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1997 Civic Electrical problem

Old 02-05-2013, 04:21 PM
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Default 1997 Civic Electrical problem

I've owned the car for 2 years. It has 220,000 miles. 2 door, black, Civic.

Five months ago, the engine warning light started coming on intermittently.
Also, the emergency brake light would come on, even though the brake was disengaged. It was obvious to me this was an electrical problem.

Then, the speedometer started going crazy. It would jump all around. About 10% of the time, it would show the correct speed. The odometer still followed the speedo. So I would be sitting still at a red light, the speedo would jump to 150MPH and the odometer would be visibly moving.

The shifter would also not shift correctly. About 1o% of the time, it wouldn't shift when it was suppose to, and it would rev much higher than it should before it shifted. Also, some times when I started from a standstill, it would shift up way too soon, so the car would feel sluggish until the revs got high enough.

I plugged in the tester and got a major error code, but I forgot the number and I don't have it handy (I'll put it in here when I get it). The car won't pass a state inspection with this error code coming up.

I am guessing I will need a new alternator/generator. I'm an electronics technician, so if all I have to do is replace a single resistor or capacitor somewhere, I can do that. I'm a good enough mechanic I can change the alternator on my own.

Thank you very much for any help you can provide. I'm happy to answer additional questions.


Old 02-05-2013, 05:36 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 10,023

First check the ground wires on the engine and frame. You can tell if the alternator is working by measuring the battery voltage at the battery with the engine running but everything else turned off (should be 13.5 to 14.5 volts).

The BRAKE light will come on if the brake fluid level is low.
Old 02-07-2013, 05:44 AM
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The brake fluid level is fine and always has been. The brake light comes on intermittently, and is the first thing to happen when the electrical system starts to act up.

The battery reads a solid 14.1 V when the car is running. The grounding lines look to be fine.
Old 02-07-2013, 11:40 PM
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Sounds like you need to get that major error code and post it.
Old 02-14-2013, 10:37 AM
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Sorry for the long delay.

I have gotten the following error codes:

p 0135
p 0501
p 1298
p 0141

there is a bunch more info within the error codes 501, 1298 and 135.

501 has:

CLNA 51.0

1298 has

and 135 has:
1 CL
2 n/a
calc load % 51.0
ECT (degrees F) 196
STFT B1 % 3.1
LTFT B 1% 3.9
MAP (INHG) 15.4
ENG RPM 1414
FUel sys
3 mph
1 AT degrees F
TPS % 16.1
Old 10-06-2017, 04:48 AM
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Default 1997 Honda Civic dies in route...

Hey guys,

New to the forum so this is the first post from me. I have a 97 civic ex that died on me heading to work.

Little back story on the car. Bought it with 217,xxx but has a 70,xxx motor in it. Still the 1.6 vtec sohc. Car ran great up until about a month ago.

Symptoms are as follows:

CEL saying bank 1 too lean and out of spec.

When in traffic, in low gear the car wants to buck and bog down until you start to give it some heavy gas. It only does it a few times, then itís fine.

And the the most recent was this morning....

the guy I bought from had HID lights in it. One went out so I decided to just put 2 normal 9003 bulbs back in. Ohhhh noooo. He cut the factory pigtail to wire in a 9006 plug. Long story short, I put two pigtails in and oem 9003 bulbs and it works great.

But the problem started last night. Anytime you hit the brake, the radio would cut off then back on. Turned the lights on and the same thing. Flick on the high beams... radio cuts off then comes back on. Cut on the air conditioner. The lights dim. Radio dies. Then itís fine.

Woke up up this morning and the car wonít do anything. Turn the switch on and you hear a rumbling close to the battery but nothing.

Im stuck as to what it could be.

Thanks for for any help guys!
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