Question about 1997 Honda Prelude

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Crankshaft bolt broke for the second time in 3 years

I have a '97 Honda Prelude Type SH with 100,000Km on it. Three years ago, when the car only had ~50,000Km on it the crank bolt broke, causing damage to the crank pulley, key and mangled up the keyway as well. this car uses a rare and hard to find crank and as such we decided to repair the crank keyway by spray welding and then machining it to spec. Just last weekend, the new bolt broke causing all the same damage as the first time. What could cause this? I have a machine shop that says they have a crank for my car now. The thing is, do I wanna repair it so that it breaks in three years? I can write the first time off as a fluke, as it does happen. But twice in three years seems nuts. I've owned the car for 4 years now and I work with the previous owner, who gave me all the papers and work done on the car. As far as I could tell there was nothing ever done to the car that would have required the crank bolt removed before the the first broken bolt incident. So what's going on here?

One more bit of info: I noticed the balancer shaft seal is leaking. It was leaking the first time it happened, and it's leaking again now. Also, I sometimes hear a "sand paper" sound when accelerating. Could the balancer shaft be bad and causing my crank to wabble or something? I'm just trying to get some idea as to why my crank bolt twice - I can no long write this off as a fluke.

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  • mveroukis May 14, 2009

    No, this broke by itself. I haven't had any reason to have the crank bolt taken off in either case. The timing belt was changed 3 years ago with the original crank repair. I haven't had any other engine work done since. The only way it could have been loosened is if the place where I had my winter tires switched over to my summer tires decided to sabotage my car by loosening the crank bolt. But I have no reason to believe anyone would want to do that to me. So aside from that, it's 100% impossible that it was broken by someone trying to do some engine work on my car.

  • Dave  C
    Dave C May 11, 2010

    Someone broke your crank bolt when they were trying to get it off, or put it back on, likely a timing belt or water pump job. These things just don't break by themselves.

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I'm not an expert on Honda preludes...however, there are so many variations in the temperments of steel it's rediculous...even if you were to send a part out to induction hardening...there are still variations in temper that you will notice when machining...poor finish, tough spots that eat tools..etc..
In racing aplications, engine builders will weld on the lobes of the crank shaft to add or take away certain amounts weight, but you usually don't modify the journal surfaces, unless grinding to spec. and all of this attributes to the overall balance of the motor. And all the power of the motor is being held onto by that little key way..
So in a long winded conclusion....I know that I'd like to save as much money as possibe...and I personally would have a really hard time spending more money on the spray weld deal again........I'd look for a low milage salvage motor or a new aftermarket crank.
thanks...I hope it helps....Cafemoto

Posted on Jan 21, 2010

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