Honda CRX Repair Question
Sputter, slight vibes upon hard accel
A month ago, oil started pouring out the right side of the engine. The mechanic I was referred to changed the valve cover gasket, timing belt, crank seal, and cam seals. (That took a week and a half.) I was gentle with it as usual, and a half hour of drive time later, I noticed a slight vibration from no specific location, and started to hear a slight puttering sound coming from the tailpipe upon acceleration. Later, after it began to decel while climbing a hill in fourth wide open that it used to chew up in fifth, I took it back to the mechanic. I sat there watching for six hours, toward the end of which he decided the timing belt had stretched and replaced it. (It would be nearly impossible for a new belt to stretch, right?) I drove it home, and it seemed to be okay for half the trip, then started the same behavior. I took it back several days later when the mechanic had the time to deal with it. Two weeks later, he finally answered my call and told me that it was done, and that it was the plugs... Unbeknownst to him, I had stopped by and drove it the night before, and after letting it warm up, pushed it a little hard. It immediately started doing the same thing. What now?
I don't think this guy's trying to rip me off. He seems like he wants to be honest, but will not communicate. He just acts really cagey and says as little as possible. Maybe his twenty years of experience is centered around domestic cars. I don't think he really has any idea what's going on, and he probably doesn't want to continue to work for free to fix his error (if that's what it is...I'm afraid to wonder if maybe there's something more nasty going on deeper in the block where my wallet can't take me).
At this point, I really don't know what to do. Can you help to identify the problem or suggest my next move in this sticky situation? Obviously, I am unwilling to lose the $400 I already paid him to fix the car by taking it elsewhere. I think I'm stuck with this guy, but I don't know what to do with him now.
Thank you very much. I hope this is more than charity work for you. If so, know you're helping very needy people, and that it is very apreciated.
To start off, Bruce Hunt is pretty sharp on the Hondas, you may want to track him down and PM him from the staff site.
Pure speculation on my part-It sounds like one or more of the cylinders are being compromised and getting contaminated maybe with oil or a rich condition, fouling and causing a misfire.
While the mechanic doesn't want to work for free, he appears to have possibly mis-diagnosed and to a certain extent does owe you some time to find the problem, regardless of his "personality defect".
When you go down to pick up the car, have him go for a test drive with you before doing anything else and re-create the problem with you present.
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I MAY be able to help. I used to own a '91 Accord that was having the same type of problem.
In the top of the intake manifold of my '91 Accord there were a couple (maybe 3?) of small plugs. These plugs were the same as the freeze out plugs in an engine block, only smaller...probably about 3/8" in diameter.
Removing the plugs allows you to remove a build-up of carbon that can occur inside the passageways of the intake manifold. This build-up is what was causing the problem in my Accord.
It's a relatively easy fix apart from removing the plugs. First you need to drill and tap a small hole in the center of the plug. There is a special tool that mechanics have that then screws into the tapped hold and acts like a dent puller to back out the plug. (If you are good at this kind of stuff I imagine you could easily fashion a make-shift tool that would work fine for a one-time use.) Once removed you can dig around in there to loosen the carbon build-up. You should also spray some solvent in the hole (find out what type of solvent to use!) which will help clean it out.
Tap new plugs into the hole. If this is what was causing your problem, it should be eliminated.
Good luck...let me know how you make out.
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You should consider what Paul has mentioned and possibly what billnj mentioned at well though I might be leary about that one. You have not mentioned whether just prior to taking it in whether the vehicle was performing right other that the leak. My concern is referring to something you mentioned about the mechanic. I know he means well and I would have to say that his price is not to bad at all. However, you noted that he may not really be that familiar with Hondas. Is it not possible that he does not understand the correct way to time a Honda? He needs to locate the jumper located under the dash on the passenger side usually that disconnects the computer and does not allow it to adjust the timing. This way you set the base timing and get that set and when reconnected the computer will adjust as it needs to from there. It needs to be set correctly. This is my first thought as he has changed the timing.
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Thanks for the replies. Although I set it email me with notification of response, it didn't, so I didn't check until now. Very kind of you all to help.
I'll bet he doesn't know about the automatic timing adjustment. I'll see if that helps.
After showing him the problem, (apparently description isn't always the best communication method) he pulled the plugs with the engine running and found that the third cylinder didn't cause the engine to quit. Apparently that means something hideously expensive. He said he'd try to find out what's wrong without major disassembly, but that it is probably necessary.
The strange thing about that to me is that the thing will run fine for a little while after he works on it. He said he changed the plugs once, but that doesn't account for all three times it has been "fixed".
Anyone have a nice motor laying around? I guess it's time for my skills to move beyond brake jobs and oil changes.
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Prior to the initial visit, the CRX didn't accelerate well at all. I don't remember anything particular. It just felt very ill. It would go for a little, I think better with easy pedal, then would complain severely when I pressed it harder.
2 questions asked