Honda Civic Turns Over but Won't Start, reads "Link Error"

Hello, I have a 98 1.6L Honda Civic DX with 200,000 miles and standard transmission. It was running great. Then I was going up a steep hill and it lost all power plus no rev from gas peddle. after tapping the gas it started powering again. CE light was flashing and staid on. The next day the light went off but the problem kept happening and sometimes the light would come on. It started stalling in 1st gear sometimes(not having power when I first hit gas)but then it would catch and pick up. then when shifting into 2nd or third gear it would loose power again but then catch. I got codes read p0302 and p1399. problem got worse and worse. now car won’t start. it turns over and almost sounds like it will, but doesn’t, ignite. I also noticed there’s too much oil in tank from last oil change. My mechanic has no idea. Any ideas? Thanks…

It sounds to me like there is a communication problem between some of the electronics modules in the car. Broken wire, broken connector. Or it could be a broken ECM. I guess the first thing I’d try if it were my car is resetting the ECM.

& How much is the oil overfilled? More than 1/4 quart?

According to the schematic I have, fuse 43 (interior light) feeds the data link connector. I’d make sure that the interior light turns on so you have power to that data link connector. That may be a grasp because it wouldn’t cause all the other problems. It is maybe a bit unlikely that a fuse happened to pop while you are having these other problems occurred - but it is easily checked: if the interior lights are working okay, you most likely have power to the DLC connector.

It is kinda weird that so many different things went wrong all at one time. One thing they all have in common is ground. I’d make sure you have a good ground connection to the ECM.

It doesn’t sound like an ECU problem to me. It sounds like the car is stalling under load (e.g. when you shift to a new gear and your RPMs are down --> engine not producing as much power; or when you are climbing a hill).

Look up the OBDII codes: p0302 = Misfire detected on cylinder #2

I would start by removing the battery, letting it sit 15-30 minutes, then re-attaching it. Note that this will re-set all radio presets, clocks, etc. If your radio has an anti-theft code, you should know that before resetting the ECU. It will also take some time to re-learn the correct idle speed, so it may have a rough idle for the first few minutes of operation.

If the car still has trouble starting or driving under load, the next thing I would do would be to replace the spark plugs and spark plug wires. This is the cheapest fix and can be done without the help of a mechanic. When you pull the old plugs, check their condition against this chart:

This will tell you if the air/fuel mixture to the engine is incorrect. If the mixture is either too lean or too rich, this may be an indication that your oxygen sensor is failing.

Also, note that you should NOT put the old spark plugs back into the car, even if they look okay. Plugs have crush washers on them in order to make a good seal against the cylinder head, and therefore cannot be re-used. Also make sure to set the gap properly on the new plugs before installation.

If none of these things correct the problem, the next step may be to do a compression test on the cylinders (both wet and dry). This will tell you if one of your cylinders is leaking air due to bad piston rings or other cracks/defects in the engine block. You will probably want to take it to a mechanic to do this. Depending on the results of this test, you can further discuss what repairs to do (or if it is time for a new engine for your car…).

UPDATE: You should also drain some oil and check if there is gasoline in it. Too much oil is an indication that you may be running rich, pouring excess gas into the cylinder, or that you have excessive blow-by, indicating that the rings in one or more of your cylinder pistons are no longer sealing well. A compression test will give you an idea of the condition of the piston rings.

Do you mean that the scanner/code reader shows a “Link Error” message when trying to read codes? If so, the scanner/code reader could be having problems communicating with the computer. Or there’s problem with the computer itself.

Find a parts store that’ll read codes for free. And see if their scanner/code reader comes up with the same “Link Error” message when try to read codes. If so, there could be a problem with the computer. So the codes you’ve gotten can’t be believed.