Welcome to the DoItYourself Forums!

To post questions, help other DIYers and reduce advertising (like the one on your left), join our DIY community. It's free!

Engine Surging


McDann's Avatar
Visiting Guest

Posts: n/a

05-12-04, 04:11 PM   #1  
McDann
Engine Surging

I have an í88 Honda Accord LXi 2.0L fuel injection with a five speed manual transmission and it has roughly 145,000 miles on the clock.

The problem I am having is a jerking or surging on acceleration with the engine at operating temperature. The jerking is most noticeable on light to moderate acceleration from 2000 to 4500 RPM in second and third gears. On hard acceleration or at a constant RPM the vehicle runs fine. The problem also never occurs when the engine is cold. Most of the time the jerking is not very bad but sometimes it gets very violent.
I have owned the car for over three years and it has had this problem the entire time Iíve owned it.

The ignition base timing as well as the total timing advance are within specifications. I have also tried advancing and retarding the base timing and reducing the total timing advance which had no effect on the jerking.
I have checked all vacuum hoses and the intake manifold for vacuum leaks and none were found. The engine idles very smoothly and at the proper RPM so I really donít suspect a vacuum leak.
The fuel pressure and volume are both within specifications.
The coolant and air charge temperature sensors both ohm out correctly according to the service manual. The TPS closed throttle voltage and voltage sweep check ok.
The check engine light has never come on while driving (the light does work) and the computer has no trouble codes stored in its memory.
Alternator output is at about 14.2 volts and all ground circuits including computer grounds have less than 0.1 voltage drop.
All four cylinders have compression between 125 and 135 psi.

I replaced the timing belt, water pump, cam and crank oil seals shortly after I purchased the car (about 35,000 miles ago) because I had no previous repair history on the car.

The following work has been performed within the last 15,000 miles.
I have replaced the distributor because the shaft bushings were worn out, the cap and rotor were also replaced at the same time. Plugs and plug wires were replaced about 6,000 miles ago. Fuel and air filters along with the PCV valve have been replaced. Both O2 sensors have been replaced. The EGR valve was replaced because it had a tendency to stick open. The ignition coil was replaced because the secondary tower was cracked. The valves have also been adjusted. The throttle body, intake manifold and the fuel injectors were cleaned with the Motor Vac system. Oil changes have been performed every 3,000 miles. I think thatís everything that would be pertinent to a drivability problem.

The car has low mileage for the year, has been garage kept and gets about 38 miles to the gallon. So I have every intention of driving it till the wheels fall off. The jerking is the only complaint I have with the car but Iím sure it is not good for the drive line and gets very annoying at times.

Iím sorry for the long post but I figured any information I could give would help with diagnosis.

I would appreciate any thoughts or suggestions anyone might have to help correct this problem,

Thank you in advance.

McDann

 
Sponsored Links
Bugalou's Avatar
Visiting Guest

Posts: n/a

05-12-04, 09:20 PM   #2  
Bugalou
This is a hard one but I'll give it a shot...I did a search on excite for "Accord Jerking" and came up with some interesting info... They say the Honda ecu allows a wide margin of error before it throws a trouble code so it could be a sensor..First I would recommend trying a tank full of premium(pick a different brand and station that you normally go too)..If this doesn't help alot of posts about the anti-knock sensor keep popping up and a couple posts about the throttle position sensor..You could try cleaning them and see what happens..If that doesn;t help I'd pickup an anti-knock sensor from the junk yard and see what that does...

Hope I've helped some
Bug

 
bejay's Avatar
Member

Join Date: Dec 2001
Posts: 2,538

05-13-04, 03:33 AM   #3  
you might unplug the vacum line going to the egr valve and driving the car to see if it still surges or jerks just to make sure it is not causing the problem even though it is new.
the egr valve does not open at full throttle or when the engine is cold and works mostly at light to moderate throttle which also happens to be the same time your having a surging problem.

 
Desi501's Avatar
Member

Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,207

05-13-04, 03:47 AM   #4  
Posted By: Bugalou This is a hard one but I'll give it a shot...I did a search on excite for "Accord Jerking" and came up with some interesting info... They say the Honda ecu allows a wide margin of error before it throws a trouble code so it could be a sensor..First I would recommend trying a tank full of premium(pick a different brand and station that you normally go too)..If this doesn't help alot of posts about the anti-knock sensor keep popping up and a couple posts about the throttle position sensor..You could try cleaning them and see what happens..If that doesn;t help I'd pickup an anti-knock sensor from the junk yard and see what that does...

Hope I've helped some
Bug
Now, there's a bunch of useless, incorrect advice again.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Look hard for vacuum leaks, even inside of the decel valve.

 
carguyinva's Avatar
Member

Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 1,147
VA

05-13-04, 08:36 AM   #5  
nice work...

Now, there's a bunch of useless, incorrect advice again

hey...I was going to say that!!

sorting the bad advice is more difficult than the original post...

to the original poster...nicely communicated. you still may also have a secondary ignition problem since it occurs under load. you're a the process of elimination phase here. can you tell if it is just losing power momentarily or does it feel as if it's being turned off and then back on.

losing power momentarily sounds more like the egr or possibly dropping fuel pressure. bejays test will help eliminate the egr. as for FP...attach a guage and tape it to the windshield and drive it through the problem and observe the guage.

turning off and then back on would indicate an electrical problem such as loss of battery power to the injectors or injector drive. also many things in the ignition system might cause what you describe. double checking all the aforementioned work is advisable too...sometimes a cracked spark plug doesn't show up right away.

 
Bugalou's Avatar
Visiting Guest

Posts: n/a

05-13-04, 08:54 AM   #6  
Bugalou
It doesn't sound like a vacuum leak as the grand exaulted master mechanic pubba said, if it was I'd tend to think the problem would be worsened on hard acceleration but you said thats fine...The key here is that your hard acceleration has no problems but light acceleration does....Also bring the car by an Autozone or one of those parts places that load test your battery for free, long shot but it could be a bad cell....Strange problems like this are usually maker model oriented and you'd probably be better off asking this on a Honda forum..

Bug

 
carguyinva's Avatar
Member

Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 1,147
VA

05-13-04, 08:57 AM   #7  
speaking only for...

...the autozones in my area, they have no clue what a load test is, nor how it relates to a battery. unless you know and can ask good questions, you'll have no idea whether their test results are good or not...take it to a REAL pro

 
McDann's Avatar
Visiting Guest

Posts: n/a

05-13-04, 12:45 PM   #8  
McDann
First I say thank you to all that took the time to consider and respond to my problem.

To bugalou, this engine is not equipped with a knock sensor, the ignition timing advance mechanisms are mechanical and vacuum controlled.
I have had this problem for over three years and have tried all grades and brands of fuel which has had no bearing on my problem.
The battery and charging system have been tested and are fine, not that I have any idea why you would think a bad cell in the battery would be related to a jerk on acceleration.
As I said the TPS idle voltage has been checked and the voltage sweep has been checked with an oscilloscope. Iím not sure what you mean when you say cleaning the TPS and knock sensor, but thanks for playing anyway.

To bejay, I will try your suggestion of disconnecting the vacuum hose to the EGR valve later today. Your point about when the EGR valve operates makes a lot of sense and maybe related to the jerking. Iíll let you know if this has any effect on the problem.

To Desi501, I have been over every vacuum hose and square inch of this engine with propane while monitoring the O2s for any change and can find no leaks. But you can never be 100% sure.

To carguyinva, I have checked the fuel pressure while driving (I incurred some strange looks with the pressure gauge taped to the windshield) and pressure was always within specs when the problem occurred.
The jerking does not feel like a shut down of the ignition system but more like a consecutive series of rapid power losses, if that makes any sense.
I donít believe the problem is any of the ignition secondary components as they all have been replaced for one reason or another since Iíve owned the car and problem is no better or worse than the day I bought it. I have also tried various different brands of plugs and I think Iím on about the fifth set now.

Iíll give bejayís suggestion a try and let you folks know what happens.

Thanks again,

McDann

 
Bugalou's Avatar
Visiting Guest

Posts: n/a

05-13-04, 01:04 PM   #9  
Bugalou
A bad cell in the battery could cause it( though a long shot)..At fast acceleration the alternator would be spinning fast enough to make up for the power loss that a bad battery cell would cause and continue to supply the correct operating voltage to the ECU but on slower acceleration the alternator is spinning slower and my not produce enough juice to overcome the bad cell..I know your thinking the Alternator regulator would make this situation unlikely but hey ...ya never know and your down to your last options...As for cleaning the sensor contacts, just unplug em use a cue tip with some electrical parts cleaner and wipe the prongs down good(have the battery disconnected when you do this)..disconnecting the battery for a while might even reset the ECU (which is another long shot remedy)...Also I would make sure all the grounds around the engine bay are good and clean...

Bug


Last edited by Bugalou; 05-15-04 at 01:08 PM.
 
McDann's Avatar
Visiting Guest

Posts: n/a

05-13-04, 05:18 PM   #10  
McDann
???

Posted By: Bugalou A bad cell in the battery could cause it( though a long shot)..At fast acceleration the alternator would be spinning fast enough to make up for the power loss that a bad battery cell would cause and continue to supply the correct operating voltage to the ECU but on slower acceleration the alternator is spinning slower and my not produce enough juice to overcome the bad cell..I know your thinking the Alternator regulator would make this situation unlikely but hey ...ya never know and your down to your last options...
Man you're killing me

 
McDann's Avatar
Visiting Guest

Posts: n/a

05-13-04, 05:40 PM   #11  
McDann
update

Update on the Honda

I disconnected the vacuum hose to the EGR valve and drove the car about 60 miles this afternoon while I was running some errands. The jerking did not occur even once that I was able to notice. However the check engine light did come on twice during my trip. Shortly before I arrived back home I stopped and reconnected the valve again. As soon as I got back on the road and started to accelerate the jerking came back at its usual times. I stopped again and disconnected the valve one more time and drove the rest of the way home with no jerking at all. After I got to the house I checked the computer codes and received a code 12 for EGR malfunction, ok no surprise there since I had the valve disconnected.
So it looks like the EGR system may indeed be causing the problem.

At this point Iím very hesitant to condemn the EGR valve because it was replaced not that long ago and I had the problem well before it was replaced. Iím going to do a little testing on the EGR system and do some research to see if there are any other possibilities that might be aggravated by the EGR flow.

Iíll let you know what I find.

Thanks,

McDann

 
pmgheritage's Avatar
Member

Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 312

05-13-04, 07:44 PM   #12  
McDann:
You may be on the right track, in that the problem isn't the EGR itself. The bad news is that this system has I think 3 or 4 pesky little control solenoid valves, a vacuum switch, a thermosensor, a control switch, and if I recall I think it has a speed sensor in the circuit also. There's probably more that I can't remember right now. The good news is that Mitchell (probably available at your local library) has a very concise and fairly easy test sequence for the system operation, both cold and at operating temp. I'm pretty sure all you need for it is a DVOM and a vacuum gauge. With the manual trans. you'll also need an extra body. I'm also fairly sure there's little if any difference between carb. and FI systems on that car. Anyway, sounds like you've found the direction to go, good luck.

 
pmgheritage's Avatar
Member

Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 312

05-13-04, 07:51 PM   #13  
Posted By: Bugalou A bad cell in the battery could cause it( though a long shot)..At fast acceleration the alternator would be spinning fast enough to make up for the power loss that a bad battery cell would cause and continue to supply the correct operating voltage to the ECU but on slower acceleration the alternator is spinning slower and my not produce enough juice to overcome the bad cell..I know your thinking the Alternator regulator would make this situation unlikely but hey ...ya never know and your down to your last options...
Bug
What do you do, make this stuff up as you go? I can't believe all these years I thought I was investing good money in valid technical information, and all I had to do was search on Excite.... silly me....

 
Desi501's Avatar
Member

Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,207

05-14-04, 02:35 AM   #14  
Posted By: Bugalou A bad cell in the battery could cause it( though a long shot)..At fast acceleration the alternator would be spinning fast enough to make up for the power loss that a bad battery cell would cause and continue to supply the correct operating voltage to the ECU but on slower acceleration the alternator is spinning slower and my not produce enough juice to overcome the bad cell.. Bug
HAHAHAHAHAHHA.....................

 
Bugalou's Avatar
Visiting Guest

Posts: n/a

05-14-04, 07:34 AM   #15  
Bugalou
Laugh at me all you want but that same problem he described boiled down to a bad battery cell in a Honda forum I looked at so

 
McDann's Avatar
Visiting Guest

Posts: n/a

05-14-04, 02:26 PM   #16  
McDann
Found something

I was doing a search on the web for some testing information pertaining to the EGR system on my Honda and I came across this bit of information on one of the sites returned by the search.

ďWithout a doubt, the most common issue is plugged EGR ports on the four-cylinder Accords. There have been some problems reported with the six-cylinder cars, but it seems they are being taken care of by Honda. The problem really isn't with the plugged ports, but the one that remains clear. When the EGR opens during light-throttle application, all of the exhaust gases find their way to the cylinder that has the least restricted port, causing a misfire or jerking. This is a simple problem to diagnose. Just disconnect the vacuum line to the EGR valve and road-test the car. If the miss is gone, you've found the problem. The repair is not as simple, but it isn't difficult.

Early-Model Cars: Take a look at the intake manifold where the EGR bolts on and you'll see the channel that is cast in to deliver the exhaust gases to each cylinder. There is a port drilled from the top of the channel through the manifold that lets the exhaust gases enter the intake tract. These holes are sealed by small-core plugs that are pressed into the channel.
To clean the ports, it is necessary to remove these core plugs. The plugs aren't available so care must be taken when removing them. Drill a small hole just deep enough to start a self-taping screw into the plug. Using pliers, remove the plugs to access the ports. The carbon is usually easy to remove from the ports. Reinstall the plugs and you're ready to road test. Be sure to check and clear codes. Since you disconnected the EGR hose, there is a good chance an EGR code will be stored.Ē

I think this sounds logical and describes my problem perfectly. I plan on looking into this in detail over the weekend when I get some free time and try to determine exactly what I need to do to remove the core plugs and reseal them after reinstallation.

If anyone one has any comments or suggestions Iíd love to hear them.

McDann

 
Bugalou's Avatar
Visiting Guest

Posts: n/a

05-14-04, 07:21 PM   #17  
Bugalou
Now I know I'm going to be jumped on and laughed at for saying this(like usual) but I'm not very familiar with EGR valve operation..The purpose of this device is to recycle a portion of the exhaust gases and reintroduce them back into the combustion process to further try to clean the exhaust gas of unburnt fuel and hydrocarbons..is this right?..if it is then its there for emmisions reasons only..is this right??...if it is then in theory you can just plug the vacuum lines to it or take it off altogether and silicone a metal plate over the hole..Your engine wouldn't be breathing that nasty exhaust anymore thereby maybe giving you more hp and engine life and your other problem would be solved also with very little effort..This is all in theory and I do not suggest doing it (in case any emissions police are reading this)

Bug

 
mike from nj's Avatar
Visiting Guest

Posts: n/a

05-14-04, 08:24 PM   #18  
mike from nj
Posted By: Bugalou if it is then in theory you can just plug the vacuum lines to it or take it off altogether and silicone a metal plate over the hole..Your engine wouldn't be breathing that nasty exhaust anymore thereby maybe giving you more hp and engine life and your other problem would be solved also with very little effort.. Bug

after reading a response like this, i wonder who has the appliances on the front lawn after all.


an operating egr system.... increases gas mileage, cools the combustion chamber tremendously, which keeps the piston cooler and prevents the oil rings on the piston from clogging with carbon(isuzu problem), keeps the engine from pinging madly on acceleration, keeps the exhaust valves from burning, keeps the NOx emissions down very low (which is a big ozone contributor, like on very hot days, like unhealthy air days).

disabling that system will shorten your engine life, pollute the atmosphere greatly, keep the check engine light on, never pass an emissions inspection again, and make you pay for it each time you fill up the tank. never mind the fact of getting caught with it disabled.


i would tap the plug in 1/8" first, to break it loose. then try a self tapping screw going through a socket to pull it out. if all else fails, run a 'tap' into the hole, and thread it for a 'pipe plug'. i've never tried this, but it's how i would approach it.

 
Bugalou's Avatar
Visiting Guest

Posts: n/a

05-15-04, 08:25 AM   #19  
Bugalou
I said I wasn't familiar with it Mikey from Jersey, didn't know it was more than an emissions related part as you pointed out (in your usual insulting tone).

Bug

 
mike from nj's Avatar
Visiting Guest

Posts: n/a

05-15-04, 09:25 AM   #20  
mike from nj
let's analyze this


first, you give incorrect advice


second, after that's pointed out, THEN you admit you're unfamiliar with it.


wrong advice hurts a DIYer more than NO advice, because you have pointed them in the wrong direction, and they think you were giving good help.


see my point



and it's not anything more than an emissions device, but when an engine is designed to run with one(an egr valve) it's then becomes a necessary part of the 'whole package' and shouldn't be eliminated.

to really help people, i, or anyone, should only answer questions where they know the answer, or if it's an educated guess, it should be clearly stated!

 
Bugalou's Avatar
Visiting Guest

Posts: n/a

05-15-04, 12:57 PM   #21  
Bugalou
I didn't give any advice relating to the EGR valve because as I said I'm not familiar with it, your reading skills need some improvement Mikey from Jersey..I stated "am I right?" after each unfamiliar process..If I was wrong at any point then the whole theory would be void after the point where I asked "am I right?" ..Also im my original response, I stated where I got the info from that may be related to his problem..


Bug

 
Desi501's Avatar
Member

Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,207

05-15-04, 01:28 PM   #22  
Boy, my tongue hurts from biting it..............

 
McDann's Avatar
Visiting Guest

Posts: n/a

05-19-04, 09:28 AM   #23  
McDann
The Honda is fixed.

I was able to remove the EGR port plugs from the intake manifold using a drill and a small slide hammer. All of the ports were badly restricted or completely sealed by the carbon except for the number one cylinder port. Apparently the number one cylinder was getting more than its fair share of the EGR flow which was the cause of the jerking.
Honda now makes a service kit that comes with instructions and replacement port plugs.
Using the kit, the repair was much easier than I had expected.

Thanks to all of you that helped find the problem.

McDann

 
Search this Thread