Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Civic: Runs, with coolant leak (still) and CEL

So, I decided to try and start the car.   As long as I don't run it long enough to heat up, I should be good.  Hooked up the battery, charged it for an hour or two, and cranked away.  It fired.  Wooohooo!  Wait a minute.... is that a check engine light?  And that loud noise... sounds like an exhaust leak.  So, here's what I had :
  • Exhaust leak - I swear I put this thing back together the way it was taken apart.  Checked all of the joints, and they looked normal to me.  Running the engine for a minute told me it was around the catalytic converter, right below the exhaust manifold.  I don't think I loosened the catalytic converter flange to the exhaust pipe itself.  I do know I took the exhaust manifold off of the cc.
  • CEL - My check-engine-light is on.  I'm not sure if this is a result of (a) the timing, (b) the new crank position sensor, or (c) the fact that I had the battery disconnected for months on end (reset the computer).  I'll figure this out, and it is minimal.
  • Timing - I decided with the CEL to check the timing.  Timing is supposed to be about 15 degrees BTDC.  Mine was 15 degrees before that.  (sigh).  Got that adjusted to where I was within 2 degrees, and that seemed better.
  • Cooland leak - I have to fix the radiator, and also either the heater core or a hose (those last two are on the inside of the cabin, and I had a bit of antifreeze soaking into the carpet).  I'll get to that if I can figure out the previous stuff, because this one means I'll have to take the dash board apart.
After adjusting the timing, I still had the CEL, and the exhaust leak.  I decided to tackle the exhaust leak.  Again, I had run the car for a minute to try and isolate the leak.  I decided to simply remove the exhaust manifold.  Once it was off, I realized what I had done.

Please, in the name of smartness, be smart about being smart.  When I take something apart, I keep the screws, bolts, and nuts as close to the original location as I can.  In this case, I had taken the four nuts and washers holding the manifold to the catalytic converter when I had taken them apart, and put the nuts/washers back onto the studs so I didn't lose them.  When I reinstalled it, I took the nuts off from the studs, dropped the manifold into position, and bolted it up.

Imagine my surprise when I took the manifold off, and realized the WASHERS were still on the studs, when they should have been on the other side of the manifold.  I quickly (to hide my embarrassment) remove the washers, position the manifold, throw the washers into position, nuts, and bolt it down.  Went to start it, and it sounded SO much better!

Still, I have two issues :
  • Check Engine Light - I need to pull codes to see what trouble code is being thrown
  • Fix the coolant leaks - this means I have to dismantle the dashboard, take apart the heater core assembly, fix what I find, then fix the radiator.  Should be a major task (though not as major as the engine replacement).
So there you have it.  The car runs.  We'll get it running better.

Civic: The Car that Keeps on Giving Back to the Community

I did obtain a replacement engine block.  I trust those guys quite a bit after working with them.  They were honest, they went out of their way to help get the right things, and they were willing to work with me.  That meant I had an engine block to work with.  The problem was that I had to detach it from the transmission, replace seals (cam and crank), replace the water pump, and the usual tune up stuff.

So, I set about getting things squared away :

Then, in the middle of all of that grease and dirt, the cutest little thing appeared :

We did finish getting things ready (I hope I got the timing belt in the right place), and re-attached it to the transmission.  A few days later, it went into the car.  Some bolts here and there, replacing all of the engine mounts, re-attaching the plumbing and electrical, aligning the pulleys and belts, re-installing the air box, installing the exhaust, and the intake (the designer for that one should be shot, hung, and then thrown to the sharks).

So, with the Civic buttoned up, and before starting, I had to get the fluids in.

  1. Oil and filter .... check.
  2. Automatic Transmission fluid ... check.
  3. Coolant .... check.
Climbed into the car, and.... why does it smell so much like antifreeze after sitting for six months?  Anyway, I picked up and moved the hubcap over to the passengers foot bay.  Thats when I found the problem.  I had about a quarter inch of coolant in the passengers foot bay.  Vacuumed it out (shop vacs are awesome), and watched it drip from the heater core area.  I'm hoping it's not the heater core itself, but a hose line.  I'm not climbing in there to pinpoint the problem until it dries out.

I climb back out and check the radiator (just in case)... and it's cracked, too.

So, all of that work, and the Civic isn't done yet.  Getting things in the right places, that's been a bit tough, and it's been a little daunting (at times), but it's close.

Again, I really did a number to this poor little car, and it will be good to have it back on the road again. Just have to figure that out, and then see if it actually starts.