery 02

Starting a new thread now that the car is here and I can't re-name the old one. Both Mrs. Honcho and I were pleasantly surprised at the condition of the car- it was much better than I had hoped. I might even put it on the road and drive it around!

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It was evident very quickly (and from [MENTION=4002]chudson1549[/MENTION] 's inspection) that the front bumper is the major body issue on this car. You can see below that the nose was repainted and done poorly. Clearly a different shade. The good news is that the frame is straight as an arrow with no evidence of any damage anywhere.

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haha you can literaly drive the wheels off it.....or until the auto trans melts:biggrin:
Health Check 01

Mrs. Honcho still is the only one to have driven the car. She reported that it smelled like it was running rich (I love that my wife understand this) and also advised that the gas pedal was almost to the floor. I will check throttle cable adjustment before driving again. The car has been repainted and it was a bad job- orange peel everywhere and a thin, flaky clearcoat. I will paint correct as much as possible, but it's a good thing the car will be re-sprayed Imola.

Clearcoat burned through on the driver B-pillar and roof



Washer nozzles in bad condition


Some kind of mystery wires attached to the washer nozzle hoses under the hood. No idea...


Health Check 02

Major body issue with the front bumper. There is a Wings West front lip that looks like it was installed by a child. My guess is whoever did the paint job probably also did this. They bondoed the lip to the lower bumper skirt, which they then bondoed to the bumper. Terrible. I need at least a new (read: junkyard) lower skirt, OEM lip and bolts, and potentially a front bumper if this unit is damaged underneath.


The lip hangs so low that I'm sure it was catching on whatever curb or bump the previous owner was backing over. On the driver's side, it pulled out the lip and lower skirt over an inch outside the body line.


I'm afraid even worse news on the passenger side. The bondo job finally gave up and the entire lower skirt pulled away from the bumper. It looks like the owner tried to glue it back with some sort of epoxy, but that bond failed. Worse, the bolt mounting holes on the lower skirt are ripped away, so I have no way to re-attach this to the car even for a temporary fix. The car is not safe to drive on the main roads with this condition, as it could catch on something and potentially rip the entire front skirt off the car! I will have to think of a clever way to repair it until I can source a replacement skirt.


Health Check 03

1st generation ABS system. ABS fluid looks very old and rotten. I will flush the unit with my kit, which I still have. :) I noticed, however, that there is a brand new brake line on the ABS unit, indicating it was at least serviced recently. Perhaps it still works? If so, I will sell it after removal, just like the last one.


Same for the brake fluid. Very old. Mrs. Honcho mentioned that she felt the brakes dragging while driving. I am going to do a full rebuild/repaint like last time, but this time in flat black. But, I will probably change fluid now just for safety.


This car has an aftermarket stereo with amp, so lots of mystery wires throughout. Going to have some fun removing/tracing them all like I did on the black car. Also noticed some brake fluid markings on the brake booster, but looks like old corrosion-- not wet. In fact, the master cylinder looks relatively clean and new. Maybe replaced?



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haha you can literaly drive the wheels off it.....or until the auto trans melts:biggrin:

I think I will drive it, actually, assumming I can Macgyver fix the front lip. After a wash, detail and paint correction, the car will look decent from 20 feet away. So, when the weather is sunny, why not? :) However, Mrs. Honcho advised she thought the weather seals are bad and said straight up "don't drive it in the rain." Lol. The car will stay A/T even after the Imola change, so we'll live with it for a while.

Welcome back!

Thanks Roman. Your recent adventure to the brink of ITB has me reconsidering...

i'm glad it found a great home for a NEW LIFE!!!!

This will be a fun journey for sure. Thanks again for checking her out for me.

Heated windshield washers? :)

Yes! That has to be it. Though, the car lived in South Carolina for the last 17 years? Not a lot of ice down there...

Can't wait to see this one take off

It's gonna be slow, but awesome too!

Time for complete disassemble.

Not yet. 2018-19 punch list (e.g., taking things off the car and doing things that don't cost much money) has to come first. Mrs. Honcho's rules for this car. She might agree to a new junkyard R-77 lower skirt though... Earliest I can see a dissassembly happening is Summer 2019 in preparation for Stage 1 of the build: Imola. :D I will do it all myself (including block sanding prep) to save money on paint. Hopefully, I can get it to a state where the shop just has to shoot paint and not take much apart.
Health Check 04

Apparently the prior owner worked at Pep Boys, so there are all sorts of cheesy bits on the car. The interior is rough, which is ok, as it is all going to be gutted to go Type-S.

Pep Boys door guards.


Air Jordans


Looks like I hit my quota limit? Will try to post more tomorrow.
Dude, that used to be Michael Jordan’s ride! :biggrin:
Mine was just as bad when I rescued mine. I hope you got a deal on this car...
honcho said:
some kind of mystery wires attached to the washer nozzle hoses under the hood. No idea...
heated windshield washers? :)

Those are probably wires for the LED washer nozzle was was popular in the 90's. Just be glad that they put the original ones back on even if they are in bad shape.
Have fun with the build. Looking forward to seeing your progress.
Health Check 05

I was able to get some more work done today. I opened the engine hatch and it dropped onto my head. Checked the trunk and same story. Looks like I'm sending these out to Strutwise for a rebuild. In the meantime, here is my engine hatch holder:


I immediately smelled coolant. What is it with my bad luck and NSX with coolant issues. I assumed the worst, but after inspecting all of the hose fittings, I found no evidence of coolant. Then, I turned to the header tank, which looks to be an old Science of Speed unit. And there it was- coolant appeared to be weeping out of a pinhole in the weld of the upper nipple.


Warmed up the car and confirmed wet coolant was slowly weeping from the hole. Also removed the cap and found this. Lots of corrosion. The cap was all crusty with scale and the spring was crunchy when compressed. Also, no pressure release when I opened the cap, so the system cannot pressurize. Thus, no high speed operation until I can sort this tank problem. Likely will upgrade to the RFY header tank and catch can.



Decided to check coolant level using my clever bamboo coolant gauge, as there is no level gauge on the SoS tank. Looks to be an ok level- roughly half of tank height- so I will not add more coolant. Still, this issue is more serious and the RFY upgrade may have to happen sooner than I planned (originally planned for Stage 1, late 2019 to save on shipping all parts at once from Japan).


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Health Check 06

I apologize for the bad look of the last post- NSX Prime is restricting my upload quota, so I switched over to my Google Photos hosting and there is an artifact from the original attached image. Hopefully is it sorted out in this one and the pictures are viewable.

After looking over the engine, I was very pleased with the condition of this NSX. Totally dry engine (no oil leaks) and not much noise from the valvetrain. Engine oil was fresh and still golden brown and the ATF smelled new and was still bright red. Both fluid levels were perfect. The previous owner had this car for 17 years and serviced it religiously. Does anyone know how to get service records from McDaniel Acura? It's where this car was serviced. While he let the cosmetic condition slip, the mechanical condition of this NSX engine is excellent- better than my black car when it arrived. I will do a compression test later to check the condition of the internals, but honestly I expect it to be a good result.



Valve cover gasket is dry and cam seals are good too. Still, too much Hondabond at the valve cover seal by the cam covers.


Fatigue at the passenger side motor mount.


Driver side mount looks ok, at least from here. Still more mystery wires...


Followed that mystery wire and found this under the car. Not good. Safety issue for sure, but also it looks like the painter was not careful and sprayed under the car. The AT shift cable, cable stay piece and even the aftermarket wire harness were sprayed. Looks like I am going to have to spend time with the soda blaster. Also, I need to get this car in the air to see what else is going on. Hopefully not too bad.

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amazing, when you start to look very critically at used nsx...makes my 96 look like a museum piece.:biggrin:
I actually have a fully functional set of hatch struts. They have some bubbling on the mounting plates. If you would like them, let me know. Easy project to sand and paint.

Thanks for the offer! Already sent them off to Frank at Strutwise.

Those are probably wires for the LED washer nozzle was was popular in the 90's. Just be glad that they put the original ones back on even if they are in bad shape.
Have fun with the build. Looking forward to seeing your progress.

You were right! They are absolutely horrible...

Dude, that used to be Michael Jordan’s ride! :biggrin:
Mine was just as bad when I rescued mine. I hope you got a deal on this car...

A very good deal. :)

amazing, when you start to look very critically at used nsx...makes my 96 look like a museum piece.:biggrin:

The reliability of these cars is a blessing and a curse. They keep working despite serious issues, so you can run them down into the ground and they keep going. This owner did, but at least he had the sense to maintain the really important stuff.

Congrats and welcome back! Can't wait to see the build progress.

Thanks man. The more I dig through the car, the longer the build becomes lol.
Health Check 07

The car has been on the battery conditioner for the last few days, so I want to make sure there are no starting issues. [MENTION=4002]chudson1549[/MENTION] reported it stalled after startup and Mrs. Honcho advised the starter had trouble cranking the car on the truck trailer during unloading. Fuel pump ok. Cranks strong and fires on first turn. Good. Brake warning light on. As soon as I tried to turn the wheel, the EPS light came on. Also, the idle dropped low (650 rpm) after the car was fully warm (radiator fan came on). CCU and radio were off, so not sure if this is normal for AT spec. Have to check the service manual. When I tried to find the service connector to check EPS code, was surprised/scared to find it was not there. Huge mess of aftermarket wires also. Now, I will have to remove the glove box and lower panel to go searching. Job for another day.


Driver rear window sash is simply beyond repair. I will have to find another one. Really disappointing, as these are very expensive new. My look to see if there is a crashed late model 2002+ with good condition sash available instead. More of the epoxy on the cover piece. This owner loved that epoxy- it's all over the car.


That's not right...


More epoxy madness. The trim piece is missing completely and it looks like some kind of repair was attempted, and failed. This driver door card might simply be scrap at this point. I will inspect further when I remove it to clean the window tracks.


Sill cover in bad condition. Passenger side is the same. Lucky that these are not too expensive to replace. My NSX Shop list is growing...


Driver side seat is completely worn out. Passenger side is a little better. Thankfully, both will be removed and sold to make room for Type-S seats. Maybe a recover project for another owner? I did it in Ivory once... :) Carpet is also stained and smelly. I will remove and wash thoroughly with the Bissel (advantages of having a huge German Shepherd in the house). I'm considering dyeing the carpet black to cover the stains. I've heard good things about that process/product.



Center console is cracked in the usual place. As I am deleting the radio, I will attempt a repair, as I have an idea about how to reinforce the crack area. This whole piece will get a ferric chloride bath and refinish. Question I must answer is whether AT console is the same as MT. It's been a while, but the gear shift area looks bigger on this console...



Same story with the switch panel trim. Bubbling on both sides. Time for the ferric chloride bath.

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Aftermarket Wire Removal 01

Started to attack the huge mess of wires on this car. Where to start? Traced the mystery wires on the window washer lines and discovered it was indeed an LED washer nozzle kit. Horrible. Here is what came out. It was held to the body by black electrical tape. No idea how long.


Even worse was what they did to the hood. Clearly cut bigger holes to make room for the wiring, but now the OEM grommets won't fit back in. Have to figure out a way to repair- maybe use larger grommets? Worst case is to replace the hood or have the body shop weld in plugs and re-drill the correct size holes. Unbelievable. Washer nozzles now are not functional until I solve this, though they probably never were working to begin with. Btw, the lower fittings were attached to the nozzles by...epoxy. Because of course they were.


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Hatch and Trunk Struts 01

Out and on their way to Frank at Strutwise!

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Throttle Cable 01

Decided to address the gas pedal issue. Mrs. Honcho reported that the gas pedal was almost at the floor and she had to floor the pedal for only part acceleration. I immediately suspected the throttle cable was out of adjustment. Checked the pedal box and all was ok. Checked the cable slack per the manual and found it was over 20 mm! The adjuster nut also was almost all the way out. Tightened the adjuster nut to give 11 mm of slack as measured per the service manual.


Confirmed check of the throttle plate opening fully when gas pedal depressed.


Confirmed. Done.


Since the bellows was out for the throttle plate check, I decided to give it a full clean with scrubbing brush and hot water. Dressed with 303 protectant and back in. Step 1 of a long process...bit by bit, this NSX will come back to life. I also did a quick wipe down of the throttle plate using some carb cleaner and a microfiber cloth. Not a big clean, but ok for now. This intake manifold will be getting a full refresh during Stage 2.

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