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I know you didn’t ask about help for fixing it yourself but….. the Haynes manual lists:
1. Spark plugs fouled
2. Fuel injection system faulty
3. Fuel filter clogged
4. Incorrect ignition timing
5. Intake manifold air leak

#1 is pretty easy to check. #3 is pretty easy to change if it’s due. #5 listen around, check all the vacuum tubes, and you can look up some videos about checking for leaks. #2: it is pretty hard to reach the injectors. Maybe they aren’t blocked on the 97 but the are blocked on my B20z. #4: you could make a paint mark on the distributor and valve cover so you know where the timing is at, and then just loosen and rotate the distributor to adjust the timing to see if it improves. Easy to put back that way.

Also just check that your air filter is clean and you have good gas and you could try some fuel system cleaner. Push the accelerator lever manually where the cable connects and see is it the same? Take off the air intake and see if the throttle opens easily and isn’t sticking.

I’m not very knowledgeable but those are the things I would try.
 

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Well. Thatvsounds a bit rough. Okay so pressing pedal gets limited response? Sometimes it works, and other times no?
Or is it always seem not connected?
What has happened since it last ran well?
Tps.
Let is know
Check for an animal in the intake.
Check for slipped timing belt.
Oil in plug holes.
Fuel pressure regulator.
Exhaust issue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I know you didn’t ask about help for fixing it yourself but….. the Haynes manual lists:
1. Spark plugs fouled
2. Fuel injection system faulty
3. Fuel filter clogged
4. Incorrect ignition timing
5. Intake manifold air leak

#1 is pretty easy to check. #3 is pretty easy to change if it’s due. #5 listen around, check all the vacuum tubes, and you can look up some videos about checking for leaks. #2: it is pretty hard to reach the injectors. Maybe they aren’t blocked on the 97 but the are blocked on my B20z. #4: you could make a paint mark on the distributor and valve cover so you know where the timing is at, and then just loosen and rotate the distributor to adjust the timing to see if it improves. Easy to put back that way.

Also just check that your air filter is clean and you have good gas and you could try some fuel system cleaner. Push the accelerator lever manually where the cable connects and see is it the same? Take off the air intake and see if the throttle opens easily and isn’t sticking.

I’m not very knowledgeable but those are the things I would try.
Thank you for your time and suggestions, I really appreciate any input at all. Changed sparkle plugs, new fuel filter, new air filter so ya just gotta keep at trying/ doing things that lead to the problem / solution.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Well. Thatvsounds a bit rough. Okay so pressing pedal gets limited response? Sometimes it works, and other times no?
Or is it always seem not connected?
What has happened since it last ran well?
Tps.
Let is know
Check for an animal in the intake.
Check for slipped timing belt.
Oil in plug holes.
Fuel pressure regulator.
Exhaust issue.
The car starts and takes off normally but when I try to accelerate it does nothing doesn't rev up but upon further pressing on gas it will eventually throw itself but then gives a wired sound kinda like a backfire. It's sucking the gas, mileage is atrocious. Did a fuel cleaner and seemed to improve somewhat. At one point the engine light came on and code said oxygen sensor so replaced but zing and a miss😬. Any advice is greatly appreciated
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The car was running normally before this began the only thing that I did out of the norm was let my gas go below 1/8 of the tank then filled however nothing noticable right away but that's the only thing that I can think of. Passed smog in July and had it checked again and it didn't show anything. It starts and runs normal until I go to accelerate past 2nd gear. New fuel filter, spark plugs, oxygen sensor. Thanks for taking the time to help me with this.
 

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Can anyone recommend a qualified mechanic in or near Ventura California? My car is not responding reliably when I push on the accelerator.
You know on my 96 GEO Prizm (Really a Corolla) the fuel hose that connects the fuel pump to the fuel pump assembly had swollen up and was allowing air in. It would be fine with a full tank but as soon as the levels reacxhed that hose it wouldn't run properly anymore. Have you checked the integrity of all your fuel hoses? Ethanol does a number on them for these older vehicles. If you change your fuel hoses make sure you get the correct grade of hose. There's different ratings for emission, fuel injection high pressure, and submersible hose (what the fuel pumps use).

Assuming you have a basic decent scan tool, what is your live mode 6 data reading if you don't have any codes present?
 

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If you dont have Cel on start looking for mechanical problems.
1/8 fuel mark. Do you mean it got almost empty. If so how fast did it started having this problem? Next day, 100 miles later...
If it started really close to driving almost E, that Fuel pump might be damaged.
You need to test fuel pressure to really know if that's is the problem.

at what fuel level do you normally drive the vehicle? 1/2 tank? Below 1/2 tank?....

Check fuel pressure regulator vacuum hose.

I know a bad map sensor does present that same symptoms but CEL should be on, same for TPS.
How is the Cataliric Converter, is it good?
Any symptoms of a clogged up CC?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Fuel pressure? Timing.
The fuel pressure is the thing that I believe should be checked next however I'm not sure how to go about that. Any suggestions?
If you dont have Cel on start looking for mechanical problems.
1/8 fuel mark. Do you mean it got almost empty. If so how fast did it started having this problem? Next day, 100 miles later...
If it started really close to driving almost E, that Fuel pump might be damaged.
You need to test fuel pressure to really know if that's is the problem.

at what fuel level do you normally drive the vehicle? 1/2 tank? Below 1/2 tank?....

Check fuel pressure regulator vacuum hose.

I know a bad map sensor does present that same symptoms but CEL should be on, same for TPS.
How is the Cataliric Converter, is it good?
Any symptoms of a clogged up CC?
Cel? The problem began very soon after having let the gas go below 1/8 tank then filling it. I don't know how to check the fuel pressure, any suggestions? Much appreciated
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
The fuel pressure is the thing that I believe should be checked next however I'm not sure how to go about that. Any suggestions?

Cel? The problem began very soon after having let the gas go below 1/8 tank then filling it. I don't know how to check the fuel pressure, any suggestions? Much appreciated
I normally don't let my fuel gauge go below 1/4 tank but it happened. I did get
a new fuel filter also fuel and injectors cleaner solution and after the car seemed improved however it very shortly was having the same issue.
 

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I was at the junkyard and took a look at a 97 with the tall cylindrical resonator air intake. You can in fact access the fuel injectors. I have read/seen that you can is a long screwdriver against your ear as a stethoscope to listen to the fuel injectors clicking. That will tell you they’re at least working.

Mechanics have gauges for testing fuel pressure.

Sounds like you suspect the fuel pump though. Maybe lift up the back seats so you can access it and then listen to it as the car idles. Maybe you’ll hear a crazy sound that makes you suspect it. Maybe I’ll do that myself to see what my pump sounds like so I’ll know if it ever goes out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I was at the junkyard and took a look at a 97 with the tall cylindrical resonator air intake. You can in fact access the fuel injectors. I have read/seen that you can is a long screwdriver against your ear as a stethoscope to listen to the fuel injectors clicking. That will tell you they’re at least working.

Mechanics have gauges for testing fuel pressure.

Sounds like you suspect the fuel pump though. Maybe lift up the back seats so you can access it and then listen to it as the car idles. Maybe you’ll hear a crazy sound that makes you suspect it. Maybe I’ll do that myself to see what my pump sounds like so I’ll know if it ever goes out.
Thank you. I need to find a knowledgeable mechanic to do the pressure test. It idles well takes off and run good untill I need to accelerate more into 3rd gear then it bogs down as if I'm in neutral but no rev then the car all of a sudden engages and can make a backfire type noise.
 

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Back fire sound like fuel problem or something within the distributor.
I know map sansors cause the engine to bog down but from the get go. The TPS, if it has a bald or burnt out spot it will also creates a bog down condition.

BTW sorry I overlooked the FPR. Question.
I'm not affiliated with this channel. Just found the info to be quick and detailed.

You can also check this video. Again I'm not affiliated with the channel.

The only thing wrong imo with this video is that he is not showing you how to diagnose a bad TPS with a bad spot. Just like test #1 IF you ssslowwwwly move the throttle cable and your multimeter goes to 0 volts or open( infinite sign) then its bad with a worn out , bald or burn spot on the electrical track.
 

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I’m curious:
Does running the car in gear use more gas then in neutral or park and just opening the throttle? I would think not.

If that’s so then if the problem was low fuel pressure wouldn’t it bog out when revving in neutral as well?
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Back fire sound like fuel problem or something within the distributor.
I know map sansors cause the engine to bog down but from the get go. The TPS, if it has a bald or burnt out spot it will also creates a bog down condition.

BTW sorry I overlooked the FPR. Question.
I'm not affiliated with this channel. Just found the info to be quick and detailed.

You can also check this video. Again I'm not affiliated with the channel.

The only thing wrong imo with this video is that he is not showing you how to diagnose a bad TPS with a bad spot. Just like test #1 IF you ssslowwwwly move the throttle cable and your multimeter goes to 0 volts or open( infinite sign) then its bad with a worn out , bald or burn spot on the electrical track.
I'll give this a look. Thanks again and I'll reply as soon as I have any answers
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
This can be done by you. Researching now. When was the timing belt last done btw. Sounds like fuel pump or regulator.
Timing was done as per dealer timeline. I'm second owner. First owner has all dealer services but I've had the car for about 8+ years and drive minimally (small town) I get reg oil service etc. I did have distributor work done about 2 yrs ago after the car would just die while driving.
 
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