2000 Honda Civic Chain Reaction?

Tiny
OMCHODOY
  • MEMBER
  • 2000 HONDA CIVIC
  • 4 CYL
  • FWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 109,300 MILES
Last Sunday my 2000 Civic DX automatic sedan wouldn't start. It would crank but not turn. It didn't take a jump. I had it towed to the only known shop open on Sunday, a national chain that a cousin had good service from for years. They ran a diagnostics and it showed a code the mechanics attributed to a failure for the ignition control module and a low reading for the ignition coil (1.2, normal range 4.5-6.5). They replaced these the next day as well as the spark plugs. The next day the car stalled in the middle of an intersection. I had it towed to the dealer, who ran another diagnostics, and said one of the spark plugs had a hole in the side causing a misfire. The first shop gave me three of the four plugs as they couldn't find the fourth (they had tossed them and fetched them later; how convenient). They also gave me the ignition coil and module they replaced. On the way home from the dealer, who again replaced all four spark plugs, the engine light came on. Dealer suspected it was excess gas from the misfiring and it should go away quickly. The car ran okay initially, but by day two post-repair it struggled going up any incline. By day four I had it back to the dealer who ran another diagnostics and it showed a code for inefficient catalytic converter. I had this replaced. I just got it back today and it drove home okay and no engine light on. My issue is that I'm having a hard time believing all this (over $1600 in repairs) went wrong at once by coincidence. The first shop refunded all labor charges and the spark plugs (over $200 total) after the stall. I do have three of their plugs plus the ignition coil and module. I'm inclined to believe that either the spark plugs they put in caused the catcon to go bad, but dealer says that couldn't have happened in just one day with just one misfire, plus when they took the catcon out it was worn almost through. My question is basically, how do I know now that the catcon wasn't the problem all along? Could a failing catcon have been the cause of the car not starting (crank but not turn)? Is there a way to test the old ignition parts to be sure they were not working? Lastly, I would think a faulty catcon in a Honda wtih 109,000 miles is unusual, but the dealer says it's not.
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Monday, June 15th, 2009 AT 9:17 PM

4 Replies

Tiny
SERVICE WRITER
  • EXPERT
How old were the plugs when last changed?

IF they were original, I would be inclined to think the excessive wear may have damged the Ignition module as worn plugs can affect the secondary ignition system from the extra power to make the spark jump. There may have been a problem otherwise with a plug. Not sure what the problem with the one plug."Hole in it?"

Anyways, unburned fuel will ignite and super heat the catalytic converter causing it to melt down.
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Tuesday, June 16th, 2009 AT 5:33 AM
Tiny
OMCHODOY
  • MEMBER
Thanks for your prompt reply! Unfortunately I don't recall the last time the plugs were replaced; I'm usually very good about saving receipts for car repairs but I'm afraid with this car I've been remiss. I seriously doubt the plugs were the originals, as I have had the car serviced pretty much according to schedule, give or take a few months (not years!). As to the hole, the dealer, with whom I'd worked before for the timing belt/water pump with no problems, just said that instead of firing through the top to the cylinder, there was a hole in the side causing the spark to go through the hole, leaving the car to run on 3 cylinders. Virtually word-for-word. As for the first shop, I don't think they were covering anything up; they refunded almost half the bill immediately upon hearing of the stall and the second round of diagnostic testing, no fighting over it. I give them a lot of credit for that. Anyway, it all seems so coincidental that it's happening at the same time: big expensive repairs that I wouldn't expect with a Honda, whose reputation is huge for lasting much longer than 109,000 miles. I'm very disillusioned with Honda but hopefully it's over for a long time to come. Only things not yet replaced that's left to "go", besides the engine and transmission, are the starter and alternator which the dealer said "tested perfect". But I made him take the comment back: I don't care what kind of car you drive, if you say something good about it it will hear you and it will break down. Murphy's Law # who knows!
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Tuesday, June 16th, 2009 AT 8:40 AM
Tiny
SERVICE WRITER
  • EXPERT
They all break down from time to time. This particular situation what caused by a lack of complete spark and had it been caught earlier, it would not have likely damaged the cat.

$1600 is a lot, but when you average it out, that isn't too bad. If you budget about.15/mile, it should cover car repair costs.

I really like the Hondas. IF this was a GM, I'd expect you would have hit much more repair bills at less mileage
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Tuesday, June 16th, 2009 AT 9:52 AM
Tiny
MKOSTIS
  • MEMBER
I also have a 2000 civic. My cat failed at about 110k. I had some work done prior to it failing, but it's escaping me right now. I'll update this when I figure it out. I didn't bother fixing it until emissions came around. I know, I know, I'm a bad man.
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Thursday, June 18th, 2009 AT 6:06 PM

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