1991 Acura NSX: Loose Lip, Part 2

1991 Acura NSX Long Term Road Test

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1991 Acura NSX: Loose Lip, Part 2

August 01, 2012


With the rubber lip of the front air dam hidden in the trunk of the NSX as if it were the victim of some terrible mobster shootout as seen in a Scorsese film, I started looking around for getting a replacement.

As any right thinking NSX owner would, I turned to NSX Prime, the leading voice for NSX owners on the Internet. As always, these guys have already done everything there is to be done with an NSX.

tinnerman2 nut retainer.jpg

Sure enough, there's a useful DIY piece about replacing the lip of the spoiler:

Front Air Dam Guard

My '91 is currently running the '97 air-dam/spoiler-lip (or whatever you want to call it). As some of my passengers will attest, I think of it as a very expensive curb detector.

The black rubber strip on the bottom of the front air dam (technically known as the "Driveway Scraper") can be replaced separately from the rest of the air dam. Keep in mind that you can get either the original version (the '91-'96 model year spoiler is no longer being manufactured) or the slightly wider flared version for the '97 (part # 71110-SL0-003); they're interchangeable. The '97 version may scrape even more, though, especially on the sides. The part lists for around $130.

The actual replacement is simple. The part is held on by 13 bolts with 10-mm hex-heads. The bolts have a shoulder, and screw into Tinnerman-nut clips (part # 90305-SH3-000, air spoiler clip) with captive nuts.

The easiest way to do this job is to jack up the front of the car so you have about 12 inches or more clearance under the lip, and use an electric screwdriver with a 10-mm socket. You may need a pair of pliers or an adjustable-end wrench to keep the "clips" from rotating as you initially loosen the bolts. It's easiest to attached the center bolt first, and then work out from there.

Don't use regular 6-mm bolts, because the shoulder bolts when combined with the clever little U-shaped Tinnerman nut/clips allow the lip to be knocked off the car without damaging anything. If you put in conventional bolts and tighten them down you'll risk ripping the body-colored air dam the next time you hit a curb or something.

Also don't assume all 13 bolts and nuts are there; you might want to look before ordering your lip so that you can get any necessary bolts or nuts at the same time.

It's also a good idea to put some anti-seize on the threads of the shoulder bolts since, due to their exposed location, they're prone to corrosion.

One technique that makes removal and replacement easy is to mount a 10-mm socket on an electric screwdriver and jack the car up enough so you can apply that tool to the bolts. Turns it all into a relatively painless job that takes 10 minutes or so.

It sounds pretty straightforward, although we're not so sure that the air dam above the spoiler lip is still in good shape, as it's doubtful (as the NSX Prime blogger notes) that this is the first time our car has had its spoiler replaced.

We'll let you know once we've had a chance to get a good look underneath. In case you want to know what the Tinnerman clip looks like, we've included a picture of a generic example here.

Michael Jordan, Executive Editor, Edmunds.com

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