1998 Honda CRV



August, 9, 2009 AT 4:25 PM

Engine Performance problem
1998 Honda CRV 4 cyl Four Wheel Drive Automatic 147442 miles

Good Day. I have a 1998 Honda CRV 4WD and I recently had the timing belt/ water pump/ spark plugs/ distributor cap and rotor along with the cable changed. After I received the car back from the mechanic the engine laaaggggeeeedddd in performance. The pickup was soooooo sloooooow. So I went back to the mechanic and he had to take off valve cover and adjust the timing on the engine. After the adjustment was made to the engine it felt normal so I drove the car from NYC to Florida and during the drive the engine developed a sputtering or misfiring. The sputtering or misfiring happens at any speed and also even if the engine is cold or hot. The check engine light is on and I know that is because of the Cat converter not working correctly. Has anyone ever had a sputtering or misfiring problem with their car after doing such a tune up or do I have a bad mechanic? All assistance would sincerely be appreciated.

Many thanks


16 Answers



August, 10, 2009 AT 8:03 AM

Could be in need of more adjusting, if he moved the distributor timing when the timing belt was off originally it could cause a slight misfire.I would start by having it scanned (check engine light) just to be sure it doesnt see anything else wrong besides the cats, which can cause driveability issues as well if partially plugged, especially on a long freewy drive. Take it back to him one last time to see if he can make it right, may not be his fault



August, 12, 2009 AT 9:25 AM

Thank you for a quick response. The mechanic did move the distribute after he modified the timing belt. I noticed he did not use the timing gun that has the flickering light to perfect the timing so I will go back to him and hopefully resolve this sputtering issue. OK so here this get a little more complicate.I did not drive the CRV for one day and when I finally did the check engine light was gone. I've driven the car today for (15) miles and the slight sputter or hiccup is still there but the check engine light is off now. I haven't done anything to the engine in trying to remedy this engine problem so that's why it's weird. Am I crazy or is it the car? Pardon me for making life complicated.

Again thank you



August, 12, 2009 AT 12:01 PM

Best bet would to be scanning the PCM to see why the light came on, this may lead to the cure



August, 13, 2009 AT 7:52 AM

OK I will go to a local shop and have that done.

Thank you again for answering my question




November, 21, 2009 AT 9:41 PM

Good evening

I've finally got the chance to get a mechanic to scan the car computer and he got the following errors for the check engine light.


Pardon me for taking so long to get this info. Yep the car still fells as if it's missing or slightly off when the engine is on.

Many thanks again for all of the help. Also I think this website is a super fantastic resource.



November, 22, 2009 AT 5:10 AM

P0300, P0303 an P0304 are all misfiring codes.

Test the spark plug cables, check the spark plugs, distributor rotor and caps. Any looseness or malfunctons of these items would cause the misfiring.

P0420 is a fault with the catalytic converter as you had mentioned.

The CEL would only come on after driving when the P0420 is detected. After leaving the vehicle parked, there is a possibility the ECU has not have the chance to detect the problem again.

Get the misfiring problem checked and clear the codes before performing the scanning again to check if the codes reappear.



November, 27, 2009 AT 7:43 PM

Good night.

Thank you for the fast response to my questions. So I'm becoming desperate at this point. I just purchased a Camshaft Alignment Timing 4Cam Lock Holding Tool from eBay and am willing to try and adjust the timing belt on the CRV by my self. Is there any instructions with graphics. Anyone can email me on how to do so? Not to mention what additional tools I would be needed? I'm going to dissect this Check Engine problem by first making sure that the Camshafts markings are aligned correctly. My gut feeling is that it's still off. My mechanic on the second try to resolve the timing issue did not have a Camshaft Alignment tool. I have a 2001 CRV with the same mileage and its engine is so smooth in comparison to the 1998. If the Camshafts are aligned.I will go to AutoZone and have them warranty replace the Distributor caps / rooter /spark plugs and cables.I bought all of those parts from them. If that still does not remedy the check engine problem could there possibly be a vacuum leak that may cause this issue? If so does anyone have a CRV of this age and know of a common area that may have a vacuum leak? Finally my last question. When I reverse out of my driveway and lock the steering wheel hard clockwise I hear a loud thud in the back right side of the CRV as if something slid and hit something. The sound seems to be metal on metal. I've emptied out the entire trunk. No spare tire. No jacks. No table. No nothing is in the back of the CRV and if I reverse out I still get the noise. Also when I'm driving and making a sharp left turn I sometimes heat the noise. I've looked at the back right wheel area as the CRV is parked but can't seem to see any loose parts. Is there a known part that fails in the back of the CRV's I should look at?

Again your site is a tremendous help. I'm always appreciative for your responses. Pardon any typos.

Many Thanks




November, 28, 2009 AT 5:42 AM

Hi Tony,

No special alignment tools are required for the CRV engine.

Here is a diagram of the timing marks that should line up when the belt is correctly installed.





1 . Ensure No. 1 cylinder is at TDC of compression stroke. Timing belt drive pulley TDC mark must align with pointer on oil pump housing. See Fig. 3 .

2 . Set intake and exhaust camshaft pulleys to TDC. The TDC marks should align with cylinder head surface with "UP" marks pointing up. See Fig. 3 .

3 . Install timing belt in this sequence: timing belt drive pulley, tension adjusting pulley, water pump pulley, exhaust camshaft pulley, and intake camshaft pulley. See Fig. 4 . DO NOT bend or twist belt excessively. Ensure arrow on used belt points in original rotation direction. Check that crankshaft and camshaft pulleys remained aligned with TDC marks.

4 . Loosen and retighten adjusting bolt to tension timing belt. Install lower and middle covers. Install crankshaft pulley. Tighten pulley bolt to specification. See TORQUE SPECIFICATIONS . Rotate crankshaft pulley 5 -6 turns counterclockwise so timing belt positions on pulley.

CAUTION: Always adjust timing belt tension with engine cold.

5 . To adjust timing belt tension, set No. 1 piston at TDC (White TDC mark on crankshaft pulley aligned with pointer on cover). See Fig. 1 . Loosen adjusting bolt 180 degrees. Rotate crankshaft counterclockwise 3 teeth on camshaft pulley. Tighten adjusting bolt. If necessary, retorque crankshaft pulley bolt.

6 . Ensure crankshaft and camshaft pulleys are still aligned at TDC. If not, timing belt will need to be removed and repositioned.

7 . To complete installation, reverse removal procedure. When installing cylinder head cover gasket, apply liquid gasket (Part No. 08718 - 0001 or -0003) to 8 corners where gasket meets camshafts. Tighten fasteners to specification. See TORQUE SPECIFICATIONS . Adjust drive belts to proper tension.

If your rear differential fluid had not been replaced for quite some time, do so and see if the problem is resolved.



November, 28, 2009 AT 8:36 PM

Can you make a recommendation a good mechanic in Queens NYC or the Pocono's PA for this job?



November, 28, 2009 AT 9:42 PM

Sorry I do not have any recommendations for you.

Hope somebody else can if they reply to this post.

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