I'm having the exact same problem. I've taken my car in four times
this fall and still have problems reaching temperature. I'm 95% sure
the problem is the thermostat. Every time I ask them to check the
thermostat, and they haven't removed the thermostat once (which is the
recommended method in the dealer service manual). My old Acura Integra
(also an aluminum 1.8L) had the same problem once, I replaced the
thermostat and she was fine.
My problem is with the dealer here in Whitehorse- they keep telling me
not to run the heater at full, or that 'these little engines don't
produce as much heat'. It doesn't make sense. If the engine is at
temperature, the thermostat should open and close to keep it at
temperature. I'm paying them to replace the thermostat at my cost,
and save the parts for me. (If I get an open thermostat back I'll be
getting unglued). The thermostat should be in this week, I'll let you
know how it goes.
I'm sure you've noticed your gas consumption increase as well- I'm
getting about 250km to a tank right now, just slightly better than my
friends Land Rover. You may have also noticed the temperature drop on
long downhill roads... I can usually drop the temp from 1/2 to 1/6 on
a good hill.
FYI: I've installed some cardboard in front of the bumper, at least
now it reaches temperature when I'm on the highway... I'll keep you
Is your car under warranty? Specifically the emissions warranty.
If your engine is not warming up, it is polluting the air and Honda Canada
is breaking the Canadian Federal emissions laws. Honda Canada is required
to meet Canadian Federal specs for emissions. They are not allowed to sell
automobiles in Canada that exceed the specified emissions. An engine that
does not warm up to operating temperature, within a certain time frame, will
not meet the Fed specs. Raise a stink with the dealer, Honda Canada, and
Transport Canada. You paid lots of money to have Honda build a car that
is supposed to meet the Canadian emissions specs.
Look at you warranty booklet, read it carefully. Contact Transport Canada.
Do you live in a province that requires emission tests for licence renewal
(i.e. Ontario, British Columbia)? You may want to tell them Honda has
possibly allowed polluting automobiles to operate on their roads.
3Gee Canadian Hondas (1986 to 1989 Accords) list an optional (hotter)
thermostat (with operation specs [temps etc.]) in the Honda Canadian
snipped-for-privacy@FreeNet.Carleton.CA (M.A. Stewart) wrote in
It will also turn on the Check Engine light if emissions exceed federal
limits by a significant amount.
You're forgetting that the primary components of the emissions system are
the oxygen sensors and the cat. If either is not working properly, the
Check Engine light will illuminate. If both ARE working properly, then
emissions are within specified limits regardless of coolant temperature.
What totally baffles me is that nobody seems to want to try the very simple
expedient of checking the coolant outlet at the head with an infrared
thermometer. All dealers have got to have one of those. *I* have one. It
was all of $75. You should see about 205F at the "sweet spot" when fully
warm. If it's lower than that with no accompanying Check Engine light, then
the thermostat is bad.
I'm convinced Honda has simply had a run of bum thermostats, hardly an
issue worth snitching to the cops for. Bet there's a TSB out on this by
Ahh... the possible loophole for the manufacturers. My understanding
(and I'm not saying it is correct) is that there is a time limit for engine
warm up, because when the cars are tested by the 'Feds' (not the
provinces or possibly the states), they 'bag' everything that exits the
exhaust. If the engine does not warm up during the test 'program' (driving
test routine), the bag, when analysed for contents, will show high readings.
And the test for stats is the same as it has always been... take the stat
out... hang it in a pot of water... hang in a good thermometer... turn the
heat on... make note of the temps and action of the stat... consult the
factory workshop manuals for the specific details of how the action and
temps are supposed to relate.
At 30 to 50 below in the Yukon, spring is a LONG time away! At 30 to 50
below ya want some fire under your ass. If a threat of snitching gets that
fire sooner, well then, what the hell! :-) :-)
snipped-for-privacy@FreeNet.Carleton.CA (M.A. Stewart) wrote in
Oxygen sensors/AF sensors are active after about 30 seconds from a cold
start. Their internal heaters are the reason why. The 2008 cat is
functional after about the same length of time. Its cheek-to-jowl proximity
to the exhaust ports is why.
It is true that insufficiently warmed-up engines of /any/ year will exhibit
high HC readings (but stunningly low NO numbers!) compared to a fully
warmed-up one, but you MUST realize how stupidly low ALL the readings are
these days. CO, for one, is now non-existent to Ontario's DriveClean, since
its equipment "only" goes to two decimal places. You'll see "0.00%" in that
slot. An uncontrolled engine puts out roughly 4%-10% CO.
A cold engine of 2008 vintage puts out less HC/CO/NO than a fully-warm
engine did in 1991. After the first half-minute, anyway.
I've been told that, in terms of measured emissions, auto exhaust is
CLEANER than the ambient air in large cities, and has been so since 1986.
The US federal EPA says that ambient air is now 57% cleaner in ABSOLUTE
terms than it was in 1970, in spite of a 157% increase in vehicular traffic
from then to now.
If you want to get all huffy and go squealing to the feds that the Big Bad
Automaker is Destroying the Environment, you should have a few facts at
hand before you make a total fool of yourself.
Same BS I get from my dealer, they claim the heater core, which takes
water before the thermostat, is actually capable of cooling the engine
in this weather. Doesn't make any sense, sounds like a routing or
valving issue to me. No way should coolant flow be that high through
a heater core.
I've used some 1/2" pipe insulation in the gaps of the grill. See
pics at URL below, mine is the same. Definitely helps it get up to
temperature on the hwy. From what I understand, this problem is even
worse on hybrid civics.
I have been following this thread and have something for you to consider.
Honda makes very efficient engines, they are also as a rule small. The
combination means that there is a LIMITED amount of waste heat availible.
Consider that especially if the heater is at the max setting, there will
be a maximum amount of heat available for a given engine load (dependent
mainly on vehicle speed).
Given the fixed amount of waste heat available and the cooling effect of
the heater core, there will be a minimum outside air temperature that the
waste heat availible from the engine can support.
Colder than that temperature outside, the engine temperature will drop,
warmer than that temperature, the engine temperature will increase until
the thermostat opens. This is the "balance point" of your system.
If you read most good shop manuals they have a performance chart for air
conditioners that is analogous to this situation. At a certain outside
temperature, the capacity of the air conditioner becomes inadequate to cool
the car to a comfortable temperature.
I have only run into this situation once, living in north Texas. A college
roommate had a 74 Mercury capri with a 2.0 L engine and had the same
problem you had.(almost no heater below 20 degrees F). This engine had the
added problem of a water heated intake manifold. After a thorough
inspection I found that the engine air intake preheat tube (a baffle on the
exhaust manifold feeds hot air through a tube to the air cleaner) had been
disconnected. Simply reconnecting this tube lowered the coolant heat loss
to the intake manifold enough to tip the balance and make the heater work
The only easy test I can come up with to see if your engine is
overcooling because of excess heat loss to the heater core is this:
Clamp off either one of the radiator hoses and drive the car. A defective
thermostat will not allow the engine to overcool because the radiator is
disabled. If it still overcools, then the only place that the heat is going
is out of the heater core and there is not a bad thermostat. No disassembly
required and you can buy clamps for this at a lot of tool stores, they are
used to do repairs without draining coolant.
A lot of the responders to your posts think that the heater core cannot
overcool the engine. This may be correct with large heavy vehicles with
large engines, but a small engine CAN be overcooled with a low enough
outside air temperature.
I realise you may think your problem is solved by the new thermostat, but
consider that you have not driven again at -36 degrees C. The balance point
for your heater and driving conditions may not have been met and may not
until next year when colder temperatures return.
The bad news is that there is no way to modify your engine to solve the
heater problem without a lot of engineering that would have to be done by
Honda, as an optional "arctic kit" or some such. That means a lot of r+d
for 1/10 of 1% of the cars they make. I doubt that it will happen. If I
was you I would try to fabricate a cover for your oil pan made of cardboard
or some such material to insulate and prevent heat loss from cold air
blowing across the oil pan and cooling the oil, but this would be a pain in
the butt to install and take off as outside temperatures increase to the
point where the oil would overheat.
I have to agree. Modern engines are more efficient than we old-timers
appreciate. A friend's daughter is going to college in town so he asked me
to look at her 2001 Ford Focus. It was overheating within minutes of getting
on the freeway but was no problem in town. I found the radiator 99%
plugged - blowing through it was like blowing through a couple of soda
straws. The radiator was not doing anything - it didn't even get more than a
little warm when the engine overheated - but the temperature was still okay
(not regulating, but you can't tell that from the Ford temp guage which,
like their oil guages, is an idiot light in guage form).
Adding baffles to the grill to keep cold air from bathing the engine may be
the best answer, and the pipe insulation is a good choice.
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