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2007 Civic vibration when idling

I have a 2007 Civic LX (1.8 L 4 cylinder). It only has about 25K miles, and it drives just fine. For the first two years the engine was very quiet and the car idled smoothly. Then, I began to notice more noise from the engine (a slight "chugging", sort of like the sound of a diesel engine). At some point I also noticed an annoying vibration while the car was idling (when warm). The vibration is most noticeable in Drive and Reverse. When the car is in Neutral the car doesn't vibrate as much, but you can still tell the engine is vibrating. I've taken the car to the dealership three times for this problem. So far, the dealership has reset the computer, replaced the passenger side motor mount, and installed software updates. (They said they consulted Honda America.) The vibration and the engine noise are no better than they were before. The service advisers have compared my car with other Civics in their loaner fleet, and the advisers tell me the vibration is "normal". On the other hand, one of the advisers told me some other Civic owners have complained about the same issue. I took the car to a foreign auto repair shop for a second opinion. The owner told me he did not think the vibration was excessive, but he put the car on a lift and looked it over very carefully. He said the torque rods might be worn, but he also said he could not guarantee that replacing them would stop the vibration, and he thought it would be a waste of money to replace them. So, it seems some other Civic owners and I are the only one who thinks vibration is a problem. I realize that as a car ages things become "looser" and you hear more things rattling, but I still think something is wrong. There must be some way to fix this annoying vibration. I don't know if the problem is with the parts intended to isolate the engine vibration from the rest of the car, or if the engine is just vibrating more than it should. I've asked the service advisers at the dealership about adjusting the valves, but they tell me it's too early (25K miles) to do that. There MUST be some explanation for why this car vibrates! Any serious advice would be appreciated. Thanks.

Comments

  • edited April 2010
    I would check for a vacuum leak. That's often the cause for vibration when in gear. Has anyone pulled the codes for the engine? There are a lot of reasons for vibration and I won't go into them here right now. Offhand I can think of several that have nothing to do with the engine at all. It's very hard to diagnose a problem with words alone. I'm sure that you will get plenty of other advice and hopefully it will resolve your problem. I just hope it's not like the early GM V6's that had the vibration built into their design
  • edited April 2010
    Missileman, thanks for replying. The service adviser at the dealership said they checked for error codes, and there were none. The owner/mechanic at the foreign car repair shop I went to explained to me that inline 4 cylinder engines are inherently imbalanced, and that the problem gets worse as the engine size increases. (I *think* the car has a "balance shaft", but I'm not sure. I searched for it at an online parts web site, but I was unable to find a part by that name.) Regardless, I know my car did not used to vibrate like it does now.

    In an online forum about "8th generation" Civics, other owners have complained about vibration at idling. No one seems to have found a resolution, though. Someone suggested using high octane gas instead of regular. I tried that, but the higher octane did not make any difference.

    I remembered an incident that might be relevant: My car has an automatic transmission. One time a long time ago - before this vibration problem started - I was in Neutral and rolling forward very slowly (I think I was in a parking lot) when I accidentally shifted the car into Reverse instead of Drive. The car jolted backwards, obviously. I did not notice any problems immediately afterward, but I wonder if I damaged something in the engine or transmission, or maybe moved something out of alignment. I don't recall how long after this incident the vibration started.
  • edited April 2010
    While it is not likely that this incident caused a problem, you should have both the motor mounts and the transmission mounts checked for damage. This type of symptom could be indicative of broken mounts.
  • edited April 2010
    VDCdriver, thank for replying. The service adviser told me the technician checked all the mounts. He said they were all OK, but they went ahead and replaced the passenger side engine mount. He showed me the old mount. It was a bit worn, but replacing it did not reduce the vibration the problem.
  • edited April 2010
    > I accidentally shifted the car into Reverse instead of Drive.

    That could have damaged the torque converter, flex plate or (God forbid) crankshaft.

    If it were an inherent imbalance it would have been there driving off the dealer lot.
  • edited April 2010
    Thanks for the reply, circuitsmith. Not what I wanted to hear, but I suppose that could be it.

    Regarding the comment about "inherently imbalanced"... That is what the mechanic explained to me. I also read it on Wikipedia:

    "Balance shafts are most common in inline four cylinder engines which, due to the asymmetry of their design, have an inherent second order vibration (vibrating at twice the engine RPM) which cannot be eliminated no matter how well the internal components are balanced."
  • edited June 2010
    I have the same problem with my 2008...looked all over the engine can't figure it out. If i had to guess I'd say it's not motor or suspension parts, I think the rattle may be from the engine itself..like a knocking from premature detenation.
  • edited June 2010
    I recently took my car in to have the battery checked. (I had pulled off the road into a parking lot to wait for a heavy thunderstorm to pass. While waiting, I turned off the engine, but forgot I had the headlights on. I sat there for 20 minutes. When I went to turn the car on the puny 310 cca battery was DRAINED. Had to call AAA for a jump.) At my dealership, they have a separate line for oil changes/battery checks. While they were checking the battery I pointed out how the engine was visibly vibrating. The service man found another Civic in the service line, started it and lifted the hood. Its engine shook/vibrated exactly the same way my cars engine does. I still don't know what causes the problem, but I believe it is a flaw in the vehicle's design. Why my car didn't shake when it was newer I don't know.
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