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Am I screwed? Keep Driving? Fix or Junk it? - 1997 Base Auto

 
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Old 10-27-2011, 09:11 PM
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Icon5 Am I screwed? Keep Driving? Fix or Junk it? - 1997 Base Auto

Alright so I'm going to preface this by saying that only in the past few months have I started learning ANYTHING about my car. 1997 Base 126k Auto.

Bought in July 2009 at 90k for $6,000 from 2nd owner. Meticulously maintained by both owners it's entire life until I took it over and it began it's decline.

Was dating mechanic at the time who took care of all servicing. Car ran perfect the first year I had it, shifted on a dime, purred perfect. All good.

September 2010 break up w/him and everything else breaks up. Quit job, left apartment, what have you. No money to drive anymore, hadn't been serviced since April 2010. No oil changes, ZIP. Leave it at my dads from September 2010 to June 2011. Start driving again out of desperation and against my dad's word didn't get a tune-up for her. By now she's got about 118k. No oil change, no fluids check, nada. Didn't care, just wanted to drive again. For this reason I would not realize for a few months just how strikingly different my car started driving since 09-10 when it was being serviced.

July 1, 2011. In Minneapolis it's 106 degrees with a heat index of 115. Driving all day, notice my oil light come on. Great. I probably should have done that damn oil change, decide to stop at service station and fill her up for now with some synthetic blend crap. Make it half a block away from station and on goes engine light, and car starts shaking. VIOLENTLY. Scared crapless, I just pull into a spot and manage to shut her off before she dies.

Make it to mechanic by constantly adding coolant and stopping every 4 blocks. He's a Honda enthusiast who works on my parents' Accord and has always wanted to buy the Prelude, base be damned. Says he had to replace coolant hose due to leak Tells me he's almost 100% sure I've blown a head gasket due to "hydrocarbons in the cooling system" or some such and he'll give me $1,000 cash right now, which is a generous offer. It might last me for 3 months tops. I bought this car for 6x as much as granted it's got a few dings now but the thing was damn mint. Not an ounce of rust or trace of a burn hole. No scratches that weren't buffed out with the first detailing. I'm loyal to this POS now, so I decide to take my chances and get a 2nd opinion.

Car drives pretty well since leak was fixed and no overheating occurs after almost 2 weeks and around 1500 miles later. Lost no coolant from radiator very little from reserve. Still decide to get a second opinion and show it to a family friend who owns a shop in Ham Lake. Does engine block test, finds no hydrocarbons and is almost 100% convinced I did NOT blow a head gasket. Honda enthusiast was just trying to get a steal of a deal. Count my blessings and decide to get that oil change. He advises me to get the minor oil leak he noticed fixed first, if I could, but I wanted the change done immediately, so I did. At 121k.

It is September now and I've still lost no coolant or had any problems overheating. Engine light is, however, back on. Bring it to yet another different mechanic friend of mine and does OBD scan. Throws up P0325 - faulty knock sensor. Me being, as I'm sure you can all tell by now, a WOMAN I believe it when he tells me this code is thrown up when the knock sensor senses harsh vibrations in my engine, probably due to the noise coming from driving over **** w/my broken sway bar link (yet another issue). Tells me once we fix the link the light will turn off, but a routine tune-up should still be done.

It is now October and the valve cover gasket replacement worked - oil is no longer leaking. However, I am becoming more and more aware of the loss of performance my car is experiencing. Not only is it hesitating, getting it's butt kicked by people cutting me off on the highway, it's getting TERRIBLE gas mileage. I know my car. Something isn't right. Mechanic friend assures me once I can afford a tune-up all will be well.

Finally this morning I can't stand it anymore. I love that damn bucket of rust more than life itself and I have to figure out what is wrong with my baby. Do some research only to find out that the knock sensor is NOT what I thought it was! Idiot mechanic friend who hopefully didn't mess up the valve cover gasket replacement was completely wrong. A faulty knock sensor is, according to what I read, a very serious issue that affects not only performance, timing, and fuel economy but also the health of the engine and not fixing it can cause PERMANENT DAMAGE.

Decide to bring it to yet another shop, a more reputable family owned place my job uses for the work trucks. He does another OBD scan, yet again P0325, and tells me to turn my car on. He listens to the engine and starts engaging the throttle. Pretty hard, all sounds good. Harder, still good. THERE it is. When he forces the throttle pretty much as hard as I imagine it would go he hears it. Ping. And the entire head/unit, whatever it was, shook for a moment, back and forth. He says it's not a clunk as if a piston or major component was the issue, more of a ping or tick. This could be caused by something as simple as clogged fuel (injectors?) (he said something like this) or oil pressure. Advised me to drop it off one of these days and they will do a full diagnostic to be sure of ping noise/sensor fault and charge me $80. Says I should, however, be safe to drive it for a few days until this test can happen.

Did more research on places like this and now I am reading that I should NOT, under ANY circumstances, continue operation of my car! Any more driving I do will further damage the engine and cause hundreds of potential dollars in damage. I should take a bus until I can be sure of the real problem.

Does anyone have any insight into this? Like I have already explained, I knew jack until recently and still only know slightly more than Jack, but if the head gasket was truly warped/cracked/blown, could I have made an additional 6,500 miles since it overheated July 1st? Could the pinging be due to the fact that I am yet again in need of an oil change, it's only been 2 months but I've already put 5,000 more miles on it? Since it's such a quiet noise, could it really be a piston or a rod?

I need to know.. should I junk her? Pay that shop 80 for them to tell me it's a tune up and a new sensor? Just replace the sensor, do the tune up, keep driving and hope everything goes back to how it was? Can I even get home tonight, 15 miles? Or should I really leave her sit until I can get it fixed.

PLEASE HELP!

Last edited by perfectdisguise; 10-27-2011 at 09:29 PM.
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Old 10-27-2011, 09:21 PM
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Re: Am I screwed? Keep Driving? Fix or Junk it? - 1997 Base Auto

I have always used 93 grade unless only 91 was offered.
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Old 10-27-2011, 10:27 PM
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Re: Am I screwed? Keep Driving? Fix or Junk it? - 1997 Base Auto

drive it to a shop and park it.
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Old 10-27-2011, 10:45 PM
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Re: Am I screwed? Keep Driving? Fix or Junk it? - 1997 Base Auto

The knock sensor code is most likely being thrown for running a lower grade fuel. It's probably starving for 91 octane. I'd suggest replacing the sensor, doing an in depth maintenance (oil, oil filter, check air filter, etc) and filling up with premium fuel. Has the timing belt been replaced yet? If not, you definitely need to have it done with the water pump. Might as well change all other drive belts and seals in that area while it's getting done.

It's worth keeping for sure if your attached to it. I'm actually surprised your auto trans hasn't gone out yet since its a weak spot on the 5th gens...

Good luck with whatever you decide.
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Old 10-27-2011, 10:53 PM
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Re: Am I screwed? Keep Driving? Fix or Junk it? - 1997 Base Auto

a leak down test will let you know if the head is cracked or warped, or if the head gasket has a leak.

a compression test will let you know if your piston rings are failing.

change the knock sensor, and have these tests performed so you know what is going on with your motor.
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Old 10-27-2011, 11:19 PM
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Re: Am I screwed? Keep Driving? Fix or Junk it? - 1997 Base Auto

^That

When your oil light comes on.. It's probably too late.

You need to to a tune up and I believe there's a 90k service..

I had the same check engine light on and drove it for a while with a supercharger and no problems... I never got it fixed because I got a jdm engine.. I wouldn't drive it unless you have to (home and then shop)


Comp test, leakdown, change the knock sensor, do a tune up (probably why u get bad mpg and hesitating) and ALWAYS change your oil and filter on time! It's like your cars blood..

Don't junk her!
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Old 10-28-2011, 01:22 AM
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Re: Am I screwed? Keep Driving? Fix or Junk it? - 1997 Base Auto

You have minor problems comparative. Get an oem ks. And that should do it.
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Old 10-28-2011, 03:06 AM
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Re: Am I screwed? Keep Driving? Fix or Junk it? - 1997 Base Auto

Some great ideas here
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Old 10-28-2011, 04:09 PM
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Re: Am I screwed? Keep Driving? Fix or Junk it? - 1997 Base Auto

To the poster above - I have put nothing but 91-93 grade octane fuel every since I bought it and so did the other 2 owners.

So I spent the $126.00 to have the stealership do tests on the engine. Apparently they did all they could and they still aren't sure what it is. They are feeding me some story that the knock sensor itself is not faulty and they can't figure out what's setting it off. The communication between the sensor and the computer itself is malfunctioning somehow, so they want to do tests on the wiring.

They say they will have to pull up all the carpeting and this test STARTS at $350. FML.

So just to make sure it's running properly I will have to shell out not only this $126, another $350, at least $175 for a tune-up, $100 for the sensor and someone to put it in. I might really just sell my baby, any advice? Is what the dealerships saying make sense to any of you???
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Old 10-28-2011, 04:32 PM
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Re: Am I screwed? Keep Driving? Fix or Junk it? - 1997 Base Auto

Damn theives. They just called me back after probably realizing I wouldn't take their crap story to say it is the sensor. Telling me I NEED a Honda one for $190 and it's $600 in labor. So they claim I'm looking at $800. RIDICULOUS! I'm about to just put the part in myself.
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Old 10-28-2011, 05:03 PM
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Re: Am I screwed? Keep Driving? Fix or Junk it? - 1997 Base Auto

^^^ Its very easy and sexy of a woman. ;)
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Old 10-28-2011, 06:48 PM
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Re: Am I screwed? Keep Driving? Fix or Junk it? - 1997 Base Auto

watch out! Kid cody is turning creeper on us. lol
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Old 10-28-2011, 06:58 PM
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Re: Am I screwed? Keep Driving? Fix or Junk it? - 1997 Base Auto

Has any of these so called machanics even looked to see if the knock sensor was broken???
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Old 10-28-2011, 07:20 PM
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Re: Am I screwed? Keep Driving? Fix or Junk it? - 1997 Base Auto

I know that a lightweight flywheel can cause the knock sensor to go off in a manual lude, so what if something is wrong with your trans?
Possibly a bad torque converter, or it could even be a worn engine or trans mount.
They should look beyond the electrical.
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Old 10-29-2011, 02:50 PM
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Re: Am I screwed? Keep Driving? Fix or Junk it? - 1997 Base Auto

Everything everyone's told you makes sense, except the guy who tried to convince you you'd blown the head.

First, from the description, I don't believe you've blown a head gasket or warped the head, since you've had no further problems -- that sort of thing doesn't disappear or cure itself. Do keep checking the coolant and oil levels -- it's a 15-year-old car, after all.

The check engine light comes on most often for some sort of engine sensor failure, most of which are related to emissions controls and won't cause a problem if you drive that way for awhile. It's not a good idea to drive around for too long not knowing what the fault is, but most auto parts stores will plug in a scanner and tell you what the fault code is for free -- something useful to know.

If you've learned about knock already, skip over this, but if not, it's useful to understand. As someone else said, knock or ping is normally produced by using low-grade fuel. On high-compression engines (or also turbo/supercharged engines), heat and compression can actually cause lower octane fuel or a too lean (too little fuel for the air pulled into the cylinder) mixture to detonate before the spark lights off the mixture in the combustion chamber. The "knock" or "ping" is the sounds of the premature explosion, which you can sometime hear from the drivers seat -- sounds like someone rattling pebbles in a can. In extreme cases, knock can damage the engine, but if you're using premium fuel and the car's pretty much stock (so the mixture's probably good), you're probably not in much danger...more on that below.

The knock sensor is nothing more than a small microphone down in the engine block that picks up this sound, and if it does, it automatically adjusts the ignition timing to fire the spark plug a little earlier and protect the engine. The cost for that is the engine runs a little less efficiently, so power and fuel mileage may suffer. Because the knock sensor's nothing more than a microphone, it's certainly possible for a loose swaybar endlink or a violent engine vibration to fool it.

If the knock sensor's gone bad, or isn't communicating with the computer (aka Engine Control Unit or ECU, which resides in the passenger footwell, under the carpet), the ECU automatically adjusts the ignition timing as if the sensor detected a problem, just in case. That may be the cause of your power loss -- were it my car, that's the first cause and effect I'd look into. The knock sensor is a small part screwed into the back of the engine, just below the join between the cylinder head and the block, a few inches above the oil filter. Unfortunately, that puts it underneath all the intake manifold (the contraption with the "PGM-FI" sticker on it) plumbing, and (if coming from below), above the coolant crossover pipe, so it's not easy to reach. It's possible to replace yourself, but it takes a little reaching, best from below the car. And it does cost about $100, no matter where you get it. (BTW...it doesn't have to be a Honda part -- Honda gets it from an outside supplier, so you can, too. But the dealer probably won't install it then.) If, as the dealer is telling you, the sensor's not the problem (presuming they checked it), then checking the wiring is the next thing to do.

Were I you, I'd go back to the guy who services your work trucks -- he sounds like he has a clue. Tell him what the dealer told you. I'll bet he recommends just replacing the knock sensor to see what happens (and he'll install a $100 one instead of a $190 one) -- that'll confirm whether it's the sensor or the wiring. Get the tune-up when you can -- or replace the spark plugs, wires, distributor rotor and cap yourself, which is the major part of most tuneups on post-1990 cars -- you can do that with a few simple tools in the driveway, if you're inclined, and the parts are under $80.

Someone mentioned timing belt -- look through your maintenance records and find out if a previous owner or your ex-boyfriend replaced that at around 90k. If not, start saving up for it, and drive the car little -- breaking the timing belt will cause you major problems. Usually a good idea to replace the water pump at that time, whether it needs it or not, because you have to take all the belts off to get to the water pump anyhow. That all can be an $800 job, and it must be done...hopefully it already has been.

Don't junk the car -- for the price of a down payment, you'll have it back in fine condition again. But do know that older cars need constant TLC -- definitely keep an eye on the fluids, and change the oil regularly.
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Old 10-29-2011, 05:30 PM
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Re: Am I screwed? Keep Driving? Fix or Junk it? - 1997 Base Auto

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Originally Posted by ogsmakdade View Post
I know that a lightweight flywheel can cause the knock sensor to go off in a manual lude, so what if something is wrong with your trans?
Possibly a bad torque converter, or it could even be a worn engine or trans mount.
They should look beyond the electrical.
Really? Maybe that's why my knock never went away? Lol


I love Honda but DO NOT take it to the dealership.. $100 bucks for them to even look at it.. They wanted $1200 to just open up my trans to see the problem.. I just laughed and told them I could get a LSD transmission +labor and a high dollar escort..

I used to work at a dealership and theyre a rip off.. Take it to a reputable shop that works on imports and get them to install a new knock sensor.. If that doesn't fix it then something is knocking.. And I wouldn't answer it.. Lol

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Old 10-29-2011, 06:52 PM
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Re: Am I screwed? Keep Driving? Fix or Junk it? - 1997 Base Auto

OEM honda knock sensor is $120 on majestichonda.com.
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Old 10-30-2011, 11:51 PM
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Re: Am I screwed? Keep Driving? Fix or Junk it? - 1997 Base Auto

Keep the car. Do your tune ups. Keep good gas in it. Don't dog it. Get ur knock sensor replaced and just do one thing at a time. I try to do something to maintain my prelude every month if not more. I would rather stay in top of it than for it to leave me stranded. Once you have it in good shape again just stay on top of it and she will treat you good.
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Old 10-31-2011, 01:37 AM
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Re: Am I screwed? Keep Driving? Fix or Junk it? - 1997 Base Auto

did you get my comment???
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Old 10-31-2011, 11:59 AM
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Re: Am I screwed? Keep Driving? Fix or Junk it? - 1997 Base Auto

^about the apparent sexiness of myself installing a new sensor? why yes i did. though i am still going to bring it to uptown imports just in case.
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  #21 (permalink)  
Old 10-31-2011, 12:02 PM
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Re: Am I screwed? Keep Driving? Fix or Junk it? - 1997 Base Auto

can someone let me know when this post comes out on DVD?
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Old 10-31-2011, 12:11 PM
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Re: Am I screwed? Keep Driving? Fix or Junk it? - 1997 Base Auto

only if i receive all royalties and everyone dresses up as characters from Popeye otherwise it's not happening.
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  #23 (permalink)  
Old 10-31-2011, 12:58 PM
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Re: Am I screwed? Keep Driving? Fix or Junk it? - 1997 Base Auto

popeye fetish eh?

...different
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Old 10-31-2011, 01:10 PM
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Re: Am I screwed? Keep Driving? Fix or Junk it? - 1997 Base Auto

Thanks boo... Make sure to take pics....
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Old 11-05-2011, 08:49 PM
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Re: Am I screwed? Keep Driving? Fix or Junk it? - 1997 Base Auto

goodluck with your car. It sounds like you really need someone that knows about cars to help because some mechanics really take advantage.
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