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Pete, Auto Service Technician
Category: Honda
Satisfied Customers: 24184
Experience:  Over 17 years diagnosing and repairing automobiles various makes and models with some training and certifications.
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Civic: I have a 1996 honda civic hatchback with a d16y8 motor

Customer Question

I have a 1996 honda civic hatchback with a d16y8 motor from the previous owner in it... wiring seems kind of trashy but everything seemed to be working...
I am having a problem with my speedometer... when the car was cold it would work for a very short time... maybe about 3 miles... it didn't have a CEL but I did go through various steps to try and fix the problem...
1. replaced my VSS and it did not help
2. replaced my gauge cluster with a known working one and it did not help
3. keep checking fuse 15 to see if it is blown and it is not blown
The last thing I did not do was replace my alternator which is what everyone was saying was the culprit if all of these things didn't help... so I did that and when I installed the new alternator I used my multimeter to test to see if it was charging and it wasn't... I removed the alternator again and brought it back to the auto parts store and I swapped it out again... after putting this one back in the battery read 14.2 volts and seemed normal BUT I had a BATTERY LIGHT...
On top of that I NOW had a CEL for the VSS which had recently been replaced. I cannot figure out the problem...
I used my multimeter to test continuity of the black ground wire on the VSS plug by putting 1 lead on the black ground wire pin with the plug unplugged from the sensor and the other wire to the thermostat housing and it does have continuity with the key off of course. I volt tested the yellow/white wire with the red lead and the black lead on the thermostat housing and i got a volt reading of about 4.5v.. and the center yellow/blue wire got about .7 volts... not really sure if those are normal numbers or not...
So far that's everything that I can remember that I tried...
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Honda
Expert:  Pete replied 6 months ago.
My name is ***** ***** I am a professional here at Just Answer. I noticed that your question had not received a response and thought I would see if you still need help with this.I apologize for the delay and I hope I can still assist you with this here. If you can inspect the wiring leading to the alternator and running to the VSS for any breaks in it or corrosion.Usually this will cause this type of fault here with this issue.If any issues are found with the wiring at all this will need repaired to correct this fault.If this is checked and found to be o.k. let me know so we can continue from here. If more help is needed, use the reply tab to continue our conversation. If no further assistance is needed, kindly rate my service.You can rate at any time and we can continue to work on your question as this will not close out your question.Keep in mind in some cases it can be difficult to fully diagnose or help repair your vehicle without seeing it and I work on delivering the best possible answer from what I see to work with.Thanks Pete
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I just don't know how it gets worse from changing the alternator. I didn't touch the vss plug or anything else... and now I have the battery light and the check engine light for something that worked before... it doesn't make sense
Expert:  Pete replied 6 months ago.
Since there has been wiring repair or installation done on this here I would have the wiring checked for any issues.This is probably going to be the fault here and it may have been when you moved the wiring around when unplugging and plugging in the alternator that caused this here.I would have all engine wiring inspected for any shorts or damaged needing repaired or replaced for this issue here. Let me know if you need anything else and feel free to rate my help here. Thanks Pete
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Hi pete,
I haven't fixed my problem and I just had a chance to look at my car today. the wiring for everything looked fine... although I may end up changing my wiring harness because the wiring job is really janky. I'm trying to solve the problem of my battery light... so I did a small experiment today.I unplugged the green plug on my alternator and started the car and the battery light turned off... I used my multimeter to test the voltage of the battery and it was only 11.99v meaning it wasn't charging. I turned the car off and plugged back in the alternator and started the car back up and the battery light CAME BACK ON... and it was then charging at 14.4 volts which is great... but WHY is that battery light on when the alternator is plugged in.... I'm boggled.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I know that the alternator and battery need to be fully functioning before my VSS will fully function... that's why I was changing the alternator in the first place... so my main concern is making the battery light go away while I have a working alternator...
Expert:  Pete replied 6 months ago.
Check the number 15 7.5 amp fuse in the under dash fuse panel and see if it is blown needing replaced and let me know.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
The fuse is ok, I checked it with my multimeter and checked for continuity... i drove the car to the auto parts store and they said I have a bad battery... just odd that my battery light would come on with the alternator plugged in and not with it unplugged.I'm going to get the battery replaced today and see if it fixes all of my problems. I'll get back to you
Expert:  Pete replied 6 months ago.
O.k.,let me know as usually the alternator is the only one that will turn on this light unless the battery has an internal short in it. Thanks Pete
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Well the guy at the auto parts store used the same machine to check my alternator as well and it was fine he said. I'm not sure how accurate their machines are... but, the battery does make sense with the current problems.I disconnected the battery over night and when I checked the voltage to see if it had dropped very low... it was at 12.6... so it held a charge... it just may have something internally wrong with it.
Expert:  Pete replied 6 months ago.
Yeah,it can have a shorted cell in it or low amperage and can still show 12 volts.If this doesnt correct the fault though let me know. Let me know if you need anything else and feel free to rate my help here. Thanks Pete
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
A new battery did not change anything. Still a battery light with the alternator plugged in. I'm sure the alternator is good... it has to be electrical I guess...
Expert:  Pete replied 6 months ago.
O.k.,in your under hood fuse panel there is an electrical load detection unit which is tied into feeding signals to the charge system light.Since the fuse is good and the alternator has been replaced and if you have no wiring issues leading from the white wire with blue stripe at the alternator to the instrument cluster I suspect this ELD unit is faulty.Its the only other thing I can see in line that would cause this here.It is located in the under hood fuse panel and is replaceable separately.You would need to obtain it used from a salvage yard or new from a dealer.Below is a picture of where it is located. Thanks Pete
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Is there any way to test the eld unit? I'm off tomorrow so I'll try to go to a junk yard and find one.
Expert:  Pete replied 6 months ago.
I was looking for a way myself to test it but my info isnt showing a way to do this here unfotunately.With all that has been done here already and with what is occuring if the engine wiring is all o.k. then I would suspect a fault with this ELD as I see this as the only other possible cause here. Thanks Pete