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Old 23 Apr 2013, 06:46 pm
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Default Fuel System Failure on 1998 Acura Integra?

I've been having some trouble with my 1998 Acura Integra LS. I'm the 2nd owner, it has 160k miles, and it is all original and has not been "tricked out" or anything before anyone jumps to conclusions about how it's been driven.































I recently repaired a bad ground in the electrical system and replaced the alternator. Prior to replacing the alternator, the check engine light had come on with the p0420 code. Afterwards the light was off and the car seemed fine. Two weeks after the replacement, roughly the beginning of March, the light came back on. Also my maintenance light would flash 10 times every time I started the car. I was told that this is the dummy light for oil changes. I've noticed the car running with a bit less power than usual, shifting a little rough (it's an automatic), and idling just a little rough. The RPMs always stay around 1 when I'm in idle or park.































The oil in my car was changed 4 weeks ago and I haven't put 500 miles on it since. When I got the oil changed, I was offered the usual routine maintenance stuff like "change spark plugs" and "rotate tires" and things that I didn't need done, so I declined. When I got home, I noticed my receipt said "fuel system failure - required" in red. No one at the shop mentioned this to me. I had to fly out of town for a business trip the following day, and for a week, so I figured I would deal with it later. I did a fuel injector cleaner that night at the gas station, just in case.































I've been too swamped with work and school to make it back over, but now my maintenance light is fully lit and no longer blinks upon start up. Today when I was going to leave the grocery store, my car would not start. It turned over and cranked momentarily before immediately giving out. I tried it 5 times and then eventually got it to start after pressing the gas a little. Fuel wise, I have half a tank.































I'm a poor college student and I'm still waiting on reimbursement from my trip. I've never had a fuel issue with any car, so I'm not sure what to expect. From my symptoms, is it likely just the o2 sensor or fuel filter or does it sound like a larger problem with a fuel injector, pump, or catalytic convertor?































Any suggestions, advice, and how much I should expect on costs would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
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Old 23 Apr 2013, 07:21 pm
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first off there is no such thing as a 'dummy' light...if your check engine light comes on it's a signal to take the car in to see whats wrong with the engine...















your 'dummy light' says maint, in YELLOW, then in RED, it stays on, not bllinks...















Next you take your car to a dealer or Honda/Acura independent and have the car REALLY taken care of, not your local lube place that doesn't really know engines, all they really know is how to change oil.















Don't make excuses about not taking care of your car, we don't care and it's just an excuse you will use when your car dies and you haven't taken good care of it.















Take the car in and have it taken care of, or don't and it will quit. (if it hasn't already).















Can't afford the car, don't buy it and don't drive it.
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Old 23 Apr 2013, 08:01 pm
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P0420 is a catalyst system code.(catalyst efficiency below threshold) . Basically you'll need a new catalytic converter , I've never had it be anything else on a acura . and I would not buy an aftermarket one they never last,,, as far as your maintenance light yes that only comes on to remind you of oil changes,, nothing more, hence it's nick name "dummy light" and since you just did yours just reset it.. Do that by reaching down with your right hand to the lower portion of the steering column you're feel a button.. With the key turned off push that button in and hold then turn the key on continue to hold the button in for 30 seconds it should reset.. No starts on your car a lot of times are caused by faulty main relay ... it keeps the fuel pump from working when they fail..(fyi - your maintenance light is yellow and that doesn't change! so u must have noticed another light, Like oil pressure or charging system ..well its Red so is considered critical! so see what that is first!!)
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Old 23 Apr 2013, 08:17 pm
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The flashing maintenance light (now on solid) is indeed a reminder to change the oil. See the first source for a discussion. The oil change place should have reset it when they did the job - take the car back to them for that part and to find out what they meant by the "fuel system failure" comment.

As Rick says, the starting problem is very likely to be the main relay (fuel pump relay). See the second source for more (and a test) on this very common problem. If it is the relay you can replace it yourself for about $70 (aftermarket from NAPA) or re-solder it for free if you have the basic skill and a soldering iron. However, I must respectfully disagree about the catalytic converter being the cause of the P0420 code. The life expectancy of your 1998 converter is at least 20 years, and the youngest truly bad converter I have seen was 18 years old. P0420 - catalyst efficiency below threshold - is triggered by the downstream O2 sensor (after the catalytic converter) reporting fluctuating free oxygen levels in the converter output. I have fixed several in friends' cars without ever replacing a converter because the cause is almost always problems with the exhaust reaching the converter. Common causes are a vacuum leak in one branch of the intake manifold, very dirty fuel injectors, and an exhaust leak ahead of the catalytic converter. Theoretically, a failing main relay could cause it by producing fluctuating fuel pressure but in practice I have never seen it happen. Nearly all mechanics replace the converter when a P0420 or P0430 code appears and it always clears the code... for a while. The new converter is enough better than the old one that the code disappears until the underlying problem gets bad enough to bring the code in again on the gradually aging converter - usually a few years later. The converter is replaced again and it works for a year or so. Much cheaper to find the problem and fix it, especially since most of the defects that trigger a P0420 code result in high NOx levels due to excessive free O2 in the catalyst input. By the time the free O2 reaches 2% the converter can no longer reduce NOx.
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