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Old 01-03-2013, 04:19 PM   #1 (permalink)
Your car looks ridiculous
 
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Question Failed Smog - 92 Civic DX - High HC, CO, and Super High NOx

1/10/12 Update: I hate reading through long threads, so here's a TLR, a too long, didn't read, shortened update.

Failed smog miserably. Test results are attached. Replaced:
-O2 Sensor
-PCV Valve
-Fuel Filter
-Thermostat

And basic maintenance like oil change, transmission fluid change, spark plugs and wires, and air filter.

Compression test, without foot on pedal = 165, 160, 161, 162 - OK!
Vacuum Gauge = 19 in. Hg - OK!
Tested catalytic converter using infrared thermometer - unsure.
Adjusted timing to specs - OK!

=Squirted some boiling hot distilled water into the vacuum line from the brake booster in an attempt to de-carbon. May have made oil watery. Will change oil soon.

>Detail: Car spews white smoke on a cold start while warming up, but after warmed up, it stops. This model has no EGR system.

With all of this done, I haven't yet gotten another smog check. Not confident I'll pass, but I have no idea. What do I need?



================================================== ========

So I just bought a 92 Civic DX sedan and I failed the smog test magnificently. I'm kind of proud of this old civic for failing so miserably. It makes it more exciting. And it makes the potential win that much more sweeter.

I've attached a photo of the smog report. Basically failed all HC, CO, and most of all failed NOx spectacularly at over three times the allowable limit at 15mph, and I passed HC and OC at 25mph, and then failed NOx a little less much still horrendously at 25mph.

Also my timing was at 10 BTDC when it should be at 16. I'm going to attempt to buy a timing light and readjust it.

One thing to note: I've been learning how to drive manual on this car, and I have stalled out without exaggeration almost a hundred times. Lol, I'm amazing. But I'm getting the hang of it. Perhaps this kind of wear that usually takes years which I wonderfully achieved in the time of a few hours may have had some negative effects?

What do I do?

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Old 01-03-2013, 04:54 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I'd start with the timing. Then I'd probably run some seafoam or other injector cleaner through it. Finally, a new O2 sensor probably wouldn't hurt. Check the plugs for proper gapping and the normal stuff with getting a used car.
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Old 01-03-2013, 07:19 PM   #3 (permalink)
Your car looks ridiculous
 
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So I'm working on the timing right now. Just bought a $20 timing light from the HABBA as our Boston friends would say, and I am an idiot.

-So I moved the distributor which is on the left of the engine, all the way counterclockwise towards the rear of the car, when standing on the left of the engine facing the back of the car, or standing on the passenger side, looking over the engine from the distributor. Lol. I'm the guy that has to say, "righty-tighty, lefty-loosey" and has a terrible sense of left/right counter and counter-clockwise, and a terrible sense of direction when driving. Anyway, this moved the white mark on the rubber belt to the right of the metal timing marks.

-I set the timing light at 0, and the white TDC mark went from the center to the right of the metal timing marks like 2 centimeters after I moved the distributor. The belt is rotating counterclockwise.

I forget but I tried the distributor all the way forward and all the way back and the engine responded very noticeably. I forget which way, but one way it ran with a higher idle I suppose? Much stronger and smoother.

-The smog inspector said my engine was at 10 degrees BTDC and it needs to be advanced to 16 BTDC. I believe there's a 2 degree +/-, and I've heard that slightly retarded timing, like say 14, might help smog. I've also heard that slightly advancing timing improves fuel economy! This is something I am going to do in the future.

[?] So did I just advance or retard my timing? How do I know the exact degrees I'm at? The timing light has a knob that goes from 0 up to something. I'm sorry I'm an idiot. What is that for and how do I use it?

+I put a bottle of CRC Guaranteed to Pass in. Still don't think I'll pass if I do just these two things. What else should I do? Should I do a valve adjustment? What causes crazy high NOx emissions?

Wait a minute. Should there be more marks on the belt, other than the TDC? With the belt rotating counterclockwise, with the white belt mark to the right and to the left of the metal timing marks, which way is advancing and which way is retarding?

Last edited by AaronMartinSole; 01-03-2013 at 07:50 PM..
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Old 01-03-2013, 08:30 PM   #4 (permalink)
Your car looks ridiculous
 
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Okay so I changed the timing all the way to the opposite of how I adjusted in the first place, lol. I saw that there was another metal mark! There's only two basically, and I suppose one for TDC and the other mark for where you're supposed to match it up!

So I moved the distributor as much as it would go, and I got the white mark as close to the second metal mark as possible. Man I'm an idiot. The car seemed to drive better, but maybe that's just in my head. Feels good.

Liked manual transmissions a little more after that test drive down a 55mph road. Only thing fun or good about them is the acceleration. Other than that, EVERYTHING ELSE IS HORRIBLE. HILLS, TURNING. STOPPING. EVERYTHING ELSE IS A HORRIFYING EXPERIENCE. Man, it makes you love automatic transmissions. I have taken you for granted, my dear Corolla. This Civic will never take your place. She doesn't even have power windows, what are you so jealous about? Oh, so you have to sleep outside instead of the garage. Well I have to fix her, nothing else is happening in here. I know it's cold out there baby but you just got some new aeromods. Don't you know I love you? You'll get a paint job one day honey, one day.
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Old 01-03-2013, 08:39 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AaronMartinSole View Post
One thing to note: I've been learning how to drive manual on this car, and I have stalled out without exaggeration almost a hundred times. Lol, I'm amazing. But I'm getting the hang of it. Perhaps this kind of wear that usually takes years which I wonderfully achieved in the time of a few hours may have had some negative effects?
The biggest negative effect is going to be your poor, poor clutch...
I will say that once you get the hang of a manual transmission, you will end up preferring it, especially if you're an eco driver. There are so many more opportunities for hypermiling.

Side note: If you know someone who drives a manual transmission and you can trust, have them give you advice while driving!
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Old 01-03-2013, 11:08 PM   #6 (permalink)
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When setting timing you usually have to jumper some pins on the diagnostic port to stop the engine ecu from trying to adjust timing on the fly. I recommend just setting it to the factory setting for now.
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Old 01-04-2013, 01:18 AM   #7 (permalink)
Your car looks ridiculous
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daox View Post
When setting timing you usually have to jumper some pins on the diagnostic port to stop the engine ecu from trying to adjust timing on the fly. I recommend just setting it to the factory setting for now.
Yeah I shorted it out with a paper clip and the check engine light came flashing on. What is the factory setting? is it the second metal mark to the right of the white top dead center mark? Because that's where I tried to get it as close as possible, but it's still ahead, a little left of that metal mark.
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Old 01-04-2013, 01:47 AM   #8 (permalink)
Your car looks ridiculous
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Northern California
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The Fantastic Festiva - '90 Ford Festiva L
90 day: 43.16 mpg (US)

A Civic Duty - '96 Honda Civic LX
90 day: 34.9 mpg (US)

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So I just did an under car inspection, and I drained all of my oil and replaced the oil filter. I just need to pick up a drain plug gasket tomorrow.

Saw a whole bunch of interesting things under there. First of all, I need to invest in a floor jack, because a scissors and bottle jack just isn't enough. Took me literally an hour to jack up the car high enough so that I could go under it with a creeper. But it was worth it being able to roll around down there like spiderman or something.

Definitely need a new CV boot. I'm just going to replace the entire CV axle because it's not too expensive at $50 and I think the car will like me for it. I try to baby her but she's so fussy. I keep telling her a K&N air filter in the long run isn't good for her, but she's incorrigible. Calls me cheap for giving her a paper air filter. IT'S BETTER FOR YOU HONEY. NO I AM NOT CALLING YOU FAT. Baby I'm sorry. Hey... remember that crazy oil test with the Valvoline Durablend? Remember? Did you see what I got you? That's right. No Civvy, Carol (my Corolla) will always be my wife. I AM NOT HAVING THIS FIGHT AGAIN. NO CV AXLE FOR YOU! Go hopping on a broken heel and then see how you feel! I JUST ADVANCED YOUR TIMING BABY. Something's wrong with me.

Do I need a new ball joint? Lol I think the answer is yes, but I wish I didn't.

One possible cause for my extremely high NOx readings is an exhaust leak. So I need to check for that. I've sort of tried the rag in the muffler trick, but I didn't really see anything. I'll try it again tomorrow. There were some exhaust gas it seemed like coming from the exhaust manifold. I was hoping it was just some splashed oil burning. I'll check again tomorrow. If it is an exhaust leak, then I will very very sad.

Got some weird oily stalactites growing off my exhaust pipe. Any ideas what they are or what might be causing them? I've also got a crack and I've attached a picture of it, in my exhaust pipe. Not sure if it matters.

I am very afraid that I might need a new catalytic converter or new exhaust pipe. Hopefully it's just like a gasket or something a little JB WELD WON'T FIX, RIGHT? Oh man, you know a part of me hates this California smog thing. I've lived in states where they didn't need this fascist regime regulation, but at the same time, if I didn't get a smog check, I might have never known that my car wasn't running well or that there was a problem. Like OBDII was meant primarily for emissions purposes, right? But today we see OBDII as a diagnostic tool. So I kind of like that about smog, you know? Yeah, it's primarily about emissions, but it's sort of a doctor's check up. Like a blood test really. You can tell so much about someone's health just from a blood test. And you can tell a lot about a car's health just from a smog check.

I'm also going to try replacing my PCV valve and cleaning out my EGR. This will probably take me ten hours. 3 hours to find what an EGR valve is and where it is, and then 7 hours to remove and clean it.

And I just replaced my air filter. Those K&N air filters pass more dirt they say, especially when new and non-oiled? or something? But they do add a teensy bit of performance and fuel economy. I opted for the cheap paper filter. Some things are just... staples.

Also my list of things to do is as follows so far:
-CV Axle
-Ball Joint
-Fuel Filter
-Anti-Freeze
+Check Spark Plugs (oh... maybe I should check the resistance of the wires.)
+Check for exhaust leaks (this is a big one.)
+Clean EGR (exhaust gas re-circulation) valve (lol what is this and what does it do)

-Transmission Fluid
-Brake Flush
-Accessory Belts
-Coolant Flush

So, here is another plea for help. My NOx readings are like, if you somehow harnessed the methane emissions from a hundred cows, compressed it into a tank, and then threw a grenade right next to it. It's like the pollution that this car emits is the equivalent of what the entire state of Wyoming produces. It's like this car alone was responsible for the smog that now covers Beijing. It's like I've discovered the secret to poisoning and suffocating as many trees and small animals as quickly as possible. It's like this car was created by oil company demons as a dirty insult to the earth. This is the car that made the Indian man in the commercial cry. It's like I'm single-handedly responsible for leaving the carbon footprint of a thousand dinosaurs. It's like this car is the reason the dinosaurs became extinct. It's like this car single-handedly makes up for all the carbon savings of ten-thousand Priuses. I cannot believe how high my NOx readings are. Someone said, "Check to see even if you HAVE a catalytic converter." Lol, I might as well not have one. HC is high too, proportionally, twice the allowed limit, CO maybe 30% higher, and NOx over three times the legal amount. I'm still reading around and looking, but if anyone has any ideas, I'd be thankful. Man I hope I don't need a $200 catalytic converter. I found a place on Craigslist that offered $160 for one installed, but I trust no one and nothing on Craigslist, heh. Ohhh, I could check my cat with a thermometer gun. One temperature is supposed to be this much hotter before and after the cat or something like that. I could get one of those guns at the HABBA. Where'd you get that? AT THE HABBA KID. The haabaa... (My impression of a guy from Boston who really likes Harbor Freight. So, that's what that was.)

Best part: someone tried taping over the busted CV Boot. AHMAZING.
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Last edited by AaronMartinSole; 01-04-2013 at 03:17 AM..
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Old 01-04-2013, 07:27 AM   #9 (permalink)
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also possible that it buit up in cat conv. if you stalled just b4 the test several hundred times as you said.
then when cat heats up unburned fuel burns off.
always get engine hot prior to test, and run it out a little if egr is sticking WOT sometimes pulls it back.
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Old 01-04-2013, 08:11 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Like I said in my first post, replace the O2 sensor.

As for the exhaust, the spring joint is normal. It provides a place for the exhaust pipe to flex a bit. Also, unless your exhaust is noticably loud you don't have a leak. That crack is in the heat shield around the pipe, nothing to really worry about for now.

Also, when you do the plugs, take pictures of them or at least look at them. That'll tell how if you're running rich or lean. From the looks of the inspection you're running lean.

EGR build up may be an issue. If you get a picture of the engine bay we can probably point it out. There should be a metal line of some sort going back to the intake manifold from the exhaust/head with a valve in there.

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