Brought in car for non-start, mechanic says it leaks oil, too

civic
honda
oil
leaks

#1

I have a 1994 Honda Civic automatic. A few weeks ago, it had no fuel pressure when I tried to start. I first went to check the fuel pump, it ran O.K. when I hooked it up to a power source. So, I searched the internet and found that Hondas often have main/ignition fuse problems. I bought one and replaced it, but it still had no fuel pressure. So, I towed it into a shop couple of days ago.



The mechanic says the computer went dead and told me to go to a junk yard and buy a computer and bring it back to him.



But he also said that the car is leaking motor oil from the front of the engine, probably the crankshaft main bearing seal in the fron of the engine. He saw a puddle when he pushed the car after the tow truck dropped it off.



What I don’t understand is that anything above the oil pan should not leak if the engine is not running. Is that right? If so, then how could it have leaked oil, enough to cause a puddle big enough for him to notice if the car has not been cranked over or driven in the last few weeks. I always parked the car in a garage, so if it ever leaked oil, I would have noticed. If the seal popped off between my garage and his shop, it still should have not leaked, because it has not been starting.



Is he trying to put one over on me, or is this possible?



If he is trying to put one over on me, what should I do? The car doesn’t start, so I can’t take it back without having it towed.



By the way, the timing belt on it was changed about 3,500 miles or 5 months ago, and it has not leaked.


#2

For the moment focus on getting the car running again. Then you can monitor oil consumption and check for leaks. Perhaps the towing had the car at an angle and some oil leaked. For the moment the leak is a mystery that you can get your arms around in due time.


#3

That sounds like a good advice. Thank you.
I will have him only fix the non-start problem.

The garage is leveled and the car was backed in, so the tow truck had the easiest time hooking it up and towing.


#4

Follow UncleT’s advice.

I wanted to add a bit of explanation on your question about the seal. While yuor reasoning is sound that the crankshaft will not be submerged in oil with the engine sitting, that does not mean that oil won’t have been running down, a bit of it being pushed through the main seal due to elevated crankcase pressure while operating, and drip down outside after the car is stopped. That would not be abnormal. And I like UncleT’s towing explanation.

Get it running first. Post back with additional information should you find excessive oil usage. And know that the front main seal can be cost efectively changed if necessary at the next timing belt replacement.


#5

Honda engine computers are just about bullet proof; but, it could be.
The part which often causes lack of fuel pump action, and loss of electrical power to the engine computer, is a relay, not a fuse. Specifically, it’s the PGM-FI relay under the dash. A look at the wiring diagram will show what components the PGM-FI relay supplies power to. Autozone.com probably has the wiring diagrams if someone wants to look.


#6

Have you checked the fuel pressure regulator? If your fuel pressure regulator goes out, a healthy fuel pump will simply move the fuel around without developing the pressure necessary to start the engine when the injectors open.

And I second the opinion about the oil leak. Get the ole girl running first then go from there.

And your mechanic need to take Troubleshooting 101. If he said it was the computer, it should have then fired up if he was right.


#7

The fuel pump does not run when I turn the key to crank the engine. When the key is at the position that lights up all the dummy lights on the dashboard, I am supposed to hear the fuel pump running. This is when the fuel pump does not run.

But when I take the fuel pump out and hook it up to a power source, it runs fine. So, when the fuel pump is in the car, it’s not getting any power to run. I looked things up on the internet and found that the main/ignition relay is usually the thing that goes bad, so I bought a new one and replaced it. I still cannot get the fuel pump to run. This is when I decided to take the car to a mechanic.

As for the oil leak, the car had been sitting in the garage for a couple of weeks before getting it towed to a mechanic, and there was no oil spot on my garage floor. In fact, it has always been garaged, and there has not been an oil spot on the floor. So, my suspicion is that if there had been absolutely no oil leak when it went in and out of my garage, how could it all of a sudden develop an oil leak large enough for him to find it on asphalt in front of his shop? Also, remember that the car had been towed to the shop, so there had not been any crankcase pressure.


#8

Roger, for God’s sake give your head a shake! Of coarse he is trying to pull one over on you. Don’t allow that mechanic to take advantage of your (Relative) inexperience with engines. And, if any one who has submitted a reply to your post tells you that the mechanic needs to fix one thing at a time they are probably dishonest mechanics themselves: "Birds of a feather…"
Two things you need to check for yourself before towing the car to another shop, which you really should just break down and do and make this be one of those times where he hasn’t fooled you twice. Get on the ground and look at the oil pan in the front area of the engine (Where towing aparatuses [aparati?] may have contacted the engine.). You’ll probably find a hole in the oil pan where the tow truck driver did a poor job hooking up your car. I drove tow trucks for ten years while going through school. If they used a “wheel lift” type truck they may have let the front wheels sit too low into the towing frame, thus allowing the towing assembly to contact the lowest part of your engine whenever he went over a bump. Even if there was a different type of towing system used (Flatbed, sling, etc) my opinion is still the same.
Secondly, it just very well could be that a previous car left oil on the ground and the mechanic didn’t bother to find the source or verify the leak. It could be that he is distracting you with the computer thing to make himself look honest. I don’t think he is honest in the least - heck, he may not even be sober. Never, ever take your car to a dealership mechanic. Take the time to find yourself a good, honest independant shop. And not Midas, Jiffy lube, or any other convenience shop. Their mechanics are worse then the dealership mechanics.
Over the past few years I have dealt with some dealerships while restoring old Muscle cars - had no choice type of thing. Putting it mildly, dealership parts departments and repair shops are filled with slimy degenerates.
TRUST ME.


#9

For now, I need to be able to fix the car at the lowest cost possible.
Does it makes sense that I got all the dummy lights on when I turn the key to the second position if the computer is dead?

He said that he called around the junk yards that he normally deals with but said he couldn’t find the computer for my car, so he gave it to me to call around other junk yards to find it and bring it in after Christmas.

Does this make sense?


#10

We need to know WHY the mechanic thinks the engine computer (ECM) is bad, since they have a very low failure rate. Ask your mechanic for the exact reasoning for the conclusion of a “bad computer”.
Your mechanic may need information and ideas on how to DIAGNOSE the problem. Here is a Web site with a wealth of diagnostic ideas on Honda: www.tegger.com/honda faq.html Once there, click on the particular problem you’re experiencing.
For the fuel pump to run, it has to have power from the PGM-FI relay. The PGM-FI relay is actually a DOUBLE relay. One relay powers the fuel injectors, sensors, and ECM. This relay is energised by the engine computer, which decides to do so when it gets a signal (probably from the distributor). The other relay powers the fuel pump.
Your mechanic needs to be using an electrical multimeter, and a wiring diagram, to check for power to the fuel injectors, and to the fuel pump.
The fuel pump can be powered directly from a fuse (like #12, or #24) which is turned on (“hot”) by the ignition switch going directly to the fuel pump yellow/ green wire. I’ve done this.


#11

Check www.car-part.com for the correct part near you.

And DO NOT trust everything that Beefy Norm says. Only some of it is true. The rest is his not so humble opinion. To villify other posters on this BBS as dishonest mechanics is just plain wrong. No one here is trying to SELL you anything.

Of COURSE you should fix what’s needed to make it run. It may or may not have an oil leak.