Sleepless in Brooklyn

My husband and I brought our 99 CRV to the dealer with CEL on steady, multiple misfires on computer diagnostic; the car was stalling badly during very rough idle, and hesitating on acceleration.

Dealer so far has done the following:

-Compression test: 148 135 psi in all cylinders. They said that reading is normal for this model (can anyone confirm?)

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

-Replaced ignition wires (again, this 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

They said the new plugs solved the misfire but the stalling continued. They said they couldn’t completely clean the throttle body, and now they recommend to replace IAC valve and throttle body to further diagnose more problems.

We’ve already racked up over $700 worth of parts & labor. A new IAC valve and throttle body will cost $1000+ for parts & labor. My sleepless worry last night was that they will keep finding problems until we can’t afford to pay for the repair, and then they’ll offer to buy it from us for peanuts. Is this paranoia? Why oh why didn’t I take Auto Shop class in high school??

Did you take the car for a xx,000-mile maintenance 6 weeks ago? Or were the spark plugs, wires, and distributor cap and rotor replaced to try to solve this problem? How long before you took the car to the dealer were you experiencing problems?

Have they checked for a vacuum leak? And have the codes been checked since they replaced these parts?

It sounds like the dealer is just throwing parts at it. If you can drive the car safely, take it to an AutoZone and get the codes read, post them here, and then take the car to an independent mechanic.

Thanks! We had taken it in for a tune-up for similar symptoms, but there was no CEL at that time.
The dealer did do a second computer reading after replacing the spark plugs, and found no misfires, but still the car stalls when the RPMs drop. They are blaming our independent garage for “going into” the throttle body.
They haven’t checked for a vacuum leak as far as I know, and they have not checked for valve clearance, which was the real reason we brought it to the dealer… in case that was the problem. There was a Service Bulletin about valve adjustment, and we thought Honda might extend a goodwill warranty. However, I gather that’s pretty unlikely for a '99 CRV with 105K miles that has been serviced at outside shops & not the dealer.
So I think we’re going to try another indie shop, one from the Mechanics files, called “Mitchells Auto Repair…” they get good ratings. Hoping for the best…

I’m with you in questioning the qualifications of the dealer’s mechanics.
What are the problems, now? Only the stalling issue upon acceleration and rough idle? A thorough cleaning of the intake tract (throttle body and throttle plate, iac (idle air control) valve, and a MAF (Mass Air Flow sensor) may be all it needs.
If the timing belt hasn’t been changed, it’s past time for that. (For you looking for a use of your stimulus rebate?)

LOL! no, at this rate I’ll be spending my rebate on Klonopin, and maybe just push the car off a pier.
The car stalls at idle and at low RPMs. The dealer did clean the intake tract, but said they couldn’t do a complete job because of some problem caused by previous service. (?) They recommend replacing the throttle body and IAC.
The timing belt was changed when we bought the car (used, at 65K miles).
Does the new reading without misfires suggest that tight valve lash is NOT the problem? We had identified that as the most likely culprit (we meaning my husband & me, just based on the symptoms), but now we’re thinking maybe it’s something else.