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#459231 - 04/28/09 12:11 PM Oxygen Sensor in Honda Civic  
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Admiral

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I believe the oxygen sensor has failed in my 98 Honda Civic with 120k miles on it. The check engine light came on and when I went to a repair shop it turned off. The mechanic pulled the code and said it was the oxygen sensor and not to worry about it unless it goes back on as it would cost $200 to fix. Well, I should be worrying about it as it came back on.

Symptoms: the car does not have power going up slight inclines (tractor trailers pass me going up hills), burns more fuel than normal, runs rough.

I went to Pepboys yesterday and they pulled the code as well. The mechanic said it was do to a rich fuel mixture and I asked if it could be related to a faulty oxygen sensor. He said it could be or the sensor could be reading it because something else is wrong. The only way to tell is to do a diagnostic test at $95.

I searched on line for oxygen sensors and found them from $50 and up for the ones with a plug adaptor or less for ones you have to splice wires. The reviews say installation is easy.

Should I do a $95 diagnostic test or just get a new sensor and replace it myself. I imagine I should get new plugs if the engine is running rich. In fact, the plugs in the car are original so it probably is a good time to change them as well. Our plan is to keep the car for another 80k miles which would be about 5 more years.


2008 Honda Goldwing Trike
2006 Regal 2400
2004 Dodge Ram 2500
2003 Ford F-150
2002 Harley Davidson Roadking Classic
1998 Honda Civic


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#459237 - 04/28/09 12:27 PM Re: Oxygen Sensor in Honda Civic [Re: On Holiday]  
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I'd replace the oxygen sensor with a quality unit/brand. There is a drastic difference in quality among certain brands.

If you haven't replaced your plugs, then I assume you also haven't replaced your cap and rotor and wires as well.

Also, I would have a fuel injector cleaning done from a qualified shop. Feel free to pour a can of Seafoam down the intake...but I don't think it does as good as the shop do.

Also, I believe you have a Mass Air Flow sensor on that series of engines. Pull it out and clean it with Mass Air Flow Sensor cleaner. It should be on your intake. That, too, will cause the engine to run rich. Infact the MAF cleaning might even be the culprit. So thats the first thing I would do ... before replacing the O2 ... because its; cheap and easy. $5 for the can of cleaner.

One more thing: Whens the last time you changed the transmission and differential (yes you still have one even though it's FWD) fluid? Old fluid increases friction and reduces economy / power.

D


-YOLO
#459238 - 04/28/09 12:28 PM Re: Oxygen Sensor in Honda Civic [Re: D-Rod]  
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One more thing: the MAF cleaning, injector/intake cleaning, and fluid should be apart of routine maintenance.

When's the last time you replaced the PCV? It too can cause a rough idle and decrease performance slightly.


-YOLO
#459240 - 04/28/09 12:43 PM Re: Oxygen Sensor in Honda Civic [Re: D-Rod]  
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My understanding of the O2 sensor going bad is it put the car in a full rich mode - which means it is dumping unburned fuel into the catalytic converter - if you keep drive the car like that for long you end up buying a converter too because the unburned fuel will clog it - that could have already happened as too the power situation.


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#459241 - 04/28/09 12:48 PM Re: Oxygen Sensor in Honda Civic [Re: D-Rod]  
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If you're still on the original O2 sensor, there is a pretty good chance it needs to be replaced by now. If it isn't functioning, the fuel mixture will be off. The purpose of the sensor is to maintain an optimum fuel mixture for fuel economy/emissions. I'd find a OEM type replacement sensor as well rather than buying a universal type replacement. They usually aren't that hard to change, but you'll need a special socket to R/R it unless you can get a wrench on it.

Also, if you have smog tests locally, a bad O2 sensor can cause you to fail that.


2006 Cobalt 263 Mercruiser 8.1
#459242 - 04/28/09 01:03 PM Re: Oxygen Sensor in Honda Civic [Re: etyppo]  
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The MAF tells the system how much air is flowing into the engine. If it send false readings because it's dirty, it can screw up the balance of the rest.

After you sort this all out...and its still slight rough at idle...it could be the IAC (Idle Air Control) is dirty and need cleaned. Seafoam to the rescue.

Last edited by D-Rod; 04/28/09 01:04 PM.

-YOLO
#459251 - 04/28/09 02:07 PM Re: Oxygen Sensor in Honda Civic [Re: D-Rod]  
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A bad MAF could cause those problems too, but a bad O2 sensor is a more likely failure point. Additionally, a lot of Hondas don't have a MAF as they use a speed density system with a MAP sensor instead. According to this list: http://www.hondacarforum.com/honda-3/32556-hondas-mafs-instead-maps.html a 98 Civic doesn't have one.


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#459262 - 04/28/09 04:31 PM Re: Oxygen Sensor in Honda Civic [Re: etyppo]  
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Oxygen sensors can be pretty tricky to get to sometimes - usually not too hard to change if you can get to it.

Me personally, I'd change it myself, however I have a code reader, and know enough to be dangerous.

If I were a novice, I'd pay a good mechanic to do it.

#459268 - 04/28/09 05:39 PM Re: Oxygen Sensor in Honda Civic [Re: Indyboater]  
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What code does the system set?

If indeed it is an oxygen sensor code (not a fuel trim code), then I would not pay for any more diagnosing and just replace the sensor.

The biggest piece of advice I can give you is to buy the new sensor right from your Honda dealer. I can't stress this enough!! OBD II Honda vehicles are one of those applications that the aftermarket sensors just plain do not do well in.


Bob
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#459282 - 04/28/09 08:19 PM Re: Oxygen Sensor in Honda Civic [Re: cny boater]  
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So you wouldn't get one from an auto store that is a Bosch OEM?

I had some time after getting junior to bed to look under the hood. I pulled the spark plug wire from one of the cylinders and saw that the plug was recessed down in about 6". I only have a 3" extension for my socket so I guess I will need to buy a new tool tomorrow. Besides being recessed, the plugs are rather easy to get to. Now trying to get to the plugs on the truck is another story.

Last edited by On Holiday; 04/28/09 08:22 PM.

2008 Honda Goldwing Trike
2006 Regal 2400
2004 Dodge Ram 2500
2003 Ford F-150
2002 Harley Davidson Roadking Classic
1998 Honda Civic


#459284 - 04/28/09 08:23 PM Re: Oxygen Sensor in Honda Civic [Re: On Holiday]  
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I don't know the code, but the mechanic said it indicated a rich fuel mixture.


2008 Honda Goldwing Trike
2006 Regal 2400
2004 Dodge Ram 2500
2003 Ford F-150
2002 Harley Davidson Roadking Classic
1998 Honda Civic


#459288 - 04/28/09 09:13 PM Re: Oxygen Sensor in Honda Civic [Re: On Holiday]  
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You need to know the code. If I am to help you, there is no way around this, without using the shotgun approach.

Bosch 02 sensors for the aftermarket are not the same as OEM Bosch. I don't know why. I have been burned by VW, Volvo, Toyota and Honda Bosch aftermarket 02 sensors. Unless it's a simple application, I use only OEM 02 sensors. 02 sensors have suddenly become complicated too, with A/F sensors, LAF sensors and wideband 02 sensors operating much different than traditional 02 sensors. The physical appearance and connectors can be the same.


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#459296 - 04/28/09 11:37 PM Re: Oxygen Sensor in Honda Civic [Re: etyppo]  
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Originally Posted By: etyppo
A bad MAF could cause those problems too, but a bad O2 sensor is a more likely failure point. Additionally, a lot of Hondas don't have a MAF as they use a speed density system with a MAP sensor instead. According to this list: http://www.hondacarforum.com/honda-3/32556-hondas-mafs-instead-maps.html a 98 Civic doesn't have one.


Well that is that! I'm not sure why I remember that generation using a MAF. Since it's a MAP, ignore the MAF above!


-YOLO
#459330 - 04/29/09 10:05 AM Re: Oxygen Sensor in Honda Civic [Re: cny boater]  
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Originally Posted By: cny boater
What code does the system set?

If indeed it is an oxygen sensor code (not a fuel trim code), then I would not pay for any more diagnosing and just replace the sensor.

The biggest piece of advice I can give you is to buy the new sensor right from your Honda dealer. I can't stress this enough!! OBD II Honda vehicles are one of those applications that the aftermarket sensors just plain do not do well in.


This is the number 1 reason to go to an experienced mechanic to get your car fixed. The general public just cannot possibly know these "tricks of the trade". I recall my own mechanic knowing that some cars will work fine with Napa brake pads, but my particular car had to get the OEM set from the dealer, or they would squeak.

Finding a mechanic as good as CNY or my guy is the tough part.

#459357 - 04/29/09 03:26 PM Re: Oxygen Sensor in Honda Civic [Re: Indyboater]  
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Just Bob Offline
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I got an O2 sensor from PepBoys and replaced mine in a 94 Mitsubishi Eclipse. The sensor was like $18. It took me about 15 minutes. The car was running like crap for a a while (with the check engine light on), and when I finally got around to fixing it, it runs like new! Amazing what an $18 part can do.

Check out this website: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Where_is_the_O2_Sensor_located_on_a_1998_Honda_Civic_Sedan

and this one:

http://www.popularmechanics.com/automotive/how_to/4219927.html



and this one:
http://www.superstreetonline.com/techarticles/22000/photo_04.html


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#459396 - 04/29/09 08:19 PM Re: Oxygen Sensor in Honda Civic [Re: Just Bob]  
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OH, if you want to be a DIY type with an older car, you really need to get yourself a code scanner. I have an Equus 3100, but there are many others which are even better, and cost more. I would say that mine gets used at least once a month now that our cars are getting older...

Also, if you are running rich, make sure you have a clean air filter. All the electronics in the world cannot overcome a clogged air filter!

Last edited by Waywego; 04/29/09 08:21 PM. Reason: Added comment about air filter


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#459407 - 04/29/09 10:10 PM Re: Oxygen Sensor in Honda Civic [Re: WayWeGo]  
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A clogged air cleaner won't change the fuel mixture on a car with fuel injection and a functioning O2 sensor. If air flow is reduced, fuel delivery will be reduced to maintain the proper fuel/air mixture. The O2 sensor is what closes the loop in the closed loop fuel system.


2006 Cobalt 263 Mercruiser 8.1
#459479 - 04/30/09 11:40 AM Re: Oxygen Sensor in Honda Civic [Re: etyppo]  
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air cleaner is cleaned.

I called Honda parts to get the price of an o2 sensor and the parts guy said $221.47 and I asked is that just the part of installation as well. He said just the part.


2008 Honda Goldwing Trike
2006 Regal 2400
2004 Dodge Ram 2500
2003 Ford F-150
2002 Harley Davidson Roadking Classic
1998 Honda Civic


#459483 - 04/30/09 12:11 PM Re: Oxygen Sensor in Honda Civic [Re: On Holiday]  
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etyppo Offline
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Check online for Honda parts. You can probably find the real Honda part for 30-40% off that price. Retail parts prices at dealerships include a substantial markup.


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#459486 - 04/30/09 12:17 PM Re: Oxygen Sensor in Honda Civic [Re: On Holiday]  
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This is an interesting thread for me...as usual I learn just as much about other everyday topics from BABC as boats. My 1999 Isuzu Trooper's check engine light would go on intermittently. First time it came on was during a long tow. A couple of years ago it stayed on and I had AutoZone pull the code for me and it was a rear 02 sensor, I even bought the $50 part. Then the light went off and stayed off before I tried to install the new sensor and I actually returned the part! It would occasionally come on, sometimes during a tow (I don't tow often), but always go back off. I kinda figured the engine was under stress during the tow and maybe emitted more emissions and would foul the sensor...then it would burn off during normal driving.

Now its back on and has been for quite a while...the Trooper mostly sits in my driveway as I work from home, but is used some. I had always been under the impression the 02 sensors didn't do much. I thought they just monitored emissions and if one failed it was usually just the sensor itself failing w/ nothing to do how the vehicle actually ran.

I guess I need to go get the code pulled again and revisit the situation. My question is, in light of CNY's comments, can I get an OEM equivalent sensor from a place like AutoZone, Advance Auto Parts or NAPA? Those are my options around here...not much in the way of Isuzu dealers anymore and none near me. Maybe a good trusted online source? Thx.

EDIT: One other thought just occurred to me. Troopers are known to use a bit of oil, but mine never did for years, but has started the last few years and I'm wondering if it related to the 02 sensor. Either clogging it and causing it to fail, or a failed sensor somehow affecting oil usage (the latter seems unlikely).

On Holiday...sorry for the hijack...didn't seem like I should start another 02 sensor thread. smile

Last edited by athiker; 04/30/09 12:24 PM.

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