1995 VX Smog Sad Face - Fuelly Forums

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Old 06-08-2011, 06:52 PM   #1
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1995 VX Smog Sad Face

I have 1995 VX with nearly 200K miles on it and love how practical it is. It is a CA car and I am having trouble getting through CA smog.

The engine runs great and is stock. Here is the situation:

Fails on high HC. Two years ago, HC was high, but it still passed. All other numbers from two years ago to now match perfectly.

- Tune-up has been done (plugs, air cleaner, engine oil is in good shape, wires are a little old though)
- EGR works correctly
- Can't find a vacuum leak
- Compression is healthy (220 PSI in all cylinders)
- Distributor was replaced only a couple months ago (originally finally died)
- Engine does not burn any notable amount of oil (all Mobile 1 last 80k miles)
- O2 sensor is in good shape
- No exhaust leaks/crack in manifold
- Timing is correct (triple checked)
- Gets great MPG (50 is not unreasonable)
- No CEL
- Suspect cat is original

Right now the mechanic is performing a "diagnostic" to attempt to narrow it down. I suspect it is the cat, because the engine runs like a top and I can't seem to come up with any other issues. They claim they are going to "test" the cat to give me a final word tomorrow.

My question is, if it is the cat, where does one purchase a CA (California) VX cat?

From what I gather, Honda does not make them any longer, CA does not allow remans (as of 2009), I can't add a cat down stream (as of 2009), and no aftermarket companies build one from what I can tell.

Here is a link to Majestic Honda where the you can see the CA cat, but it isn't available.

I'm open to other suggested solution beyond the cat as well.

Help turn my frown upside down!

Thanks!!
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Old 06-08-2011, 07:37 PM   #2
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Re: 1995 VX Smog Sad Face

make sure it's the cat first, but try...www.autoanything.com
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Old 06-08-2011, 07:46 PM   #3
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Re: 1995 VX Smog Sad Face

AutoAnything seems to have a 49-state option, but nothing for CA cars from what I could see.

Thanks for the suggestion.
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Old 06-09-2011, 01:58 AM   #4
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Re: 1995 VX Smog Sad Face

The catalytic converter is the LAST thing you replace. Fix everything first before replacing the catalytic converter.. As for your compression, 220psi actually seems kind of high.. like maybe you have carbon in there.. I don't know, might be tempting to do a cleanup with seafoam or something of the sort. Check the ohms value of every ground to the battery ground cable. Don't just check your grounds, clean/redo every single one of them.. meaning take out the bolt, scrub the bolt, the washer between the washer and bolt, the eyelit, blow out the dust from the hole the bolt goes into, just clean up everything. REPLACE PCV VALVE. Takeoff and clean the throttle body thoroughly (under the idle screw, the little passages, etc.). get the fuel injectors cleaned..

Op, you should post your smog results from the last 6 years..

What brand/make is your O2 sensor and spark plugs+high tension wires?
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Old 06-09-2011, 08:36 AM   #5
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Re: 1995 VX Smog Sad Face

Is this a test through just the tail pipe?
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Old 06-09-2011, 12:05 PM   #6
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Re: 1995 VX Smog Sad Face

Yeah it was in the tailpipe, but now I am a gross polluter so I am headed to the test only dyno.
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Old 06-09-2011, 01:35 PM   #7
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Re: 1995 VX Smog Sad Face

Sorry for your troubles WA. I have unresolved high HC issues with my 92 Fed VX in MD. Similar to your's it tuns flawlessly with ~175k.

I failed emissions for HC last test as well, but came back 2-weeks later and squeaked by. Only difference is that I drove it like I stole it for about 35m, before the 2nd test and arrived at an off-peak time so that the car could be tested immediately while good and hot.

I also 2nd all the previous suggestions, including Seafoam, can't hurt.

Like you, I also suspect the Cat and am planning on a full exhaust replacement prior to my next test.

What is the difference between the Fed Cat and the CA one?

If you came back with an aftermarket Cat or OEM federal Cat, wouldl they be able to figure it out?
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Old 06-09-2011, 03:13 PM   #8
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Re: 1995 VX Smog Sad Face

Lol. Just because you "drove your car like you stole it" and therefore squeaked by the smog test, that doesn't definitively prove that the car is not running rich and that the catalytic converter is bad. Just because your car drives fine, it does not mean you don't have any issue. Catalytic converters by design are not supposed to become "expended" or "go bad" unless you physically bang on them or if you dump fuel into them by running pig rich. If it's the latter, then you need to fix that condition before you go through with buying another catalytic converter.
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Old 06-09-2011, 07:19 PM   #9
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Re: 1995 VX Smog Sad Face

It is time to put the cat outside!

My problem is indeed the cat. Two shops have confirmed it and one did a full diagnostic on the car.

They checked:
Compression (for a second time after I did it)
Checked cam timing (in case belt was in wrong place)
MAP sensor
Lamda calc (has proper air/fuel mix)
O2 sensor check
Ignition scope pattern
FAILED cranking cat testing

The cat also failed the basic temp check where temps are measured before and after the cat. This is not the most accurate, but the two tests together make me pretty confident.

In short, the engine is basically healthy minus the cat.

I have double checked that indeed the dealer does not have it and can't get it.

That leaves me with you fine people or some sort of other unorthodox solution.

I'm open to suggestions of where to look. I'll look into the diff between the CA cat and Fed cat.

Having a very hot cat from driving aggressively can help with HCs, but mine is beyond that point of just getting by.
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Old 06-09-2011, 08:28 PM   #10
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Re: 1995 VX Smog Sad Face

Just because the cat has failed, it still does not explain WHY it failed. Did the cat fail because it was damaged by hitting an object? If not, then it's probably because of how the car is tuned.. It's also possible you're leaking and or burning oil. Maybe you could post the smog history of the car so that we can see if it has had a history of abuse in the past.
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