1998 Honda Civic



December, 27, 2008 AT 12:06 AM

Engine Mechanical problem
1998 Honda Civic 4 cyl Front Wheel Drive Automatic 140K miles

Hello, first I would like to say I am not very inclined in terms of car repair so I am not sure if " Engine Mechanical" is the appropriate category choice.

Background: About a year ago, my check engine light came on. I took it in to a local shop, they checked the codes, did an " inspection" on the car, and reset the codes because " nothing was wrong". When I attempt to accelerate, I could feel the engine " breathe heavy" especially between idle to second gear. After driving for 15 minutes or so, the car would operate normally again.

The above happened on random occasions for the course of a year. Most often the " heavy breathing" problems occurred in the mornings when I first started my car. After driving for 15-20 minutes, the problems go away. I also received blinking check engine lights 4-6 times. I had the vehicle checked at a local shop 3 times, and every time they said they could not find anything wrong with the car.

In the past month, I have had problems twice starting my car, and I can't help but think the problem is related. I hear the car crank up, even the intake/exhaust make a start up sound. But then the car instantly dies. Once it dies I am unable to start it again (though I can keep cranking it in the same manner). However, if it sits around for a day or so, it will start up again like nothing was ever wrong with it! So when I take it to a shop, I get the same response " nothing is wrong with it"!

What do I do? To me it seems to be a very serious problem, but none of the shops I go to seem to be able to diagnose what is wrong with my car. Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!


5 Answers



December, 27, 2008 AT 2:31 AM

I believe it has to do with your engine coolant temperature sensor. This sensor is responsible to send the ECM temp reading of the engine so the ECM knows to either run the engine in closed-loop (cold start) or open-loop (hot start). If the sensor is faulty, it will either send the ECM the wrong temp reading (the heavy breathing that you experienced) or no reading at all (thus no start).

I am not sure that this is common to Hondas, although I have seen 4 Accord/Civic/Integra with similar problem.



December, 28, 2008 AT 10:56 PM

Thanks zackman for such a prompt suggestion.

Can you please guide me as to how I can test and verify that my temp sensor is faulty? Is it something I can do myself, or do I need a mechanic to take a look?



December, 29, 2008 AT 9:07 PM

Sensor operating range information can help determine if a sensor is out of calibration. Although an
out-of-calibration sensor may not set a trouble code, it may cause driveability problems.

NOTE: Unless stated otherwise in test procedure, perform all voltage tests using a Digital Volt-Ohmmeter (DVOM) with a minimum 10-megaohm input impedance.

Temperature - °F (°C) Ohms

32 (0) 5,000 Ohms
104 (40) 1,000 Ohms
176 (80) 500 Ohms

Measure resistance across sensor terminals.





January, 10, 2009 AT 11:41 PM

Would a faulty coolant temperature sensor also cause the temperature gauge to spike up to the " hot" mark?&Quot;



January, 11, 2009 AT 7:21 PM

A faulty sensor may do that, but I would still check the thermostat, just to be sure.

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