2001 Honda CR-V Misfires P1399

63vette

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Location
Russells Point, Ohio
Make
Honda
Model
CR-V
Year
2001
Miles
245K
Engine
2.0L B20
I am adding a preface to this detailed description. Since cleaning the injectors and replacing one, P0302 & P0304 codes are nearly non-existent. Through this journey and especially at the point of servicing the injectors, the CR-V runs fine. The usual misfire issues of low power, running rough, poor idle, etc. are gone. If it wasn't for the check engine light coming on (and often flashing), you wouldn't know that there are any misfires. The P1399 code has me at the "end of my rope".
I have had this vehicle in my shop off and on for a few months. This CR-V has close to 250K miles and had not had much love in recent years. This is a 2.0L B20 engine & auto trans. Initially, it had misfire codes of P0302, P0304 & P1399 (a Honda specific random/multiple misfire code) and infrequently will set a P0300. As part of a maintenance service about 6+ months and 8K miles before the misfires started, I had replaced the plugs & wires. So I checked the plugs and checked resistance of the wires and they still seemed fine (just to be sure, I swapped 1 & 2 and 3 & 4 plugs to see if the single cylinder misfires changed cylinders). I pulled the cap and there was a good bit of corrosion inside the cap and the rotor was none too wonderful so I replaced them. No perceptible change. I pulled the plugs and did a compression test and all 4 cylinders were very close to each other at about 190#s. Because of the deep plug wells, I couldn't get my cylinder leak down tester to thread into the plug holes. At a later visit, I pulled the cam cover and checked the valve adjustment. Some were off slightly but not too bad. Again, still the same 3 misfire codes. I connected a vacuum gauge and the vacuum looked fine. I tried spraying some carb cleaner around the intake and such but the access was tight so that really didn't accomplish much. I checked the ignition timing and that was nearly dead on. I put an inline tester on the plugs and the spark was orange (maybe weak) so I replaced the coil. No change. Then I focused on the injectors. I listened to them with a stethoscope and measured resistances. I pulled all 4 and using a tester/cleaner, I cleaned and tested them. One of the o-rings on cylinder #2 was questionable and I couldn't find o-rings anywhere so I replaced that injector. After the cleaning, it ran even better and the 2 individual cylinder codes didn't come back but the P1399 came back right away. While out on a test drive monitoring misfires (my scan tool doesn't show me individual cylinder misfires dynamically for this like it does for most other makes, only total misfires) I found that while accelerating or maintaining a steady speed, the misfire counts increase with engine speed. BUT, I discovered when I would slow down by coasting, the misfire total stayed steady. I went through numerous cycles (that day and ever since) and it has consistently done the same thing.
So, the owner had had the head rebuilt/replaced years ago but he didn't know how many miles he had driven it since that work was done but he/we estimated that it had probably been a minimum of 80K miles - probably around 100K. So I figured that some slop in the timing belt might cause the cam timing to be off enough to cause misfires under load but when there's no load, the misfires cease. As much as I didn't want to go down that road, I installed a new timing belt kit with water pump (what a pain-in-the-ass that was). You guessed it, a test drive was the same as before., misfires under load, no misfiring on decel.
Since, I have tested the fuel pressure which seems OK. Statically, it starts at 45#s and settles back to 43#s. Dynamically, at idle it drops to about 39#s and when I raise the RPMs, it goes up to 43#s.
So far, the only part that I somewhat regret replacing is the coil. Everything else either clearly needed to be replaced or in the case of the timing belt, was likely due to be replaced anyway. I am leaning toward replacing the distributor - mainly for the ignitor/ignition control module. I just don't know if the ICM gets weak with age/use and could cause the persistent symptom of random misfires under even slight load but work adequately with no load...HELP!
Thanks in advance for those of you who have waded through my tale of woe.
 

billr

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Want an odd guess? Misfire is detected by abnormal variation in the crank speed; and detecting that is dependent on the CKP sensor signal. Check the CKP sensor and wiring, maybe even try a known-good sensor
 

63vette

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Thank you. I thought of the crank sensor and did visually inspect it while I had the lower timing cover off. I did search around for a way to test it but never found anything. I don't know of a source for a known good one to use for testing. Also, I thought (hopefully not mistakenly) that if the crank sensor was a problem, it would probably set a code indicating that. Again, I hate throwing parts at a problem and they can be kind of pricey. I just took a deeper dive and found that my usual, local parts source (Advance/CarQuest) shows a CarQuest for $132 and a few others that range up to close to twice that! Rockauto has SKP for $14.88! and about 10 others with Denso being the most expensive (and shows as being the QE supplier) at $85. Another potential consideration is whether a relearn may be needed. I have searched at length to find if there is a relearn procedure for this vehicle and have not found anything. There's plenty of info on GMs and other domestics but nothing for Hondas that I found. A test and or relearn procedure (if applicable) would be GREATLY APPRECIATED!
As a side note, I don't usually buy many parts locally because I do my best to source good parts for the best price possible. Partly to save my customers some money and partly so I can have a reasonable margin on parts sales. I have a number of online suppliers that I use but my primary go to is eBay. Buying online, of course, is only an option if the need isn't urgent.
 
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grcauto

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Misfires under load. Any fishbite? Coils? Under load the plugs require much higher energy and a weak coil could do this.
 

63vette

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Thanks...but this is an "old school" distributor with an internal coil. I LOVE coil on plug for diagnosing misfires but didn't apply here. I replaced the coil fairly early on because the color of the spark was weak but it didn't make much, if any, difference. That's not to say that a new coil couldn't be defective but not too likely.

Again, one of my questions is whether an ignitor (ignition control module) can degrade and cause random misfires. In my experience, they usually work or don't...not much, if any, in between. Occasionally, an ICM would start failing intermittently and causing the engine to miss and get worse until it died. I'm thinking that the crank sensor or the ICM are the remaining most likely culprits.
 

billr

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Sure, it is possible for an ICM to have a failure that causes random misfire. Of course, the same can be said for most (all?) other parts of this system. This being an intermittent problem, I think you will either have to let it get bad enough to be a hard failure or throw a lot of parts at it. Letting it get "bad enough" may not be an acceptable approach for your customer, so you may be left with the task of explaining why this job may get expensive shot-gunning it with parts. I don't envy you.

With a very high-end scanner, one with scoping functions and data-logging, you could probably get definitive clues, but may even have to provide non-standard sensors for some parameters. The equipment + your time to ride around collecting/observing data to analyze might cost more than the parts shot-gun. Of course, a Honda dealer may recognize this as a common problem with that type vehicle, having worked with many more than you, and be able to fix it economically... but maybe not.

Oh, and new parts are never reliable now, especially ones ordered online. With our society's insistence now on unlimited "redos" (parts are all returnable), you can never tell if a part is really new, or may have been damaged by a previous buyer. I, myself, recently had two bad "new" ICMs in a row.
 

63vette

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Thank you billr...many good points and suggestions. I have searched a number of Honda and CR-V specific forums for some answers. Many posts about misfires but none which match the current issue with this one. When I discovered that the misfires stopped when coasting/decel, I figured that would be a huge clue to the problem. Unfortunately, that hasn't turned out to be the case - at least not yet.
 

grcauto

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ICM's can produce many different problems with the ignition. I'd check that the connectors are all clean to the ICM. Look close that there is no green death growing on any of it.
 

63vette

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Thank you grc. Early on when I replaced the cap and rotor and found corrosion inside, I forgot to mention that there was a screw in the bottom of the distributor which turned out to be the screw that holds the rotor in place. Later, I replaced the coil but didn't think to check the connections or the appearance of the ICM. I will check that out and look for any signs of "green death". I have an old ICM tester but it only had setup and specs for limited vehicles. I'll have to check and see if the CR-V might be one that is covered (I just now remembered that I had one).
I have been watching a listing for new CarQuest distributors complete with a cap and rotor for $100 shipped (of course, that price is 1/3 of what it would cost through a CarQuest store). If I had thought to look at that option before I replaced those 2 parts and especially after then replacing the coil, I could have bought the whole, new unit for not much more than those 3 parts separately!
 

billr

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Actually, I think the absence of misfires during decel may be a valuable clue. I think that kind of eliminates the CKP sensor/signal as being the problem. My reasoning is that the electrical operation of the CKP circuit is the same whether the engine is putting out net power or not, and it seems to be able to work (sense crank speed variation) OK in decel. And, as pointed out before, spark requirements (voltage) are quite higher when an engine is under load, so ignition problems first show up then.

Don't get overly focused on spark, though. Anything that causes a misfire (fueling, EGR, exhaust back-pressure, spark/valve timing, valve operation, etc, etc) may be unable to set a misfire during decel simply because the crank is being driven by the vehicle, not the combustion process.
 

63vette

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Again, thank you billr! Great point about the CKP. Also, if there was an issue with the sensor and/or the circuit, wouldn't that set a related code? Doesn't the combo of good compression and vacuum test results, a current valve adjustment and new timing belt and components pretty much rule out a valve/spark timing issue? At this point, my plan is to check out inside the distributor for corrosion and see if my ICM tester will work for this vehicle. Also, test drive while monitoring fuel trim variation and thermal test the cat (I replaced the exhaust system from the manifold back less than 3 years ago) to check for any potential blockage. There is no EGR system on this vehicle.
 
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nickb2

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Since, I have tested the fuel pressure which seems OK. Statically, it starts at 45#s and settles back to 43#s. Dynamically, at idle it drops to about 39#s and when I raise the RPMs, it goes up to 43#s.
Again, late to the game but this phrase in your huge chunk of info/paragraph hit me. I think this is too low.

normal running pressure for this engine should be at least 47 idle. normal reading running should be about 50ish.

You would be surprised what an engine runs like when it is missing 10psi or so. Just a thought with all the other ones here. We are here to help. Plz in futur, can you space out your writing, it confuses me.

;)
 

nickb2

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Also seeing you are getting multiple misses on all cyl points to that fact.


And also, as billr said, having access to live data would be cool here. What are the fuel trims?

These things are often over looked.

 

nickb2

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These are an optispark systerm, blowing shop air in the opti disc may also help. Be careful not to full blast the inside of the dizzy, these parts are fragile.

Once you get fuel pressure up to optimun spec, and still have a miss on all cyl, maybe suspect a vac leak. But for sure, I stick by my gun on this one, 39psi is way too low.
 

nickb2

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have you done the fuel pressure test with regulator vac unplugged? If so, should read 47, not 39.

Here is a link I found to help you if you wish to read it. O r maybe you already have. In anycase, I am missing these old hondas, they were a hoot to fix.

I suspect you have probably thought about all this, but as a member here, I feel a need to include helpful, and not so sometimes helpful links like this for some other guy or gal to fall on and maybe wake up a solution.

 
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