Sudden bad gas mileage
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Thread: Sudden bad gas mileage

  1. #1
    dew
    dew is offline
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    Sudden bad gas mileage

    Hi,
    I've had my 97 LX for about 6 years. It has about 120,000 miles. Because I'm always curious about my gas mileage (can't help it), I've always been in the habit of checking my mileage after every fill-up.

    My question in brief
    The problem I'm posting about is that my mileage always averaged 22.5 overall until it suddenly dropped to averaging 18 mpg around June. I have had 2 Honda dealers and a Honda specialist look at but apparently they rely solely on codes to diagnose problems and the only code I've had seems to be unrelated (so I'm told).

    Recently, I realized that since my mpg has been bad, my "low fuel" light doesn't come on as soon as did before. The last time it came on I figure I had less than a gallon of gas left in my tank (it used to come on with 2 or 3 gallons left - back when all was well). It took me a while to realize and figure this because I don't normally run it so low. But I had noticed previously that the needle looked awfully low for the fuel light to not be on yet.

    So I'm wondering (since the Honda mechanics are no help) if it's a clue to my mpg problem that fuel light takes longer to come on than it used to.

    The details
    In case it matters, here is what happened leading up to, and since, the mpg trouble started:

    1) In June the Check Engine light came on.
    2) After a week or two I took it to Advance Auto. They read the code (I've forgotten the code number now) and turned off the Check Engine light at my request so I could see if would come back on.
    3) About a week later it came back on, so I took it back to Advance and they read the same code and turned off the light again.
    4) It came back on again a week or so later, and after a couple of weeks I took it to Honda dealer#1 for repair.
    5) Honda dealer#1 said I needed a purge control solenoid valve (which was what the guys at Advance Auto had speculated) and also a canister, which would cost $700.
    6) Shocked at the cost, and having read that I wouldn't hurt my CRV if I didn't do the repair immediately, I declined the repair and picked it up. (They turned off the CE light)
    7) Starting with the very next fill-up, my mileage went from 22.5 mpg average to 18, and has been there ever since. (It had not changed at all until the dealer had it. The CE light had never affected it.)
    8) This time the CE light took 5 weeks to come back on. When it finally did, for a second opinion, and because of what had happened with my mpg, I took the CRV to Honda dealer#2.
    9) I showed them the CE light and told them about the bad gas mileage that was happening. They diagnosed the fix for the CE light as being the same problem as dealer#1, but said the repair and a tune up would be covered for free under Honda's "good will" program, so it all cost me $zero. However, they couldn't find an explanation for the drop in mpg.
    10) So the cause of my CE light was fixed, but the bad gas mileage continued.
    11) I looked on the internet and found that a bad front o2 sensor could cause bad gas mileage, so I replaced it (myself) with a Bosch Direct OEM replacement model (not a genuine Honda). No change.

    So...
    As I said I am trying to figure out why my mileage has gone down so much. Does anyone know if it might be related to the fuel light taking longer before it comes on than it did when I had normal (good) gas mileage?

    Or, what could it be?

    Thanks for your help.
    Last edited by dew; 01-04-2010 at 12:43 AM.
    '97 CRV LX 4WD

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  3. #2
    crv|oc Rank: Freshman
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    dew,

    I have read your entire post, the only troubling thing I see is your use of a Bosch A/F sensor. Many here on this forum have reported poor results when using the none Honda OR Denso A/F sensor (AKA using the Bosch sensor). I have seen on this forum where a person used the Bosch sensor and they reported that when they removed the new sensor from the box it was actually a Denso sensor (maybe Denso makes the A/F sensor for Bosch). Not saying you should replace your sensor again, but I will say I'd be happy with routine 18 mpg (although I have the AWD version). I'm assuming your vehicle is a 2WD version. Lots of luck, Russ.
    98 V 200K miles

  4. #3
    dew
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    rberman,
    Thanks for the info. I'm a little hesitant to put another o2 sensor in just yet. Since there was no change when I did the swap, I'm thinking that the old one and the new one are both good. In other words, the o2 sensor wasn't to blame. That seems most likely to me, anyway.

    btw, I don't want to make you feel bad but mine is a 4wd, and I've always gotten 22+ mpg (until now obviously).
    Last edited by dew; 01-03-2010 at 10:17 PM.
    '97 CRV LX 4WD

  5. #4
    crv|oc Rank: Freshman
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    dew,

    If you follow the link below you will see that back for the 1997 the EPA estimate was only 22-25MPG and back then those numbers were un-realistic (the way they ran the test). The consumer guide MPG was 19.2MPG. That number falls right into the area I get with mine 1998 CR-V (on a good day), in the winter I can get as low as 15-16 MPG. Understand, I'm not saying that you were not getting the MPG you reported, just it would seem you are the exception, not the general rule. In fact the only complaint I have with the CR-V is the poor gas mileage per gallon. Lots of luck, Russ.

    http://consumerguideauto.howstuffwor...nda-cr-v-6.htm
    98 V 200K miles

  6. #5
    dew
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    Avoiding the argument, let me just say then that my mileage went down about 20% when I picked up my CRV from the dealer. I'd like to figure out what the problem is because it's costing me hundreds of dollars a year extra.
    '97 CRV LX 4WD

  7. #6
    crv|oc Rank: Member
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    codes are nonsense for this sort of thing. Could your ignition timing be off or something of that nature? i found this to be true of my aerio at one point. I hooked up my OBD-II reader ( http://obddiagnostics.com/ ) and it told me that my timing advance was off (according to what my FSM told me it should be). I changed it to as close as I could get to 8 degrees and suddenly the thing had the power I had forgotten about AND the mileage. I had dropped from 27 hwy to like 23 highway, which is similar to what you have done..

    hope this helps.

  8. #7
    dew
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    Quote Originally Posted by Danno View Post
    codes are nonsense for this sort of thing. Could your ignition timing be off or something of that nature? i found this to be true of my aerio at one point. I hooked up my OBD-II reader ( http://obddiagnostics.com/ ) and it told me that my timing advance was off (according to what my FSM told me it should be). I changed it to as close as I could get to 8 degrees and suddenly the thing had the power I had forgotten about AND the mileage. I had dropped from 27 hwy to like 23 highway, which is similar to what you have done..

    hope this helps.
    Thanks. Very interesting. I've thought about getting one of those readers before but never could justify the cost to myself. Can the timing be set from within the OBDII interface, or does it have to be done mechanically (ie, with a wrench, etc)?
    '97 CRV LX 4WD

  9. #8
    crv|oc Rank: Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by dew View Post
    Thanks. Very interesting. I've thought about getting one of those readers before but never could justify the cost to myself. Can the timing be set from within the OBDII interface, or does it have to be done mechanically (ie, with a wrench, etc)?
    it's just a passive reader, you have to actually get under the hood with the laptop sitting in front of you and make the adjustment by hand.

  10. #9
    dew
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    Quote Originally Posted by Danno View Post
    ... you have to actually get under the hood with the laptop sitting in front of you and make the adjustment by hand.
    Is that difficult or tricky to do?
    '97 CRV LX 4WD

  11. #10
    crv|oc Rank: Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by dew View Post
    Is that difficult or tricky to do?
    i have never messed under the hood of this CR-V, it was easy to do in my Suzuki, and it's easy in the other vehicles i'm familiar with, but I can't answer that with 100% confidence.

    My guess is that it's so easy a caveman can do it. my suzuki adjustment amounted to loosening two torx bolts and then rotating just a hair, then retightening the bolts....

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