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2002 Acura RSX Base model. When ambient temperatures are hot…

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2002 Acura RSX Base...

2002 Acura RSX Base model. When ambient temperatures are hot (above 80F) my car will randomly shut off while driving. The D gear indicator light will turn off, the RPMs drop to zero, but no other dash lights come one. Within a second or two, the RPMs go back to normal, the D comes back on and power is back. It will continue to get worse, until it almost feels like it goes into limp mode. At that point, shutting down the car, letting things cool, then restarting will make it go away temporarily. No CEL's and car runs perfect, otherwise.

Mechanic's Assistant: Does the light stay on, or does it blink?

It does not blink. It shuts off, then comes back on once car is running again.

Mechanic's Assistant: Are you fixing your RSX yourself? What have you tried so far?

I have replaced the negative battery cable and ground, the PGMFI relay, the ignition switch (the electrical portion behind the key), Knock Sensor and spark plugs.

Mechanic's Assistant: Anything else you want the mechanic to know before I connect you?

The ignition switch, the key portion, does get hot to the touch.

Submitted: 11 months ago.Category: Acura
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Answered in 6 hours by:
9/20/2017
Mechanic for Acura: sprinkles08, ASE Certified Technician replied 11 months ago
sprinkles08
sprinkles08, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Acura
Satisfied Customers: 24,212
Experience: ASE Master and Advanced level certified. Factory trained with 17 years dealership experience
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Hello and welcome to JustAnswer!

It sounds as if the engine controller is going down when this happens, which could happen for several reasons. It will require some electrical testing at the time the problem is happening to determine what is going on unless something like a wiring or connection issue can be found visually. If the PCM is going down it is either due to a loss of power or ground or an internal failure.

Have you checked for fault codes?

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Customer reply replied 11 months ago
Have scanned for codes and there are none.
Mechanic for Acura: sprinkles08, ASE Certified Technician replied 11 months ago

Do you have an actual scan tool?

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Customer reply replied 11 months ago
I had a scan done at an AutoParts store. I also have a Bluetooth OBDII connector and use an app on my phone to determine codes. ALl say none are found and I have no CEL coming on.
Mechanic for Acura: sprinkles08, ASE Certified Technician replied 11 months ago

The ability to monitor live data is going to be necessary to diagnose this.

Does what you have allow for data monitoring or is it just a generic OBDII code reader?

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Customer reply replied 11 months ago
Its a generic OBDII reader. It can do some live data, like vacuum pressure and engine temp and little things like that. But, it's the limitations of the Phone App that I use. If there is a good phone app out there, I'd take some recommendations.
Mechanic for Acura: sprinkles08, ASE Certified Technician replied 11 months ago

Can you see if live data goes away at the time the problem happens?

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Customer reply replied 11 months ago
I will check tomorrow. I'm using the DashCommand app. I'll see if it can track codes and read them even if it doesn't appear to be storing any.
Mechanic for Acura: sprinkles08, ASE Certified Technician replied 11 months ago

Ok.

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Customer reply replied 11 months ago
It might take me a while to figure out this app and how to read live data. In the meantime, I can describe in better detail what happened yesterday. I had been driving for about 20 minutes, when it happened. Again, the D indicator shuts off, the RPMs drop, and I can hear the Gear Selector Solenoid click (the one that allows you to move out of Park if the Brake pedal is pushed). The RPMs generally come right back, and the D comes on about a second after. Yesterday the CEL flashed, but did not store codes. It almost seems like the engine rotating keeps it running. If I was at a stoplight, it would just stall. The problem got more frequent, until one time, the D stayed off and I revved the engine. I could keep the engine running, but it would not rev above 3000 RPM. The car would move, but barely. Almost like it was in limp mode. I finally stopped, shut the car off. Waited 30 seconds, then restarted it. It started right up and drove the rest of the way home fine. Here is a link to a Youtube video of my car doing this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o2dJF_d-p98&t=9s In this video, the CEL comes on, but that code was for the Knock Sensor. I replaced that about a month ago. Since then, the CEL only flashes when it happens, but no codes.
Customer reply replied 11 months ago
Here is a second video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6e_J1A780pc&t=105s This video shows that it continues to do the same thing, even after it has stalled. I am parked in my garage and now when it does it while in Park, it turns the D on and clicks randomly.
Mechanic for Acura: sprinkles08, ASE Certified Technician replied 11 months ago

I believe the engine controller is going down and causing this, either because of a loss of power or ground or an internal failure.

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Customer reply replied 11 months ago
Engine controller? I'm assuming the ECM? Do you know where the grounding location is for that?
Mechanic for Acura: sprinkles08, ASE Certified Technician replied 11 months ago

ECM stands for engine control module.

I can look for ground locations but what needs to be done is first verify that it's going down and then the powers and grounds will be monitored at the connector to see if anything is being lost, before disturbing wiring.

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Customer reply replied 11 months ago
some kind of diagnostic tool has to be hooked up to it while the problem is occurring?
Mechanic for Acura: sprinkles08, ASE Certified Technician replied 11 months ago

Correct.

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