Engine Performance problem
1999 Honda Civic 4 cyl Front Wheel Drive Automatic 145000 miles
My Civic has 145,000 miles on it and is one of the most trouble free cars I have ever owned. I have never had any problems with it!
This week I cleaned the spark plugs, installed new fuel and air filters, ignition wires, distributor cap and rotor. I installed the ignition wires incorrectly initially and had to reinstall them a few more times to find the correct firing order. After each re-installation of the wires I tried to start the engine. Some times it coughed and sputtered several times but would not start. A few times it started but did not idle properly or run smoothly (stuttering when I tried to accelerate engine speed). During this process the " check engine" light came on - mostly in the blinking mode. When I had the wires properly installed the car was still slow to start and sputtered but seemed to be alright at idle. I wanted to drive the car around a bit to see if the " check engine" light would go out after a few miles but when I tried to move the AT from Park to Drive the release button on the shift handle would not disengage and I was unable to move the gear selector.
I should also tell you that when I finally had the ignition wires connected correctly the engine idled somewhat smoothly, but still stuttered when I tried to increase engine speed. I then removed each ignition wire one at a time to see how the idle was affected. Removing wires from from plugs 1 and 2 caused a great drop-off in idle engine speed, however, removing the wires from plugs 3 and 4 had no discernible effect on how the engine idled - even with both cables disconnected at the same time.
I don't know what to do next to get my car back in operation. How could anything that I did effect the ability to move the AT gear selector?
I installed new plugs in 3rd and 4th cylinders and the car started a little easier, and I was able to move the AT gear selector, but the " Check Engine" light is still on and the engine dies when I try to test drive the car.
I was going to check my idle speed, however, my Haynes manual says that I must ensure that the " check Engine" light is not on to do this. It doesn't tell me what to do if te " Check Engine" light is on.
Any help you can provide will be much appreciated.
Most likely cause of the light was the cylinder misfires when the firing order was off. It may eventually turn off if there are no misfires. From what you describe it may have a bown head gasket between the two cylinders that dont have as much effect on how it runs 3, 4. You do have the fring order 1, 3, 4, 2. Have the PCM scanned to verify the codes were from misfires, then have a compression test done on the engine, if 3, 4 are low the had gasket is most likely th ecause
May, 10, 2008 AT 12:26 PM
In reference to your reply to my question. My Haynes Repair Manual and a web site both indicated that the firing order is 1-2-3-4, not 1-3-4-2. Could you please verify?
In the meantime, I will try 1-3-4-2 to see if it runs any better.
May, 11, 2008 AT 8:45 AM
It should run better, I dont recall ever seeing a 4 cyl that fires 1,2,3,4 . 1 and 4 should be across from each other on the dist cap
May, 11, 2008 AT 2:16 PM
You were absolutely correct. I mis read the diagram I was looking at. Your's was simpler to understand.
I disconnected my battery but the " check engine" light came back on after a few miles so I will have to have that looked at.
Thanks for your help.
May, 12, 2008 AT 7:44 AM
Get back to me with the exact code they pull out of it
May, 14, 2008 AT 12:26 PM
The code was PO42O. I was told that this relates to a problem with possible " TWC deterioration" or " exhaust system leakage".
The shop owner ran the test and gave me the results. He didn't know what " TWC" meant and his mechanic was not there so I need to go back to the shop with the car and let the mechanic look at the car for an estimate. The shop owner deleted the code from the car and it has not yet come back on (after about 70 miles).
I have been helping my neighbor who just came out of the hospital so I haven't had time to do a compression check yet.
May, 14, 2008 AT 12:45 PM
That code is " catalyst efficiency below threshold" could have been set when the engine was missing badly and the PCM couldnt do anything about it. DOnt replace any parts just yet, drive it to see if the code comes back, it may not
May, 22, 2008 AT 1:09 PM
The TWC code keeps coming back. I took it to a repair shop and they checked the problem and said the catalytic converter needs to be replaced. Honda charges $900 plus for the part but I ordered one off the net made by Eastern for considerably less.
Now I'm trying to locate the PCV so I can change it. One online manual showed it as being in the valve cover but it isn't. Some one else told me it is under the car at the rear of the engine. Looked but could not identify it. Can you give me any help in locating it?
May, 23, 2008 AT 7:30 AM
My software only tells the theory and operation, no locator. Look on the center of the intake manifold. Honda did put them in a few different places