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Acura Forum: 97 CL 3.0 questions
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Old 01-26-2014, 12:01 AM
Seiji Seiji is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Silicon Valley, Bay Area
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Default 97 CL 3.0 questions

My CL has been such a satisfying and trouble-free car that I can't bear to let it go. It has 170K miles, runs great (couple exceptions, see below).

A little history: At 20K a powered engine mount went bad; replaced under warranty. At 70K it got new plugs/wires/EGR valve per a recall agreement w/state of Cal. At 85K an alternator bearing got noisy -- replaced it myself. At 110K I replaced the CV joints and boots. At 125K the driver's side window regulator broke. At 140K I replaced the front brake pads. At 150K I replaced the tie-rod boots and got a front-end alignment. At 160K the starter solenoid started getting sticky so I replaced it. That's it -- everything else is original. I've always used synthetic oil. Early on I replaced the wimpy 16-6 OE rims with custom 17-7's; much improved performance on winding mountain roads with 215/45-17 tires. The car starts, idles and runs virtually like new.

Here's where I need help or advice:

1) The thermostat appears to be stuck open as it takes the car many more miles to warm up than it used to; lack of output from the heater confirms the gauge reading. Note: the car has always run cool according to the gauge, never rising even to the half-way point. What is the thermostat spec for this car? If it's 170F, could I switch it to a 180?

2) While I detect no loss of power or any other decline in performance (and I'm very sensitive to any change in performance), the mileage has dropped off in the last year or so, about the period that I've noticed the lower temperature. Could the above-mentioned thermostat problem be the cause of mileage decline from around 24-25 mpg (town) down to 20-21? (On a recent long trip on freeways I got 27.7 which is almost what it got when it was new on the same trip.) Or could it be the oxygen sensors? (still original). On a recent smog check it checked out "very clean." Should I replace the oxy sensors as well?

3) I need to replace or repair the driver's seat. The leather (charcoal color) is worn out, plus one of the motors has failed. I have searched on line but haven't been able to find one. What would be my best approach: pull the seat out for re-upholstering and repair, or try to source one from a junk yard?

4) Finally, I would like to get hold of some speed nuts -- the ones that clip onto the sheet metal and hold down the plastic panels under the hood -- one in front and one over the firewall. I got one from the dealer when the car was about a year old -- I should've got several because now the dealer can't even give me a part number for them. I'm missing about four. This is not causing a problem but I like to keep the car in collectible condition. I also need the plastic Acura logo that goes on the engine cover. I've been to three junk yards but cannot find these parts (no CL's, and these speed-nuts don't seem to have been used in other Acura's).

I plan to replace the windshield (it's time) and then have the thing detailed, it's that nice a car. Your thoughts and advice would be much appreciated.

Thanks, Seiji
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