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Discussion Starter #1
I am new to this forum and need your help.
Here is just a bit of background. My son needs a small SUV to help him in his field research. The CRV was a good choice to make. So we bought it for $3,100 after numerous searches to visit other CRVs in the same price range or higher that were in really bad shape.
Today I went to register it. A Check Engine code would make it fail automatically, but no light was on because the bulb is either burned out or has been messed with. Also, the computer had a stored code of P0420 Catalyst System Efficiency Below Threshold (Bank 1). I had a scanner in my other car and could just kick myself for not plugging it in, but I was only looking for a Check Engine light. I have researched to know that the P0420 code has numerous causes. What is the usual culprit in your experience?
Also, it has a/c that works well, however today was a cool morning and the heat did not even come on when I turned it from blue to red. Any ideas?
Finally, the transmission shifts well. The fluid is pinkish/slightly brown in color but does not have any burned smell to it. It will be changed with Honda fluid very soon. I have noticed that the engine revs into the 4 mark on the tach going up hills and then rev to 5-6 very briefly before shifting to the next gear. Is this normal or does it indicate something that needs attention.
I probably need to post these issues separately so please let me know if that is protocol. Regardless, I need your help from your real world CRV experiences. Thanks, George
 

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What year is this vehicle? sorry to hear about the check engine light.

As for the reving, it is normal for the engine to get to 4k going up a hill, gen 1 (1997 to 2001) will do this since they do not have as many HP as the newer ones and will struggle a bit. You will see this if you set your cruise control and the vehicle speed will vary up to 10 miles an hour going up a steep grade. You can smooth this a bit if you rev up the engine some before you hit the hill. Definitely change it to the Honda DW-1 fluid as soon as you can, this will require 3x drain and fill with some shifting and driving between changes. You can do a search for 3x drain and fill to understand why.

For the heat, if the engine was warmed up (temp guage at least a quarter from bottom) the heat should come out, if not, this can be a plugged heater core or something is up with the thermostat.
 

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I don't know about the code but for your heater it is probably heater core plugged, or bypassed. You can see by yourself if there is a hose with a u-turn back into the engine. You will probably have to buy new heater core. As for the 4-5 revs going uphill its just normal, happens to me too. The gears change late under heavy load. Also another thing, does your check engine light turn on (for a few seconds) when you start the car.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thank you both for your quick responses.
The CRV is a 98.
Along with the code, the inspection also failed the CRV due to a MIL. I found out today that this means that the CEL does not come on even for a few seconds upon start up. I just wasn't looking for the CEL upon start up. My bad.
I will definitely change the tranny fluid with Honda stuff. My wife drives a Pilot. I understand why the changes must be done with the real stuff. Thanks for the reminder.
With the heater, I can hear a faint noise when I turn the knob from blue to red after there is some time for a warm up. It sounds like it is switching over to heat mode. Does this give any other clues? Thanks, George
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I agree. For that reason, I am having a mechanic check over that particular issue. Appreciate your feedback.
 

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With the heater, I can hear a faint noise when I turn the knob from blue to red after there is some time for a warm up. It sounds like it is switching over to heat mode. Does this give any other clues? Thanks, George
The heater could be something as simple as a broken cable linkage or bad air mix motor (1st gen might not have motor, just a mechanical link, I'm not sure). I had a 93 accord that every spring and fall I'd have to reach under the dash and grab the cable to open the valve that lets hot water flow to the heater core. You can locate the valve on a hose in the engine bay too, I'd check first to make sure it's moving when the mix control is turned to heat.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Well the mechanic called and told me that the bulb was missing and that the problem was the cat. I wish I had just run my scanner that would have picked up the stored code, but I did not see the MIL and assumed (yes, I know) that all was well. Burned once.
I am pursuing the simpler solutions on the heat before I go for the core as being the problem. Thanks for the input on the heater.
Also, the mechanic found the SRS light on and diagnosed it with his scanner as a bad module. Would you have confidence in a "tested good" used module?
 

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Definately you can get one from the junkyard, but make sure the car is an accident car. It will work. New core is 130 dollars online. To make sure its the heater core, just see if it has been bypassed by a u shaped hose. Ask the mechanic. Check your private message or Notifications.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
umair thank you again for the guidance and your notification.
Please help me with one clarification. You wrote "but make sure the car is an accident car." Is it "make sure the car is NOT an accident car" or is it what you wrote in your post?
I will see the mechanic tomorrow and ask him to look for a u shaped hose. He said he would help me with that diagnosis for no charge.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I now have a check engine light. The issue is the cat. Could you all give me some guidance on the cat, especially on the aftermarket ones or where I could get the best deal on a Honda one?
Secondly is the heater. Both hoses from the firewall get hot when the heat is switched on - the cable also moves smoothly back and forth when the knob is dialed from blue to red and back again. In the dash area, there is a distinct sound when the knob is dialed as if something was opening and closing like a valve or flap. I have not visually verified this but do hear something. Where should I look to inspect where this dash noise is coming from? Since both hoses are hot, does this mean that the core is not the culprit? Where should I go from here? Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I got the heat going. The cable was misadjusted and the flap was not opening and closing properly. So it was an easy fix. Any feedback on catalytic converters?
 

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My experience with aftermarket parts is that do not get the cheapest ones, buy the parts that are a little more expensive and they will last. You should look in good aftermarket brands. Once I bought an aftermarket engine mount that was the cheapest one available, it broke down in three months. I then bought another aftermarket mount but of a better recognised brand and a little more money and it is still good.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Now I know I did not get a good deal

The transmission is missing a tooth. It was found at the drain plug. Is there a Honda support group?
 

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I have not had the cat issue on a honda, but had it on my toyota. On mine, there are two pre cats and the down stream cat. I do not believe the 98 crv has the pre cat. In order to pass inspection (to get the CEL off) I had a new cat installed. The muffler shops do this. On mine it was $400. They cut the old one out an weld the new one in. On the Toyota, this kept the CEL off for about 4 months. The short duration was probably due to the fact that the pre cats needed replaced so all the work was left to the downstream cat and the cap was a cheapie "universal" cat. It was relatively cheap (all cats was well over $1500) and it got me past inspection.

Sadly, I can believe that someone would pull the check engine bulb it sell to sell the car. Its a shame how people will lie to you. I'll bet the guy that sold you the car wasn't the guy whose name was actually on the title and that it was a "friend's" car or the car of someone who had to go "overseas" in a hurry. I don't suppose the scams have change since there were used cars to sell, but it makes buying a new car very touchy. I bring my code reader with me and if there is a "not ready" code, I just pass on the car. Too much BS being played.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I will keep trying on this car. Considering the fact that CRVs are so hard to find, and the ones that I looked at before buying this one were in worse shape, I still think that this car is worth putting the money into. Plenty of these cars were listed at about 3k - 4k. One said it needed new boots and leaked a little oil. Well, the engine was coated in oil and the cv boots had spun out all the grease. It was also loosing coolant, had a cracked windshield and needed a new ac compressor. Others were just way too clean and were always being sold "for my friend" or "for my dad" who "needed to leave the country." I just got tired of driving long distances to see such obvious "fixer-upers" and scams. I still got taken. On the other hand, these cars can be worked on by a DIY like me and the CRVs are good cars to begin with. Hopefully my next posts will be on how to take care of small fixes.
 

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You can buy a master kit for the transmission. It is only 140 dollars at rockauto website. Then you just need to buy a good service manual and get started. My friend built his honda transmission and it took him four hours.
 
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