Ready, Set, Go

Eight years, 372k miles, and lots of memories behind the wheel.

Thought I’d kick this blog off with a little history lesson/recap on the old “front wheel drive sleigh” (bonus points if you know what movie that line came from) since there are a few hundred thousand miles to get caught up on.  This 1994 Legend LS coupe and I have been through a lot.  Nearly 40 U.S. states, in fact.   I figured it’s fitting that as my 8 year anniversary with this car approaches (we’ll celebrate this Saturday the 26th!) I should document a few of the past memories as well as track some of my future travels to the big half-million milestone.

Most memorable roadtrip by far was to Fairbanks, Alaska and back in 2006 with my dad.  That was a 7,600 mile roundtrip adventure through some of the most awesome terrain I’ve ever seen.  I’d like to someday achieve a visit to each of the 50 states in this Legend.  Hawaii I may need to leave until last since it’s a $1,000 ferry ride each way.  But it’ll happen!

I’ve had a ton of fun with odometer readings over the years, capturing 111,111.1 through 444,444.4, each the 100k milestones, 123,456.7 through 456,789.0 and some other random ones I’m sure.   Here are the dates at which I passed the major ones.

  • 100,000 miles: 5/20/2003

  • 200,000 miles: 12/3/2005

  • 300,000 miles: 7/29/2007

  • 400,000 miles: 10/30/2009

YouTube video of my 400,000 mile roll-over.

And a 450,000 mile roll-over.

So today, here’s a look at how far I’ve come over the last 8 great years.

Taking the keys on March 26, 2003 – San Jose, California:  95,000 miles

Today – March 21, 2011 – Fountain Hills, Arizona:  467,276 miles

And today’s odometer shot:

My maintenance is tracked religiously in an Excel spreadsheet.  Obsessive attention to detail – that’s the name of the game.  I can say with certainty that this car is on its original engine, transmission, and clutch.   The suspension is as it left the factory in Japan.  Same with the exhaust system.  The axles are original but with new boots.   The car has had 142 (documented!) oil changes over its lifetime so far, gone through 4 windshields, and had 5 different timing belts & water pumps at the recommended ~90k mile change interval.

And if you’re into numbers tracking, I’ve also killed two deer, a cat, as well as this unfortunate bird in Palm Springs CA.

The Legend got me through 3 college degrees and has lived at 6 different houses.  It’s been off-roaded, bottomed out, hauled hitchhikers, stuck in the snow, road raced twice in a 100-mile open road race called the Bonneville 100 in northern Nevada at over 100 mph, thrashed an autocross track in Springfield, Missouri, and dyno tested at 414,000 miles in St. George, Utah.  After all that abuse, it’s only been towed one time — when the original fuel pump died at around 399,750 miles on the 101 freeway, just a mile from my home in Scottsdale, Arizona.  I’d trust this old clunker across the country tomorrow.

Known issues – yes, there are plenty!   This car is not a mint condition showpiece.  She’s still rolling strong but is showing some wear and tear. Aside from some understandable cosmetic issues (clearcoat fade, chipped front end, bullseyed windshield), there are some mechanical issues to address too:

  • Leaking power steering pump
  • Rotors should probably be done (last changed at 89k miles!)
  • Original clutch is barely hanging on for dear life
  • Passenger side door lock actuator makes a loud noise when unlocking
  • Climate control blower motor has a mind of its own some of the time
  • Motor mounts and tranny mount need changed
  • Differential seal leaking (per Acura inspection)
  • All original suspension loves to creak and groan sometimes
  • Misc instrument cluster bulbs burned out
  • Infrequent Code 12 Check Engine Light for the EGR system, though I’ve replaced everything!

Aside from all that, this car drives as rock solid at 467k as it did when I bought it at 95k. It starts on the first crank every time. I drive it to work every weekday. No smoking, no oil leaking, doesn’t use a drop of oil between changes. I wouldn’t hesitate to drive it across the country at a moment’s notice. I still easily get 30+ mpg on highway drives in 6th with conservative driving habits. I use nothing but 91 octane fuel, and 5W30 oil at 3k intervals.

Where to go from here?  Keep an eye on this blog for the updates as I roll onward in the Legend for the half million milestone.  I’ll be celebrating at 477,000 (that means the car’s been driven to the moon and back) as well as definitely doing some quality countdown documentation as we near the big 5 together.  Drive onward!

9 Responses to “Ready, Set, Go”

  1. Tyson!

    Very impressive start to your blog and I admire your dedication to this trusty Acura of yours. I will be anxious to follow you up to the 500K milestone. A couple of questions….how do you manage to average almost 50K a year? And…what happens after the 500K milestone?

    Glad to hear of another 29 year old fellow gearhead…

    Jonathan
    http://www.365DaysOfA.com

    • Hey Jonathan, I’m honored you’d stop by my page!

      I have a lot to learn about how to blog and I’m taking notes from your nicely put together site. Indeed I drive a TON. My average annual mileage is in the 45k range I think. It’s all leisure travel! Most people think I must have a crazy commute, but I really don’t. My current office is 10 miles each way from my house. The travels come on the weekends. My family’s in Utah, so I trek up there frequently, as well as southern California, Nevada, and other destinations. A few weeks ago I drove to Denver and back over a weekend — 28 hours & 1900 miles in 3 days. The car did not skip a beat. Crazy thing is, I used to work for an airline and even when I had the luxury of free flight benefits, I still preferred to drive. Something about being on the open road! Love it.

      As far as after the 500k milestone, I do plan on getting some of the Legend’s cosmetic issues taken care of and most likely retiring it from daily driving status and turning it into a weekend car. I already have a second car waiting to hit the road. I guess we’ll see when I get there — at this rate it’ll be by the end of 2011 when that all happens.

      Sounds like you’ve got a pretty high mileage Honda of your own! I’d love to see some pictures. Those are incredibly well engineered cars (see other comment from “Ron” on my blog who’s had a similar experience with a 1990 DX). Hope the Model A is doing well this week and I’ll keep tabs on you going forward. Road-trip it out to Arizona sometime this summer!

      Tyson

  2. Ron Peterson Says:

    Saw your link on 365 daysofA. I have a model A also, but my daily driver is a 1990 Honda Accord DX that I bought in 1992 with about 60,000 on the clock. I am not as meticulous a record keeper as you, but i am on clutch # 2 at 191,000. I thin the old lady who owned it rode the clutch. I am at 399,458 as of today. The speedometer drive was broken for about 12,000 miles so i am at about 411,000. I photographed the odometer at 300,000. Engine, tranny, and suspension are still factory. It did get new front axles and a radiator fan at about 250k. Also a clutch slave cylinder and the speedo drive. I drive 86 miles round trip every other day (carpool) to my job as a shop teacher in a small rural Oregon high school. The car has been the energizer bunny. The dusty rose paint is fine but the clear coat is peeling. Oil changes without fail at no more than 4k. Only time its been on the flatbed is when a non Honda water pump failed at 30,000 miles of the 90,000 to a new timing belt. It is my hope also to make the magic 500,000. My wife thinks i am a little nuts, and at age 60, I have earned that. I am wondering why the mileage has dropped the last 5 tanks to a consistent 27.5. Will look into that. What amazes me is home the ride and road noise and all other things seem unchanged over the years. I wonder if when I reach 500,000, I will keep going??? It has been the most reliable vehicle I have ever owned, (Knock on pressed wood product!!)

    I have run over a dead deer that took out the exhaust system, hit several other small critters and birds. It has been almost all interstate miles. Oh yes, when I had a tune up done by my mechanic (a former shop student) he did a compression check and all cylinders were within 15 psi and all still at factory specs at over 200psi. The car is a DX model with dealer installed A/C. It was made in Japan on a Tuesday according to the build info. You have given me the inspiration to make the 500K A couple of more years! Good luck to you.

    • Hi Ron,

      Thanks for dropping a line! I’m glad you came across my new site 🙂 I figured I couldn’t be the only crazy guy out there with a high mileage Honda striving for mileage greatness. You are so close to 400,000! (even though you’ve technically already passed it) I hope you’ll share a picture with me when you cross that threshold on the odometer. The 90-93 Accord bodystyle seems to be one of the most bulletproof platforms Hondas ever produced. Your experience is a testament to that. You should consider launching a blog of your own!

      As far as the question of where to go once you’ve hit the half-million mark — I’ve wondered the same thing about my Legend. I used to think I’d drive this car 250,000 and then move on because it would have served its purpose. That came and went, and then I figured I might as well roll on to 300k. Then 400k. At 400k, I no longer have a “goal/target” final mileage, I am literally just driving it, as they say, until the wheels fall off. To this day it has not become incredibly expensive to maintain. And there’s definitely a value in not having a new car payment!

      Truth is, I have a second/back-up vehicle that I bought 3 years ago thinking this one might be on its way out soon. It’s another Legend, but with only 140k on it. It remains a garage queen while the high miler continues daily duty this day.

      I love that you’re able to track so much history of your Accord, right down to the original build date. I know that my Legend rolled off the line in October of 1993 and I do have the original window sticker, sales paperwork, manuals, brochures, and every single receipt for maintenance over its lifetime. The lady who I bought the car from (who’d purchased it new) was as OCD as I am. My car was actually a dealership demo and it had almost 300 miles on the odometer when she took delivery.

      Thanks again for dropping a line, and keep in touch!!

      Tyson

  3. Thats pretty awesome man! I have a 93 accord with 414000 miles on it and i still drive it everyday. Never put a clutch in it. It had 250k when I got it and Ive broke one timing belt (Lucky the valves were closed) And put another one on it a while back. Still runs strong, But.. now when I’m at a red light I usually rev the motor a little bit so the oil light won’t flicker on. Maby its just a sensor and not the oil pump going bad. Id like to drive it to 500k

    • Also… I did buy a disposable camera one time to take a picture of my car rolling over to 300k haha

      • Those 1990-93 Accords are bulletproof! In the next couple weeks I’ll be featuring the story of my friend Dave’s that also has 414,000 miles on it ironically. Sounds like you will make it to 500k – keep it going! Thanks for reading the blog.

  4. Great write up! I also loved the reference to National Lampoons Christmas Vacation lol

    • Haha, I think you’re the first person to comment on the Xmas Vacation reference, so congratulations! Hard to believe it was 4 years ago when I started this blog with this post.

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