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  #1  
Old 06-12-2011, 09:33 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: So Cal
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Unhappy blown head gasket & faulty O2 sensor?

Hi,
a honda service dealer technician told me that i "have a blown head gasket," which would cost at least $800 to fix, when i took my car in to have the "check engine" light tested. the "check engine" light only came back with one code: that my O2 sensor is faulty. my car has overheated several times in the past year, but as long as i put 50/50 coolant in my car every 4 to 6 weeks, it doesn't overheat. the last time smoke came out of my engine was a year ago. and the last time my thermostat went above normal was two months ago, driving 2.5 hours from the desert, through a few hilly areas. the "check engine" light remained on, but i made it to my destination, but i took it to Honda the next day. that is when they said that i have "a blown head gasket and a faulty O2 sensor." but again, they said the only code that showed on the check engine light was a faulty O2 sensor. nothing regarding a blown head gasket showed via the check engine light. i asked them how they knew that the head gasket was blown and they responded: "by visual inspection." upon further questioning, one technician said "it was a small tear in the head gasket." i really didn't know what a head gasket was, but upon further research, i don't know how a head gasket could have a tear when it looks like it's made of metal. they made it sound like it was a radiator hose or something. also, reading more on this civic forum, it sounds to me like the main symptoms of a blown head gasket are the following: white exhaust coming out of the tailpipe, a mayonnaise type of stuff under the radiator cap (i think), perhaps oil in the coolant, or coolant in the oil. anyways, i don't know. that is just what i read. however, i have never had white exhaust coming out of my muffler; i have never seen a mayo type of stuff under the radiator cap; i have never seen oil in the coolant; and i have never seen coolant in my oil. i have even had two friends, who know more about cars than i do, verify this. so why would honda say that my '99 civic ex has a blown head gasket? (BTW, it has 197K miles on it).
on another note, the throttle has been getting stiffer and stiffer over the past year. finally, six months ago, or so, driving my car with a stiff/stiffer gas pedal started to give my right foot and ankle daily pain. i took my car into one independent mechanic and to two honda dealers and supposedly a throttle body service was done, and the second time, they loosened some cable, or something, connected to the throttle. however, according to the top manager at the second honda dealer i took it to, there was/is nothing more they can do to make the throttle lighter for me to drive. my friend drove my car and it's totally fine to him, but he doesn't have foot or ankle problems, he's a man, and he's much stronger than i am. but now that i have foot and ankle problems, from driving my car daily with a stiffer throttle, for almost a year, it's a problem for me. thus, i have thought very seriously about selling my car, in spite of the good condition it's still in (at 197K), and in spite of all the maintenance and money i have put into it since owning it (2nd owner - having bought it at 127K). i have searched craigslist, etc., but most folks want more money than i can afford right now, and prices for civics have seriously gone up since i bought mine over four years ago (probably due to the semi-recent spike in gas prices, as well as tax refunds). anyhow, i don't want to sell my car, but i fear that if i continue to drive my car with the throttle as it is, that my foot/ankle will either get worse over time, or it will turn into a life-long/long-term injury (i tend to get injured very easily and don't heal well, due to my experience with prior injuries i have sustained).
on another note, i got my car smogged march 22 for my car reg. due april 18. thus, i only have 9 days or so to sell my car with a good smog cert. (i have read that smog certs are good for 90 days.) honda told me that with the faulty O2 sensor, my car won't pass smog again, so i guess, if it can't pass smog, i would not be able to sell my car, which is currently valued around $3,000 on kbb.com. thus, it's "down to the wire," guys: if the O2 sensor and 90-day smog certificate which i currently have is of concern, and it won't pass smog again (the check engine light went off a few days after it turned on, by itself), maybe i should sell it. and as i said, i want a car with a lighter throttle, or at least i want to be able to make my current throttle lighter for me to drive. my friend has a newer honda accord and his gas pedal is lighter than mine, which i noticed upon him allowing me to test-drive it. (but my sister's new Mercedes' throttle is twice as hard as my civic's throttle; but as i said, it seems i get injured more easily than many other people.)
so, basically, in a nutshell, here are my current issues regarding my 1999 Honda Civic EX Coupe: 1.) how does honda know i have a blown head gasket if they have not removed part of the engine to look at it?; 2.) would my car pass smog again, being that the check engine light showed a faulty O2 sensor a couple months ago, but the check engine light went off, by itself, a few days later?; 3.) does anyone know how to lighten the throttle, in spite of Honda saying they have done a throttle body service and have loosened the cable and that "that is all they can do to attempt to lighten the throttle?"; 4.) i don't want to sell my car because i don't have the money to buy a newer one right now (i've been unemployed for over 21 months), as well as my car runs/drives better than other hondas i have test-driven which have tens of thousands of fewer miles on it than my car, yet they want $3,000 to $4,000 more than i could get for my car, per Kelly Blue Book.
i'm very frustrated. but as i said, i'm "down to the wire," especially with regards to my current smog cert. expiring in 9 days or so, and i know i need a current smog cert to sell my car and honda tells me that my car won't pass smog now due to the "faulty O2 sensor."
any advice anyone could offer would be MUCH appreciated.
thank you,
julie

Last edited by jstirn; 06-12-2011 at 09:41 PM.
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  #2  
Old 06-12-2011, 10:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jstirn View Post
so, basically, in a nutshell, here are my current issues regarding my 1999 Honda Civic EX Coupe: 1.) how does honda know i have a blown head gasket if they have not removed part of the engine to look at it?; 2.) would my car pass smog again, being that the check engine light showed a faulty O2 sensor a couple months ago, but the check engine light went off, by itself, a few days later?; 3.) does anyone know how to lighten the throttle, in spite of Honda saying they have done a throttle body service and have loosened the cable and that "that is all they can do to attempt to lighten the throttle?"
julie
Yeah you wont pass smog emmisions if your Check Engine light is on.
You can go over to an Autozone near you and ask them to check what code its giving you (for free). If it is a faulty O2 sensor then you can just replace that. You could save a few bucks by trying your luck by getting a used one from a junkyard, and hoping that it takes care of that.
once you change the o2 sensor, you can go back to autozone and have them clear the code, so that the Check Engine Light goes off.

As for the head gasket... do you notice any white smoke coming from the exhaust while your driving? Or does the engine overheat?
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  #3  
Old 06-13-2011, 03:51 AM
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Ok let's seeeeeee...

1.) how does honda know i have a blown head gasket if they have not removed part of the engine to look at it?
I have no idea..not unless they have some kind of machine that can look through a car's engine block & see the tears...but I don't know about that..I never took my civic to a Honda dealership.
2.) would my car pass smog again, being that the check engine light showed a faulty O2 sensor a couple months ago, but the check engine light went off, by itself, a few days later? It wouldn't pass...not unless you unscrew the bulb for the check engine light BUT if you think the problem will go away all because you screwed it..it won't. the Check Engine Light may have went off because it wasn't in the "right environment" it was when it came on before..like everything has to be just right(or wrong) for it to come on..if you keep driving it..it'll come back on so it's not gonna go away unless you fix the problem(the O2 Sensor..right?).
3.) does anyone know how to lighten the throttle, in spite of Honda saying they have done a throttle body service and have loosened the cable and that "that is all they can do to attempt to lighten the throttle?
Well...If you lighten the Cable then your acceleration won't be all that good....You push the pedal that pulls the cable that opens the Throttle that makes the car accelerate better. If the cable gets any looser, then the throttle won't open up as much therefore limiting your speed & acceleration.
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  #4  
Old 06-13-2011, 03:53 AM
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A slow leak in the head gasket won't cause white smoke or mixing of coolant and oil. It will just gradually consume or displace coolant until it overheats due to lack of coolant. That sounds like what you have. A simple but sometimes inconclusive test is to fill the cooling system completely then start the engine cold with the radiator cap off. If bubbles come out of the radiator when you rev it up they're usually from a leak in the head gasket.

It could just be leaking from an external leak though. Look very closely for coolant leaks. There are a bunch of hoses and pipes on the back of the engine that are best seen from underneath the car.

You may need a new throttle cable. It's about a $30 part and simple install. Some automatic versions have another cable to the transmission that might be causing problems too. There aren't many cars with lighter pedal action than the Civic.
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Old 06-13-2011, 06:07 AM
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@mecca, taking the bulb out wont do anything, since the car is OBDII. They hook up to the computer and it will automatically tell them that the check engine is on.

Maybe they did a leakdown test at the dealership? and they found out about the head gasket?
idk lol.
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  #6  
Old 06-19-2011, 12:55 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2011
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Unhappy Throttle Cables on automatic 99 civic coupe ex?

hi,
thank you to those who posted to my prior question on this forum.
i was talking to two friends of mine who know much more about cars than i do. one said that on an automatic civic there are two cables that link to the throttle? is this true? the honda dealer only mentioned something about loosening the spring to the throttle in an attempt to make it lighter. for those who know, are there one or two cables to a throttle in an automatic 1999 civic coupe ex, and if so, can these cables be loosened? if loosening one or both of these cables would give me a lighter (easier to press) throttle, i would be willing to do it, even if it meant a decrease in acceleration. personally, i don't drive my civic very fast anyways and i'm a right-lane driver, thus acceleration is not overly important to me. what is most important to me is keeping my car, as i can't afford another one right now, and in making the throttle lighter than it currently is, due to the "hardness" of the current throttle has given me foot and ankle pain, as i mentioned in my prior email.
an ex-mechanic friend of mine told me that most mechanics take advantage of women and gay men (he admitted this to me, being my friend, being an honest man now, being he used to be a mechanic, and being most of his family still are currently mechanics). even though i have gone to three honda dealers regarding my hard throttle, they have only mentioned that they have performed a throttle body service and loosening the spring. they never mentioned anything about any cables attaching to an automatic civic's throttle. my ex-mechanic friend suggested i take my car to a honda-certified independent mechanic (although, if most of them are as his family are, that won't help much, as they may just charge me, as i'm a woman, and then not perform any work).
anyhow, any further advice would be most appreciated as i really want/need to keep my 197k civic for financial reasons, but my foot just keeps getting worse and worse driving my car daily with the throttle being much harder than it was when i bought it at 127K.
and, note, to a prior post: i know that civics have one of the lightest throttles on any car. my car used to have a very light throttle, but as the miles piled up, or perhaps, necessary maintenance was not done, it is now quite a bit harder than the normal civic's throttle would be. even a honda dealer admitted that my throttle was much harder than a normal civic's throttle should be.
please advise, anyone, on how to proceed, now, and where to go, and how to spend as little money as possible, knowing i cannot do the work myself, but i have a couple friends that could do the work if the work could be done without putting my car up on a rack.
thanks!
julie
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  #7  
Old 06-19-2011, 01:38 PM
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If it really is harder to press (and not that your ankle condition has worsened), it would be possible to restore the original operation by replacing parts, probably the cable(s). It should not be necessary to modify anything.

The cable that goes to the automatic transmission tells the transmission whenever the gas pedal is pressed to the floor, causing it to drop to a lower gear for faster acceleration. That is not essential and it could be bypassed.
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Old 06-24-2011, 07:04 PM
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Default stiff throttle - cables?

hi,
thank you to the last post.
i wonder why 3 different honda dealers did not mention anything about the cables? i went to an independent mechanic today and he mentioned that perhaps he could "take out the cables and test them?" does that make any sense to those who know Civics? firstly, is it possible to take them out and test them? secondly, what do they test for, and upon receiving their "test results," what might they then do? thirdly, would this be a waste of time and money? i really cannot afford to waste money on work, such as the throttle body service, for $154 at honda, that did not make my throttle any lighter. and the cable work would probably be more expensive, i would think.
(Please note that i am unemployed, thus money is a concern, but i also want a lighter throttle as my right ankle and foot hurt all the time, but especially when i drive my car, since the throttle has gotten harder. my car runs quite well for having 197K on it and i need/want to keep my car as i cannot afford another car right now. but, my top concern regarding my car is the throttle, which has gotten stiffer in the past 7 or 8 months or so, thereby causing foot and ankle pain.)
any help would be much appreciated, as honda is not of much help and i don't want to pay some independent mechanic to "test the cables" if that won't help the problem.
thanks,
julie
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Old 06-24-2011, 07:04 PM
 
 
 
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bad, block, blown, check, civic, engien, faulty, gasket, head, honda, light, oxygen, pass, sensors, stiff throttle, test, throttle cable

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