My S2000 was made in 2003 and checking the maintenance records at the dealership showed there has never been any maintenance done on this car. It still has all the original fluids and this is not good. So this weekend I finally had the time to get the whole thing done.
So I got started gathering all the pieces parts. First was a visit to the local Honda dealership where I purchased an OEM oil filter. After reading numerous threads on the various S2000 forums, the consensus is to run the Honda sourced oil filter. The filter is of good quality and reasonably priced. While I was there, I picked up a collection of crush washers which must be replaced on all drain bolts.
I’ve never owned a Honda before so there are a few things to learn! I was told by a good friend (who has owned Hondas) that it is crucial to replace these crush washers used on all bolts. There is one in the motor oil drain bolt, two in the differential bolts and two in the transmission bolts. Two on each of the last because one is for the drain and one is for the fill bolt.
While at the Honda dealership, I picked up a couple of quarts of manual transmission fluid. The consensus at the forums is to use the original Honda brand stuff – so there again I followed suit. For the engine oil, I used Mobil1 5w-30 and likewise Mobil1 75-90 synthetic differential gear oil.
Next was lifting the car up and putting jack stands under it – no problem there. There is a special pad on the front where one can use a jack to lift the car and on the rear you pick it up by placing the jack under the differential. With four jack stands underneath it, it is easy to find the drain bolts.
Changing all fluids is not rocket science however I did find something interesting about the crush washers. They are made of soft aluminium and tend to take shape when one tightens its matching bolt to the correct torque. This is all to ensure a tight seal and prevent any leaks. It was interesting though, when one first starts to take the bolt out one has to apply a bit of force to “break” it. It follows with a loud “pop” and then comes out very easily. Now I see why re-using the crush washers is not such a good idea.
There are two other things still left to do: I need to drain and replace the engine coolant and also need to replace the brake fluid. Didn’t get that far this weekend, but hopefully that will all be replaced shortly.
Little by little, I’ve been getting the hang of this awesome machine – the S2K. In order to really get this thing to work, one needs to keep the revs up. It is a little disconcerting because I’m used to the best from Detroit.
Honda’s F20C engine is quite amazing. This thing is designed to be revved and by that I mean having 9,000 RPM’s as the limit. This messes with your head a little bit. So in the area where the vast majority of engines run out of breath, the F20C is just getting started. What makes this sooo cool is that once you hit 6,000 revs, then VTEC kicks in. The engine takes a whole different tone and you feel a kick in the butt. This is when things start to happen really quick and you better be ready to drop the clutch at 9,000 revs. The way this machine is set up enables the next shift to happen still in VTEC territory and what a fun thing that is. I caught this close to “just right” for the first time on an “on-ramp” having VTEC engage as I approached the overpass. The sound was awesome!
I ordered an all titanium shift knob from Honda last week. It arrived last Friday and that is what is shown in the photo above. It has a tad more weight than the original knob and just has a better “feel” than the original knob. The shifter on 6-speed gearbox is extremely short coupled and quite honestly, you can shift this thing with a flick of the wrist. Very nice.
Yesterday I topped the tank off. I was able to get 25mpg by driving back and forth to work and such. I guess this could be improved a little but so far it looks like 24-25mpg around town with 29-30mpg on the open road with cruise control.
Didn’t have a chance this weekend but I am planning to replace all fluids soon. I’ll have a writeup on that soon…
Since I didn’t feel comfortable driving the S2K with only a title and a bill of sale, I didn’t get to drive it this past week. It was a busy week at work but finally I got a chance to leave early this past Friday and do the tedious task of obtaining a license plate.
As required by the South Carolina DMV, I had to pay property taxes at the county Tax Assessor’s office before I could request a tag. I show up at the county tax office and a very, very nice lady waited on me after only waiting about 5 minutes. She goes through all the paperwork and verifies all is correct. “What kind of car did you get?”, she asks. I reply “a Honda”. As we exchange information she finally finds the assessment information and says… “A roadster! I’ve never heard of a Honda roadster!”. She then looks at the title and realizes the car is listed as having 4,736 miles.
At this point she has a puzzled look on her face, looks at me and asks “Is this correct? Does this car only have four thousand seven hundred and thirty six miles on it and it is a 2003?”. I give her an affirmative nod and she shakes her head and adds, “This car has been barely driven. You got yourself a new car!”. I politely smile and reply with “Yes ma’am, I did”. She hands me the tax bill and I was very pleased with the total. A brand new, hardly broken-in almost ten year old car with an extremely affordable tax amount to boot. Half the battle done.
Next is a visit to the dreaded South Carolina DMV. After patiently waiting in line for almost 45 minutes I finally get to speak with a very rude clerk. In a matter of seconds without thoroughly reading the documents I gave her, she tells me they “are all wrong”. Turns out she claims the bill of sale and title are not properly signed. “It has to go back and you need more signatures – they are all wrong”, she barks. Since this car was purchased from an out-of-state estate, I guess this individual decided to make her own version of the “rules” and impose her will. I gathered my papers, turned around and walked out. What struck me as odd was that the very nice lady at the tax office said nothing about requiring more signatures.
With the help of my trusted iPhone I look up the next closest DMV office and promptly head out in that direction. I decided to play the odds and see if a second clerk would be a little easier to deal with and agree with the lady at the tax office. Sure enough, it took a 35 minute drive and a second 50 minute wait but this time the individual on the other side of the counter had common sense and patience to thoroughly read all the documents in front of her. She gives me the total for the sales tax and registration fees and I promptly write a check. A few minutes later after she adds yet more data to the paper trail and hands me a shiny new tag with matching registration documents. She asks if I want to spend the extra $20 for a title printed on-the-spot or if I rather wait for the title to be mailed to me. I had already spent enough money so the title will be arriving via snail mail in the next few days.
My S2K is now ready for the road. I had a chance to drive a little this weekend and took some photos. It will take some getting used to because of the high redline. This car must be revved in order to enjoy it. Shifting is very precise and it handles great. I don’t want to push it too hard because it is still running on the original Bridgestones from 2003. They look as new, but they feel “hard”. They are way past their life expectancy. So, a new set will be purchased soon…
Here is a small photo gallery with some pics I took today of the S2K. Love the car, it handles great and the 9K redline is awesome. The interior is the optional “all red” version. The dash is red, the seats and carpet are red, even the radio cover is red. At first I thought it might have been a bit over the top, but once you see it in person it grows on you plus it is leather and it still smells “new”. What can I say? I am very pleased with my purchase! 🙂
Getting back after a very relaxing week of R&R in California’s Central Coast (which is incidentally, fantastic!) things are slowly returning back to “normal”. Very hard to do after all the wonderful sights, lodging, food and WINES we had a chance to sample. Normal? Yeah right. Such is life.
As it turns out, I’ve gone Dark Side. I need to have my head examined.
Did I sell bowtie6? Hell no – you kidding me?
Did I drink the purple Kool-Aid? Looks like it.
Did I join a cult? That would be an accurate way to put it. Yes indeed. Let me explain…
Ensure your seat back trays are in the stowed and locked position and your safety belts are securely fastened. It is going to be a bumpy ride…
About a week before vacation-time in California on one of my daily visits to my cousin Jim’s shop where we discuss our daily list-of-things-to-talk-about, we end up discussing a certain phone call Jim had received from our friend Marion C earlier in the day. Marion told Jim that a friend of his had called about two cars he had for sale. These cars were stashed away in the proverbial “barn find” you often read about in spam emails and in articles in magazines. They were tucked underneath “car covers” with a bit of dust and the executor of the estate needed to get rid of them. You get the idea.
Needless to say, the conversation piqued my attention.
As we were talking, start getting images of a 60’s vintage Corvette, 1st gen Camaro, maybe an XKE or perhaps something else. Well my guess was half right. One of the cars in question is supposed to be a very nice MGB. The other car is a bit more exotic. A bit more modern. Something with F1 DNA in its lineage…
After Jim and I talk and I have a chance to get home and do a little research I get more excited about the “barn find’. I talk this with the Missus and get her “approval” – for the record, I am my own man and this was merely a formality. At any rate, the car in question was built in 2003 with authentic F1 DNA in its lineage and best yet, with an obscene low mileage.
I give Marion a phone call and we discuss the particulars. The cars in question belonged to a gentleman who passed-on sometime in early 2011. His estate was being settled and the executors were searching for a possible buyer. As the details emerge the car has only 4,7xx miles on the odometer. Damn! This is one of those deals “too good to be true”, the ones us gear heads lime me have wet dreams about. Well, they say every dog has his day and this certainly was shaping up to be my day.
Marion and I talk for quite some time on the phone and he tells me the car still wears its original tyres, the leather is immaculate and the convertible top is pristine. It is so “original” the thing looks as if it had left the showroom floor a month ago. A handful of low-resolution pictures arrive on my email account and I hooked. We agree on a price an then three agonizing days slowly go by while we await the “suits and bean counters” approve the offer. Finally I get a phone call from Marion: my offer has been accepted.
I send a check to the executor of the estate to seal the deal. As if we did not have enough drama, the Missus and I are about to go on our vacation to Cali. Damn. I’ll have to wait another week before I can pick the car up.
The Barn Find
Friday the 27th. Finally time to go retrieve the “barn find”. Jim and I jump in the rental car and we head out at first light.. With a cashier’s check in my backpack we embark on a roughly 500 mile one-way drive in the rental. After our arrival, pleasantries are exchanged with the folks handling the exchange and we head out to the “barn”… After about 5 minutes out of town, in the middle of nowhere we pull up to the following driveway.
And this is the “barn” at last at the other end of the drive:
OK – maybe not a “barn” but nevertheless it was tucked away where folks had no clue what was inside….
And here it is: a pristine 2003 Honda S2000 in Sebring Silver with a black top and optional red leather interior. There were only a handful of these made and this one is in as-new condition as could be expected (remember I said this car had 47xx miles)…
So what is a Honda S2000 and why do I make such a big deal out of it?
The S2000 was created for the 50th anniversary of Honda. This car packed quite a punch: the latest and greatest Honda had to offer, all manufactured at their state-of-the-art plant in Tochigi. This is the same plant the legendary Acura NSX was built and would share the same hand-assembled production line.
The S2000 was so named after its ancestors the S500, S600 and S800. My S2000 is from the early production run from 2000-2003: it has the F20C 2.0 liter inline 4 cylinder engine that redlines at 9000 RPM’s. At 6000 RPM’s VTEC engages – this is Honda’s variable valve timing. When it does, the surge in thrust and glorious engine song is amazing!
Yea, I’ve gone Dark Side. After taking delivery, signing papers and driving another 500 miles back home, Jim and I had a serious perma-grins on our faces. This thing is amazing! It is like driving a time-capsule. The paint is flawless, the engine is amazing and the interior is immaculate.
Oh and you want proof of mileage? Take a look:
Finally, I though you might get a kick out of this… 9000RPM’s and this is legal!!!
So yes, bowtie6 has a new stablemate. So far my initial impression is very favourable. The engine lacks the bottom end torque the Ecotec has but when the VTEC kicks in, it is Katie bar the door. This thing explodes.
I’ll have more pictures and more to tell once I start exploring what this machine does. I can’t get too much into it though because the original Bridgestones are way past their expiration date. Once I get some fresh, sticky rubber on I’ll feel more confident to push the S2000 more.