Mushy acceleration

OK, here's my problem, as best I can describe it:
'03 Accord 4 cyl, 84000 miles 5 speed Automatic transmission.
When I accelerate, the response is generally somewhat delayed (by a
second or two). This is more or less noticeable, depending on my situation.
Also, going up a fairly steep incline at 15 mph, I manually put the transmission in 2nd gear; I can then push the accelerator 3/4 of the way to the floor without getting much response at all. Only if I floor it, thus shifting to first, do I get any real response. Otherwise, it's as if it's in too high a gear - bogging. But a.) I'm talking 3/4 of the accelerator travel at 15 mph in 2nd gear, and b.) it used to be much more responsive.
Also, my gas mileage is decreasing; at first I wrote this off to the increased (pretty much all the time) use of the A/C, but I'm losing more (3 -5 mpg) than I think I should, or than I have in previous summers.
My first thought is a transmission flush, but I'm no expert.
Opinions, please?
Thanks.
RFT!!! Dave Kelsen
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Dave Kelsen wrote:

My first guess is a clogged fuel filter. I had similar symptoms with my '93 Accord earlier this year, and a new fuel filter made it run like new again.
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TOP POST
Something tells me that you're getting weak spark for some reason.
Dave Kelsen wrote:

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Hmm...the gas mileage change is telling. It's probably an engine thing. Possibly plugs/distributor (when was the last time you had a tune up?) or worse. Clogged fuel filter doesn't seem like it would cause mileage trouble. So my bet is induction (air filter etc) or ignition somewhere.
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OP wrote

In this vein, can the OP please state when a tuneup (new plugs, air filter, fuel filter, possibly new ignition wires, new distributor cap and rotor, timing check) was done?
Were genuine Honda parts used?
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Elle wrote:

    Throttle body need a good cleaning? bob
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On 6/21/2006 11:58 PM Elle spake these words of knowledge:

Hmmm. The dust/pollen filter and the air cleaner element were changed in accordance with the maintenance schedule - at 30K and 60K miles. It's about 6K miles from scheduled replacement for both these items. Genuine Honda parts are used in replacing these filters. Plugs are scheduled to be changed at 110K miles, and have not been done previously. Fuel filter is not on maintenance schedule, and since it has not given me trouble heretofore, it has not been replaced. Likewise the plugwires.
My Helm manual starts the section about fuel filter replacement with, "Remove the fuel pump". Damn.
As far as I know, this engine does not use a distributor, and so has no cap or rotor.
Ah. I see that the first line of my original post got cut off somehow:
'03 Accord 4 cyl, 84000 miles 5 speed Automatic transmission.
Thanks for your suggestions. I sure hope it's not a fuel filter. Manual says to check the fuel pressure after making sure the fuel pump and fuel pressure regulator are OK. That means a trip to the dealer, and I never seem to get kissed when I'm getting... well, you know. In the old days, I'd have replaced a few things and seen what the results were, but these days that's potentially very expensive.
Cleaning the throttle bodies sounds promising!
RFT!!! Dave Kelsen
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I agree the car is too young in miles and years to make the plugs, wires, or fuel filter suspect. You eliminate the air filter above.

I'd check the PCV valve, too, then run some PB Blaster or carburetor/PCV cleaner through it. It's due for inspection (or replacement, considering how cheap it is) about every 60k miles.
Car's also too young to have a failing oxygen sensor, plus I think you'd get a check engine light for this.
Otherwise, unless you have some odd defect in any of the above, this may be one for the transmission gurus, of which I most certainly am not...
Updates welcome, to help others in the future.
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On 6/22/2006 10:18 PM Elle spake these words of knowledge:

Good catch, Elle; I have had a failed O2 sensor (secondary), and it did give me a check engine light. I think the code was P0141. I replaced that myself, one of the easier things I've done. There could be some correlation, although the sensor was replaced 10-15K ago.

RFT!!! Dave Kelsen
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For the record, did you use a genuine Honda O2 sensor to replace it?
There are reports that the O2 sensors are not something one should go aftermarket with. Admittedly the secondary sensor is there mostly to monitor the cat converter, but it does affect fuel trim, too. Stephen H., our resident technician, I believe had a good citation on this recently.
Take that PCV valve and the Chevron Techron (as suggested by Curly), seriously too.
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On 6/23/2006 9:12 PM Elle spake these words of knowledge:

I don't remember; I ordered it online, but I can't say that if I got it from a Honda place or not. I do remember that prices weren't wildly different, and in that case I ordinarily get parts from Honda, but I'm not sure in this case.
I'm gonna try the cleaning as soon as I get a chance.
RFT!!! Dave Kelsen
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Dave Kelsen wrote:

Wait, am I reading your message clearly....84K miles and hasn't had plugs done yet? If I'm reading correctly, that's pretty high...especially considering my Haynes recommends new plugs every 15K miles. I would at least pull them and check them...something that doesn't really take much skill or specialized equipment. Even if the problem isn't with the plugs themselves, they will at least give you some indication as to what's going on in the engine. You should be able to find a guide online or in your manual as to what issues will cause the plugs to look a certain way. If I'm misreading your message and the plugs have been changed recently...I don't know, good luck!
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Going from rough memory, I thought plugs on newer cars do in fact last longer (or maybe plug technology itself is just better; or the distributor-less system means less wear on the plugs; etc.). So I didn't blink when the OP said his weren't due until 110k miles.
The online Canadian maintenance calculator does indeed say that a 2003 Accord 4-cylinder's plugs are not to be replaced until 7.3 years or about 110k miles have passed. It also says to inspect the plugs at about 60k miles and replace if necessary. http://www.honda.ca/HondaCA2006/YourHonda/HondaService/MaintCalcDefault.htm?L=E
(I used Canada's site because it's easier to pull up than American Honda's irritating "Owner's Link" site, and I doubt the spec for the plugs differs much for American driving.)
Probably a good idea for the OP to at least pull the plugs and inspect them. Maybe they are fouled. That would certainly at least partly explain bad running and mileage.

What are you driving?
My 91 Civic's manual says to replace the plugs every 30k miles or 2 years, whichever comes first.
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Elle wrote:

    Platinum plugs on the newer Hondas last 100K. bob
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On 6/22/2006 10:59 PM Pilot41 spake these words of knowledge:

Your reading skills are unimpaired, Pilot. I did indeed say that they haven't been done yet. According to Honda, they don't need it, although I agree it won't hurt to pull 'em out and have a look at them. I'll give that a go, and thanks.
RFT!!! Dave Kelsen
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FWIW, most of the fuel filter problems I've seen showed up as sudden engine stalling, then no start for about half an hour. The other ones were okay idle but terrible misfire when throttle is opened - carbureted only. For just mushy I wouldn't think fuel filter first.
Mike
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Dave Kelsen wrote:

-----------------------------------------------
1) Put it in first gear if you're trying to climb a tall (parkade?) ramp with a cold engine.
2) Run a can of Techron injector cleaner through it twice a year. It will solve dribbling / sloppy injectors and will help keep the throttle body clean.
3) Rev the piss out of it while using the cleaner. Hondas like that now and then anyway.
4) Check the TSB's for LOOSE THROTTLE CABLE. http://www.tegger.com/hondafaq/tsb/ I know the first generation CR-V had it. You can adjust it yourself, but don't go too tight, it needs a bit of slack....
'Curly'
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On 6/23/2006 8:44 AM 'Curly Q. Links' spake these words of knowledge:

This is when it's warm, and the hill isn't too tall, although pretty steep.

Excellent idea. I'll do it soon.

I'll do that as well.
Thanks, Curls, and the others who responded. I'll let you know what results I get.
RFT!!! Dave Kelsen
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