1990 Prelude Si ALB Again

Engine: B21A1 Transmission: 5-speed Mods: NONE - all stock
Thanks to everyone who responded to my initial question about my car. I changed out the PCV valve, (Only $3.51 after tax) and unfortunately this
has done nothing to lessen the vast amounts of oil that disappear from my car. Again, I don't think I have a leak, because there are never any oil spots under my car when I park it for the night and come back the next morning. The new record for oil consumption: 2 quarts in 3 days!! Granted, in those 3 days I drove over 300 miles, but that's only 150 miles per quart! It doesn't stumble or falter at all, there is no blue smoke at any RPM level (I've checked for this time and time again) and the other day I clocked my 0-60 time at roughly 7.5 seconds. So, as you can see, my car has plenty of power. So I throw my question again to the wealth of Honda knowledge in this newsgroup:
Where is my oil going?
A guy I work with used to work for a Honda performance shop, and he said that it could be possible that my compression rings are fine, but the oil rings are shot. Is this possible? Could it still be the valves? Is it possible for oil to leak only while the car is running and not leak after it's shut off? I hope someone can throw me a clue because I'm drowning here...in cases of oil... ;-)
Thanks again! :-)
Jonathan
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Jonathan wrote:

to see evidence of it on the spark plugs.     I have seen the oil ring problem. Have you owned the car long? bob
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N.E.Ohio Bob wrote:

I have only owned it since this past August. The guy before that only had it about 6 months. (He was an older gentleman who babied it to death...probably never revved it above 3,000 RPM) The person before that was supposedly the original owner, who obviously would have had it for ~16 years. It has always used oil, but has been getting progressively worse. The spark plugs I use are the Bosch +4's, so supposedly it's the hottest spark you can get. ($6 each plug) I haven't checked them recently, but when I first changed them after I bought the car, the original plugs were stock NGK's that were worn, but did not have any oil residue on them at all.
Jonathan
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It has? Then you should not have bought this car. The original owner did NOT take care of it and neither did the next owner.

Why would you do that? What possible advantage would hot plugs get you?
Sorry to say, but you have bought the proverbial "pig in a poke".
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Tegger

The Unofficial Honda/Acura FAQ
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Tegger wrote:

It has, and I expect Honda cars of the 1990 era to use some oil. Nearly everyone I talk to that has owned a Honda that was in the late 80's to early 90's have used oil. (Nothing near what mine does, granted, but I've pretty much accepted the fact that a used Honda of this age is probably going to use oil unless the engine has been rebuilt or replaced quite recently) My 1990 Civic LX drank about a quart every 1000-1500 miles or so, and the engine in it came out of a like-model that had been owned by an old lady who only drove it to and from the grocery store and church for 12 years, putting only 75,000 miles on it.
I still don't regret buying the car because I have always wanted a Prelude but could never find one that didn't have a salvage title. (I never thought I'd find an Si-ALB with a clean title) I am very pleased with the level of performance this car is able to dish out. I like not having to downshift to 4th gear to go up a steep hill as I had to do with my Civic. Also, the 2.5 second reduction in 0-60 time is nice as well. ;-) (10 in Civic, 7.5 in Prelude) However, with what I know now, I definitely would have negotiated a lower price, but as they say, hind-sight is 20/20...

I saw the Bosch +4 plugs advertised and they seemed like a good investment. ( http://www.autobarn.net/bosplat4spar.html ) But, if they aren't making a difference, then needless to say I will go back to NGK after these wear out.
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Jonathan wrote:

My '93 Accord was still just sipping oil at 150,000 miles when I unloaded it last fall. Engine remained all original.
BTW, Bosch plugs are junk. Get rid of those and put OEM plugs in there.
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High Tech Misfit wrote:

it really depends on how the car is driven and maintained. the crx i had a couple of years ago had 305k on the clock and didn't burn a drop. my 89 civic will burn 2.5 quarts of m1 in 10k, and that's got only 155k on the clock. both had had only one lady owner before me. the crx got freeway miles. the civic was confined to the trauma of city stop-start driving.

couldn't agree more. only thing bosch plugs are good for is "seeding" the lawn of the neighborhood's goat so their mower coughs its guts. but you can't do that when you're a grown-up.
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Jonathan wrote:

those are just the earth electrodes - they're not the "hot" bit. all they mean is that you are supposed to be able to do high mileage with the average electrode gap not degrading too quickly. but in my experience, bosch plugs aren't worth the effort, no matter /what/ whizzbangery they're supposed to have.
the best consumer grade plugs available are iridiums, imo. [ngk, denso] but they don't affect oil consumption.

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All stock? Good for you! So's mine.

Into your combustion chamber. Your cat is trapping the smoke before it gets out of the tailpipe.

Yep. More likely the rings are bad all around, though.
Modern motor oils combust very efficiently, so you're unlikely to see oil deposits on the plugs unless your spark is weak.
A tip if you want to try this: With engine warm, pull your primary oxygen sensor from its hole (before the cat, get it?). Start car, idle it and rev it. If you've got a smoker, the smoke will pour out of the sensor hole.
If you try this and there's NO smoke, then the mystery deepens...
Worn bearings can cause smoke as well. Excessive oil throwoff bombards the underside of the pistons, and the rings are unable to scrape it away fast enough.

Valve guide oil seal leaks are evident as a puff of smoke on startup, before the cat has have a chance to warm up and start eating the smoke.

Yes, but that usually causes a huge mess on the engine and many drips when the car is stationary.
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Tegger wrote:

Is yours also an ALB series with the 2.1L? (Or 2056cc to be specific)

I thought that if your compression rings are bad that your horsepower decreases. Is this correct?

I will definitely try that and see what happens.

let it warm up, and I've never seen any blue smoke, just white smoke, but that's to be expected on cold days, of course. ;-)

little bit of gunk build-up, but nothing that would warrant leaking 2 quarts every 3-4 days.
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Nope. I have a '91 Integra. B18A1. Has its own oil problems at the moment. 283K miles and 1,800 miles per quart. Pretty high. This will increase to 1,300 miles per quart in the summer.

Maybe. But _how much_ is your power affected? You CAN have excellent power but high oil consumption.

You'd better make absolutely certain that "white" smoke isn't actually "blue". It can be hard to tell from a distance.
You cannot really see that smoke while in the driver's seat. Have a helper crank while you stand at the rear of the car and watch the tailpipe.

If it's not dripping, then you're eating the oil. Your engine's gone bad, my friend. Face up to it.
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Tegger

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Jonathan wrote:

Update: I took my car to a Honda specialist who worked in a dealer's shop for over 10 years and asked him what he thought. He said that it's burning oil because of the design of the cylinder walls; they're made of carbon-fiber which tears up piston rings and makes rebuilding the engine practically impossible. (He mentioned a very bad experience with a car like mine in the past, and actually declined to work on my car because of this) My next question is, what other engines besides the B21A1 would fit in my car with the least possible amount of modification to the body and/or engine mounts? Would an H22A fit, per chance? Or, if I could find one, a B21A? (The Si-States engine; made only in Japan)
One final question: The mechanic said that I have a small chance of making the oil consumption lessen drastically if I follow these steps: 1. On my next oil change, use synthetic oil and SeaFoam. 2. As soon as that gets the least bit dirty, change it, and use synthetic oil again, but this time no SeaFoam. 3. When that gets dirty, change and go back to regular oil. He said that doing so will "loosen up" the piston rings and possibly cause them to create a better seal.
Does that hold water? I haven't heard of doing that before, but then again I've never had a car go through oil this fast...
Thanks again to Bob & Tegger for your feedback! I really appreciate it!
Jonathan
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Jonathan wrote:

not even slightly. i'd stay away from this individual.

there's plenty of affordable "upgrade" jdm motors that you can substitute. you could mess about with new rings, but it's not a guaranteed fix and takes a lot of time and effort. you can sub in a new motor in half a day if you know what you're doing.
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jim beam wrote:
<SNIP>

He also said that if I keep driving it with it drinking that much oil it will eventually burn the exhaust valves, totally ruining the engine. Is that correct?
<SNIP>

Which one would you suggest I upgrade to? Will an H22A fit my car?
Thanks again! :-)
Jonathan
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He is a regular fount of misinformation. As long as you maintain the oil level between the limits on the dipstick you won't have any problems there. Burned valves are a possible consequence of misadjusting the valve clearances. Of course, if you let the oil get too low burned valves will be the least of your trouble, so check it regularly.
Mike
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Jonathan wrote:

absolutely not. q: what do diesels burn? a: oil!

it'll fit, but you may have to mess with motor mounts and driveshafts. and electronics if you go vtec. do a google search for honda hybrids and you'll find plenty of ricers that have done plenty of swaps like this. personally, i'd go with a tamer swap to more recent b20. you can get a b20b for $700 here: http://www.nippon-motors.com/honda.htm put a hotter cam in that, and you could have a fun motor.
or you could go to this guy and see what he can do for you: http://www.theoldone.com/articles/badtothebone /
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jim beam wrote:
snip

Just the pic of the champher to ease the installation of ringed pistons was worth the trip.
Of course, I'm working with ancient (EJ1) engines which are no longer available through JDM sources. I would love to get a couple of spare engines and always have one ready to go!
JT
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Grumpy AuContraire wrote:

appreciate all of you taking the time to read my rather lengthy problem and then answer my questions. I'm sure you'll hear from me again... ;-)
Jonathan
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