Trials, tribulations and determination.

Well, I did it again.
When it comes to fixing or replacing something I’m unfamiliar with I tend to consult whatever reference material I can but in this case I dove right in and regretted it.

The goal in this case? Replace my PCV valve…
It sounds simple enough right? Just pull it out of the top of the valve cove….WRONG.
The patient being operated on in this case is an A20A3, as found in my 1986 Prelude:

Despite my undying respect for Honda’s engineering prowess they often tried finding alternate solutions to problems instead of sticking to the tried and true methods used by other manufacturers. In most cases they succeeded brilliantly (VTEC and CVCC come to mind) but in other cases they seemed to make things needlessly complicated. My 5 minute job turned in to a day’s worth of fiddling, one unsuccessful trip to the junkyard, and then another unsuccessful trip to the local Honda dealership. Truth be told though, it IS my fault.

How? Well let me elaborate…

First though: These pictures are from the donor car at the junkyard, so I cleared things out of the way to provide a better view as I recreate the steps I followed. Incidentally, as you can see this car was WAY beyond needing it’s PCV valve replaced!

The PCV valve I removed was seemingly mounted into the intake manifold. In retropect I should have realized something was odd about how the PCV is set-up right then and there.

After a bit of straining with a monster set of pliers it still wouldn’t come out. Seeing that the “grommet” was pretty hard I figured it would be OK to chip away at it, since I had a replacement for it and it would have to come out anyhow. So, I destroyed the upper lip of the “grommet” and yanked the PCV valve out. Well, apparently there IS no grommet (Odd that they still sell them  for the Prelude).

What appeared to be one is actually the top of a section of tubing that sticks up THROUGH the manifold (Part #3 in the diagram below).

You can see part #9 is the PCV Valve. The top of part #3 has a lip on it that hooks over the hole in the manifold, and looks like a grommet (At least it did to me!). You can also see this tube goes to a box which is mounted to the side of the engine block, underneath the intake manifold.

The box nestles inside a bracket between the block and the manifold, and then 2 other sections of pipe come out of the box, one going into the block and another to the oil pan.

So I removed the bracket.

Giving me easier access to the box.

Sadly, as you can see my donor part was destroyed during removal.

Here’s a few more pics of the box:

SO, after wasting several hours for nothing I gave up and tried my local dealership…after a discussion with the parts counter guy (Who seemed like he couldn’t have been any less interested in helping me, despite the fact it was a ghost town in there) I came away with only a new O-ring and ZERO ideas, he told me they couldn’t order one in (No longer stocked or made) and he didn’t have a sweet clue of anywhere else I could go for such a thing. So, it looks like it’s back to the drawing board for me. I may have to try and create my own part with various lengths and diameters of tubing, or try and find another donor…hopefully one with a pipe that’s less brittle.

I hate to say it, but considering the sheer number of these engines still being used on a daily basis I’m pretty let down that Honda or ANY aftermarket company for that matter (DORMAN I’m looking at you!), doesn’t carry these parts any more. I haven’t done the research either but I don’t think the A20A3 is the only engine with a set-up like this.

My advice to any readers out there: If you’re considering replacing your PCV valve you really should, I could write a whole other article about how important it is for longevity, emissions, and most importantly POWER! If you do though, here’s a tip: Don’t be a fool like me! Warm up your engine first to make the rubber more pliable for yanking the valve out, and DON’T take out anything BUT the valve!

So dear reader it appears my car has won this round. I’m down but not out though: I’ll be back for round 2 soon and I’ll be coming out swinging.

Ethan – Editor.

4 thoughts on “Trials, tribulations and determination.

  • November 19, 2012 at 3:29 am

    That lil black box is just a separator so that the oil doesn’t go up into the valve and intake. I too broke that one hose tapers down and plugs into the valve. What i did was weld a nipple to the top of the black box, bought a pcv valve and extra hose and hooked it up.

    • November 21, 2012 at 9:18 pm

      Thanks for the suggestion! I may end up doing that sometime (When I get access to a welder) but in the meantime I thankfully managed to find another fix for it. I would have loved to just rig up an oil catch can but I don’t think my local smog inspector would approve! Thanks for the comment.

  • February 13, 2015 at 8:08 am

    I just found your post while searching for a way to fix the same problem. I may just stick a piece of hose through the broken part and fill the space around it with some kind of sealant. If I stick it up through the hole in the intake to accept the PCV valve, it should be airtight, and work as well as it was designed originally.

    • February 26, 2015 at 7:26 pm

      Luckily in this case I was able to eventually find a suitable donor part from a local yard.


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