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My car is biting the dust...advice?

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Brian Harnish, Jan 24, 2006.

  1. Brian Harnish

    Brian Harnish Screenwriter

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    Well...I've come to ask for some advice (planning on taking my car to the mechanic next week on my days off to find out what is going on). My 10 year old 1996 Honda Civic LX has some SERIOUS hard engine knock whenever I slow down and begin to accelerate (just before I begin to accelerate it knocks). Happens just about every time. And yes, I've even tried different grades of gas with no results. Also, it vibrates incessantly on the freeway and feels like it's falling apart. Just over 80,000 miles.

    One other thing I've noticed: whenever I am passing the speedometers that are placed on the road from time to time (those giant ones with large numbers) I notice that my speedometer is consistently five MPH below the actual speedometer reading on the units placed on the road. Is this normal?
     
  2. Christ Reynolds

    Christ Reynolds Producer

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    when was the last time you changed your oil? honda engines usually last for quite a while, 80k is still a baby.

    CJ
     
  3. Brian Harnish

    Brian Harnish Screenwriter

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    About a month and a half ago (I always change the oil around 3000-4500-ish miles).
     
  4. Jason Pancake

    Jason Pancake Stunt Coordinator

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    Have you checked your tires to make sure that they aren't "cupping"? That could be causing the vibration.
     
  5. SethH

    SethH Cinematographer

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    It will be quite interesting to see how this turns out. As mentioned, most Hondas are only babies at 80k -- even if they have 10 years on them. My sister drives a '93 Civic with about 160k and my wife drives a '99 Accord with about 105k. Neither have had any real problems. My wife's has been well cared for, my sister's has really not until recently (she once ran the oil until the filter disintegrated!!!).

    Hopefully it will be something that's not serious and doesn't cost too much to repair.
     
  6. Kirk Gunn

    Kirk Gunn Screenwriter

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    Since the engine knock is most severe when the applying or letting up on the power, could it be the timing is way out of adjustment ? Have you noticed your gas mileage declining ?

    Do you feel the vibration worse when you brake ? Do you feel the vibration through the steering wheel (front tire/suspension) or through the back of the seat (rear tires) ?

    Have you had the tires rotated/balanced on a regular basis ? Fwd cars can eat through the front tires quickly if not rotated.

    Good luck - hopefully the patient's diagnosis is not severe...
     
  7. Garrett Lundy

    Garrett Lundy Producer

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    Sounds like a combination of bad tires and your front-end alignment is off. A good shop can fix that in a day.

    As for your engine, I'd take it to get your valve clearances checked before it gets any worse.
     
  8. SethH

    SethH Cinematographer

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    That's a possibility. I think most Honda's call for a timing belt change at 105k (wife's Accord just had that done), but after 10 years it may be ready for a change even though you haven't hit 105k yet. If that's the case, the replacement will run you about $550 at a dealership (timing belt replacement isn't much cheaper at local shops).
     
  9. Shane Martin

    Shane Martin Producer

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    Usually it's 90k. They don't call it the 90,000 mile service for nothing.

    The knock could be timing, it could also be a fuel filter which is my suspicion.

    The vibrating issue is usually a tire/alignment issue. The tire issue could also be causing the speedo issue.
     
  10. RichardK

    RichardK Second Unit

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    I have a 97 Civic LX. Off the lot on 3/1/97, she's almost 9yrs old...sniffle, sniffle. Anyhow no major issues at 145K miles... buying that car ranks at the top in best purchase decisions of my life.
     
  11. Linda Thompson

    Linda Thompson Supporting Actor

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  12. Marc S Kessler

    Marc S Kessler Stunt Coordinator

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    You may consider checking the engine mounts.
     
  13. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    Bring it to a good shop that you trust. Sounds like you've got a combination of issues that should be easily (if expensively in the case fo the timing belt) taken care of. That car is practically new at 80K miles. I have a friend who got over 280K miles out of a Civic and never even had to change the clutch!!!!
     
  14. SethH

    SethH Cinematographer

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    Well, on the '99 Accords it's at 105k, but I guess it's different for other models.
     
  15. Jimi C

    Jimi C Screenwriter

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    "My 10 year old 1996 Honda Civic LX has some SERIOUS hard engine knock whenever I slow down and begin to accelerate (just before I begin to accelerate it knocks)."

    But wait! Hondas dont break! It must be a Ford or dodge with a Honda badge on it! Its a fake!!!

    [​IMG]
    Counterfeit!!!!

    Im sorry, but.. I had too. :b
     
  16. BrianW

    BrianW Cinematographer

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    If the engine doesn't vibrate at 3000 RPM while sitting in neutral (or Park), then the vibration on the highway is coming from your drivetrain:

    1. Tires (cupping, as mentioned before, or just falling apart, even)

    2. Wheels (out of balance)

    3. Brakes (warped rotors)

    4. Alignment

    All these can be easily and reasonably cheaply fixed.

    As for the knocking, it could be simple carbon buildup, clogged fuel injectors, valves out of adjustment (check clearances as mentioned above), timing, or even just spark plug wires. A good mechanic should be able to quickly diagnose it and suggest a fix.


    Of course, I'll defer to whatever Steve S. advises, whenever he gets around to contributing to this thread. He's the expert on these matters.


    With regard to Hondas' longevity, I've been driving the same Honda for almost 18 years (1988 CRX), and it runs almost as well as the day I bought it. (It recently started acting like it's running a little rich, but I haven't taken the time yet to figure out why.) With only 176,000 miles on it, I consider it "middle-aged".
     
  17. Brian Harnish

    Brian Harnish Screenwriter

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    Well, hopefully things will work out when I take my car into the shop. I definitely cannot afford a new car when I am planning on moving into a new apartment in about a month!
     
  18. Reginald Trent

    Reginald Trent Screenwriter

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    "My 10 year old 1996 Honda Civic LX has some SERIOUS hard engine knock whenever I slow down and begin to accelerate (just before I begin to accelerate it knocks)."

    Brian W, wrote:

    If the engine doesn't vibrate at 3000 RPM while sitting in neutral (or Park), then the vibration on the highway is coming from your drivetrain:

    1. Tires (cupping, as mentioned before, or just falling apart, even)

    2. Wheels (out of balance)

    3. Brakes (warped rotors)

    4. Alignment

    All these can be easily and reasonably cheaply fixed.

    As for the knocking, it could be simple carbon buildup, clogged fuel injectors, valves out of adjustment (check clearances as mentioned above), timing, or even just spark plug wires. A good mechanic should be able to quickly diagnose it and suggest a fix.
    -----------------------------------

    Brian hit on the same things that I was thinking. I would add it could also be bad or broken shocks/struts. BTW my 91 Accord has over 250,000 miles on it and the engine is as quiet as a new car's. [​IMG]
     
  19. BrianW

    BrianW Cinematographer

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    Ah, shocks and struts. I forgot about those. When the struts go out on a Honda, the ride gets really bad. [​IMG]

    In my previous post, I was trying to convey a level of comfort for your situation, but all I really did was suggest a list of things that might be the cause of your problems. What I really meant to say is this: It's going to be fine.

    There are bad (as in nearly-always-expensive-to-fix) problems, like burning oil, or coolant in the crank case. But knocking? That can almost always be fixed by performing regular maintenance -- or unscheduled maintenance, like fuel injector cleaning -- on an engine. I'd be very surprises if it costs more to fix than a single monthly payment on a new (used) car.

    Good luck, and keep us posted!
     
  20. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    the knock is most likely not a major mechanical thing like bad rod bearings if the car's oil has been changed regularly. If it's just a single knock or clunk as you first get back on the gas, most noticeable in the lower gears my guess would be worn engine mounts, the engine "rocks" a lot in this scenario and if the rubber parts of the engine mounts are shot you'll get a knocking noise as metal parts of the mounts contact. Most Toyotas have a sorta dogbone shaped thing between the top of the engine and the right front strut tower to limit the rocking and this dogbone is rubber isolated at both ends. When the rubber rots out or is overstressed by softening of the main mounts lower down, there's distinct knock or clunk on applying the gas after deceleration especially in lower gears or at low speeds-- won't happen on takeoff from a start usually.

    The other vibrations and shaking are most likely out-of-round or out of balance tires. Cheaper radials will develope bulges in the tread area when the belts are starting to separate, especially if tire pressures haven't been kept up and sometimes just due to age. Lots of tires fail like this long before the tread's worn down, and if you've hit lots of potholes and the like it can cause this kind of belt separation even on good tires. If shaking or vibration occurs primarily under braking from higher speeds you may have warped brake rotors/drums.



    No way is a Civic with only 80k that's had any kind of decent maintenance ready for the scrap heap.
     

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