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Honda Civic GX: I had a valve job done on my 98 Honda Civic

I had a valve job...
I had a valve job done on my 98 Honda Civic GX - Valve 4 had low compression on the tests but the rest of the valves were fine. Also replaced timing belt, air filter, spark plugs, Cap and Rotor, VC gasket, head gasket, O ring for #4, Oil pan gasket and injector. I had not been more than 5 miles from the repair shop when the Engine light came on. I went back to the shop that moment and he did a reading and told me it was Catalytic Converter reading. He told me that CNG vehicles run dry and that moisture must have gotten into the engine when he had it open and that in 500 miles it would go away. He assured me of this and I drove away. About 300 miles later, driving with the engine light on, I was driving up hill to my house with the AC on and noticed that I had low power. I turned off the AC and as I pulled into my driveway I heard a sound (like a knock) and the engine light started blinking. The two trouble codes that come up now are P0420 and P0301. So my questions/concerns are this...

Is it possible that the Valve 1 failure is linked to the work that was done on the engine, if something was done wrong or aftermarket parts were used?

Could driving around with Catalyic Convertor problems cause Valve 1 to fail?


I spent almost $3,000 to get all of this work done and I don't have another penny to put into the car. The work I had done is under warranty so if more work needs to be done I need it to be covered by the warranty.
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Answered in 9 minutes by:
9/7/2012
Jim
Jim, Honda Master Tech
Category: Honda
Satisfied Customers: 949
Experience: 18 yr honda tech, 30 yr experience, 13 ase master tech
Verified

jimhondatech :

hi this jim, i,m here to help you out, i am assuming the valves were replaced because they were burnt, burnt valves are usually casued by a lean engine condition, and if the engine is lean the combustion gets very hot and burns the valve and if the valves are too hot the converter gets too hot also and loses its efficiency and then cuase p0420, this code is cut and dry, the computer knows when it stops working, does this make any sense

Customer:

I am not sure I understand. Are you saying that the hot cat converter caused the valve to fail?

jimhondatech :

no the other way around, the lean fuel condition caused the valve to burn and inturn the converter got too hot and failed also

Customer:

Ok, so if I had valve 4 repaired and all of the other parts like gaskets and spark plugs and timing belt, etc... and I drive away and 300 miles later valve 1 fails, is it the car or the mechanic


 

Customer:

I am broke now fixing this car and after spending 3k I thought I could get another 50-80K miles out of it

jimhondatech :

this sounds like the mechanic, he might have the valves in cylinder 1 either too loose or too tight, either condition will cause a misfire code

Customer:

so you are saying that normally if you have all of this work done and then there is a failure with another valve it would be because of something the mechanic did and not your normal valve failure situation


 

jimhondatech :

i hoped he checked all the other valves when he had the head off, that is just common sense, he probably has the valves misadjusted

Customer:

When I first spoke to him he told me that Valve 1,2, 3 had good compression and valve 4 had almost no compression and was burned up. He sent the head to a machine shop to check for cracks - that cost me $350.

jimhondatech :

that is good he did have them checked, the other valves are probably ok, i would go back and have him recheck the adjusment first, this should not cost you anything he better stand behind his work, i know i would

Customer:

Thanks Jim, What is your opinion about driving around with the engine light on and catalytic converter trouble code... He said it would "fix itself in 500 miles" does this sound reasonable?

jimhondatech :

unfortunately it isn't going to fix itself, once the converter is worn out it is worn out, you don't want to be driving with a msifire condition either, that could damage other things, the computer will try to compensate and make the other cylinders not run right

Customer:

I won't drive on the misfire code. I will get the car to him first thing in the morning.


 


There was not a problem with the convertor until we were 5 miles away from the autoshop, I mean this was not a problem before the valve problem. with a CNG car how important is the Cat convertor?

jimhondatech :

it is important, cng cars have emissions just like gasoline cars, gotta protect the ozone layer, the reason the cat failure showed is probaly because cylinder 4 was operating like it was supposed to

Customer:

I got you on the ozone layer... so is it possible that if the valves are adjusted properly that the Cat Converter warning will go away?

jimhondatech :

probably not, the converter will need replaced, i know that is not the answer you want hear, maybe you could split the cost with the shop but you can always see what happens too, driving around with anly a converter good isn;t that bad, but if there are emissions tests where you live the light will have to be off, i'm guessing you live in california

Customer:

Ok Jim, any other words of advice for me when I go to the shop tomorrow with my car... what I should say to the mechanic?

Customer:

I am sick to my stomach with worry that this is going to cost me more money.

jimhondatech :

i don't think so, just remember what we talked about or even print it and bring it with you for reference, yea i hear you on the cost, cars suck but we all need them, keep me posted on what happens, thanks jim

Customer:

Thanks!

Jim
Jim, Honda Master Tech
Category: Honda
Satisfied Customers: 949
Experience: 18 yr honda tech, 30 yr experience, 13 ase master tech
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Category: Honda
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