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'97 SE Troubleshooting List

  #1  
Old 09-09-2015, 01:38 PM
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Default '97 SE Troubleshooting List

tl;dr - Skip to the bottom and help me prioritize a list of troubleshooting steps for P0302, and P1399 CEL codes.

I've been trying to get my '97 Accord SE (F22B2, 220k miles) to a point where it will be reliable as a daily driver so I can save some money on gas instead of having to take my truck everywhere. When I got it from my sister it was running rough (misfire codes, plug tubes filling with oil) and not shifting well. I ended up replacing the upper and lower plug tube seals, junk yard shift solenoid, valve cover gasket, and put on new plugs/wires. This all made the car run great until about a month later (mid-May) when I was out 'n' about and it significantly lost power, threw a CEL, and generally started running like crap. I limped her home and parked it (haven't had time to work on it so far). The one time I've driven it since then it seemed to run fine, but I'm not sure if this is only a problem when it's up to temp, or if it's a genuinely intermittent issue.

FWIW, I have it on my list to replace the distributor mounting gasket/o-ring. I ordered it awhile back, but haven't put it on yet. Also, in theory the head gasket was replaced last year along with the timing belt but that isn't verifiable.

I finally got time last night to pull the codes thrown in May and got a P1399 (random misfire according to Lord Google), and P0302 (cyl. 2 misfire). I started searching for tips on things to check and here's my list or things to try/check. Most of this is regurgitated from various sources on the web, so correct me if any of it is bad advice.

Do you guys can give me other suggestions for things to consider, and can you help me prioritize the order I do these things? I'm thinking starting with the cheapest/easiest first is the best route, but please correct me if I'm wrong.
  1. Alternator test
  2. Inspect/clean EGR valve/ports
  3. Swap around injectors to see if P0302 moves to another cylinder
  4. Test the timing
  5. Adjust the valves (should have been done with plug tube seals, but wasn't... my bad. If I remember correctly nothing seemed loose when I did the plug tube seals.)
  6. Compression test (will have to buy a gauge, been on my wish list forever)
  7. Fuel pressure test
  8. Test distributor by spraying it with a fine water mist (if missing starts when mist applied the tower is bad)
  9. Intake manifold gasket leak (check it with carb cleaner. spray around IM and if it sucks it in and smooths out the engine then this is the problem)
  10. Bad connector at distributor

Finally, (and this might be a topic for another thread since it isn't my DD right now) I'm casually kicking around the idea of rebuilding the engine or swapping it altogether. I'm not a total noob at mechanics, but I'm not a pro either. Scale of 1-10 on how hard a rebuild would be? Is it worth the time/effort/cost over just swapping? I glazed over a couple of articles suggesting that swapping for F23a, H22, or H23 would be best. Any reason to do one over the other? If I'm swapping I may as well put something in that will boost performance over the F22B2, so would putting in a VTEC be the right move? I don't have plans to put a turbo on it, but hell, if I get into this car enough I wouldn't rule out the possiblity. What kind of swap would allow me to keep the existing trans, or should I plan on swapping the trans while I'm at it due to the high mileage? Good online sources for replacement engines?

Thanks everyone,
Jake
 
  #2  
Old 09-09-2015, 07:26 PM
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Suggest ffirst performing a balance test (remove spark plug leads #1-#4 while monitoring to see if miss changes when spark wire is removed. If no change on spark lead removal, you've found a missing cylinder.

If only #3 is missing (miss monitor can be wrong), remove clean/replace spark plug, inspect/replace distributor cap, rotor, and spark plug wire. If still missing, check compression for leaking valve or other compression problem.

Most engine problems can be resolved if basic engine; compression and lower end are good. Changing engines introduces an additional set of potential problems.

good luck
 
  #3  
Old 09-09-2015, 08:18 PM
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Default Misfire is intermittent

Thanks for the tips! I'm not sure that I'll be able to run those tests though. I ran a couple errands near the house tonight and took the Accord. It seems to be running ok (idling low though) and continued to be ok at normal temp. In the interest of ruling something out I took it by the parts store and the alternator tested good, but the battery tested low. Would the on-car test they do sufficiently confirm the alt to be good?

FWIW, I was getting these same codes before I did the tube seals, but since the code went away for a month afterward I assumed the codes I'm getting now were new. I guess I only fixed one of several issues.

Should my next step be to do the distributor work, or should I go straight to the compression test? Something else?

Thanks,
Jake
 
  #4  
Old 09-10-2015, 09:50 AM
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Compression test may avoid replacing good parts.

good luck
 
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