Dear Honda enthusiasts, I need the benefit of your knowledge and experience.
I apologize for the length of this, I wanted to give all details.
The car is an 1998 Civic LX. 165K miles approx.
I have 2 issues/questions.
The first is gas mileage. I bought the car from my son, and he claims he was
getting 35 to 40 mpg. His commute was mainly highway to and from Boston. My
commute is mostly 2 lane local roads with some highway. I'm getting 32 to 34
max. I have done a timing belt, and a tune-up, plugs, air filter, oil change
to synthetic. I verified that the belt is on correct, not off one tooth as I
thought. I checked the timing, and yes I shorted the connector and got a
CEL. The timing was advanced about 1/4" from the correct marks. When I
reset it to the correct marks, the mileage went down. I have since moved the
distributor as far retarded as possible, and the mileage came up a bit. I
also googled mileage for this car, and it came back as 32 mpg.
My question to you is, from experience, what kind of mileage have you folks
who own this car or one very similar, have you gotten? If higher than what
I'm getting, what could be wrong/what have I missed?
Second issue. The headlights are flickering. While driving on the highway,
the lights will go from normal brightness to a dim mode, and then back to
normal brightness. At this time the dash lights and taillights do the same.
The taillights were confirmed by a co-worker who passed me on the highway on
the way to work. I had mentioned this to him, and he knew it was me when he
saw the taillights dim.
To check this, I bought a voltmeter that plugs into the cigarette lighter,
and gives a digital readout of the voltage. I'm getting right around 12.0v
with headlights off, and as low as 11.5 with headlights on (car running). I
have not had the chance to check the voltage levels when the lights do the
dimming thing. Tonight, I pulled the fusebox and per the Haynes manual,
checked the ELD (electrical load dectector), and it passed the test. Also, I
plugged the voltmeter into another vehicle and got 14 volts with the car
running, just to check the voltmeter.
I googled the headlight thing, and got this:
It seems that several of these folks replaced the alternator to no effect
(regarding the lights flickering, not the low voltage). Also, someone
mentioned cutting the wire to the computer that shuts the alternator off at
times to save gas.
Mr. Tegger, I looked at your sight and found the TSB about the wire chafing
on the intake bracket. I have not been able to get under the car yet to
The battery is brand new.
The alternator is keeping the battery charged to some level, the car starts
every time I use it. Although, I left the headlights on accidentally one
morning and killed the battery in 15 minutes. (almost missed a job
interview, I was NOT amused.....)
So, after this longwinded ramble......... my question is, have any of you
experienced this, and what was your solution?
Oh yeah, currently, no CEL, and the battery/alternator dash light is
working, and never comes on while the car is running. All screws are tight
in the under hood fuse box. And, the alternator belt is tight.
Thanks for any help, /glenn