If you're lucky you may just have a loose heat shield on the exhaust or even just a loose muffler clamp. Or you may be a victim of the infamous Honda "A-pipe" rattle!
It seems that many Honda exhaust systems have a double pipe near the engine, with an inner and outer tube. This is in the interest of keeping the exhaust gasses nice and hot for the catalyic converter. Unfortunately the welds on the inside don't always hold, and you can get a loose inner pipe rattling at certain times when the engine speed matches its natural point of resonance.
How to cure it? Well you could replace the pipe assembly, but that's expensive. A cheaper way is to attack the pipe with a hacksaw and a brazing torch. Simply cut two slots crosswise about a quarter inch apart, 1/3 of the way through the outer pipe. Then with a punch, ding the narrow strip thus created inward until it touches the inner pipe. Fill the hole with brazing metal, making sure some of it brazes the strip to the inner pipe. Make sure you don't leave any holes that will leak exhaust gasses.
In a newsgroup post, Kevin Sargent replied to such a question about a 98 Integra thusly:
Honda didn't change the location of the button from '96 to '98, so
"- For the first
9,600km(6,000mi) after resetting, it will light for two
"If the light is on, it is
simply a mileage trigger. There is nothing wrong
Similar questions about the Service Required lights on other models of Honda seem to indicate that the reset procedure varies. I have seen mention of the odometer trip guage reset being used. Consulting the owner's manual sounds like the best answer in such cases, but I'm willing to start a table of reset procedures in this part of the FAQ if readers care to post me details.
To combat its smog problem the State of California started requiring emission control systems on cars in 1966. The federal government extended these controls nationwide in 1968.
Congress passed the Clean Air Act in 1970 and established the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This body setup a series of graduated emission standards. To meet these standards, manufacturers turned to electronically controlled fuel and ignition systems. Sensors measured engine performance and an ECU gathering data from the sensors was used to control the engine's fuel injection system to maximize performance while producing minimum pollution. The ECU could also be accessed by diagnostic equipment for fault finding.
At first there were few standards and each manufacturer had their own systems and signals. In 1988, the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) set a standard connector plug and set of diagnostic test signals. The EPA adapted most of their standards from the SAE on-board diagnostic programs and recommendations. OBD-II is an expanded set of standards and practices developed by SAE and adopted by the EPA and CARB (California Air Resources Board) for implementation by January 1, 1996.
All hondas sold in North America since 1996 have OBD-II systems. Some earlier models have OBD-I.
Some Hondas hide their ECUunder the front passenger seat. If you peek under there and see lights winking at you, that's it. On others the ECU is somewhere in the vicinity of the passenger side footwell and the codes are retrieved by observing the Check Engine light on the dash.
Simple fault code retrieval can be accomplished on these Honda models by shorting out a two-pin connector that has been provided for the purpose. On an Accura Integra this Check Service Connector has been tucked up under the dash on the passenger side, just below the glove box. It has a bright green rubber sheath over it and the wires leading to it are black and brown/white. On 92-96 Preludes it is further back, located near the floor behind the center console. It is most accessible by hanging yourself upside down in the driver's side footwell. On 90-93 Accords it's a blue two prong connector that dangles behind the passenger footwell kick panel. 94-97 Accords have it clipped to a special holder directly beneath the glove box,
Wherever you find it, with the ignition off, short the connector out with a hairpin, a paper clip or a small piece of wire. Then turn the ignition on, but don't start the engine. The Check Engine light will begin to flash. Count the flashes carefully. There may be a series of slow flashes followed by more rapid ones, or just slow ones. Six slow flashes for instance, is ECU Code 6, indicating an engine coolant temperature problem. Six slow flashes followed by one quick one on the other hand, is ECU Code 61, indicating an oxygen sensor problem.
After reading a fault code, it's better to reset the ECU and wait to see if it comes on again with the same fault code, rather than go rushing off to the dealer for repairs. The dealer is probably going to do just that himself anyway. The crude way to reset the ECU is to just disconnect the battery for a minute or so. A more sophisticated way is to pull the fuse that supplies power to the ECU. On an Integra this is the Backup fuse, a 7.5 amp fuse located in the under-hood fuse/relay box.
Caution! Removing this fuse also removes power from your clock and radio! You're going to have to reset the time on the clock, and you'd better have the anti-theft code for the radio handy or you'll be sorry!
You sure can! I've seen small hand-held devices for reading ECU codes from Detroit iron for sale for a few hundred dollars. There may be versions for foreign cars too. ECU codes come in 3 flavors, PWM, ISO and VPW. European and Asian cars, including Honda, use the ISO version. These devices can read out the fault code and reset the ECU without disturbing either clock or radio.
Even better, if you own a portable computer, you can buy software and an adapter that gives access to everything in your ECU via the portable's serial port. Both the hand held devices and the software versions are produced by the same folks that make the big expensive diagnostic outfits the service centers use. A personal version is a lot cheaper because the service centers have to be able to handle anything a customer brings in. You only have to worry about one model.
Personally I recommend the software version. I hate portable computers but I went out and bought a cheap one at a flea market just to get the ability to analyze what my ECU is doing in real time. With the portable situated on the passenger seat I can record engine RPM, throttle opening, engine temperature, ignition advance, intake air temperature and so on. You can record hours and hours of data and store it to be reproduced in neat graphs.
There are several outfits that make these devices.
When I'm parking or making a tight turn, I hear a sort of rucka-rucka noise from the front of the car. Is there something wrong?
Yup! Your CV (Constant Velocity) joints at the outer ends of your half-shafts are worn. They may not be worn out, but they're at least thinking about quitting! The noise will gradually get worse, and show up even when you're not turning at full lock. The only cure is a half-shaft replacement, not all that expensive for Hondas.
Incidentally, when looking over a used Honda, or most front-wheel-drive cars for that matter, ALWAYS take the car to a quiet space in a parking lot, roll the windows down, turn slowly through a full circle in both directions, and listen for that tell-tale chucking, rucka-ruck serenade.
With considerable difficulty, if posts to the newsgroup are any indication. Ball joint tapers are notoriously difficult to Brake, especially if they have not been disturbed for a long time. The factory recommends a special tool for the task. Using a pulley puller is another option, but it is hard to get one that's just the right size so it won't damage the rubber grease seal on the balljoint. The upper balljoint is reputed to be easier to get off than the lower, but some report having avoided the entire issue by unbolting one of the suspension arms at the chasis end. One difficulty with that is that there may be wheel alignment implications.
Other techniques involve backing the balljoint nut off until its top surface is protecting the threads at the end of the taper, then pounding like mad with a hammer. This sometimes works but can be frustrating and unproductive, even with the judicious application of a torch to the end of the suspension arm. It's hard to get enough heat into the metal without cooking the grease in the balljoint and ruining the rubber seal.
Double -clutching, or double-declutching, is a driving technique that went out of style in the 1960's. It was an important skill for racing car drivers in the decades before the advent of really efficient synchromesh mechanisms, and an absolutely necessary skill for truck drivers and race drivers alike in the early decades of the 20th century. Hardly anyone uses it anymore, even on a racetrack.
When a driver shifts gears, there is a mass of spinning metal inside the gearbox whose speed must change radically. Nowadays that mass is not so large as it once was, and modern synchromesh mechanism can bring the rotational inertia of what mass there is up to speed fairly easily, but there was a time when the driver had to
1: disengage the clutch and shift the gearbox into neutral-
2: Engage the clutch again and simultaneously give the throttle a shot with the right foot to bring the gears up to speed
3: disengage the clutch and shift the gearbox into a lower gear-
4: re-engage the clutch while bringing the revs up to match the higher RPM necessitated by the lower gear.
All this took much less time to accomplish than it takes to describe. An hour's practice is enough to learn the basic skill. Race drivers had a harder time of it because they had to blip the throttle with the same foot that was being used to stand hard on the brakes to set the car up to enter the corner for which the downshift was necessary. This was a technique called "heel and toeing". For a virtuoso demonstration of the art, look for a 1966 movie starring James Garner entitled Grand Prix.
So is double-clutching a skill worth learning nowadays? Hardly, but I still use it occasionally. I learned it driving a John Deere tractor that had a square gearbox, no sychromesh whatsoever. Coming fast into a corner these days, I just shift from 4th to 3rd in the normal way, letting the sychromesh do the work, but for a fast, immediate downshift from 3rd to 2nd, which would otherwise provoke a mild, protesting "grunk" from the gearbox, I double-clutch. Besides relieving stress on the gearbox it reminds me of my youth and a certain 1953 MG TD. Ahhhh well . . .
Incidentally you can double-cluch going UP through the gears too. In this technique you do not blip the throttle when the clutch is in and the gears are in neutral, for the object is to slow the rotating mass of gears down. There is only one time when the ability to do this is necessary, and that is when your clutch, for whatever reason, won't disengage. If you're good, you can start the engine with the car in 1st gear and then shift up through the gears without stressing the synchros and without using the clutch. In the 1920's most racing car drivers had to drive like that all the time, clutches being so delicate then that they were used only once, at the start of the race.
There's never been a make of car, a brand of oil, or a kind of wax that some folks didn't swear by, and other folks swear at. The same goes for oil filters. The consensus of opinion in our newsgroup however, seems to be that the manufacturers OEM filter is best.
Honda disk brake pads incorporate a clever device that warns the driver when brake pads have worn down and need changing. It's simply a U shaped piece of metal that, when the pads are new, doesn't come near the rotating disk. As the pad material wears away however, the end of this metal strip comes closer and closer to the rotor until when there is only a marginal amount of pad left, it touches the rotor during braking. This generates disceet sqeaks and scratching at first, most noticeable when backing up or maneuvering slowly in a parking lot. As the contact becomes more intimate the wear strip can generate the most ominous gronking noises that will be noticed by even the most inattentive driver. The cure is simple, replace the pads with new ones.
Most dealer's service centers and repair shops will assure you that you should, but there are those who disagree. Some say you should never turn a rotor, but always fit new ones. Others argue for and against removing the rotors to turn them or turn them on the car.
Personally I have replaced many a brake pad without turning or replacing rotors that are quite deeply grooved. As long as the grooves in the rotor aren't more than an eighth of an inch deep. and the disk is running true, (not warped or wobbling) you shouldn't have any problems. There is less contact area for a few miles until the pads wear to conform to the groves, but after that you actually get more contact area with a grooved rotor.
These two questions get answered in the same paragraph, because they relate to the same problem. There are automobile engines of non-interference design, but you won't find many Honda products using them. A non-interference engine is one in which the pistons go up and down in their own private space, and the valves open and close in their own private space. You can turn such engines over with the cam disconnected and it won't do any harm.
Interference engines of more modern design however, depend on accurate timing for their operation. The piston coming up the bore occupies space at the top of its rise that was a millisecond before occupied by an open valve. Worse, in some dual overhead cam engines, an opening intake valve occupies part of the space just vacated a millisecond earlier by a closing exhaust valve. So what keeps all these parts from colliding? Your timing belt, that's what! If that sucker Brakes, or even jumps a tooth, you've got big expensive trouble, almost instantly. At 8000 RPM your pistons are going up and down the cylinder bores 133 times a second! If they encounter still open valves because the timing belt just broke, they'll bend the valve over like a clinched nail into the soft aluminum of the head, busting themselves into pieces in the process!
So the bottom line here is change your timing belt when your sevice manual says you should do so, or pay some mechanic muy dinero to put your engine back together. As a mechanic friend of mine used to quip about such repairs "It was a peach-basket case!". His implication was that the owner had to pick up his engine parts off half a mile of road and bring them into the shop in a peach basket. If you don't want to be a peach-basket case, change your timing belt when you're s'posed to!
The following is excerpted from Lee Cao's excellent webpages.
" Taking a single cylinder as an example, it has intake valves to breath in the fuel/air mixture, and exhaust valves to channel away the combusted exaust. How much the valves open and for how long they stay open is controlled by cam shafts which have roughly eliptical shaped lobes that actuate the valves. How wide the valves open is referred to as valve lift. When and for how long the valves stay open is referred to as valve timing. To oversimply things a little bit, valves that open wider and stay open for longer durations allow greater amounts of fuel and air to flow through the cylinder. Therefore, building an engine that has good high RPM power require that the valves must open wider and hold their opening for longer durations. However, valve lift and timing that are optimised for high RPM performance usually leads to rougher low RPM combustion, resulting in an idle that becomes increasingly difficult to maintain.
Honda's solution to this problem is in their VTEC system. VTEC is short for Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control. It essentially combines two cam profiles onto the same cam shaft. One cam profile is tuned for smooth idle and low RPM performance, while the second cam profile is tuned for high RPM performance. As the engine builds RPM and reaches a certain pre-set RPM, the cam shaft shifts to the second cam profile and holds the valves open wider and for a longer duration. So where as a non-VTEC engine's torque will start to taper off, a VTEC engine will maintain a flatter torque extension into the higher RPM ranges, allowing for a continuous climb in power output. Voila! a solution to the problem. "
"As to why someone would want an engine capable of running at high RPM in the first place... Honda has traditionally built economical and reliable engines. Economy decreases as engine size increases so keeping the engine size small is beneficial. But getting good power output from a small engine means designing it to be capable of handling high RPMs. After all, power output is proportional to torque multiplied by RPM, and torque is limited by engine displacement."
"The result of the above design parameters are the small displacement VTEC engines being offered by Honda today. Versatility is the keyword here. When not being pushed hard, these engines use the low RPM cam profiles and maintain very smooth idle and low RPM operation. Fuel economy is great. In addition, power is usually better than non-VTEC engines of the same displacement since the low RPM cam profile does not need to be compromised for high RPM operation. And when brisk acceleration is needed, all the driver needs to do is to stay in gear or down shift and allow the engine to build up its RPM, taking advantage of the better torque output at the wheels due to a lower gear (as opposed to if you had to shift up because you have ran out of RPM to use)."
Apparently it can be done with some engines.
Sometimes, but don't count on it. What it does do is allow you to steer and brake at the same time. In the past, people learning performance driving were taught that you should never try to steer and brake at the same time. A locked up wheel just won't make the car turn, it has to be rotating to change the vehicle's direction. Mr Clumsy Average Driver, in a panic situation usually tries to steer AND brake however, and the ABS system is intended to help him get away with it.
The problem is that few owners of new cars actually use their ABS. Some have even got into accidents the first time they were in an emergency braking situation because when they heard the ABS chatter and felt the pedal pulse under their foot, they panicked and lifted their foot.
So one of the things you should do if the car you just bought has ABS, is find an empty parking lot someplace, preferably slick with rain or even better ice, and try out your ABS. Get used to keeping your foot down on that chattering brake pedal, and find out how much it takes to trigger the ABS. I drove a rental car once whose ABS went into action at the slightest excuse, usually for no good reason. It pays to learn your ABS system's features and foibles before you really need them.
Honda fuses are generally reliable but occasionally, especially in an older car, they can become intermittent because they are making a poor connection in the fuseholder. Pulling the fuse to check it often cures the problem, because re-insertion cleans oxidation off the fuse contacts, but a more permanent fix is to bend the fuse tangs just a bit with a pair of pliers, so they make a tighter connection. Turn the fuse so you are looking at the tangs end-on, and twist them through no more than ten or fifteen degrees, so they look like this:
That's enough to make them behave properly.
Why do I need
premium gas? Can't I use regular?
When the spark plug in the cylinder of a gasoline engine fires, a tiny ball of flame begins to expand in the combustion chamber. If all goes well this expanding flame front will continue to burn evenly until all the gasoline vapor in the chamber has been burned. If the gasoline is of the wrong kind however, or if the spark plug has fired too soon, or the compression ratio is too high, instead of burning evenly the gasoline explodes, combusting all at once with damaging force. Sometimes this undesirable detonation can be heard as a "ping" or "knock" in the engine, but it can occur without being heard. The octane rating of gasoline is an indication of its ability to resist detonation. the higher the octane number, the less tendency to knock, and of course the higher the price.
Engine knock is bad news. If it happens often it can literally put holes in your pistons. I bought a Jaguar XK-E in Denver once, for half what it should have sold for because some fool had advanced the ignition in a deluded attempt to recover the power lost because of the Mile High City's thinner air. Three pistons had holes in them the size of 50 cent pieces!
In many newer cars, the effects of running on regular gas when you should be using premium are less serious because modern ECUs have knock sensors that can detect detonation and which can retard the engine timing until the knock goes away. The price you pay for this is considerably less power from the engine.
So the bottom line is, use the grade of gas your owner's manual recommends. If your car only needs regular, it won't produce any more power with premium gas. If it needs premium, use premium, because regular will cost you power and maybe an engine overhaul.
Newsgroup consensus seems to be that a sharp blade and a modicum of heat is the answer. Anything from a parking lot on a hot sunny day to the application of a hair dryer to soften the glue, then some careful scraping with a knifedge or razor blade.. One post even suggested a fingernail would do if you get the heat right. Use isopropanol or rubbing alcohol to clean up traces of glue afterward.
This question shows up in the newsgroup quite regularly. The bolt holding the pulley to the crankshafy is on there TIGHT. Some folks have had so much trouble getting it started they've posted plaintive equiries wondering if it's a left-hand threaded bolt! No, it unscrews the regular way, but don't kid yourself that you're going to undo it with a short-handled wrench. Having the car up on jackstands probably won't give enough room to swing the handle of the wrench you're going to need.
The second difficulty is how to stop the engine from turning when you apply the necessary torque with a half-inch drive tommybar whose handle has been extended with a length of pipe. Just having the car in gear won't cut it. Jamming a big screwdriver into the teeth on the flywheel works sometimes. The proper way is to use the tool pictured at the front of the shop manual. It's essentially a length of hexagonal pipe with a handle welded to it. It will fit into the hex hole in the pulley and allow a deep socket of the proper size to pass though and get hold of the bolt. Now you and a muscular friend each grab a handle and pull in opposite directions. This will almost certainly demand that the car either be up on a hoist or over a service pit.
A list denizen who signs himself jamieson offered this suggestion- "I did manage to find a nice way to prevent the pulley from turning. The local hardware store sells a 1 1/2" threaded plumbing adapter with a hex flange on one side of it. With a little bit of filing, the hex flange fits into the 50mm hex depression in the crankshaft pulley. Then I took a pipe wrench and cranked it down on the plumbing adapter threads sticking out of the crankshaft pulley. It works just like the Honda crankshaft pulley holder tool, only costs a lot less."
Another post suggests "Try
driving to a local shop/service station and give the mechanic $5 to
OK so you've got that dang pulley bolt undone, and the new timing belt in place, and now you've got an uneasy feeling that mabe you're out a tooth one way or the other, even though you followed the shop manual's instructions exactly. Well here's a better way that I've seen suggested in the newsgroup (but I can't remember by who).
Before removing the old belt, make a mark on the side of the belt and on each pulley with a dab of paint or even some typist's whiteout. Then after the old belt is off, lay it beside the new one and copy the marks exactly on the new one. Now you know for sure where things line up!
Body shops that do custom work have machines that do a professional job of this, but if your oversize tires aren't too big, you can just use a baseball bat. No, you don't take whacks at the fenders with a bat, you use it like a prybar, resting it on the top of the tire and prying gently upward along the inside of the wheelwell, folding the metal back. There was a really excellent web page on the subject,complete with pictures, on the now defuct VTEC-Net.
Aren't they a pain in the neck? They go all the way through the hub assembly and stick out the other side, so the ends usually rust. It's difficult, but you can get to their backsides with penetrating oil. Still, an impact wrench is usually the thing for this. Hand-held impact wrenches are available for about $10 and vigorous application of a middling heavy hammer to one of these usually does the job. Be sure and get a 3/8 inch philips tip for the wrench though, not the skinny little 1/4 inch ones that are intended for multiple-bit screwdriver sets. The screws are a #3 philips too, don't try a #2 or you'll strip them.
If worst comes to worst and you do strip them, you'll have to drill the little suckers out of there. All they do is hold the rotors in place until you put the wheel on, so I suppose you could even not bother to replace them, but if a garage did that, you'd think they were pretty sloppy wouldn't you?
Here's some advice from Gabe Gardner on the subject-
"Yes and no. You can run low
levels of boost (6 psi and less) and be
"The 93-96 VTEC blocks are
solid decks and the 97+ are open deck. There
A Honda tech posted this advice to the newsgroup-
"dealer only , go
with your registration and photo id and the serial #, model #
will have record of code by VIN#, save removing the stereo."
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