Mechanics

WHY SMELL LIKE FIREWORKS AND RUNNING ROUGH?

1990 Honda CRX • 230 miles


I just bought a 1990 CRX Si. Drove it home with no problems, with the exception of a few misshifts (i'm used to automatics). After I get to my location and try to restart it it wont start and I start smelling what smells an awful lot like burnt off fireworks, or sulfur. Eventually get it started, it runs rough, smoke coming out of pipe seams, exhaust rattling. Is it most likely the catalytic? What things can I check to be sure?
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Hxaxtxe
September 15, 2011.




Hi: The catalytic converter will make that smell. If you hear a ratteling, something tells me internally it has come loose and is plugging the system.

When the engine is cold and you can safely get under the car, take a rubber mallot and tap in the converter to see if that is where the noise is coming from. I have to add that even the muffler or resinator plugging up will cause the issue, so see if you can identify where it is coming from.

You mentioned, "what things can I check?" Based on your description, I feel you are correct. You didn't mention the color of the smoke from the exhaust which can be informative. If it is white, it could be coolant getting into the combustion chamber. That can destroy the convert too. If it is black, it could be a rich fuel mixture which can do the same.

Check the converter first. If it is good (and should be tested for back pressure to confirm) then we will need to check for ignition or fuel related problems. NOTE: If the check engine light was on, get a scanner and check for trouble codes. That can be very helpful in diagnisis. Most parts stores will lend you one.

Let me know if this is helpful. Sorry for being so wordy, but I'm trying to be as specific as possible with your info.

Take care and good luck,

Joe

Thank you very much, the smoke was white, with a blue tinge to it. And when I say exhaust was rattling I mean the whole system was shaking, the only sound was just like if you were to disconnect a few pieces of the system. Hope that helps, I should be able to get under it tomorrow.
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Tiny
Hxaxtxe
Sep 15, 2011.
Let me know what you find with the exhaust. The white smoke has me concerned that it could deal with a head gasket issue.

I'll wait for you response.
Joe

This morning when I started it it had none of the problems it did prior, it was just having a hissy fit, leading me to believe it was indeed an exhaust issue, regardless once I get a few bucks I'll take it to a place to get a code check to be sure. Thank you for your help, I was pretty worried!

Tiny
Hxaxtxe
Sep 15, 2011.
Glad to help. Let me know what you find.


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