Chassis | 4
Wheel Steering | Appearance | Specifications
Chassis - Top
Prelude has unequal length double wishbone suspension at each of its
corners. These feature coil springs, in-coil
telescopic shock absorbers and anti-roll bars front and rear. This suspension
is unique in that it is often only found in racing cars such as Formula
1 and CART, where double wishbones are the only and best way to suspend
the car. The benefits of this setup include:
- Low bonnet line due to the space saving
- Low center of gravity because the suspension is mounted
high in relation to the rest of the chassis
- Minimal geometry changes during cornering as the double
wishbones cause the wheel to increase its camber when under load, ensuring
that the tyre maximises its contact patch with the road surface.
- Almost zero pitch and squat due to the optimised weight
Below is an article on the Prelude's suspension setup
(abstract from http://www.parttrackers.com/library/1/93/97/):
time we talk about Hondas, the word "refinement" seems to
come up. Even tiny, flyweight models such as the CRX ride better and
are generally more comfortable than many vehicles we've tested that
look like Peterbilts by comparison, and all modern Hondas are well-mannered
in the curves. To put it simply, they're great to drive. Come to think
of it, maybe it's logical to expect a motorcycle maker to produce cars
that satisfy the senses and give pleasure.
A big part of this positive vehicular experience
has to do with the steering and suspension systems these automobiles
are blessed with. But if they're not right, most of the fun can go out
of living with a Honda. Hence this section, for which we talked to Honda
service experts and aftermarket parts makers, and pored over hundreds
of TSBs. You won't find this stuff in service manuals, so keep reading.
Just when everybody was getting used to the idea
of MacPherson struts as the almost universal front suspension design
for small cars, Honda went the competition one better. In '83, the new
Prelude appeared with a whole new idea: a strut with a fork that straddles
the driveshaft AND an upper control arm. You'll find the same unusual
double wishbone setup on late-model Accords and '88 and up Civics. The
knuckle has a weird bend in it and isn't attached to the strut. It looks
odd, but it works. Not only is it low, which helps the designers achieve
an aerodynamic hoodline, but it produces near-zero geometry and reduces
dive. It also makes the car corner with satisfying precision.
Just as important, the design allows you to make
camber and caster adjustments, a feature that's lamentably absent on
many late models. Set camber by loosening the two ball joint nuts in
the upper arm and moving the joint in or out. Torque the nuts to 40
ft. lbs. Caster is changed by lengthening or shortening the radius rods.
There are some innovations
at the rear that bear mention. On the Prelude, toe-in can be adjusted
by turning the eccentrics at the front of the radius rods. Late-model
Civic rear suspension is unique with a lateral upper arm and a long
lower trailing arm that uses a compensator link ahead of the pivot point
to brace against deflection and toe change. Service on the struts is
pretty much what you're used to.
Wheel Steering - Top
The 3rd generation Honda Prelude was endowed with
the world's first 4 Wheel Steering system. The four wheel steering system
(4WS) provides limited steering of the rear wheels, in addition to the
normal steering of the front wheels. The system is "steering angle
dependent." That is, depending on how far the steering wheel is turned,
the rear wheels are steered in either the same or the opposite direction
of the front wheels.
When the steering wheel is turned a moderate amount, up to approximately
one half turn, the rear wheels are steered in the same direction as the
front wheels. For example, during lane changing and on gentle curves,
the front and rear wheels steer in the same direction. This eliminates
almost all roll and makes lane changes smooth at considerable speeds.
When the steering wheel is turned more than approximately one half turn,
the rear wheels are steered in the opposite direction of the front wheels.
This reduces the turning circle of the car for easier parking, U-turns
and maneuvering in confined spaces.
The Prelude features a very low bonnet line - in fact, to match the height
of its bonnet line you would have to look at considerably more expensive
mid engined Italian supercars. This is a benefit afforded by the layout
of the double wishbone suspension and the fact that the engine is tilted
back to create this profile. The retractable headlights also add to the
sleek and purposeful look of the Prelude's front end.
The passenger compartment is quite well appointed, with comfortable and
supporting bucket seats, tilt adjustable steering wheel, cruise control,
and highly ergonomic cockpit controls. The first thing you notice when
you slide into the Prelude is just how low the dash and door line is.
It almost feels as if you're sitting in a glass box, directly in the airstream.
As a result the Prelude offers the driver and front passenger very good
all round visability. Flick on the lights and the tops of the retractable
headlights become visible from the cockpit, and emphasise the vastness
of the Prelude's hood.
For fresh air driving, there's power windows and a power sunroof.
Back seats? Don't even bother, this car should be considered a 2 seater
rather than a 2 + 2. The lack of legroom would make even Dr. Evil's mini
This car can and should be considered a Grand Tourer, being very comfortable
and quiet. I recently completed a trip to and from Melbourne to Adelaide
and I have nothing really to complain about. The low noise levels at
110km/h, comfortable seats, effective air conditioning, steady cruise
ample power made the trip quite enjoyable. Fuel economy was also excelent
as I managed 7.4L/100km.
|Dash panel to rear seat
|S/wheel to seat (min/max)
|Pedals to seat (min/max)
|Rear legroom (min/max)
|Shoulder width, front
|Shoulder width, rear
|Front cushion depth
|Front cushion height (min/max)
|Rear cushion depth
|Rear cushion height
|Floor lenght (seat up)
|Floor lenght (seat down)
|Floor to lid (min/max)
|Lip to lid
|Floor width (max)
|Floor width (between arches)