Quick Pics in Tempe, Arizona & Vigor Maintenance Update

Odometer (Legend):  534,153


Odometer (ILX):  135,367


I took a little lap around Lakeshore Drive at Tempe Town Lake on Wednesday after work.  Nobody was out (it was a little too hot).


In the background here is the Mill Avenue Bridge which dates back to 1931 and continues to carry traffic across the Salt River.


As a “road history” fan, I learned something during my research about the Mill Avenue Bridge.  It was preceded by an even earlier structure – the Ash Avenue Bridge – just to the west.  This photo shows the Mill (left) and Ash (right) bridges in the 1920s.


The Ash Avenue Bridge, built in 1911, offered a critical first link across the Salt River but was short-lived.  It was far too narrow to accommodate two lanes for automobiles, and it was irreparably damaged by a flood in 1919.  The bridge was finally closed in 1933, two years after the Mill Avenue Bridge was finished, and eventually was demolished in 1991, except for just this tiny piece on the south bank which now has a pedestrian patio/viewpoint on top of it.


This October 2013 article by Jay Mark shares more about the very interesting history of this important piece of road.  It was built by convict labor!  During the two years it was under construction, 15 inmates escaped.  What a grand plan that was.  Haha.

I’ve enjoyed showing off my ‘new’ Acura Vigor to friends in the 4 weeks that have gone by since I picked it up on the 4th of July in Denver and drove it home to Phoenix. This past Sunday, I met up with my friends Chuck & Patty who have a custom 1988 Legend L convertible.  It was warm weather for top-down cruising, but that didn’t stop them from getting brunch at Pier54 in Tempe!


Later that same day, my friend Jason from New Mexico rolled through town so we got some Hawaiian BBQ.


The Vigor already undergone quite a bit of transformation both mechanically and cosmetically.  This week, it received a fresh tint job thanks to Desert Shield in Tempe, Arizona.  The purple, bubbled, hazy film on the windows has been professionally replaced with a charcoal 30% all the way around.  I’m very happy with the results.



From a maintenance perspective, since I had purchased this car knowing little (read: nothing) about its prior history, I pretty much had to start from scratch.  Tait Johnson, otherwise known as “Hon-Man,” has operated a repair shop in Tempe since the late 1990’s that specializes exclusively in Honda & Acura automobiles. One glance at the parking lot upon arrival and I knew that I’d found Honda Mecca.  There were at least two dozen Honda or Acura cars in the parking lot.


I had Tait’s team go through the Vigor with a fine-toothed comb to see what they felt needed addressing.  In the end, they did identify a few things.

  • Blockage in Evap Drain Hose:  This was causing the A/C condensation water to drip on my feet / floor mats rather than underneath the car.  Fixed free of charge.
  • Valve Adjustment:  This Vigor had a nagging “tick” that left me a little concerned.  Tait’s team got it purring like a kitten.
  • Distributor Shaft Seal, O-Rings, Cap & Rotor:  Per recommendation, this fixed a leak.
  • Timing Belt Inspection:  Any Honda lover knows that timing belt maintenance is one of the most critical part things to keep in mind for long-lasting engine life.  In most cases, the interval is every 90,000 miles.  I once had a 1991 Honda Prelude Si that broke its old/original timing belt and bent some valves in the process.  That engine was toast afterward.  Tait found that the Vigor’s belt has in fact already been changed, though there was a concerning aspect of the install – one “guide” is installed backwards and the water pump that was used is a low quality unit.  At some point in the coming weeks, I may do a full timing belt package with Tait for peace of mind.


At 104,392 miles, I got the car back after these items had been addressed and cruised home happily.  Thanks to my friend Hy for recommending such a great shop.

On the upcoming list of items to address, though somewhat back-burner:

  • Exhaust System:  From the get-go, the Vigor has been a little louder than I think it should be.  I suspect that even though the body doesn’t show any signs of rust-through, the car’s exhaust system probably has some wear & tear from spending 20+ years in Colorado where winters are fairly brutal.  Midas quoted me around $500 to get it back to new.
  • Leather Re-Do:  My friend Donald works for a high-end upholstery shop in Scottsdale and said he’s confident he could easily replace the panel of my driver side seat bolster that is worn out.  And not to worry – he’ll match that “Cognac” colored interior to perfection!

So, in coming attractions:  I’m about to hit the road in the ILX this afternoon and head to sunny St. George, Utah (~800 miles round trip).  The occasion?  High school class reunion!  The Pine View High School class of 2000 is ready for a 15-year regroup.  It’s hard to believe it’s been a decade & a half.  See you on the flip side.  Bonus points if you can find me in this photo from one the dances my senior year.


26 Responses to “Quick Pics in Tempe, Arizona & Vigor Maintenance Update”

  1. I’m so jealous you can legally tint your front windows that dark. Also welcome home this weekend! Vigor is looking nice! Still haven’t gotten over to see your brothers Legend (mine’s coupe twin) need to do that.

    • Yeah, tint laws in AZ still exist but it’s a lot easier to get away with pushing your limits because everyone does it. I couldn’t believe the guy at Desert Shield charged me only $200 to remove the old tint AND install the new stuff! Hope to catch up with ya this weekend! Just arrived in Washington.

  2. And I thought when I found this car for you there would be no maintenance dollars to be spent on it! Oh boy, was I wrong with what I saw in the pictures! I spotted you easily in the class picture. Let me know if you need a loan for your upcoming Vigor repairs.

    • Haha, no worries Kevin! None of the maintenance I’ve done has been super critical. It’s just me wanting to make sure things are top-notch. The car is still in far better shape mechanically than most of the ones I was looking at!

  3. bbimmer7 Says:

    Great pictures of your Legend and Vigor. The glimpse of Arizona scenery is equally impressive. Glad you’re getting the Vigor in tip-top shape! How I’d have like to have bought and done the same to that black ’94 I sent you pictures of a few weeks ago.

  4. JoeHansen Says:

    Are you not going to highline anymore? or was this just convenience?

    • Just trying something different. I like that Hon-Man does ONLY Honda products. Plus it’s way closer to my place. $6-7 Uber ride, and every time I drop off something at Wes’ shop it takes a $30 cab or I have to bug a friend.

  5. JoeHansen Says:

    Yeah so he knows his stuff about hondas lol. Maybe ill try him sometime when i cant drive to mesa. Im going to wes for an oil change monday!

    • Oh nice! Tell him hey for me. I think my friend Jordan is working there now. Legend fan as well. I’m sure he will be excited to see your coupe coming into the shop. Have a good weekend!

      • JoeHansen Says:

        Yes I heard. I met him briefly at one of our meets. Have a good weekend as well man!

  6. I’ve gone to HonMan for over 8 years now and while my drive is much further than Tyson’s (and to Tempe Acura) Tait and his crew have never let me down and always at a far more reasonable cost than the dealer.

    Rather than just arbitrarily replacing parts they work hard to find the root cause of the issue. When unable to resolve a problem Tait has generously swapped out a questionable part and refunded its cost on that rare occasion when it failed to fix the issue.

    Moreover my cars have never been damaged or had personal items gone missing compared with several dealers I previously used…

    Just check his reviews on Yelp, all 5 stars!

    BTW Tyson the TSX needs a little leather work on the seat, door armrest and console. I know of a leather repair shop who does fairly good work but he’s on the west side of Phoenix. Obviously I’d like to get a 2nd quote. Maybe you return the favor and forward me your upholstery contact?

    Also nice tint job on the Vigor!

    Thanks and enjoy your upcoming drive…

    • Agree, I’ve had a great experience with the Hon-Man crew so far and I greatly appreciate the recommendation! Let’s talk about that upholstery. Here’s the information you’ll need. These guys are the exclusive upholstery shop for Barrett-Jackson so you know they’re good:

      Unique Upholstery
      8260 E Raintree Drive, Suite 2
      Scottsdale AZ 85260
      (480) 998-2380

      My friend/contact who works there is Donald Parker. He told me to email a photo of the area needing repair to Kevin who handles the estimates. Contact information is: kevin@uniqueaz.com. Good luck and keep me posted!

      Hope you have a great weekend.

    • Don’t want to take anything away from Hon-Man, but their is another high quality Honda/Acura shop here in the valley. Check out D&W Auto Service. They are located on East Thomas road just west of 32nd street. Just like Hon-Man these guys are honest and won’t rip you off. Check out their reviews on Yelp.

      • Thanks for the feedback! That’s very good to know about D&W. Word of mouth seems to be the best way to get a good service shop recommendation these days.

  7. I want to take this Vigor for a spin – see what an old school five-cylinder is all about.

  8. I’m glad you didn’t buy the Oakland Vigor.

  9. as we’ve all come to expect – some great cleaning and maintenance happening to another Acura in your collection!!!

  10. Great post! 90s Acuras still look great today.

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