I WAS DRIVING 2003 HONDA CIVIC WHEN SUDDENLY MY ...
2003 Honda Civic
November, 22, 2012 AT 2:53 PM
I was driving 2003 honda civic when suddenly my ABS light came on. Shortly after that, my radio went dead, all gages failed, air bag light and brake light came on. The cruise control went off and I had no power windows. When I went to pull off of the interstate, taking my foot off the gas and putting on the brake, everything went back to normal. Approx 12 miles later, same thing, I was able to make it to a honda dealer. They replaced the ELD (B?) And reset the computers. I went approx 40 miles and experienced the same thing. I returned back to the dealer. However, instead of taking the interstate, I took the back roads. Driving the vehicle in city traffic, constantly stopping and starting, not having a steady foot on the acceleration, the car displayed no symptoms. The dealer is now suggesting the metroplex or triplex (?) Needs to be replaced.
All of these things are related to low system voltage and that's caused by a failure of the generator, especially when it's an intermittent problem. You need to measure the battery voltage while the engine is running. It must be between 13.75 and 14.75 volts, but you have to measure it while the problem is occurring. If it is low, suspect the generator. Also check for a loose connection where the smaller negative battery wire bolts to the body and where the smaller positive battery wire bolts to the under-hood fuse box.
November, 24, 2012 AT 4:46 AM
Well, I never said that my battery light came on. It didn't. The mechanics tested the battery voltage and alternator initially. All was ok. Still have the problem as stated above. I can drive around town, stopping and starting and experience no troubles. But get out on the open road, cruising about 68-70mph and that's when the ABS light comes on and the rest of the gages and lights go wacky.
November, 24, 2012 AT 5:26 AM
You didn't include that information so I started with the obvious suspect. You have an intermittent problem so any testing has to be done while the problem is acting up. If it's not a problem all these things have in common, then you have a cruise control problem, an anti-lock brake problem, a power windows problem, a radio problem, an air bag system problem, and an instrument cluster problem, and they all occurred at the same time. That would be quite the coincidence. Hondas do have a rather unusual charging system on some models that only delivers what the computer calculates is needed, and no more. That is probably what the dealer was referring to, but I guess they were wrong the first time. Sounds like they're guessing too and want to throw parts at it until something fixes it.
Not sure what "resetting computers" has to do with it. That's not a normal part of repairing any car I've ever worked on. Maybe they meant they erased any stored diagnostic fault codes. Those are clues to where to start looking.
As for the battery light, there are a lot of problems that can occur with the charging system that will not cause the light to turn on. If my car was doing the things you described, I'd be driving it with a voltmeter connected where I could read it while driving and when the problems occur. If the voltage stays in the acceptable range, the generator and its computer controls can be eliminated as suspects. At that point I would switch to diagnosing just one of the problems, keeping in mind the cause is going to be the cause of all the problems. That means, for example, the anti-lock brake system is not going to have an intermittent wheel speed sensor because that won't affect the windows and radio. It's going to have a problem related to one of the power wires.
There can also be a problem in the ground circuits. That is very common, especially when cars start to get rusty, but the systems you mentioned have their ground wires bolted to the body in many different places so we can rule that out. That leaves the 12 volt feed circuits. They all have the fuse boxes in common. If testing shows low system voltage when the problem is occurring, you might consider a loose rivet on a brass strip under the fuse box, a corroded terminal on a fuse, or the two wires I mentioned originally. The loose rivets were more common on older cars. On newer ones you're more likely to find a corroded wire where it is attached to a strip that feeds multiple fuses.
Also look for a large fuse that's bolted into the under-hood fuse box. Those nuts often work loose and cause intermittent problems.
November, 27, 2012 AT 2:09 AM
I made it to california. Towing the '03 honda via a 10' u-haul van. Hopefully the honda guys northern cali can figure it out. At any rate, i'm taking your emails. Thanks for your suggestions and insight.