CRV mystery, part 2

This is a follow-up post to the earlier thread:


in which our '99 CRV had bad hesitation on acceleration & stalling at idle, followed by a steady CEL.

So here’s the latest development in the saga… we had it towed to a local dealer, and were told that Honda wouldn’t cover the repair, even if valve lash turned out to be the problem, because we had been taking it to an independent repair shop & not using Honda parts. This sounds like a song-&-dance to me…

They charged $200 for a diagnostic, and did the following:

-Compression test: 148 135 psi in all cylindars (which means the last shop was lying?) They said that reading is normal for this model.

-Replaced the spark plugs (burned, but they had just been replaced 6 weeks ago…?)

-Replaced ignition wire (again, had been done 6 weeks ago)

-Replaced distributor cap & rotor (again with the 6 weeks ago)

-Replaced air filter

-Replaced the PCV valve

-Removed IAC and cleaned “a lot” of carbon out of system

-Recommend to replace IAC valve and throttle body to further diagnose

That last bit is what worries me. If we give the green light on the repair, they will charge $1000+ for parts & labor. We have already spent $700 on the work & diagnostic so far. They are being very vague about what they think is actually wrong with the car, and the gradual drip, drip of $$ is worrisome. Should we continue to let them poke around in the engine, or cut our losses & take the car someplace else?


how old is your timing belt one came may have jumped a tooth

The compression readings are too low IMHO. The readings are low because either the timing belt is off a tooth or two, the valve lash is too tight, poor valve seating due to chronic tight valve lash, or a piston ring problem. Unless the car has een overheated I wouldn’t worry too much about the latter at this point, ALTHOUGH a compression test should actually be run twice. If the numbers are low as you have here (the dry test) it should be followed up with what is called a “wet test” in which a tiny amount of oil is added to each cylinder. It is then rechecked and if the numbers stay about the same the problem is in the cylinder head valves. A substantial jump upwards means a ring problem.

Considering the low figures what is normally done is that the valve lash is inspected and adjusted as necessary. The compression is then rechecked again. If it’s too low, ouch. This means cylinder head work.

One very easy way of determining what is going on (and this gripes me to no end) is that many mechanics do not seem to own, use, or even care about a vacuum gauge. These take seconds to install onto the intake manifold and can provide a wealth of information. If there is a cylinder head valve problem it will show up on the gauge reading. If it shows a problem then other steps should follow; valve adjustment, compression or leakdown test, etc.

The claim that 135 PSI is normal along with replacing parts that were recently replaced and then being vague about the problem would worry me a lot. Determining any problem related to valve lash and it’s potential side effects is not a guessing game at all.
The fact they want to hit you for a grand to replace the Idle Air Valve and throttle body as a means of diagnosis kind of falls into the ludicrous category because neither of those will have an affect on compression.

Wished I could be of more help but it sounds like someone at the shop is guessing - both wildly and badly in a very expensive manner.

I found a forum on this topic while researching the CEL in my 99 CRV. You might find some additional information here: