99 Honda Civic lurching & idle problems

Hello dear skilled community,

I just got a 99 Honda Civic, coupe, 130k miles, manual.

After driving for 30mins continuous it started lurching, especially when accelerating from stopped. Happened in 2nd, 3rd &4th gears. Parked for an hour and then did a short drive, it was fine.

The engine idle goes up and down, with the up being quite high. Seems to be eating a lot of fuel. No particular weird exhaust or smells. Car had been not driven for 6months. I gave it a can of sea foam to the gas tank which was half full when purchased. The check engine light is on, and was when I got it.

Looking online people are saying it could be the

  • ignition control module
  • fuel filter
  • blockage in catalytic converter
  • worn accelerator cable
  • bad engine winding.

I would be so grateful, what do you think is the cause and the fix?

Sorry for my bad English, I’m from Quebec, Canada. Thank you!


Salut mon ami!

Did you put fuel stabilizer in the gas tank before storage?Bad gas could cause that. Fill up with fresh gas and see how it goes.

Many of Honda coupes from this era have been subjected to “performance enhancing” modifications over the years. That kind of tinkering can introduce problems. Can you tell what, if any, changes have been made to its original factory equipment?

I have a 1999 Civic EX that is unchanged except for maintenance, repairs and aging. It runs well at almost 180,000 miles. Check basic things like using factory-specified spark plugs, cleaning or replacing distributor cap and rotor, changing fuel filter, etc. I have adjusted the valve lash every 36,000 miles or so, along with spark plug change, and there are always a few that have drifted out of spec.

The idle speed/fuel consumption problem might be helped by cleaning the throttle body. I used a rag and toothbrush and sensor-safe solvent. That plus running fresh fuel and sea foam may fix it.

The ignition control module and coil are inside the distributor. If the problems arise only when the engine is hot, that’s a clue one is failing. If the distributor shaft has any side-to-side play, that’s not a good thing.

Blockage of the cat would prevent the engine from running at high speed.

I am not sure what you mean by engine winding. But your English is otherwise very clear to me. Much better than my lycee francais pour vous. Bon chance!

I have a 98 Civic HX with 260k. You have a lot further to go.

A number of years ago I got me an Actron P-37 Space Modulator and Auto Analyzer. They are fairly cheap. Some autoparts retailers have them you can use for free. Might help.

My guess - emphasis on guess - is that there is a leaky hose to the ecu (engine control unit)

Thank you everybody for your help so far. I forgot to mention the check engine light is on.

Go to Autozone and have them pull the codes. You need these codes to diagnose a problem with your car.