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1992 Honda Accord Misfire (From Hell)

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This topic contains 10 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by Avatar Sam Roodman 8 months, 2 weeks ago.

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  • #878467
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    Sam
    Participant

    For the past several months, I have had a misfire in my 1992 Accord which is about to put me into a mental hospital! It showed up one evening out of nowhere after exiting a highway and accelerating away from the exit ramp. I have worked on this problem myself, and have resorted to hiring an increasingly large number of professional mechanics (at least six as of today) to fix this problem, spending a small fortune in the replacement of a myriad of engine parts–all to no avail. Several of the mechanics have given up completely, and one of them told me to put a stick of dynamite in it.

    Here’s the scoop of the car and what I have done so far: This car was purchased new by my uncle and I have driven it since its early days–so I can attest that It has been very well maintained in general and never abused (I have all service records). I bought it directly from my uncle three years ago (with about 128,000 miles). It now has a hair over 180,000 miles. The essence of the problem, in a nutshell, is this: It runs like a TOP when it’s cold, and CRAP when it’s FULLY WARM. I say “fully warm” because the misfire comes on like clockwork–approximately 10 minutes after a cold startup or 5 minutes after first reaching the normal operating temperature (where the temperature gauge’s needle rests around 40% up on the temperature gauge’s scale). It’s most noticeable when accelerating from a standstill up to 40 mph. It feels like it’s running on three cylinders (as if one or more of the spark plugs is contaminated with oil). And get this: disconnect the throttle position sensor (TPS) and it will not misfire at all, ever–but of course you’re left with other unsavory problems like the car shifting erratically, shifting around 4,000 rpm versus 2,500 rpm, over-revving in general, et cetera. So, it’s take your pick of which set of problems you want. I have decided that no misfire is healthier on the engine than the occasional high revs and the annoyance of a glowing engine light (due to the throttle position sensor being disconnected).

    What have I replaced? The spark plugs, the wire set, the ignition coil, the distributor cap and rotor button, the throttle position sensor (three times–twice with new parts from Autozone and once with a used part), the coolant temperature sensor, the oxygen sensor, the entire (damn) distributor because I wanted to replace the ignition control module (and it came built-in), the PCV valve, the PCV hose (because part of it was collapsed), the entire EGR valve assembly, and the throttle body. The throttle body was the only part that wasn’t brand new because–even if you’re a billionaire and want a new OEM part–forget it. It’s not available through Honda, Autozone, Advance Auto, NAPA, or O’Reilly Auto Parts. Oh, and the head gasket was replaced when I had the timing belt and water pump replaced six months ago (so that pretty much rules out that possibility). The only things that I haven’t replaced, which I heard may have an impact (I hear conflicting stories) is the thermostat and the idle air control valve (which acted up last year but then magically cleared itself up). Being pre-1996 makes it hard enough to analyze using an OBD1 diagnostic tool, and even if you have one, there is no “check engine” light that even comes on until you disconnect the TPS. I did a compression test on all cylinders–right around 165 psi on three of them and 145 on a third. The one weak cylinder jumps to 175 on a “wet test” with a tablespoon of fresh oil deposited into the cylinder before the test. This is just the tip of the iceberg of all the nonsense I’ve gone through so far, but I don’t want to bore you to tears—or possible cause you to fall on the floor with laughter–with all the details. PLEASE HELP!

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  • #878479
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    Billy
    Participant

    Sorry to hear you’ve been paying people to shoot parts at it.

    How have you determined it’s a misfire?
    If you pull codes when the problem is happening and the TPS is plugged in, do you get anything?
    Can you provide details on how the IACV valve acted up, how it cleared up, and what checks you’ve done on it?

    Head gasket is not really a standard part of a timing belt job, can you elaborate?

    What was the last significant service done before the problem started?

    #878480
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    Richard Kirshy
    Participant

    So the parts cannon has fired…
    I make no claim to be a Honda tech …Just a few thoughts off the top of my head.
    Has anyone looked for a vacuum leak? ( smoke test )
    Or a exhaust manifold leak? (smoke test )
    Has anyone looked at the fuel trim numbers?
    What about fuel injector trigger pulse? (scope)
    What condition is the intake manifold in?
    You state the EGR was replaced, what (if anything) was done to clean the EGR ports in the manifold?

    #878498
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    Mike
    Participant
    #878506
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    Sam
    Participant

    Several mechanics have confirmed it is misfiring–although Bill Cole Honda labels it as “missfire” [sic].

    The check engine light has never come on during any of this “stumbling” upon acceleration over the last few months. The only time it will come on in relation to this issue is if I purposely disconnect the TPS in order to get it to run without sputtering (but which leaves me with lurching up-shifts occurring at high rpm). After disconnecting the TPS, the check engine light will immediately come on upon startup, and remain lit until I plug the sensor back in. Despite there being no check engine light to “read” via an OBD1-type diagnostic computer for foreign cars, I took it to a nearby Honda dealership yesterday to have it professionally diagnosed. I was so frustrated that I was willing to pay $100.00+ just for their diagnosis to pinpoint–with a laser beam–the faulty part. I will be attaching here a scan of my receipt and what they had to say. They gave a CODE 7 which–upon retrospect–has essentially told me nothing. I asked if they had read the CODE 7 with the check engine light on (which likely meant they had the TPS disconnected), or whether the light was off (and the TPS was, in fact, connected) during diagnosis. They said the latter (which is good) but then they told me the fault was simply “stored in the computer’s memory”. Well, guess what, I have disconnected and reconnected the TPS about 15 times over the past few weeks. In essence, all they told me was that the TPS had been recently disconnected. Here we are, $105 later and have gotten nowhere. My most local Honda Dealership–Andy Glockner Honda in Portsmouth, Ohio–will not even touch it. They say they wouldn’t be able to diagnose it given its age (and the inexperience of most of their mechanics with these older cars).

    As far as the IACV is concerned, about a year ago, after startup on cold mornings, the car would idle erratically (jumping up and down for a few minutes) until warm or until it was put into Reverse or one of the Drive gears which forced it to calm down. Mysteriously, the problem slowly “withered away” and it doesn’t do it anymore.

    As far as the “head gasket”, I actually meant the “valve cover” gasket. My bad. The mechanic who was performing the timing belt and water pump replacement suggested I replace it since the valve cover was off and “it was right there and could use replacement.”

    No service done for months before misfire materialized. Oh, I forgot to mention, I put in a can of Sea Foam which didn’t help one iota.

    ***I am also attaching two pictures of the throttle body (with TPS already attached) that I purchased on eBay (and which is currently on the vehicle). Remember, I couldn’t buy a new one at any cost, and so this was the cleanest one I could find. When one of my mechanics tried to replace the TPS the first time, he beat on the rivet-style screws with a hammer to get them out (like a monkey), and he broke off one of the entire “ears” from my original throttle body through which the two screws holding the TPS go through. He told me it didn’t matter because it wasn’t a vacuum design. Two other mechanics told me that was “bullshit” and that I now needed to replace the entire throttle body because of the gaping hole that was now in it (thus this replacement unit). Oddly, the service advisor at Bill Cole Honda told me that the TPS you see pictured was an aftermarket sensor, but–unless I’m on drugs–doesn’t that look like the original rivet-style design to you guys? For your entertainment, I’m including a picture of the actual beast…and I don’t mean the Ford GT.

    #878509
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    Sam
    Participant

    I will look into these potential issues…thank you!

    #878518
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    Billy
    Participant

    I’ve assumed you already have this, but the following website provides full information on retrieving, interpreting, and clearing Honda OBD1 codes.
    http://www.evans-tuning.com/tech-articles/obd1-codes
    I would start by clearing the code, driving with the TPS plugged in till you get the symptoms, then pull codes and see if the code 7 has returned. If so, I think you’re on the right track with the TPS.
    I also agree that inspecting/cleaning the EGR passages is well worthwhile.

    #879265
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    Sam
    Participant

    Well, today I threw ANOTHER part at it…the Intake Air Temperature (IAT) Sensor. Guess what happened? NOTHING. I’m going to take a sledgehammer to this goddamn thing!!!

    #879269
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    Bluesnut
    Participant

    Have you considered checking for a vacuum leak and checking the fuel pressure? An engine has a tendency to run rich when cold so after leaning out on a warmed up engine a misfire could take place.

    Maybe a vacuum gauge would be a good investment. They’re cheap, easy to connect, and can tell you a lot about what is going on with a running engine.

    #895313
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    Theo
    Participant

    So what ended up being the solution? I’m having similar issues with my 1993 Honda accord.

    #895325
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    Sam Roodman
    Participant

    Have you tried replacing the distributor? My 1994 had a misfire that eventually got worse and was really only noticible when in drive or another engaged gear. It didnt manifest until the engine got hot. (I know the post is old, but feel it could assist someone)

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