Use of Premium Gas is Not Culprit of Extended Crank Time

November 27, 2010/Steve Tackett


Dear Doctor: I own a 2004 Honda Accord V-6 with 105,000 miles and I’ve always used premium gasoline. The car developed an extended cranking time, but always does start. My mechanic said there is a bulletin to replace the fuel pressure regulator, so I had him do that along with a complete engine tune-up. My mechanic told me to go to the Honda dealership to have the computer reset, so I did but still have the same condition. The dealer technician said using premium gas could also cause the problem. What do you think? Pete
Dear Pete: I do not think the premium gas is causing the extended crank time. I would first hook a scan tool and fuel pressure tester to diagnose the condition. Next, I would look at the coolant sensor’s actual temperature information being sent to the computer. The map sensor and upstream oxygen sensors could be out-of-range without setting a trouble fault code. Identifix lists some additional problems reported by other technicians around the country including EGR back flow into the intake manifold and a leaking seal at the fuel pump module. Alldata lists a complete step-by-step break down on specs and removal of everything I mentioned, along with correct parts numbers.
Dear Doctor: I have a 1997 Nissan Sentra with the 1.6-liter motor. The car has 170,000 miles and runs great. The problem is the “service engine soon” light had been going off-and-on for the past year, but now it’s on all of the time. I went to the AutoZone store and they said it was the downstream oxygen sensor. I changed the sensor, but two days later the light came back on. I took the car to a mechanic and he said codes P0440 and P0446 were showing for the evaporator system, canister purge valve. I did not change them yet. I changed the gas cap. My car is due for inspection soon. Can you help me with this problem? Al
Dear Al: You need to find a qualified technician who understands the evaporator system and has a smoke machine to troubleshoot the system. You could have a bad vent solenoid, faulty charcoal canister, even a rotted gas fill tube. As for the oxygen sensor code, the circuit needs to be checked, not just have the oxygen sensor replaced. A bad wire connection or even a faulty computer can be at fault here. The vehicle needs to be checked fully.
Dear Doctor: I own a 2003 Lincoln Aviator with about 160,000 miles. It began overheating.

2004 Honda Accord

The shop said I needed a radiator. Then I felt a “skipping” in the engine. I took it to the dealership. They said I did not need a new radiator. They put dye in to see if there was a leak. None found. The “check engine” light finally came on showing cylinder #8. The dealership replaced the spark plug. The truck is still overheating and the engine is skipping. Three weeks later I was told that I need a new radiator and all 8 coils need to be replaced. I have replaced 8 sparks and plugs, 8 coils and a radiator. The truck is still skipping. Do you have any suggestions? Kandi
Dear Kandi: Bring the SUV to an expert who can actually troubleshoot both engine skip and overheating problems. Have the technician check for hydrocarbons in the cooling system. If the test is positive, then there is either a problem with a cylinder head or head gasket. This would explain the skip and overheating. If there is no hydrocarbon reading in the cooling system, then a step-by-step checking is needed. When the radiator was removed did anyone run water through it to see if it was partly blocked? Are the fins on the water pump impeller worn out? As for the engine skip, has anyone checked compression and/or the fuel injector? These all need to be checked.
Dear Doctor: I am interested in the new 2011 Honda Odyssey. I’d like your opinion on it if you’ve had the chance to drive it. Barry
Dear Barry: The new Honda minivan — if we can call it a minivan — is big, powerful, and available with all the equipment that will satisfy the driver, passenger and the kids in the back. The engine and five-speed automatic are a perfect match. Fuel economy is 17 mpg city 25 mpg highway. Front heated seats in the Odyssey Touring, along with numerous creature comforts, make driving a minivan enjoyable. Pricing starts around $27,000 and will go as high as $40,755 for the top-of-the-line model. — Junior Damato, Motor Matters

Junior Damato is an ASE-certified Master Technician.

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Copyright, Motor Matters, 2010