Cylinder Misfiring
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Thread: Cylinder Misfiring

  1. #1
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    Cylinder Misfiring

    I'm sharing my recent engine troubles here so others can benefit from what I learned.

    Our '99 Ody LX began running very rough, and the CEL came on. Codes reported were: P0300 (Random Misfire), P0301 through P0306 (Cylinder 1-6 all misfiring). There was also a code P1399, which is a temporary DTC.

    In my Honda Factory shop manual the troubleshooting tree suggests looking at the following, in no particular order, although, depending under what driving conditions the misfiring occurs, the list is narrowed:

    (1) Check fuel pressure.
    (2) Check cylinders for low compression.
    (3) Low quality fuel.
    (4) Correct EGR valve function.
    (5) Malfunction in the VTEC system.
    (6) Correct valve clearance.

    I was having misfiring under moderate acceleration, as well at WOT...the CEL will actually blink when the engine is misfiring. I have had a lot of experience with vehicle fuel systems getting plugged at the fuel inlet screen attached to the fuel pump inside the fuel tank, so I naturally dove right into diagnosing the fuel system. After finding the correct M12 x 1.00 fuel pressure adapter (can be purchased from A&E Hand Tools for $37.32 at www.aeincorporated.com p/n 262554), I measured the fuel pressure at idle, and while driving...all was right in spec. I then looked into the EGR valve, pulled it off and cleaned out all ports and the valve itself very thoroughly, even pulling the manifold off to get to the manifold EGR port. The car still ran poorly after cleaning the EGR system and checking that the EGR valve worked properly. I then pulled all the spark plugs to do a compression test...readings were right on the money. I then removed the manifold AGAIN and pulled all the fuel injectors (don't know why I didn't do it the first time)...I cleaned them in mineral spirits in an ultrasonic bath for 30 minutes then put it all back together. Still running rough. I ended up replacing all the spark plugs after doing the compression test....the #5 spark plug (front bank, middle cylinder) was black and oily, while the other 5 were nice and clean. This was the clue needed. After disconnecting the #5 coil, no drop in rpm was noted. Any of the other 5 coils caused a drop in rpm when disconnected...I swapped cylinder 5 and 6's coils and the problem followed the coil when doing the cylinder drop test again. Alas, a new $67 coil on the #5 cylinder and the vehicle runs like its old self again!

    Here's the learnings to pass along:

    (1) Utilize your 'basics' when troubleshooting. Fuel, spark, and air. Use DATA (i.e. fuel pressure measurements, compression readings, voltages, etc) to determine and assess the health of an engine subcomponent. A mechanic's stethoscope, or a long screwdriver in my case, works great at listening to fuel injectors for proper solenoid operation. Note the factory shop manual did not point to the ignition coils at all, so don't get tunnel-visioned on what the computer and factory shop manual is telling you.

    (2) Spark plug inspection will tell you an incredible amount of information about what is going on. Most Chilton or Haynes manuals have a section that explains various spark plug fouling and what can cause it. This was the smoking gun in my case.

    (3) Work methodically from one subassembly to the next and elimate each subsystem in sequence as a potential cause before moving on.

    (4) If you're going to remove the manifold, clean the EGR port (I used carb cleaner and a 3/4" diameter x 10" long engine brush out of a kit I got from Eastwood.com for $6.99 p/n 46035) as well as the fuel injectors. I sent out my 1992 Toyota Pickup's fuel injectors 3 years ago to Cruzin' Performance in Michigan for *REAL* cleaning. They disassemble, bead blast, ultrasonically clean with special fuel injector cleaner (all while driving the solenoids at a safe duty cycle), reassemble with new pintle caps and o-rings, then measure the flowrate and visually check the spray pattern before shipping back to you. They give you a before and after cleaning flow test. If your injector set is not within 5 or 10% balance (can't remember which value it is) for the whole set on the flowrate, they create a matched, balanced set by swapping your clean injector with an identical one they have in stock. Their website is www.cruzinperformance.com and I spent $84 + shipping for my 1992 Toyota Pickup injector set (6 + 1 cold start injector). After reinstallation, the pickup's idle was smooth as glass...just like a brand new truck. Also, the turnaround on the injector cleaning was only 3 days!!

    (5) Invest in basic troubleshooting tools like a factory shop manual, compression tester, fuel pressure tester (and M12 x 1.00 Honda pulse-damper adapter), timing light, digital volt meter, etc, if you don't already have them...and learn how to use them.

    (6) Lastly, these forums are good information sources, but make sure you double-check the accuracy of any and all information (particularly numerical information) you get on the internet...especially from online forums.

    Incidentally, the Honda Odyssey factory shop manual had no troubleshooting of the ignition coils anywhere in the book, nor did it even have resistance spec measurements for the ignition coils.

    Hope this helps someone out there troubleshoot their Ody. I noticed there are a lot of posts on cylinder misfiring, so I thought I'd be as detailed as possible to help those out who are or will be in the same boat I was in yesterday.
    "Quintana...man that creep can roll..."

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  3. #2
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    Thumbs up

    Amazing write up - Thank You. I used your post to diagnose the same problem I'm having. '99 Ody with 240,000 Kilo on it. Changed the plugs a couple weeks ago and things were fine until the misfiring issue. Borrowed my neighbours scanner and got the PO302, 303 etc codes. I did the test you described (disconnected one coil at a time and didn't get an RPM drop on one of them. Tried changing it to a different cylinder and the problem followed. Put in 1 new coil today (75.00 + taxes) and it runs fine now. Saved a fortune rather than taking it to the dealer with their $95 per hour shop rate. I'm not overly mechanically inclined but your write up made it simple. Thanks again.
    Is there a way to test the coils out of the engine? I'm wondering if the rest are ready to go to. I've seen them for as little as $38.00 at some online parts places.

  4. #3
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    You can get a simple digital rpm gauge that is also used on riding lawnmowers. Check eack of the coils by wraping the end. The one that reads zero os the culprit.
    2002 Honda Ody 194,000
    2nd Tranny
    Myron Davis 15" TFT LCD Flipdown
    Monroe Reflex Shocks/Struts
    1995 Chevy Tahoe - 155,000
    Original Tranny
    Custom Air Intake
    TBI Spacer
    MSD Ignition
    HID Lights
    Edelbrock shocks

  5. #4
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    fballer4,

    Way to go! I'm glad I posted that...if even ONE person saves money, it was worth every minute of typing, in my opinion. Awesome!

    To answer your question about testing the others...I actually tested the resistance in each coil on my Odyssey, and all the resistance values were about the same, so I initially missed the bad coil until the cylinder drop test. Thus, I don't see an easy way to tell if one of the coils is on its last leg without using a digital automotive oscilloscope on each one during normal engine operation to measure coil performance. Anyone else reading this know any other advanced methods of measuring coil performance?

    The procedure we have here in this thread will at least let us find one that is already bad. They are expensive enough that you'd be best just replacing them when they fail.

    Glad that I could help!

    gcoryell
    "Quintana...man that creep can roll..."

  6. #5
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    Hi gcoryell,

    Thank you for the very good posting!
    My '99 Ody LX with only 63K miles has the Check Engine Light on. I took it to a car mechanic, spent $50 and they ran a print-out showing all these codes: P0301 through P0306 and also P1399. They told me all the spark plugs were bad. So I changed all of them and the light still came back on after resetting it by pulling out the spare fuse for 10 seconds. I was very frustrated. Then I read your posting!

    When I pulled out the spark plugs, I did notice one of them was oily and labeled them which cylinder each came from. After reading your posting, I went back and found out it was also #5 that is oily! I went to HondaAutomotiveParts.com and ordered a "COIL, PLUG HOLE" for $39.13. Adding shipping and handling, the total is $52.75. After replacing it, the car ran noticeably stronger, and the light did not come back on after resetting!

    Thank you for the help!

    Ken

  7. #6
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    Awesome! That's two people now that have been able to use my info...great! Keep sharing the knowledge. I am very car-savy, but even I get stumped every now and then, so I thought I'd share this one with everyone since it sort of stumped me for a while.
    "Quintana...man that creep can roll..."

  8. #7
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    cylinder misfire codes

    THANK YOU so much for sharing your experience. I also have a 99 odyssey LX and the CEL came on with a rough running engine and low power....very noticeable at lower RPM's in every gear. I was wondering if it had something to do with the EGR since they are a problem area. The codes came back as cylinder misfiring in 1,2,3 & 4 cylinder. I was scheduled for an appointment to get it looked at but with your help I did the drop cylinder test as described and found that on the front cylinder pack there was a bad ignition coil (the cylinder on the drivers side...not sure which # it is). You saved me an $85 diagnoses fee plus labor and who knows if they would have found it before replacing a bunch of other stuff first. If you're ever in Binghamton, NY drop me an email and I'll buy you dinner.


    Goodasican

  9. #8
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    Cool! Glad I could be of help. I'm going to do all my future write-ups like this post so everyone can benefit. The bad coils seem to be a pretty common problem from what I'm seeing just on OdyClub.

    Thanks for the dinner offer. I'll take you up on it if I'm ever in Binghampton, NY.
    "Quintana...man that creep can roll..."

  10. #9
    Registered User Haister's Avatar
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    Thanks for this thread. I have replaced one ignition coil on my 02 EX after reading this thread and having similar symptons. I had oil on my one of my plugs (upper left hand corner when standing at bumper facing windshield), slight engine vibration, and loss of power. No CEL though. I still have a slight vibration at idle, though noticeably less. However, the van feels a whole lot more powerful now. I'll try locating the other possible bad ignition coil another time.

  11. #10
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    I have an 03 with about 60k mi. Lately, it has been running rough at 40 - 60 mph. After reading this post, I replaced the spark plugs and none had oil fouling. All plugs were identical - dry as a bone. After the new set was installed, the test drive produced the same rough running as before. There are no warning lights on the instrument cluster. Should I suspect the EGR valve, or could it still be a coil?
    Thanks.
    '03 Ody EXL-RES, Bridgestone LST

  12. #11
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    Can I suggest you do the RPM drop test as described above? It might identify a lousy coil. I don't know if this would work though if you're only having the problem at higher speeds.

  13. #12
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    Originally posted by JohnV
    I have an 03 with about 60k mi. Lately, it has been running rough at 40 - 60 mph. After reading this post, I replaced the spark plugs and none had oil fouling. All plugs were identical - dry as a bone. After the new set was installed, the test drive produced the same rough running as before. There are no warning lights on the instrument cluster. Should I suspect the EGR valve, or could it still be a coil?
    Thanks.
    You have a bad EGR valve. They can be bad without setting codes. See a dealer, there is a warranty extension.

  14. #13
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    Having all of the same codes and 0301-0306 on our 99 EX with 105K. Took it to the dealer thinking it wqas a EGR problem. Was quoted $250 to change the #2 cylinder coil. This post is right in line with the type of information that make web site valuable. I'm heading over to pick up the van at the dealership ( $95 diag fee) and then heading to PEP boys to have them replace the coil for $90. Thanks for the info. You've made me an educated consumer!!!
    Mikeanddina
    99 EX Blue
    03 Accord V6 w/ Navigation
    3 Kids

  15. #14
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    Several days ago, I removed the intake manifold and cleaned it according the the instructions I found on here. Most of the ports were partially blocked. I did use some carb. cleaner, but I found that engine degreaser was more effective. (Castrol engine degreaser Walmart gallon jug). After this, I removed the EGR valve and tried to clean it. It may be possible to make it work again once it is stops working. If the actuator is bad, its done for. If the plunger is stuck from all the residue, it may be possible to soak it in degreaser, or penetrating lube long enough to free it up again. I didnt spend a lot of time on this, so Im not sure if it would really work. After putting everything back together, the 45mph 60 mph symptoms were some better. A few days later, I bought a new EGR valve and installed it. Now the van runs like new again. This is the first time I have had to spend any money on a repair. Not bad for 60K mi.
    I would like to thank everyone for posting their advice on here. You have saved a lot of people a lot of money.
    '03 Ody EXL-RES, Bridgestone LST

  16. #15
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    Originally posted by JohnV
    Several days ago, I removed the intake manifold and cleaned it according the the instructions I found on here. Most of the ports were partially blocked. I did use some carb. cleaner, but I found that engine degreaser was more effective. (Castrol engine degreaser Walmart gallon jug). After this, I removed the EGR valve and tried to clean it. It may be possible to make it work again once it is stops working. If the actuator is bad, its done for. If the plunger is stuck from all the residue, it may be possible to soak it in degreaser, or penetrating lube long enough to free it up again. I didnt spend a lot of time on this, so Im not sure if it would really work. After putting everything back together, the 45mph 60 mph symptoms were some better. A few days later, I bought a new EGR valve and installed it. Now the van runs like new again. This is the first time I have had to spend any money on a repair. Not bad for 60K mi.
    I would like to thank everyone for posting their advice on here. You have saved a lot of people a lot of money.
    Except that the EGR has a special extended warranty from Honda to 80k. A dealer would have fixed everything for free.

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