'95 Honda Civic DX hatchback w/ VX tranny pinging - Fuelly Forums

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Old 03-04-2008, 02:17 PM   #1
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'95 Honda Civic DX hatchback w/ VX tranny pinging

Hello all,

My Civic had 68,000 miles on it when I bought it a year ago, and the engine has always pinged, regardless of which 87 octane fuel I use, and regardless of where I purchase the fuel (same results from northern Vermont fuel where they did not use oxygenated gas). It pings when I'm accelerating normally and when I'm cruising at any speed. The pinging is worse on hills than on flats, but it always pings.

The front passenger side wheel makes a notecable whirring noise, and I think it's a bad wheel bearing because 1) I changed tires and tranny since I bought the car, and it still makes the noise, 2) the car doesn't seem to coast as well as my former VX did, 3) when I make a left turn, the whirring is more pronounced, and 4) My FE is about 10% worse than another member on this forum who has a '94 DX 4 door with the VX tranny. I can't believe that the worse aerodynamics of my hatchback make the FE so much worse. The bearing is not so bad that the wheel won't spin easily when I jack the car up and spin the tire in neutral. In fact it spins as easily as the driver's side wheel, but I have ruled out all other causes for the noise.

I did a tune up, valve adjustment and checked the timing recently...all are good. 175/70/13 Sumitomo LRR tires w/ 50 psi, front grille block.

The car has terrible acceleration unless I really put my foot into it, in which case it's as good as my former VX. I attribute the poor low end performance to the VX tranny being a bad match for the DX engine power curve plus one size taller tires than what's spec for the VX tranny. That said, my former VX was very driveable in traffic; this car is not.

One more thing: when I start the engine stone cold, after a few seconds the engine idles unevenly...not the typical idle bounce, but rather a "miss". But it's not terrible, and the car seems to accelerate "normally" (sluggish as I described before, but without hesitation etc.).

Any suggestions about what's causing the pinging? I haven't tried higher octane gas because I've never known a standard Civic engine that needs higher octane. Is it possible that the wheel bearing is dragging enough that it makes the engine ping?
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Old 03-04-2008, 05:33 PM   #2
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I really doubt the wheel bearing is causing enough drag to cause the engine to ping. I would suggest setting your timing a couple of degrees lower than what you have it currently set at. For one reason or another, your getting pinging, when it's under a light load, but it sounds like it is ok, once you put the throttle down. I'd just back it off a little. You should be able to get it so it doesn't hardly ping, or doesn't ping.

It does sound like either your wheel bearing or your half shaft has a bearing that is going out. Whichever it is, I'd get it fixed. Based on what you described, I'd be more inclined to think it's the outside joint on the half shaft.
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Old 03-04-2008, 05:53 PM   #3
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heavy load on a motor should never cause the motor to ping if the motor is in good shape.

perhaps some seafoam treatment?

its probably sluggish because it weighs a couple hundred more pounds than a vx, makes a similar power figure, with a super long transmission.
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Old 03-05-2008, 09:59 AM   #4
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Check for a plugged EGR valve or passage. This can cause pinging and will reduce fuel economy
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Old 03-05-2008, 09:55 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sean Harnett View Post
Check for a plugged EGR valve or passage. This can cause pinging and will reduce fuel economy

The DX motor doesn't have an EGR.

If you are used to the VX motor's performance, the DX should feel a lot slower, it does have less power.

With my last VX motor, and with other Hondas I've had, I've had unexplained pinging before. Already switching to the correct NGK plugs has helped a lot. One time I had some bad plug wires which was causing the problem as well.

It does sound like either the tranny bearing or wheel bearing is going bad from what you're saying, but like mentioned above, that should not make the car ping.
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Old 03-07-2008, 01:27 AM   #6
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If the engine pings when it's not under load, then the bearing/wheel issue is unrelated.

I would take the bearing out and maybe replace it. You will need access to a press to get the bearing back in and maybe a puller to get them out. Read your Helm's manual for more details
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Old 03-07-2008, 06:07 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Danronian View Post
If you are used to the VX motor's performance, the DX should feel a lot slower, it does have less power.
Not true. The DX motor actually has 10 more HP than the VX motor (102HP vs 92HP). On the other hand, the VX motor probably does a little better as far as torque in the lowest RPMs, which would make it feel a little stronger with a tall transmission.

Anyway, as far as the pinging goes, there are a few things to check:

1. Ignition timing. Make sure it is set to the proper specs.
2. Engine temperature. If the engine is running hot, deal with whatever cooling/head gasket problem you might have.
3. Catalytic converter. Make sure that your cat is not clogged.
4. Carbon buildup. This can increase compression and cause hot spots. Try using seafoam or pull the head to clean things.
5. Fuel problems. A lean condition can cause detonation. This is usually caused by problems such as a weak fuel pump, clogged filter, or damaged injector(s).
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Old 03-07-2008, 04:55 PM   #8
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Thanks for the responses everyone.

In response to some of the comments/suggestions:

1) My friend (former Honda mechanic) checked the timing already, and it's set to the proper specs.
2) Engine temp is correct according to the gauge. If anything, I think it runs too cool. And it takes 30% longer to warm up than my wife's '98 HX, despite my car havig a full grille block.
3) The old plugs had no carbon when I did a tune up a few weeks ago, so I suspect carbon buildup is not a problem.
4) The engine only has 93,000 miles on it, so I can't imagine the fuel filter is clogged or the fuel pump is weak. W/ my former VX, I never changed the fuel pump, and the fuel filter was changed every 100k + miles.
5) How do I check for a clogged catalytic converter? I don't suspect any problem due to the low mileage.
6) I used the correct NGK pplugs when I tuned it up, so plugs shouldn't be the problem.
7) I will replace the wheel bearing this spring, but I agree with everyone now that a bad wheel bearing should not cause enough extra load on the engine to make it ping.
8) What is the test to determine if plug wires are bad? Again, only 93k miles on the engine, so I can't imagine this is an issue.
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Old 02-09-2011, 03:31 AM   #9
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Re: '95 Honda Civic DX hatchback w/ VX tranny pinging

Quote:
Originally Posted by cems70 View Post
Thanks for the responses everyone.

In response to some of the comments/suggestions:

1) My friend (former Honda mechanic) checked the timing already, and it's set to the proper specs.
2) Engine temp is correct according to the gauge. If anything, I think it runs too cool. And it takes 30% longer to warm up than my wife's '98 HX, despite my car havig a full grille block.
3) The old plugs had no carbon when I did a tune up a few weeks ago, so I suspect carbon buildup is not a problem.
4) The engine only has 93,000 miles on it, so I can't imagine the fuel filter is clogged or the fuel pump is weak. W/ my former VX, I never changed the fuel pump, and the fuel filter was changed every 100k + miles.
5) How do I check for a clogged catalytic converter? I don't suspect any problem due to the low mileage.
6) I used the correct NGK pplugs when I tuned it up, so plugs shouldn't be the problem.
7) I will replace the wheel bearing this spring, but I agree with everyone now that a bad wheel bearing should not cause enough extra load on the engine to make it ping.
8) What is the test to determine if plug wires are bad? Again, only 93k miles on the engine, so I can't imagine this is an issue.
I bet your manifold is rusted, isn't it? Maybe you should, like I've suggested in other threads to other people, take out the O2 sensor, get a wire brush and clean the threads of rust, then do the same to the bolts and to the part eye hole of the manifold where the bolt goes through it and touches the engine block. It's possible the o2 sensor is sending the wrong signals to the computer and making the car run lean. You're right that a civic shouldn't need more than 87 considering that 1984 - 2005 Honda Civics are spec'ed to use 86 octane fuel! Does the car ping when driving while it's still cold or only after it has warmed up? I'd deal with the wheel bearing issue or input shaft bearing on the transmission (might not be aware of that) so you have those variables out of the way.

BTW, Check All vehicle grounds, especially in the engine bay which are prone to rusting The service manual should say where all the electrical grounds are.
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