"Woodpecker sound" from behind glove box - Honda Civic Forum



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Old 05-15-2015   #1  
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Question "Woodpecker sound" from behind glove box

Daughter's 98 civic sohc overheated and blew coolant out the overflow. Car ran normally afterward but radiator fan switch was defective; replaced switch. While testing, engine began misfiring, blinking cel showed misfire on all cylinders. Spark plug wires wouldn't come off. Finally got one off by ripping the bottom of the boot, which had melted around the plug. Chipped and blew crap out of the plug hole, removed plug which looked good. Reinstalled the plug, but when I tried to install an old wire I had lying around on it with the engine running (I know, stupid) the engine suddenly quit. Coil tested below specs, replaced with used but good coil but haven't tried to start it yet. Now when I turn the key on, there is a "woodpecker" sound coming from behind the glove box. OBD won't connect (it did before). Also, battery voltage reads 14.2; it read 13.2 three days ago and car hasn't run since ???
Its going to be a bitch getting those other three wires off their plugs, but I guess I'm going to have to try.
Anybody have any idea what's going on? Fried ECU? No signs of head gasket leaking yet (knock on wood). I'd appreciate any advice.
Thanks for reading.
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Old 05-15-2015   #2  
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Re: "Woodpecker sound" from behind glove box

a real woodpecker?

Since you have a question, and not an useful DIY article, i am moving your thread out of the DIY article section.
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Old 05-15-2015   #3  
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Re: "Woodpecker sound" from behind glove box

Oops, sorry.
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Old 05-16-2015   #4  
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Re: "Woodpecker sound" from behind glove box

I don't think I've ever noticed a car make this sound




LOL
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Old 05-16-2015   #5  
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Re: "Woodpecker sound" from behind glove box

Sorry. Just realized you said you have a 98, I was thinking 7th gen for some reason. This might not apply then because I'm sure where the ECM is in the car but worth a look to see if something similar happens.

there's relays right behind the dash that click when you turn the car on. my guess is they are clicking super fast so it could sound like a wood pecker. I'd take the glove box out and make sure that's what's producing the sound. But if the OBD won't connect then the ECM could possibly be burned out. Usually if the ECM is burned out the car will still start, it just runs like crap. My guess is you blew fuse for the ECM or something. I'd try searching in the forum for that. I don't have any experience with it so I'm not sure where to look in the car but I've seen it in other threads around here.

Last edited by drhawkinz; 05-16-2015 at 09:26 AM.
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Old 05-16-2015   #6  
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Re: "Woodpecker sound" from behind glove box

That was my first thought, but it almost sounds too loud for a relay, unless it is a large one. It sounds like a rapid rapping noise. The starter works but I haven't connected the wires to the distributor yet. I'm waiting to get the spark plug wire problems resolved so I don't do any more damage to the ignition system. If I find a reasonably priced ecu (new on ebay or used) will it need to be reprogrammed by a dealer?
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Old 05-16-2015   #7  
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Re: "Woodpecker sound" from behind glove box

What all got replaced after it overheated? Thermostat?


You really need to put hands and eyes on whatever is making the noise... You are making an awful expensive guess, while it probably needs a lot of money thrown in other places right now.
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Old 05-16-2015   #8  
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Re: "Woodpecker sound" from behind glove box

Its been a series of problems:

Cooling
Replaced radiator fan switch (this was probably the original cause of overheating since the switch was bad)
Temp sensor (temp gauge was jumping around but this could have been caused by air in the system since the radiator was emptier that I thought).
Radiator cap
Did not replace the thermostat (upper hose was hot, but I did not check the lower hose)

Ignition
Coil
Distributor cap

The noise seems to be coming from behind the foam filter behind the glove compartment (looks like a cabin air filter but seems like it would be hard to get to to change). Its not coming from under the hood.

Funny as it sounds, the best way to describe it is like a woodpecker. (not Woody, a real one)
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Old 05-16-2015   #9  
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Re: "Woodpecker sound" from behind glove box

Locate the PGMFI main relay, see if that is where the noise comes from
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Old 05-16-2015   #10  
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Re: "Woodpecker sound" from behind glove box

From what I have heard, the PGMFI is under the drivers side so it couldn't be that could it? There is a complicated blower housing setup under there that looks like a pain to remove but I will try. Haynes doesn't give much help.
Is there any way to test those melted plug wires to see if they are shorted? Like continuity to ground maybe?
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Old 05-16-2015   #11  
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Re: "Woodpecker sound" from behind glove box

Quote:
Originally Posted by danace99 View Post
From what I have heard, the PGMFI is under the drivers side so it couldn't be that could it?
According to my info, that would be wrong. See this pic





Quote:
There is a complicated blower housing setup under there that looks like a pain to remove but I will try. Haynes doesn't give much help.
Don't touch the blower housing at all. See the pic above.

See if your Haynes can show how to reach this relay.
Nevermind..... Open up the glovebox all the way and you should be able to see the relay easily.

NOTE: If this main relay is what is clicking, it's usually not caused by the relay. Something else is causing to to do this (PCM fault or bad grounds on the thermostat housing being the two most likely causes). Some direct testing would be in order to figure out a correct direction to go with it.


Quote:
Is there any way to test those melted plug wires to see if they are shorted?
Replace them if they have melted.

NOTE: If it got hot enough to melt the plug wires, it probably got hot enough to blow the head gasket and warp the head.


HTH
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Old 05-16-2015   #12  
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Re: "Woodpecker sound" from behind glove box

OK, I see it now, and that's where the noise is coming from; I could feel it.
I'll check the ground and see what other tests I can come up with. At least it should be a lot easier to get to than the ones on the drivers side. Thanks, and I'll let you know how things are progressing.
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Old 05-16-2015   #13  
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Re: "Woodpecker sound" from behind glove box

Got a wiring diagram for this unit?

Got a voltmeter? Know how to use it?
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Old 05-16-2015   #14  
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Re: "Woodpecker sound" from behind glove box

I have a voltmeter and the Haynes wiring diagrams. I will try to work my way through it tomorrow. Thanks.
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Old 05-16-2015   #15  
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Re: "Woodpecker sound" from behind glove box

Connect neg meter lead to battery (or chassis) ground.

At the main relay, monitor the #3 black wire voltage, it is supposed to stay at 0v (ground from the thermostat connection). If it is fluctuating by several volts, go find those ground wires and clean the connections up.


Otherwise, see which of the relay wire(s) have fluctuating voltage while it is clicking.
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Old 05-17-2015   #16  
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Re: "Woodpecker sound" from behind glove box

The woodpecker has flown. The black wire was reading erratic, and the ground next to thermostat was loose. Tightened it and the relay is not hammering anymore. An easy fix thanx to EZone. Appreciate the picture and the advice, and the Woody Woodpecker cartoon (I haven't seen one of those in ages).
Now on to the ignition problem and digging out those plugs. Still keeping my fingers crossed on the head gasket.
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Old 05-17-2015   #17  
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Re: "Woodpecker sound" from behind glove box

Quote:
Originally Posted by danace99 View Post
The woodpecker has flown. The black wire was reading erratic, and the ground next to thermostat was loose. Tightened it and the relay is not hammering anymore. An easy fix thanx to EZone. Appreciate the picture and the advice, and the Woody Woodpecker cartoon (I haven't seen one of those in ages).
Now on to the ignition problem and digging out those plugs. Still keeping my fingers crossed on the head gasket.
Yay!

Now....How did the ground bolt get loose? Maybe when the fan switch got replaced?
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Old 05-17-2015   #18  
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Re: "Woodpecker sound" from behind glove box

Could be. The radiator fan switch needed an unusual socket that I didn't have so I had to mess around with it some. That might also have had something to do with the ignition problem. I'm still going to try and replace the plug wires though. Thanks again.
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Old 05-17-2015   #19  
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Re: "Woodpecker sound" from behind glove box

Replaced plugs, wires, and started her up. Runs great, no missing at all. However I'm not sure about the cooling problem. Car took a while to warm up, heater didn't blow hot at first but blew hot air later. Temp gauge stayed just below midpoint for a while, then slowly climbed to 3/4. Radiator fan finally came on a couple of times, but just for a few seconds, which brought the temp down a little. Steam and condensate coming out radiator cap even though temp gauge is not reading all that hot; I'm embarassed to say I don't know if this is normal or not. Top and bottom radiator hoses are hot. Could it be air in the system? Thermostat? Or could it have something to do with the head gasket? No smoke out the tailpipe or bubbles.
I'm not ready to turn it back over to my daughter yet. I'm going to check out some coolant problem posts and see what other people are doing.
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Old 05-17-2015   #20  
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Re: "Woodpecker sound" from behind glove box

3/4 seems high, but it depends on if it always went that high before. They can vary from car to car..

Did you refill the radiator and reservoir? Did you run it, burp it, and recheck a few times, make sure it stays full?

Any liquid spilled on the radiator will steam off when the radiator heats up.


You may want to drive it a few days yourself to see if it will live, check fluids daily.
I wouldn't give it back until you are certain it will live.
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Old 05-18-2015   #21  
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Re: "Woodpecker sound" from behind glove box

Well, things are not looking good on the coolant front. After filling I let it run for an hour with the cap off and parked on an incline with front high per SDAIDOJI's advice and it's still spitting air and coolant. This may be wishful thinking but it seems like the bubbles are too big to be due to head gasket, (not like the small bubbles in EZONE's video), unless it's a humongous leak. At idle just a few bubbles but if I rev the engine it spits out a geyser of coolant. I know the system is supposed to be under pressure but my new Chinese radiator cap can't handle it. The temp gauge stays at or just below midpoint and the radiator fan kicks in occasionally like it should but obviously it will eventually run hot if it keeps puking coolant.
All that air (or gas) has to be coming from somewhere so it must be the HG I guess. Would a OE radiator cap keep the coolant in?
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Old 05-18-2015   #22  
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Re: "Woodpecker sound" from behind glove box

Quote:
Originally Posted by danace99 View Post
EZONE's video
I did not make that video, someone else here did.
I just linked to it a few times.
Quote:

unless it's a humongous leak. At idle just a few bubbles but if I rev the engine it spits out a geyser of coolant.
That's huge.

Quote:
I know the system is supposed to be under pressure but my new Chinese radiator cap can't handle it.
The Chinese cap is not the problem here. The head gasket breach is.




Pull the cylinder head off.
Plan on a warped head, machine shop fees, and new gaskets.
Might plan on replacing the rings too.
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Old 06-02-2015   #23  
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Re: "Woodpecker sound" from behind glove box

My daughters '98 EX overheated (leaking hose under distributor) and she didn't even know how long she was driving it on the highway for before she realized the temp gauge reading hot. Replaced hose, refilled, burped and for about 5 days straight had to keep adding 50/50 antifreeze. Also, noticed larger bubbles in radiator . Did head gasket test and it confirmed a head gasket leak.. shop charged $20.

Currently, getting it all back together and Ezone has provided some very useful info. If it is indeed a blown head gasket and you want to repair yourself I can post an OEM parts list for you and perhaps some experience I recently gained.

Head gasket tester:
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Old 06-28-2015   #24  
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Re: "Woodpecker sound" from behind glove box

Thanks. There was so much gas coming out the radiator it was no doubt it was the head gasket. I got it replaced for a reasonable (relatively) cost including a used head to replace my cracked one.
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