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Old 03 Dec 2009, 09:23 pm
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Default 97 Civic - have to press gas pedal really down

Hello

In my 97 Civic I have to press the gas pedal down quite hard and then the car surges forward and picks up speed. On pressing the pedal gradually it does not pick up speed smoothly. I love my car and dont like to stomp or press hard on the gas pedal. In my earlier 2001 Ford taurus, I used to gradually apply pressure on the gas pedal and it used to speed up gradually and smoothly. Why does the gas pedal in the Civic seem sticky and have to press it down hard? And then why does the car kind of surge forward? Is there something which needs to be oiled/cleaned? The car is overall very smooth and runs well with routine maintenance (mainly oil changes) done on time.

Thanks-Abbey
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Old 04 Dec 2009, 05:44 am
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Default Re: 97 Civic - have to press gas pedal really down

First of all, check the flash code. Standard procedure I think you know already but if not jumper the two wire connector blue or green under the passenger side kick panel - turn ignition on but don't start and observe the flash codes given).

It could be mechanical, check the gas pedal linkage, maybe binding somewhere. If it moves freely then it's something else. It sounds like something isn't responding fast enough so it could be a throttle position sensor or even a bad oxygen sensor.

If you have an error code, via the procedure I first mentioned, then it will help us get started to diagnose the problem. Other people might have some other good suggestions as well.
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Old 04 Dec 2009, 06:43 am
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Default Re: 97 Civic - have to press gas pedal really down

Hi Chris

There are no codes being displayed. I had taken it to the local auto repair shop and you know how they see $$$ when you tell them something as generic as what I have posted. Just by hearing the problem the service advisor said I would need a full fuel injection cleaning which will cost me a whopping $200. I want to do the diagnosis in a systematic way (i.e. start small and work my way up) so that I dont end up spending money where it is not required.

How much will a throttle bore/valve inspection and cleaning cost me?

Thanks-Abbey
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Old 04 Dec 2009, 07:37 pm
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Default Re: 97 Civic - have to press gas pedal really down

Not sure how much a throttle bore valve cleaning will cost. Have you tried a bottle of fuel injector cleaner in your gas? That should clean your injectors if they're dirty. By the way what sort of mechanic level would you say you're at?

Anyways let's start from the top.

Is the engine light on?
If yes, the car will have stored an error code in the computer.

Have you replaced your air filter recently?
How long has it been since you changed your fuel filter?
When was the last time the spark plugs were checked?

Lastly (of the simple things) maybe the first thing you should replace is your PCV valve, many people overlook this and it's a cheap part $5-$6. Pull off the old one and put in the new one usually gas mileage jumps up if it's never been replaced.
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Old 04 Dec 2009, 07:57 pm
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Default Re: 97 Civic - have to press gas pedal really down

Hello Christopher

Thank you for your reply. The Engine light is not on, and there are no codes. It is good that you mentioned the fuel injector cleaner in the gas because I have just put that in.

Fuel filter, air filter and spark plug and wires were replaced 23K miles back. How often do they need to be changed?

Thanks-Abbey

P.S. I am no mechanic, just a worried car lover.
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Old 04 Dec 2009, 08:56 pm
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Default Re: 97 Civic - have to press gas pedal really down

spk plugs - every 30,000 miles but can usually go for much further than that.
air filter - every 8,000 miles or 12 months. Many people go much further.
fuel filter - should be good for 100,000 miles
Those are general guidlines and are most likely in your manual.

The fuel injector cleaner is your cheapest and easiest bet right now. If that doesn't fix it we'll have to look into it further.

You didn't mention the PCV valve, I would replace that one as your next step. Even if it doesn't fix the problem it should be replaced.

You also haven't mentioned if the pedal itself moves smoothly or not? With the car OFF push the pedal and see if it moves smothly or if it's catching on something.
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Old 04 Dec 2009, 09:17 pm
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Default Re: 97 Civic - have to press gas pedal really down

I did press the gas pedal with my hand while the car was in the carport and dint feel anything sticking, it did seem like smoothly going down.

I have no idea about the PCV valve, dont remember having replaced it ever.

I did put in 2 bottles of fuel injection cleaner in the gas tank within a span of 5 days (30 miles of travel), hope it was not too much? How frequently should I put in this fuel injection cleaner, 2 bottles ok or will it need more?

My goodness, auto repair shops in general are such ripoffs nowadays, you ask them a simple question and come back with repair suggestions of hundreds of dollars and you dont know how may of them are really required. Looks like I have to learn to repair the car myself, at least the small things:-)

Thanks-Abbey
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Old 05 Dec 2009, 07:34 am
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Default Re: 97 Civic - have to press gas pedal really down

Yeah some repair shops won't offer any advice unless you bring the car in to have it looked at and pay them some money. Usually they say after you've asked them a question ... "oh, you'll have to bring it in so we can have a look at it" or something along those lines.

Injector cleaner - No you shouldn't need to put in two bottles at once but it won't harm anything, just your wallet. One bottle is enough per tank. I don't think more than one tank is needed really, but someone else may have a different opinion. I might do two tanks but probably no more.

PCV stands for positive crankcase ventilation, it has something to do with recycling the vapours in your engine for better performance. Generally if you remove it and shake it and can hear a rattle then it's fine, if you don't hear anything it's blocked/plugged and needs replacing but it's something really cheap to replace that many people overlook. It should be replaced or checked as often as one would change your air filter.

Okay so the gas pedal seems free so next you want to look under the hood, ... I just had a look at my 98 civic and on the right side you should see a throttle cable going to a linkage under the air filter. You can move it with your hand to rev the engine, it could be that the swivelling part there is sticking a little. You can check it with the car off, if it's running and you move it you'll rev the engine but either way what ever you're comfortable with, if it seems stiff then it's probably a little seized up and needs some lubrication. Put some oil on it or some WD-40, but if it's moving smooth it's something else. Or maybe it could be simply that the cable is a bit loose and might need some tightening up.
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Old 05 Dec 2009, 11:36 am
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Default Re: 97 Civic - have to press gas pedal really down

Thanks for the suggestions. I will definitely look at PCV change and the linkage. Will le you know what happens.

I am going to go for a 27 point inspection at a local repair shop (reliable one I hear) and bring up these points.

Thanks-Abhijit
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