Hello All. Just wanted to post something in case anyone has a similar
problem. Recently, the engine light came on in my 2001 Honda CRV (4
cylinder, 5 speed manual). I noticed a slow drop in fuel economy,
from an average of 26.5, slowly down to around 21.5 over the course of
about 1 month and the engine began to idle harder than normal, with a
slight jump. I took it to a Honda Dealership and they told me it
coded for a misfire in cycliner 1. They said it could be spark plugs,
coils, or fuel injection. About 2 weeks later, the engine light began
flashing when I sat at idle for about 30 seconds. I immediately
called another Honda dealership and took it in. Analysis said it was
actually a misfire in all 4 cylinders. Apparently there was a tech
bulletin that this model had shown a tendancy to build up carbon on
the head gaskets and "gunk" in the valves. This lead to the misfires
and loss of fuel economy. Honda changed the spark plugs, cleaned and
adjusted the valves, and performed a top end cleaning of the gaskets.
Problem solved. Idle was back to normal, gas mileage was back to
normal. The entire job cost about $250.
I searched this group for answers when I had the problem and found
some useful information. I just wanted to help out any of you who
might have this issue in the future.
You had DTCs P0301, 302, 303 and 304 all at the same time?
You sure that's it? Was the TSB number 03-038?
Are you sure they didn't in fact replace the head under a goodwill
TSB 03-038 has to do with exhaust valves receding into the head. If you
had the issue listed in 03-038, your problem will eventually come back.
Thanks Tegger. The original code was P0301. The codes listed at the
Dealership that did the repair was P0301, P0302, P0303, P0304.
Does this sound correct? It looks like they replaced the gasket head
cover, but there is no indication the head was replaced, nor did they
According to TSB 03-038, the problem is due to one or more exhaust valves
receding (sinking) into their respective seats. Valve recession is usually
the effect of valve seats that are insufficiently hardened, which is a
If the valves recede, the valve/lifter clearance closes up, which
eventually results in misfires and burnt valves. Evidently the dealer
determined your valves were not burnt, so they simply readjusted them to
account for the recession.
The danger here is that if your valves receded so as to cause the trouble
in the first place, then they may recede more over time, and the problem
may recur. And eventually you'll run out of adjustment in the adjustment
mechanism and need to replace the entire head ($$$!).
The dealer may have done this quickie fix because you're well out of the
official warranty and they don't see any chance of being able to claim any
kind of reimbursement from Honda for a proper repair. And maybe they've had
success simply adjusting the valves in other cars with this problem. Maybe
the valve seats work-harden to the point where recession lessens over time.
If I were you, I'd have the valves checked every year, and ask the tech to
note the initial clearances before he adjusts them. This way you can have a
running record and can note any changes over time. Normal valves don't
change more than a thou or two over many years, so a defective seat will be
Your dealer is:
A - Trying to spare you a bunch of info he doesn't think you'll understand.
B - Unaware of the reality of the Gen 1 CR-V engine.
C - Likely both of the above.
Read this and resign yourself to finding an independent mechanic who
will give you good (loose) valve adjustments every 30,000 Miles, for a
reasonable price. Take him a bottle of Dual Pump Fluid at the same time,
or learn to change it yourself.
To both Curly and Tegger, I thank you very much for the advice. I
will note it and make sure to have this work done. It is folks like
you that make this type of site and chat board helpful and useful for
everyone. I am glad I posted this.
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