Another correction: I found out the 1 wire 'sensors' under the distributor is the one relative to the gauge in the vehicle, and the 2 wire plug at the upper radiator hose is the cooling fan sensor/switch.
Thanks for the clarifications! Bummer that you're now experiencing hesitation, too! Must be my negative vibes.
I went through all your pics, one by one, running outside with the flashlight after each one...trying to ejimicate myself. Your grounds look new? Was that due to an issue, or are you just meticulous about replacing old wiring? I'm really pondering what mrmad said about grounds and the problem with cracking coils.
Using RockAuto, I could only find one coolant sensor. Is the other one called something else? I also happened upon the acceleration sensor. Is this another likely thing to check?
So, I opened up the distributor tonight, and realized that I couldn't even get close to where the shaft needs to be lubed. Really need to pull the whole thing off (like the mechanic did several years ago), but then you need to re-time. The best I could do was feed the WD-40 nozzle through the holes in the widened end, fold up a paper towel underneath, and spray a couple of shots in there. Took it for a drive, and the cold-operation hesitation is still present. Really bucks in 2nd after a stop sign maybe 3/4 of a mile from our house. Given that I couldn't accomplish what I set out to do, this ended up being a waste of time.
Cold operation is the worst, although it is still apparent when warm. Driving a constant speed I can feel the hunting/slight missing, although someone unfamiliar with the car probably wouldn't notice anything.
One other thing I've been aware of, but may be nothing, is engine clatter. Back a couple months ago they suggested adjusting the valves, and since I couldn't remember when the last time it was done, agreed. The mechanic said they were extremely loose, but afterwards, I noticed no change in engine noise, or lack thereof. As a matter of fact, it seems to clatter a bit more than I remember when cold (quickly goes away in about 1/4 mile or so), which almost has me wonder if there could be some sort of timing problem. Timing has been checked, though...
What would dexcool coolant symptoms be? Prestone is only for domestics?
My wife has been away for a month, so I haven't been able to take the car in with all this new info and things to check. She'll be back next week, so maybe a few days after that we can swing leaving the car again.
Noisy valves on a Honda is normal, irregular pattern or no sound is more of a cause for alarm as far as re-checking. I'll be readjusting my own valve clearances from now on.
I would not try to lube the distributor's shaft. I just don't think I've ever heard of that being a need, ever. So, please don't spray internally at the distributor as actual oil inside can actually be a sign of a failing distributor. Like really, don't do that. Period. As far as spraying anything inside of the electrical ignition portion under the cap.
Dexcool has a corrosion inhibitor ingrediant called 2-eha which is also in Prestone's premix, I'm sure my VX has been on the stuff for a while but it won't affect anything we're talking about here. It was more of a piece I was throwing out there, just ignore that for now. It's more of a long-term could eat at certain seals like at the water pump, etc. I'm being paranoid and uber technical, but as long as you have a functioning cooling system don't worry about it.
The 1 wire sensor IS for the guage, the 1 wire sensor which is basically directly under the distributor, in this pic:
PS, I just removed all of the stock grounds, aside from the injectors as of yet, and cleaned them up with some rough gritty paper(like ones used to polish copper for plumbing?) and added a 2nd one in my engine grounds pick. Cleaned the transmission ground as well.
One thing I've considered is cleaning the injector's ground and today I checked my FPR with the KOEO(Key On Engine Off), and after shutting the car off. You pull the smaller vacuum tube which feeds the Intake Manifold(since the FPR relies on vacuum to adjust the fuel pressure). Any gas liquid passing can mean a bad FPR. Otherwise, you can test your fuel pump with a gauge as per the Factory Service Manual. You pull the first bolt out of the top of the Fuel Filter and insert a gauge, turn the KOEO and read the pressure. It should be above 40 for sure, closer to 50. I forget the exact FSM's number for reference. If it takes a couple key cylces on/off to 'build' pressure look into replacing a fuel filter or suspect the fuel pump.
Those kinds of things, otherwise no overheat etc, I'd just ignore cooling sensors for now. I'll post more later.
Another thought occurred, I get vibration in the steering wheel at idle and I have suspected my rear engine mount for allowing excess movement. I also hear what appears to be some form of 'creaking/clanking' ( a rocking sensation) while coming off of the throttle to allow engine braking or after shifting. It's not the transmission either, it's the relative torque that is twitsting the engine and causing a part to make noise. Is that a bushing, ball joint(???) or an engine mount?
Could one be moving enough that the subsequent metallic ringing is setting the VX's knock sensor off and pulling/retarding timing? I've thought that about my VX. Would like to hear from others.
I've found out my engine mounts probably need replacing, at least the rear main and the sub-mounts. I believe the upper mounts at the transmission and the engine on the sides(1 driver side/1 passenger side) are okay(I hope).
Going to have an experienced shop check them over. I also may need to replace the ball joints.
It's possible bad engine mounts could affect traction when more torque is seen in 1st-3rd gears; especially from a stop. It allows the CV axles to see more stress than they are designed to, in theory and could cause some wheel hop. I also get excessive vibration in the steering wheel, I'm thinking the ball joints are bad. Going to have both checked, will see if the mounts help with the hesitation.
An older ignition system(stressed rotor in the distributor itself, its igniter or coil) may just be showing itself in the case of VX hesitation.
I started reading over the Factory Service Manuals like crazy, especially regarding electrical to find all the grounds for the vehicle. Now to try to work my dad's old ohmmeter. A voltage drop test would also let you know if there is a grounding issue somewhere.
^He talks about voltage regulators, which I can't recall off hand but I believe our VX models use an 'eco' mode for the recharging system, not sure if at idle you will always get over 14 volts recharging to the battery when the engine is on/running at idle RPMs.
The more the alternator puts out, the more load it puts on the engine. So, it could also be voltage regulator, battery health(parasitic draw?), and engine grounds; not just ignition system alone.
Thanks so much, add/ct, for the extra info and the link to the video. Just watched it -- so much to know! Hope you have good luck in fixing your problem!
I've been going through this thread, compiling a list of things for the mechanic to check, and also made a small order of gaskets and stuff from Majestic Honda. When that arrives, I'll take the car in for another round...
I'm still leaning towards an electric issue. Like I mentioned above, when driving a constant speed I'll notice that constant, though subtle, "missing" that occurs with regularity...about once per second or so. Also noticed something new (?) a few days ago when driving with the circulation fan going -- it changed speed up and down every once in a while. I could tell because the different speed made an audible change in the whine of the fan.
I'll keep updating here with new info when I know more.
Ya know? I keep coming back to remembering about checking my cat/con. Might be restrictive enough to make things run somewhat similar?
Here's a thought. Drive with an 02 sensor unscrewed/unplugged(exhaust will be LOUD) and see if hesitation/stumbling isn't as bad. Feel/think over the stupid loudness. If it's better or like night/day, might have a plugged catalytic converter.
Aside from this, I'm getting rear brakes re-done, might need a wheel bearing up front actually, need engine mounts/ball joints, and these things could very well be part of the complete 'symptom'. I also have a marginal battery that will probably die this summer as each day is over 90 all of the time, I'm expecting it anyway. lol
Older, though still 'working' ignition system somehow may be causing a drag or perhaps bad ground on the negative side of the electrical system. Watch the voltage drop video I linked above.
I had a similar issue and I just unplugged the connector for the O2 instead of removing it. Just make sure the plug does not contact any metal while unplugged. The car will not go into lean burn mode but you will be able to tell if it cures the stumble. In my case it did and I needed an O2.