Category Archives: 3. 2003 Honda S2000

A Tire’s Worst Enemy

A tire’s worst enemy – not potholes or curbs, I’m talking about punctures.

I drove the S2000 to work on Friday and after I left the office things didn’t seem “right”.  Sure enough, the right rear tire had a decking screw in it.  Damn.  This pisses me off.  There is a lot of construction starting back up in my neck of the woods and some of those in the “building” industry (bless their heart) are not exactly judicious in keeping their building materials properly stowed.  As a result, motorists end up with roofing nails, sheet metal screws, decking screws, you name it, in their tires.

However the point of today’s post is not the nail itself, it is what happened next.  You see, it took me 4 different attempts to find the proper tire store do handle the repair.  Fortunately, the puncture happened close to my house so I was able to make it without having to run the dreaded donut.  Saturday morning, I took the wheel off and loaded it in wifiey’s HHR and started what became a quest to see who would repair the tire.  You’ll get a kick out of this…

Tire Store #1

First stop was at a GoodYear franchise store.  The fellow across the counter was very polite and helpful.  We walked outside and he took a look at the tire in the back hatch of the HHR.  “Yeah we can fix this!”, he said.  I then asked if the tire would be taken apart, patched and then balanced.  He said yes.  I asked, “The wheel is unblemished, can I have your assurance there will be no damage to it?”.  That is where things did an immediate 180.   He gave me a certain look and backed off, saying he wasn’t sure and offered no further information.  I said “Thank you” and headed to Tire Store #2.

Tire Store #2

This was a Firestone franchise store.  I walked in and a woman promptly steps up and asks what is the nature of my visit.  I ask my question and she replies, “Yes we can fix it, what’s your name?”.  So I ask her to slow down and answer my concern about ensuring no damage to the wheel.  She replies with an authoritarian attitude that “… our advanced equipment uses hard plastic on all surfaces and this will prevent any damage your wheel”.  I’m still not convinced and ask to speak to one of their techs.  A very nice fellow steps out of the building and we go check out the tire.  He then tells me “Our pads on the machine are a bit worn down and I cannot assure this wheel won’t be scratched”.  Wow, imagine that!!  Honesty!!  I thanked him for his honesty and shake his hand.  I headed to Tire Store #3.

Tire Store #3

Store 3 was Discount Tire located a ways away from the previous two stores.  This is a really interesting place because of the way they do business.  I tend to avoid them, but options were running thin…  The fellow behind the counter was polite and after pleasantries we step outside to look at the tire.  The first thing he does is put his feeler gauge on the tire.  Folks at Discount Tire are taught to sell and I felt it coming:  “we can’t fix the thing because it is too worn down”.  But no, the tire has plenty tread left so he did not say anything.  Then we discussed the issue about preventing damage to the wheel.  This fellow took offense at my question and got a bit defensive.  He did not like my questioning regarding their equipment and I felt the best thing to do would be to back off, and drive away.

Tire Store #4

Immediately across the street from Discount Tire was another Firestone franchise store, this one much nicer looking than the one I had visited earlier in the morning.  The fellow there was very nice, and after going through the script I’ve described before assured me there would be no damage.  He even said they had two distinct machines at their disposal with all the bells and whistles specifically designed to prevent damage.  A couple of hours later…

The Repair
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Repaired puncture will set you back a cool $23

And here you have it.  The repair consists of a “plug” put in from the inside of the tire with this appendage sticking out.  The tire was taken apart from the rim, removed and patched.  Then, assembled back together and balanced.  All this at a cost of about $23 bucks and change.

I’ve driven long enough to remember a time when this type of repair was not the “end of the world” they make it up to be these days.  Once upon a time, a tech would have taken the nail out and plugged it with one of those t-handle tools used to shove a sticky turd of rubber into the hole left by the nail while still smoking a cigarette and barely dropping an ash on the floor.  That repair would have cost what a Happy Meal is worth, but no.  Instead, a repair today is roughly a quarter of what the entire tire costs to begin with.

I suppose this is the price of progress.  I’ve had dozens of tires repaired through the years with the “turd” and never had one issue with that type of plug.  Then again, this new patch method is – in theory – safer and better sealing.  I get that.  The part I don’t get is that with all the modern technology that exists today it took me an entire morning to get a tire puncture repaired.

My S2K at 12,345 Miles

I had a bit of milestone this week:  my 2003 Honda S2000 at 12345 miles!  I regret not being more attentive because I missed the straight flush mileage count by just a couple of tenths of a mile.  Oh well, maybe I’ll be lucky enough to catch it in another 100,000 miles.

On a lighter note, here is wishing you a happy Labor Day weekend.  I was going through some of the older posts late on a Saturday night with Sammy Hagar playing Heavy Metal in the background.  Remember Heavy Metal the movie?  Ha!!  Good times!

At any rate, I’ve made a few tweaks to some of the older galleries in the blog.  I’m trying to optimize performance a little so if you see any strange behavior or broken links, please let me know.

Gasoline is cheap and yes, there is a road trip in the plans.  If I find something interesting along the way, I’ll try to get a few pictures…  In the meantime, be safe and have a great weekend!

My S2K at 12,000 Miles

Today was a bit of a milestone:  my S2K at 12k!!

My 12-year-old, 2003 Honda S2000 turned 12,000 miles old today.  Three years ago, I purchased the car from an estate sale with only 4,700 miles on the clock.  The lawyers liquidating the estate had no clue what they and I scored one hell of nice deal.

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Flip Key for a Honda S2000

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Flip Key for a Honda S2000 fully assembled…

I did some research on what options exist for a flip key for a Honda S2000.  As we all know AP1 S2000’s did not come with flip keys.  Here is the story on fitting a flip key for my 2003 Honda S2000.

I did some searching on eBay (where else?) and found a suitable candidate.  This one is available for about $25 bucks – a little steep – but I figured what the hell and gave it a try.  What you get for your hard-earned cash is a blank plastic enclosure for the S2K’s remote PC board and a flip key blank.  The key comes uncut so you have to take it to a local locksmith to have it match your key.

Flip Key fully disassembled

The only thing missing above is the flip key blank.  At the very top is the upper half of the enclosure.  The area with the blue ring is where the “chip” is inserted for cars equipped with it.  I have no clue how that works – my 2003 AP1 does not have a chip.

The rest of the bits include a tab for fixing a ring for more keys, the three little screws used to hold the two halves together, the spring and the little plunger that releases the key.

Finally, the bottom half of the enclosure.  The red circle shows a tab that requires a slightly modified to make room for a little metal tab on the remote’s PC board.  You can see the metal tab in the picture below, right next to the “OMRON” text.  I used a Dremel tool with an end-mill and carefully removed the excess material on the tab.  Click on the pictures for more details.

Next came the buttons…

IMG_1760The buttons that came with the enclosure are rather chintzy and did not fit so well.  So I just recycled the buttons from the original factory remote.  They have the right color, texture and “feel”.  Picture above shows the original remote on top and the new enclosure on the bottom with the buttons installed.  They just drop in place.  Above the big oval button at the top is a small recess where the clear plastic on the remote control PC board rests.  This is also where the tiny red LED light shines through when pressing the buttons.

This is what the flip key for a Honda S2000 looks like fully assembled and in working order (click on the pictures for more details:

 In Summary:

  • The flip key enclosure is fairly nice. I have about $27.00 in it.  $25.00 for the enclosure (free shipping) and another $2.00 to have the key blank cut.
  • Prior to assembly I had to smooth the edges with a jeweler’s file to remove all the sharp edges.  It is very obvious this is a mass-produced item with no time spent making it look OEM.
  • It takes some patience to get the spring that drives the key aligned properly.  There is a small tab on the bottom half were part of the spring is anchored.  Then one has to pre-load the spring with the key while making sure all the other bits don’t fall out.  The little “button” used to trigger the key must also be aligned properly.  Not rocket science but it just takes patience.
  • The outside of the bottom half is very poorly designed.  There are three tiny screws holding the affair together.  Two are easy to get to; while the single screw closer to the key resides in a recess where a foil with a tiny red “H” emblem is supposed go.  This is asinine.  If the little “H” foil is affixed then how do you get to the screw without ruining the foil when changing the battery?  I tried to leave the one screw out, but that makes the enclosure wobbly and the last thing you want is give that precious spring any chance to make an unannounced departure.
  • I’ll have to give the flip key a try.  Yes it looks very sexy and has a bit of a “wow” factor but the thing is a bit heavy and bulky.  On the other hand, the factory key and remote is so much lighter and thinner.  I suppose here is yet another example of where the Honda engineers got the AP1 S2000 oh so very right the first time…

Honda S2000 Sales Video

I found the following Honda S2000 sales video and thought it might be cool to post it today for those of you fellow S2000 enthusiasts.

Needless to say, Spring is making an honest effort to arrive.  There have been a few really decent days to drive my S2K – top down – here in Upstate, South Carolina.  The more I drive this thing, the more I like it. And the more I thank my lucky stars for being able to buy (read “steal”) a 10-year-old example with only 4700 miles on the odometer.  OK – we now have a few more miles on the odometer but my S2K is as pristine as they come – oh lucky me…  :mrgreen:

The Video

Here is the video – give it a few seconds to load…

Yep. My Sebring Silver S2K is a keeper…

“Its like strapping on a race car, with license plates”   – Parker Johnstone