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Old 13 Jan 2011, 04:01 pm
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Default 98 honda accord LX check engine light came on?

I have 1998 Honda Accord LX that I bought about a month ago from a private seller as a way to get to school. since i had the car it's been running just fine but on christmas day the check engine light came on and my friends mom who is a mechanic checked and the the P0420 code came up. which was efficiency below threshold bank 1. I took the code to autozone and they told me it could be a number of things making the engine light go on. My friends moms reset the compute in my car so the light would go off but it went back on after my sister drove it (800 miles in about a day and half) so I bought new spark plugs and put them in because my old ones were really bad after inspecting them. My friends mom said im prolly gonna need a new timing belt as well so im not sure if that's something that would make the light go on. She told me how to check my catalytic converter to see if it still working. she told me to check the exhaust in the morning when the car is warming up and if i see the water coming out the tailpipe then that means my CC is working. I don't really know how she can tell that the CC is working by something that simple because i thought that was normal for all the tailpipes to drip water in cold mornings but shes one of those old school mechanics who learned her stuff in the military. shes a damn good mechanic and i wanna take her word for it that its working but im just curious as how she would it works from something that simple. another reason i wanna believe her is that it would cost $70 just to have the local muffler shop run an inspection of my car cuz they said there diagnostics system cost about $5000 does that sound right? anyways if anyone has had a problem with this code and has fixed i would appreciate any feedback as ive read that figuring out this code can be a nightmare.































btw my car has close too 133,000 miles on it right now.































another thing i checked under my car and i noticed that the front end of my CC is bolted on and the rear end of it is welded on is that normal?
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Old 13 Jan 2011, 04:16 pm
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http://www.obd-codes.com/p0420































goto autozone have them verify if the same trouble code came up after it was cleared?































your kinda right about the tailpipe emitting water vapor, that's one of the BY-PRODUCTS of combustion!































(google it if you don't believe me on that)































--------------------------------------































you're overdue for a timing belt change as well; just due to the mileage and age of the vehicle































unless...































do you have any records to verify if the previous owner had changed it in the past? the max mileage is about 105,000 miles... but that's pushing it just due to the age as well..
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Old 13 Jan 2011, 04:31 pm
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Your friends mom seems very knowledgeable. If your timing belt is original, it is overdue.















My shop charges $95 to do diagnostics so $70 is cheap.































However, I'll save you the money and tell you that the problem with the light and code P0420 is that you need a new catalytic converter, plain and simple.































The best cat is a Honda cat but there $500 plus. You can buy a cheap bolt in cat or universal cat but it won't work after a couple years so make sure to get a good warranty.































BTW, no it's not normal for the cat to be welded in on a Honda. There's nothing wrong with that at all. You may already have a cheap cat.































edit: I don't know why I got a thumbs down. This is what I do everyday. I also was a tech at STL Honda for 2 years. Some people look way too deep into what is a very reliable code.
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Old 13 Jan 2011, 04:46 pm
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P0420 makes my head hurt. What it really means is the O2 sensor following the catalytic converter is seeing too much fluctuation in oxygen levels, and in a way that too closely follows the normal switching of the front O2 sensor. It is a good indication that the catalytic converter is not working as it should but gives no clue as to why. The converter could be getting weak but that isn't the most common cause. Anything that makes the mixture being fed to the converter hard to digest will set P0420.































At 133K miles the converter should be in good shape but the forward O2 sensor is probably pretty used up. There are separate codes for O2 sensor operation but - especially in Hondas - they almost never appear unless the sensor has failed completely. As O2 sensors age they become sluggish and the job of the front sensor is to send correction information (via the ECU) to control the mixture. The leaner/richer transitions should occur about 7 times a second in a healthy system. As the sensor ages it transitions less often and the pulses of rich and lean mixture get longer. The converter is designed to store oxygen during the lean phases and use it to oxidize CO during the rich phases. As the pulses get longer the converter can't hold its breath long enough and P0420 appears. Other conditions, like exhaust leaks, can bring in P0420 but because your sensor has 133K miles on it the most effective approach is to replace the forward O2 sensor (sensor 1) and go from there.































It's common for Honda converters to be bolted at the front and welded at the back - I don't know why.































EDIT - if the timing belt has not been changed yet, get it done very soon or the P0420 code will be the least of your worries.
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