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ENGINE SURGING - NEED HELP PLEASE

 
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Old 12-01-2009, 05:15 PM
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Icon5 ENGINE SURGING - NEED HELP PLEASE

Hello All,

New member here and having a major issue.

Details: 98 Base Automatic Prelude
115,000 miles
Owned and self-serviced for over 8 years
Mods - Cat-back Exhaust, Ram-Air Intake, Aftermarket High Flow Cat Converter, and various cosmetic mods

Recently Replaced (Within Last 4 Months): EGR Valve, Spark Plugs, Spark Plug Wiires, Distributor Cap, Rotor Button, 1st Bank O2 Sensor, Fuel Filter, ICM Unit, and Battery


Tested: Fuel Pump, Alternator, Timing, IAC unit, Vaccum Status, Ignition Coil, and Fuel Rail

PROBLEM: Engine would not start. Replaced Ignition Control Module (ICM) and reset the ECM by disconnecting battery for an hour. Engine will now start, but begins surging when it reaches approximately 2000-2500RPMs. When surging, engine goes from a steady idle up to approximately 2500RPMs and then surges anywhere from 3500RPM all the way to redline at 7500RPM, as though I am pumping/revving the fuel pedal (but I am not, it is doing it by itself, just "jumping up" in RPMs). Transmission is shifting properly and no other systems seem to be failing.

The Check Engine light has not activated after driving it like this for approximately 20 miles, so no new sensor codes to check for.

I am at a total loss as to what to do next. Any and all help would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks!!!!
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Old 12-02-2009, 10:17 AM
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Re: ENGINE SURGING - NEED HELP PLEASE

Thats a tuff one especially after you have replaced and checked so much, how old is your exhaust, reason why I ask I had a surging problem and it was my CAT was clogging up. Also too I didn't see anywhere talking about a timing belt job, has one been done recently? You could be off on timing, especially if you did not replace the tensioner. When I had mine done just this past spring I noticed the tensioner was leaking and if I didn't replace it, it would have gone slack and the belt would have jumped timing I bet that might be what you are experiencing
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Old 12-03-2009, 01:48 AM
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Re: ENGINE SURGING - NEED HELP PLEASE

Have you cleaned out the EGR ports in the intake?
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Old 12-03-2009, 02:17 AM
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Re: ENGINE SURGING - NEED HELP PLEASE

I had the same problem with my lude...did some searching on the web and found a thread on Honda-Tech.com that deals with this problem. Long story, short, I fixed it. Here's the link to the thread

THE END OF ALL Idle Surge - Bounce - etc Problems Thread - Honda-Tech

Hopefully it will help you too
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Old 12-04-2009, 01:57 AM
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Re: ENGINE SURGING - NEED HELP PLEASE

First off - thanks very much for the feedback everybody! For reals!!

I tend to have a well-honed mechanical aptitude, but this situation has been a thorn in my side for almost a month now. (Good thing I've got an old beater Daewoo Lanos to drive haha.) Its killing me too, 'cause I've taken meticulous care of my Prelude. But stuff happens and time and the elements make things fail....

Rob - You raise an excellent point - it might be the catalytic converter. I installed it in December 2008, so its only a year old. Its a Magnaflow "high-flow" model (I never noticed any difference, so I'm dubious of the advertised performance gains). I called them yesterday and had a long discussion with one of their techs, who explained that their warranty would cover it, but I had to prove that it was failing -and- they don't accept direct returns, so I would have to contact JC Whitney for an RMA/warranty exchange. So I rapped with JC Whitney for approx. 50 minutes and finally received a "warranty disposition claim", which means they may or may not hook me up....I'll know in 4-5 business days supposedly. I only paid $80 for it, but I would appreciate it if the warranty is honored....

Timing seems to be good to go, as of a week ago when I last checked it out. Belt was replaced approx. 30K miles ago and all recent tests have been successful.

Fixit - EGR ports were cleaned when I replaced the EGR valve approx 5K miles ago. I removed the EGR 2 weeks ago and it had very little carbon buildup inside, so I figure the EGR system is OK.

JD44 - That linked post is really good stuff! Thanks! I've tried some of the steps listed there already, but will certainly give the others a go.

So yeah, more intake/modules checking and testing and maybe a replacement catalytic converter. Anybody have any experience with Magnaflow or their converters?

Thanks!!
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Old 12-05-2009, 12:24 AM
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Re: ENGINE SURGING - NEED HELP PLEASE

A couple of other suggestions, pretty rare problems but can occur and are easy enough to check are the TPS sensor and knock sensor. Pin out the ecm for the tps sensor wires and check to make sure there is a smooth level of resistence from close to open with an ohm meter. Knock sensor, just pull it out take it for a drive and if the problem goes away you found it. Now most of these failures would usually show up with a check engine light but it sounds as if you have tried everything else so just a couple of suggestions.
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Old 12-06-2009, 11:07 AM
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Re: ENGINE SURGING - NEED HELP PLEASE

Quote:
Originally Posted by jkleezie View Post
First off - thanks very much for the feedback everybody! For reals!!

I tend to have a well-honed mechanical aptitude, but this situation has been a thorn in my side for almost a month now. (Good thing I've got an old beater Daewoo Lanos to drive haha.) Its killing me too, 'cause I've taken meticulous care of my Prelude. But stuff happens and time and the elements make things fail....

Rob - You raise an excellent point - it might be the catalytic converter. I installed it in December 2008, so its only a year old. Its a Magnaflow "high-flow" model (I never noticed any difference, so I'm dubious of the advertised performance gains). I called them yesterday and had a long discussion with one of their techs, who explained that their warranty would cover it, but I had to prove that it was failing -and- they don't accept direct returns, so I would have to contact JC Whitney for an RMA/warranty exchange. So I rapped with JC Whitney for approx. 50 minutes and finally received a "warranty disposition claim", which means they may or may not hook me up....I'll know in 4-5 business days supposedly. I only paid $80 for it, but I would appreciate it if the warranty is honored....

Timing seems to be good to go, as of a week ago when I last checked it out. Belt was replaced approx. 30K miles ago and all recent tests have been successful.

Fixit - EGR ports were cleaned when I replaced the EGR valve approx 5K miles ago. I removed the EGR 2 weeks ago and it had very little carbon buildup inside, so I figure the EGR system is OK.

JD44 - That linked post is really good stuff! Thanks! I've tried some of the steps listed there already, but will certainly give the others a go.

So yeah, more intake/modules checking and testing and maybe a replacement catalytic converter. Anybody have any experience with Magnaflow or their converters?

Thanks!!
You know I just installed my magnaflo hi flo, so far so good. I'm pleased with it, but only lasting a year thats bogus. I paid about double the amount you said you got for yours though. I bought direct though, so who knows that thing might have been in a warehouse and dropped a couple dozen times or so. Hopefully once you know you will get a return label and they replace it that one will work. That would be great, then your out nothing besides having to drive the Daewoo around all the time
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Old 12-12-2009, 12:37 AM
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Re: ENGINE SURGING - NEED HELP PLEASE

Well, I've narrowed it down to either a sensor or vacuum leak (much less likely though). Hoping to have time to do more testing this Sunday.

Fixit - Thanks for the info, I'll definitely try that in my next series of tests!

Rob - I had to change the 2nd bank O2 sensor (the one that is internal to the cat converter), in order to pass this state's inspection. I changed it this afternoon and did some tests on the cat converter also. It seems to be entirely fine actually. I bought it on the cheap from JC Whitney and they did honor the warranty. I received an RMA in the mail a couple of days ago, but I don't think that the converter has an issues. Still debating whether I should return it or not...

Hey, anybody have good vacuum information or testing procedure documentation (aside from what you've directed me to already)?

Thanks again to all!
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Old 12-29-2009, 09:07 PM
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Re: ENGINE SURGING - NEED HELP PLEASE (FIXED!!!!!!!!! WITH IMPORTANT NOTE!!)

OK, OK, OK Folks - I have finally fixed my bizarro surging issues.

To recap: The problem was only occuring when pressing the accelerator. Idle was entirely normal while sitting in Park or while rolling along and not accelerating. No other symptoms in any systems. No CEL codes. Everything was testing fine.

So, I debated and researched and finally decided to do a full Throttle Body, IACV, and FITV cleaning and adjustment. No go.

Removed and cleaned the EGR valve (again) and bored-out the ports (again). No go.

Replaced Thermostat and did a full flush/refill of cooling system. No go.

Retested all possible sensors, ignition components, charging components, fuel and emissions components, relays, grounds, ECU, you name it. All tested good. Still no go.

Replaced every single vacuum hose, most of the cooling lines, the PCV valve, flushed and filled tranny fluid, flushed and filled oil, bled the cooling system over and over again just to be sure. STILL NO GO!

So, in desperation, I went to the dealership and paid one of their mechanics to talk to me during his lunchbreak (I actually just ended-up buying him lunch). I gave him an itemized, organized, and typed list of all the things i had done, as well as a full vehicle history from when I bought it 100, 000 miles ago up until last weekend and The Great Xmas 2009 Fix My Prelude Holiday Weekend Freezing Rain and Sleet Crapfest Extravazanga.

He perused my four page printout and casually asked, "Hey, have you tried cleaning the VTEC Solenoid yet?"

I explained that I didn't think it would matter since the sensor tested good and most of my research online had suggested they rarely if ever went bad.

He smiled and said, "If I were you, I'd seriously consider cleaning the Solenoid body and replacing the gasket/screen. It only takes about 10 minutes and is basically the only thing left you can do without spending major money to replace major parts."

I dropped him off around the back of the dealership, went inside, paid $20.82 for the gasket/screen, returned to and then left work an hour early and went straight home.

Breakdown:
Vtec Solenoid removal = 3 minutes
Gasket removal, surfaces cleaning, and valve cleaning = 5 minutes
Reinstallation = 3 minutes
11 minutes total

Removed Negative battery cable to reset and waited 30 minutes.

IT GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And holy crap, does it go!!!!!!

This car hasn't ran this well in years!!! The combo of all I did, plus fixing the actual problem (VTEC Solenoid Gasket/Screen) has made a significant difference in performance and responsiveness. For reals! I'd highly recommend that anyone who wants to get their Lude back in peak shape go for the total combo I did. It has worked wonders.

So, the whole time, the weird surging problem was a result of needing to change one gasket. I went back to the dealership today (in my Lude) and thanked the mechanic again. He said he KNEW that had to be the problem if I had done all the other stuff already and it was still surging. He explained that those gaskets sometimes create a false vacuum leak that makes teh idle go insane.

I blasted my cat back one good time for him and spun out of the parking lot to show my appreciation.

**POINT**
If you've already done every other possible idle fix (Throttle Body, IACV, FITV, EGR and ports, cooling system, etc.) and you're still having idle issues, of ANY sort - change that silly little VTEC Solenoid gasket/screen yo!!!

It takes minutes and costs almost nothing.

Thanks again to everyone!!!! Once I get this Lude cleaned-up and gleaming, I'll post some pics (its been sitting in bad weather for almost two months now and dirty, dirty, dirty).
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