2001 Honda Civic EX low gas tank/hesitatio

Tiny
HEATHERDOC
  • MEMBER
  • 2001 HONDA CIVIC
  • 4 CYL
  • FWD
  • MANUAL
  • 33,500 MILES
My 2001 Honda has only 33,500 miles on it but I think it's cursed by the lemon gods. Aside from having been t-boned on each side, and the whole outer structure having to be replaced (aside from hood, roof, and trunk), I've had this annoying problem that occurs when my tank has 1/3 or less gas in it. When the tank is full or above 1/3, it seems fine, runs great. But when it falls below 1/3, it starts to miss and hesitate when I accelerate. My check engine light went on when this first started happening, code PO171, system too lean, bank 1.

When this first started happening (over 2 years ago) I took it to one of the local dealers. I took it in 3 times. Each time they couldn't figure out what was wrong; once they replaced the oxygen sensor and the other times they just added something to the fuel (like a cleaner). The check engine light would go off for maybe a week and then it would go on again and the original problem was still there even after they replaced the oxygen sensor. They ultimately told me they didn't know what was wrong. Other people have suggested that it's the fuel filter or fuel pump but I don't want to replace parts that don't need replacing. It's expensive! And why does the problem only happen when my gas tank is getting low?

So it's time for me to go to DEQ and to renew my registration, but I can't pass DEQ unless the check engine light is off. I could probably have the dealer temporarily turn it off, but I'd rather figure out what the problem is and get it fixed. Has anyone ever heard of this problem? What do I do?

Help! And thanks!
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Thursday, January 8th, 2009 AT 10:25 PM

3 Replies

Tiny
JACK42
  • MEMBER
Sounds like a pick-up problem in the tank if it does it at 1/3 or below. The system lean will set if fuel pressure drops to the point where the mixture is affected. Since the car has been hit on both sides (cant call it a lemon for that). You may want to consider at least dropping thetank to inspect thepick-up assembly to see if it is intact or bent, possibly a broken hose that has to be submerged to create the proper fuel pressure
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Friday, January 9th, 2009 AT 7:54 AM
Tiny
HEATHERDOC
  • MEMBER
. How does a mechanic drop the fuel tank down? Is that an expensive procedure? Sounds like you wonder whether something got damaged during one of the two collisions. Should someone have noticed this during their inspection of the car after the accidents?

What's the likelihood that it's a fuel pump or fuel filter problem? Would the hesitation be happening regardless of how much gas was in the tank?

Thanks--trying to gather all ideas before I take it to someone.
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Friday, January 9th, 2009 AT 9:53 PM
Tiny
JACK42
  • MEMBER
If htetank unit is bent to one side or misaligned somehow, it could not wotk properly at 1/3 tank. It isnt too difficult to emove the tank in a Civic. Im just trying to provide a staring point since it is related to the amount of fuel in the tank, that is where I would start
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Saturday, January 10th, 2009 AT 8:51 AM

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