Potential electrical problem causing sparks along exhaust pipe?

Stacey Jones

Asked by Feb 01, 2016 at 11:28 AM about the 1999 Honda Civic Coupe EX

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

Just noticed the strangest thing while fixing a broken exhaust pipe. When
we went to start the car to check the repair, we noticeds the area of pipe
that is near the heat shield under the gas tank sparks!! (not even in the
area of the fix). We never noticed this before, anyone ever heard of
something like this? We are assuming an electrical short, have already
disconnected both O2 sensors to rule it out, still sparked. Only happens
when the car is started. Any tips as to where to start to isolate this

7 Answers

Tom Demyan

look at all the wiring in the area for damaged insulation.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
Stacey Jones

Thanks, we will, the only thing is, we are talking sparks way towards the middle - to the back on the exhaust pipe. All wiring would be up at the front. Any particular area that you can suggest as a starting point? It's really weird!


Are you sure it is an electrical spark and not sparks from hot gas leaking out of a small hole in the exhaust pipe?

Stacey Jones

Car was being worked on all day, so it was cold. Only started it up to be sure exhaust was no longer loud. Only reason we even saw it is because we were down on the ground looking underneath it. Basically there is a heat shield between the pipe and the gas tank. When car is started, the shake of it starting is enough that the pipe makes a brief contact with the heat shield, this is when the spark occurs. Once running it goes away because contact is no longer being made we assume. It's a white spark if that helps. This area is past the middle but before the rear axle.


Your exhaust system may be building up a static charge that arcs to the nearest metal contact. Try grounding the exhaust pipe with a piece of wire and then observe that spot again. If there is no spark then it confirms my guess. I can't think of any harm this would cause though.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
Stacey Jones

I had that thought as well, we will give it a try tonight and let you know!

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
Stacey Jones

One more question - we sealed the pipe with jb weld, which in hindsight we should not have used because it wont hold up to temperature - ever heard of that causing static? Again, sparks are not any where the fix was.

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