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Engine Shut off and Start Issues 98' Civic

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Old 09-09-2015
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Exclamation Engine Shut off and Start Issues 98' Civic

Hi Guys, I have a Honda Civic LX 98' Sedan automatic 187k

I was told I'm an idiot for buying a car from a smog technician. Lesson Learned.
-6 months ago the car started shutting off while I'm driving it and at lights (had to wait a while and turned back on). I put engine cleaner in while I pumped tank about 4 times, and was told to pump 91 from then on (from a car mechanic friend)
-For the next 2-4 months it also had rpm would fluctuate like it wanted to die but then I would gas it hard and get it running again, this would happen while driving anywhere, freeway and residential.
-Last week it has ALSO on some days been shutting off right after starting it but doesn't shut off completely you can hear the engine trying to make connections.

I took it to mechanic one #1- claimed key ignition issue wanted 300$
mechanic #2- had car for 3 days 6 months ago took these notes:
1- Tank side evap code 11456
2- Spark can be your ignition coil or ignitor
3- Fuel PGM- FI main relay - controls fuel pump
#2 also proved there was nothing wrong with the key while driving it and turning on and off.

Im a grad student so I try to keep it maintained, high milage oil changes and check ups. The issue happens randomly and each mechanic is trying to duplicate to no avail. I am thinking now it would duplicate some issues if they drove it for 2-3 days since its been months since my last mechanic visit. but it never had the issue where I could start it at all that day. so now i really need to fix it to make it to my classes. As a female I just dont know who to trust and mechanic #2 was from Craigslist and doesn't respond to me anymore (not sure why). I am in San Jose , CA. Thanks guys, I would buy you a beer if I could!

Whats a car in this condition worth to sell? I paid 2,700.
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Re: Engine Shut off and Start Issues 98' Civic

1) The CEL is on and s code reader shows code P1456 ? http://engine-codes.com/p1456_honda.html If, that is correct start by getting a new OEM gas cap.

2) The symptoms you described point to a a possible weak/failing distributor and most likely the coil and/or ignitor within the distributor. Could be distributor cap or rotor issue as well as possible oil leaking into distributor through a bad Inner O-ring (there's two O-rings).
Spark condition ..read and watch some from this: https://www.google.com/search?q=Tank...agnosing+spark

3) Fuel pump diagnosis: https://www.google.com/search?q=Tank...pump+diagnosis

I haven't encountered an ignition key issue before so, I cannot comment. It is however, a known issue with 6th gens . The more you research and the more repairs you do yourself the better off you will be. Make sure the air filter is clean to help rule out the three necessities: spark, fuel, air. Good idea to clean the throttle body and IACV as well and it's free. Change out the PCV valve as well if not done in last two oil changes.. not the issue.. but good maintenance.

Craigslist mechanics may be sketchy as they may have criminal records or no certifications of any sort. Not saying that they may not be good. However, if they break or mess up your engine or other repair and makes thing worse..do you think they will pay for it? lol.. not going to happen.
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Re: Engine Shut off and Start Issues 98' Civic

Originally Posted by turd_ferguson View Post
1) The CEL is on and s code reader shows code P1456 ? http://engine-codes.com/p1456_honda.html If, that is correct start by getting a new OEM gas cap.

2) The symptoms you described point to a a possible weak/failing distributor and most likely the coil and/or ignitor within the distributor. Could be distributor cap or rotor issue as well as possible oil leaking into distributor through a bad Inner O-ring (there's two O-rings).
Spark condition ..read and watch some from this: https://www.google.com/search?q=Tank...agnosing+spark

3) Fuel pump diagnosis: https://www.google.com/search?q=Tank...pump+diagnosis

I haven't encountered an ignition key issue before so, I cannot comment. It is however, a known issue with 6th gens . The more you research and the more repairs you do yourself the better off you will be. Make sure the air filter is clean to help rule out the three necessities: spark, fuel, air. Good idea to clean the throttle body and IACV as well and it's free. Change out the PCV valve as well if not done in last two oil changes.. not the issue.. but good maintenance.

Craigslist mechanics may be sketchy as they may have criminal records or no certifications of any sort. Not saying that they may not be good. However, if they break or mess up your engine or other repair and makes thing worse..do you think they will pay for it? lol.. not going to happen.
Oh okay yeah i replaced the gas cap. I think ill take it to a mechanic with all this information, because then it will sound like i know wtf im talking about. Lets hope I dont get jipped. I think it may be possible that the first mechanic said ignitor intead of ignition key. he has a thick indian accent and i had trouble understanding him. he just sounded like he was messing with me cuz he called me back "there is a third part that i didnt see and it will be 100 more" like theres three parts to the ignitor? If anyone can refer me to a good mechanic in SJ, CA i would highly appreciate it!
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Re: Engine Shut off and Start Issues 98' Civic

Originally Posted by deanaZoom View Post
If anyone can refer me to a good mechanic in SJ, CA i would highly appreciate it!
Call around your area and ask mechanics if they have experience working on older Honda's. Ask them for their hourly rate. Most mechanics labor charge go by their hourly rate times (X) the FSM, Chilton or whatever book used that list the projected time (hours, minutes) of repair ..plus part(s) cost. I like independent shops that have been in business at least a few years. will let customers bring in their own parts, and will give discounts for cash payments. Good luck and please report back with results.
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Old 09-10-2015
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Re: Engine Shut off and Start Issues 98' Civic

Most won't be able to do much unless the car actually screws up while they have it, and it has to stay screwed up long enough to actually diagnose something before the failure disappears.

We could fire the parts cannon at the car, load it up with all the common stuff that might make one randomly stall....but that also gets expensive.

The first things I thought of as far as random stalling would be...
Ignition switch (electrical section)
Igniter
Main relay

But when any of these items fail randomly and intermittently, it is normally far more frequent than once every 6 months.



The EVAP code P1456 makes me think someone should check that the purge solenoid is not stuck open, that might cause bad running and stalling.


HTH
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Old 09-15-2015
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Re: Engine Shut off and Start Issues 98' Civic

So I dropped the car off here: http://www.yelp.com/biz/acura-honda-...t_by=date_desc

Dave had the car for two days and said "I am sorry Deana, we found nothing, we had the fuel gage on it overnight we dont know whats wrong".

How is it possible that I cannot get a 5 star honda mech to tell me how to fix this car? I feel like im living through a rick and morty episode.

He asked 120$ for diagnosis. I dont wana pay that with a "maybe its this or maybe its that",

where should I start with this car? Theres got to be a way to test the parts that are faulty for faulty-ness, are they just not being thorough? the RPM is jumpy every time i drive the car, that is not an intermittent problem, the car wants to shut off while i drive it. It turns off on idle couple times a week and gets back on. It didnt turn on 3 weeks ago on a cold engine, and my brother told me to test each spark plug next time it does it. Dont they have tools to test each plug?
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Old 09-15-2015
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Re: Engine Shut off and Start Issues 98' Civic

We aren't psychic.
It has to be broken before anyone will figure out what's wrong.


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Old 09-16-2015
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Re: Engine Shut off and Start Issues 98' Civic

I asked the mechanic to drive it today, he finally duplicated the issue with the rpms jumping. He wants to change : Distributor housing, igniter, coil, cap and rotor, and main relay. He is asking for 1200$ (thats a lot for me right now considering I have a 500$ budget to repair this car). Can you guys give me the pricing of these parts?
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Re: Engine Shut off and Start Issues 98' Civic

Originally Posted by deanaZoom View Post
I asked the mechanic to drive it today, he finally duplicated the issue with the rpms jumping. He wants to change : Distributor housing, igniter, coil, cap and rotor, and main relay. He is asking for 1200$ (thats a lot for me right now considering I have a 500$ budget to repair this car). Can you guys give me the pricing of these parts?
I don't post here a lot, read a lot of the posts though But.. I had to jump in here.. $1200 is ridiculous. Even for California where things seem to always be more expensive. A new distributor from collegehillshondaparts.com (a Honda dealer who is online with lower prices, they're in Ohio), was only around $430, and that includes the housing, the igniter, cap, and rotor! The main relay was only $55! Even with shipping that's a lot less than $1200. And neither of these takes 10 hours (at $120/hour labor) to install! I put my distributor in, set the timing in about 30 minutes. A main relay just unclips and clips in!

The other problem I have here is that the guy is just guessing by throwing parts at it. The distributor sensors (built into the housing) can be tested, plus the igniter (inside the distributor) can also be tested.

I don't think this guy is doing a good job of testing it by guessing. Too bad I don't live closer I'd test it out for free! (I'm in michigan, and the private jet is in the shop, sorry.. lol)

also here is a link to the pdf version of the real Honda service manual, on page, it shows how to test out the distributor and components. I say this so that you can have the knowledge of what you're talking about. That way you're not at the mercy of someone you may/may not trust.

here's the link to the google docs download (it's about 71megs in size, 1400pages!)
https://docs.google.com/uc?export=do...c0NTY0MzZmMzMz

also here is the link to the thread where I found it (my copy as well)
http://www.clubcivic.com/forum/threa...anyone.176563/

My internet connection has problems tonight so I wasn't able to download the pdf (taking too long, very slow tonite).. I'll update this with the page number later.. I'd almost recommend another tech/mechanic than this guy you're dealing with. I've had those yelp reviews before say that a Honda repair shop was the best thing ever, but when I got there, they knew nothing.. I think there have been many fake yelp reviews lately. If Yelp hates it, it's probably fine!

EDIT: part numbers from collegehillshondaparts.com for a 98 Civic Sedan, automatic trans..
RELAY ASSY., MAIN (MITSUBA) Part Number: 39400-S10-003 $55.42

DISTRIBUTOR ASSY. (TD-80U) (TEC) Part Number: 30100-P2E-A02 $428.53
DISTRIBUTOR ASSY. (TD-98U) (TEC) Part Number: 30100-P2F-A01 $407.63

You'd have to contact collegehills with your VIN # to make sure which distributor you have. looks like two different versions were used in 98. And yes I would get the Honda distributor! I can't get that on mine, and went through A LOT of aftermarket junk, until I was lucky to find one what met the specifications and works!

Last edited by oneheadlight; 09-16-2015 at 06:58 PM.
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Old 09-16-2015
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Re: Engine Shut off and Start Issues 98' Civic

Yeah I was guessing its a rip. He said : Coil: 140, ignitor: 290, dist. housing: 360. cap and rotor: 75. ignition wires: 90. main relay: 80. labor 177 plus 59 diagnosis.

I do have another mechanic, #2 from the original post who will be free in two weeks. But yeah i dont know if hes done thorough testing if he wants all these parts. Im def getting my car back tomorrow.
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Re: Engine Shut off and Start Issues 98' Civic

Originally Posted by deanaZoom View Post
Yeah I was guessing its a rip. He said : Coil: 140, ignitor: 290, dist. housing: 360. cap and rotor: 75. ignition wires: 90. main relay: 80. labor 177 plus 59 diagnosis.

I do have another mechanic, #2 from the original post who will be free in two weeks. But yeah i dont know if hes done thorough testing if he wants all these parts. Im def getting my car back tomorrow.
Wow.. what a rip. Hopefully the other mechanic/tech is free in two weeks to help you out. The ignition wires can be tested with a multimeter as well! But $90 for wires? I know ezone (he's a Honda tech) would say to get Honda wires.. But I have NGK wires I got from rockauto.com and they're perfect. I think NGK wires ($45) would be the only other wires I'd trust for the aftermarket. Everything else I would reject. So much junk out there lately.

Now my thoughts.. I think that your problem is in the distributor, most likely the igniter inside the unit is bad. Your car is actually right on time for the distributor to fail. I say that because two years ago my 1996 had it's distributor die and here yours is 2 years newer, two years later.. not bad for almost a 20 year old car! But have to have it tested to make sure!

EDIT: When I am able to download that service manual from the google docs link, I'll tell you what page to look at in the pdf. Then you could print up that and take it to the new mechanic, he'd have all the real Honda info/specs!
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Re: Engine Shut off and Start Issues 98' Civic

Ill make sure to ask the other mechanic to do a thorough test of the distributor. Thanks for your help!
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Re: Engine Shut off and Start Issues 98' Civic

the issue with the rpms jumping.
When it does this, does the tach needle indicate higher than actual engine RPM, or does it drop and show lower than actual?


If you hold the engine RPM at .....maybe a steady 3000 RPM, does the tach needle float around higher, unsteady, along with poor running?
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Re: Engine Shut off and Start Issues 98' Civic

its dropping, and the car is not steady its like the engine wants to die and becomes jumpy, if I dont gas it it would shut off for sure.
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Re: Engine Shut off and Start Issues 98' Civic

I know ezone (he's a Honda tech) would say to get Honda wires..
Not necessarily, but the factory installed wires gave very few problems.

NGK is a good brand.
Mazda used to supply NGK blues as standard replacement sets when I was at that dealer.
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Re: Engine Shut off and Start Issues 98' Civic

Originally Posted by deanaZoom View Post
Ill make sure to ask the other mechanic to do a thorough test of the distributor. Thanks for your help!
and please download the service manual. Printing up the correct pages would help the technician/mechanic be able to know exactly the specs the parts should be AND how to test them correctly! They wouldn't know what the specs are off hand. I will get you the page numbers so you can print that up, and save you the time by getting it tested correctly.

I jumped in on this post without really reading the first one, sorry! Got excited!

The evaporative code that was showing that the #2 mechanic was diagnosing. now that I look at the hand written note I would say #2 mechanic is diagnosing everything correctly! And I know you want to sell the car, but if that's all that's wrong with it, fixing these things will keep it running. Parts are 20 years old, and they don't last forever. Like I was saying earlier I just went through all this with my 96.

and ezone is full of good knowledge! He has helped me before, and thanks ezone! He can definitely help, but sorry he is not psychic.. too bad!
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Re: Engine Shut off and Start Issues 98' Civic

Originally Posted by ezone View Post
Not necessarily, but the factory installed wires gave very few problems.

NGK is a good brand.
Mazda used to supply NGK blues as standard replacement sets when I was at that dealer.
Thanks for clearing that up. You're right the original Honda wires I had never failed, never had a problem. Until they were about 20 years old and began to deteriorate. Put the NGK blue wires in, and all is well again. And yep I tested the Honda ones with a multimeter set to ohms. The spec was going very very high. Not too bad for two decades of use!
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Re: Engine Shut off and Start Issues 98' Civic

I don't want to sell it really, but I was loosing hope when the mechanics say "i dont have a diagnosis" but you can try to fix it by replacing part A, B, and C. Mech #2 said its way too early in the problem to tell whats wrong with it and that he did not want me to replace a bunch of parts but wait until the problem became more persistent. I only went to a new mechanic because he wasnt responding and I thought he maybe stopped working considering its his side business. He recently responded saying he will be free in two weeks. So I will patiently wait. What can I ask the new mechanic in regards to getting details about his tests on the distributor and wires?
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Re: Engine Shut off and Start Issues 98' Civic

Originally Posted by deanaZoom View Post
its dropping, and the car is not steady its like the engine wants to die and becomes jumpy, if I dont gas it it would shut off for sure.

................... .... ......... ....

Does it run OK while the engine is cold (maybe first 5ish minutes or so), then this tach jumping and trying to die gets worse after the engine has warmed up?
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Re: Engine Shut off and Start Issues 98' Civic

That mechanic sounds likely an azzhole who likes to take advantage of people. maybe he writes his own reviews?..Lol. As oneheadlight said the distributor's ignitor and ignition coil can be tested. Mechanic #2 seems to care about your situation.

Another resource you may want to try is Honda Tech (forum site). They have a lot of members and if you post there what you have posted here.. one or more of them may live in your area and may be willing to help you directly or refer you to a good shop,

Another option is to call around auto salvage yards that pull parts for customers and find a used distributor with a 30-day or more return policy. You night even find a junkyard that will install it for you (for a fee) to try it out.
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Re: Engine Shut off and Start Issues 98' Civic

the jumping happens after it gets warm- yes. USUALLY the car runs normal in the first five minutes. but sometimes it will stop running (like once a week but will get back on in a few min). The newest issue was when it stopped running after a minute but didn't completely shut off, just kept trying to connect, like a spark plug was bad or something.
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Re: Engine Shut off and Start Issues 98' Civic

Originally Posted by deanaZoom View Post
I don't want to sell it really, but I was loosing hope when the mechanics say "i dont have a diagnosis" but you can try to fix it by replacing part A, B, and C. Mech #2 said its way too early in the problem to tell whats wrong with it and that he did not want me to replace a bunch of parts but wait until the problem became more persistent. I only went to a new mechanic because he wasnt responding and I thought he maybe stopped working considering its his side business. He recently responded saying he will be free in two weeks. So I will patiently wait. What can I ask the new mechanic in regards to getting details about his tests on the distributor and wires?
Once I'm able to download that service manual, I'll know what page to tell you to go to, then you can ask the mechanic to test out the components and see if it matches the specifications. If not, you know the part is the bad and part of the problem. And you're welcome for the help (from your previous post).

This should NOT be difficult to correct, nor should it be costing half the value of the car. Honda-tech forums would be a nice place to start, but you could get someone who's just trying to flirt with a girl, get a date, lol.. Ya never know! But honda-tech is a decent resource, sometimes you have to weed through the people who have a lot of attitude. I like ezone here on this forum because he's willing to listen and be patient..
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Re: Engine Shut off and Start Issues 98' Civic

Originally Posted by turd_ferguson View Post
That mechanic sounds likely an azzhole who likes to take advantage of people. maybe he writes his own reviews?..Lol. As oneheadlight said the distributor's ignitor and ignition coil can be tested. Mechanic #2 seems to care about your situation.

Another resource you may want to try is Honda Tech (forum site). They have a lot of members and if you post there what you have posted here.. one or more of them may live in your area and may be willing to help you directly or refer you to a good shop,

Another option is to call around auto salvage yards that pull parts for customers and find a used distributor with a 30-day or more return policy. You night even find a junkyard that will install it for you (for a fee) to try it out.
hey ferguson.. I agree, I am thinking he's either writing his own reviews or paying a marketing company to do it for him. His reviews sound exactly like a place in ann arbor michigan who had highly rated yelp reviews, but they knew nothing of Hondas. yet were claiming to be honda experts. yelp is a place I stay away from after seeing so many false reviews.

And if she could find someone over at honda-tech that is decent and knows what they're doing, then sure I'm all for it.. someone who could test it out. Replacing a distributor and setting the timing, is not difficult on this engine at all. Ridiculously easy. I think an oil change would take more time!

ps. aren't you jimi over on that forum? I wondered about that (side comment here, not to get off topic)
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Re: Engine Shut off and Start Issues 98' Civic

Originally Posted by deanaZoom View Post
. What can I ask the new mechanic in regards to getting details about his tests on the distributor and wires?
Okay finally downloaded the service manual. I found a different link, the google docs link was wayyy too slow. Here's the link, download that, unzip the file, open the pdf and go to page 299 and pages 1188-1193 (gave it all in case you wanted to read plus more info for mechanic). The distributor your engine has is the TEC distributor since you have an LX, not an EX (different engine in that car).

http://downloads.hondatech.info/Auto...e%20Manual.zip

Now you can finally get some info and some real data to know what's going on. Tell the mechanic to look at page 299, and page 1193, perform the tests on the distributor, ignition coil and the plug wires. Then see what he comes up with as defective.
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Old 09-16-2015
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Re: Engine Shut off and Start Issues 98' Civic

http://honda-tech.com/honda-civic-de...civic-3258999/

Let's see what advice they have!

I will def print out the manual and specs to take to mech #2. :virtual high fives:
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Talking Re: Engine Shut off and Start Issues 98' Civic

Originally Posted by deanaZoom View Post
http://honda-tech.com/honda-civic-de...civic-3258999/

Let's see what advice they have!

I will def print out the manual and specs to take to mech #2. :virtual high fives:
good deal! more info is always better.. and glad I could get the service manual to you! keep us posted, I'm interested to hear what the mechanic finds and get your car fixed for once!
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Re: Engine Shut off and Start Issues 98' Civic

I wonder if it already has a cheapo aftermarket reman distributor in it.

Kinda sounds like it could have a failing igniter, or the wire connections to the igniter are either loose or someone missed the plug.

Hard to tell over the 'net though. Everything is guesswork if none of us get to see it in person.
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Re: Engine Shut off and Start Issues 98' Civic

Originally Posted by oneheadlight View Post

Honda-tech forums would be a nice place to start, but you could get someone who's just trying to flirt with a girl, get a date, lol.. Ya never know! But honda-tech is a decent resource, sometimes you have to weed through the people who have a lot of attitude. I like ezone here on this forum because he's willing to listen and be patient..
Agreed. HT has a few long time, knowledgeable members that are helpful. However, there's also a few turds (not this turd) there that like to get lippy. Both sites are for the betterment of Honda owners. I second your opinion on Ezone..he's a one-man resource. Seems like HT has a lot of members that live in California.

Last edited by HR Puffinblunts; 09-16-2015 at 09:31 PM.
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Re: Engine Shut off and Start Issues 98' Civic

I will ask tomorrow and take a pic of it.
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Re: Engine Shut off and Start Issues 98' Civic

Originally Posted by deanaZoom View Post
I will ask tomorrow and take a pic of it.
I also forgot to tell you some more pages to print up from the service manual..

on pages 346-348, testing for the main relay
on pages 374-378, testing for trouble code P1456, emission EVAP leak.

and the previous page 299, pages 1188-1193 (page 1192 is to test out the ignitor aka the ICM (ignition control module).

Just thought I'd add some more info to help you prepare for the next mechanic.
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