Honda Prelude
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Strut Bar
The most prominent suspension modification is the addition of the front strut tower brace (pictured right). The difference in the feel of the front end was imediately apparent upon installation. The front does feel tighter and the steering response a little quicker. The big difference is in high load cornering where there is added traction due to the fact that the suspension is able to do its job without contending with chassis flex. The other notable difference is in the NVH (noise, vibration & harshness) department.

Installation was simple, just a matter of removing the 3 strut bolts on either side and installing the mounting plates followed by the bar itself. The bar is made out of a very high quality steel (heavy) and the plates are also well made. I got them from Whiteline Automotive which is an Australian based aftermarket suspension parts manufacturer. Whiteline really know their products well, and although I don't endorse them, I would have to say that from my experience, their products are of good quality and work well. The performance magazines tend to regard Whiteline products highly.

Pedders SpringsShock Absorber/Dampers

Unfortunately, the shockers that came with the car had given up so it came time for new shockers. I decided to fit Pedders VRD shock absorbers. The VRD is a progressive, sports oriented shock absorber. The shocks perform well, delivering a good ride but also firming up when I start pushing the car harder. The shocks give good traction and suspension control over mid-corner bumps. Where the old shocks used cause the tyre to skip over the bumps, the new shocks just make them grip. I had contemplated installing Koni shocks but the cost kept me away. The car was also lowered using Pedder heavy duty lowering springs. These springs are progressive rate, providing a relatively comfortable ride while increasing the spring rate to give the lude ever sharper handling. But my reason for installing the springs are cosmetic as the car undoubtedly looks better lower.

Rear Sway Bar (Stabiliser Bar)Left Rear Suspension Assembly with Whiteline Sway BarSway Bar under the car
The Prelude comes with a factory fitted 16mm hollow sway bar in the rear. Because it is a mass production car, the handling has to be safe and predicatable meaning that the car will untimately understeer in most situations to make it easier to handle for the average driver. However, being a driving enthusiast, I wanted to reduce understeer and gain some extra traction on corner exits. By far the biggest bang for buck handling wise has come from the increase in the Sway Bar size and roll stiffness. I opted for the Whiteline Automotive 20mm solid rear sway bar. The difference is apparent at the first corner I turned into. The increased rear roll resistance has made for sharper turn in on entries and much improved inside front tyre traction on corner exits. The rule with sway bars is that the corner load is transfered to the diagonal opposite, so in a right hand turn where the left rear wheel is compressed, the sway bar transfers the load to the right front wheel, thus improving traction. The Sway bar installation is an easy DYI job, taking just under an hour to complete. The only possible draw back for an average driver is that tendency of the car to oversteer on corner entries if you attempt to brake and turn in at the same time. Using proper driving technique will remedy this, and it can be an advantage to get the nose of the car pointed at the corner exit if you know how to exploit this handling trait.

Wheel Alignment
Not to be underestimated for handling bang for buck is a good wheel alightment. A poor wheel alignment will take a lot of the pleasure out of driving a Honda. I run the alignment setting quite close to factory specifications with the exception of caster. I run 5deg of caster, this amount of caster helps the car turn in quicker and reduces mid corner and entry understeer. The drawback is increased steering kickback and tramlining.

My settings:

Toe in = 0
Caster = 5deg
Camber = -1deg

Toe in = 1deg
Camber = -1.5deg