Why won't my 1999 Honda accelerate properly?

20

Asked by Feb 19, 2017 at 11:48 PM about the 1999 Honda Civic DX

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

My 1999 Honda Civic (AT) has always had to turn over a few times before
starting, if the fuel is low (That's weird, right? It starts like a champ if there's
a good amount of fuel in the tank.) Anyways, recently I've noticed that it
takes a longer time to shift from 1st to 2nd gear, and the engine revs high
for a good few seconds before the gear engages. While driving the car to
work the other day, the car stalled after I slowed to make the turn into my
parking lot. I had to push it out of the street, but then the thing wouldn't start
back up. Eventually I was able to start it again and drive it into a parking
spot. Made me 20 minutes late for work, buggerall.

Anyway, after work I decided I'd try to limp it back to my apartment so I could
look into this. The car was again reluctant to switch gears, and while driving
up a hill, it stalled again. I had the pedal all the way down to the floor and
the car was acting as if it wasn't getting any fuel; no acceleration
whatsoever. I was able to drive the car back down the hill, park again, and
take an Uber home.

Today I got a lift back to my work, limped the car back home again (still
displaying all these weird symptoms: slow to switch gears and reving high
before shifting, stalling on hills or after slowing or stopping) Stalled out three
times or so. The temp gauge never crept up beyond the halfway point, but I
noticed what sounded like boiling coolant when I got home. Popped the
hood and that's what it seems to be. Bad temp sensor maybe?

Seems like everything that can be going wrong with this car is going wrong,
and all at the same time. The shift control solenoid and the throttle position
sensor both checked out fine. Where else should I direct my attention?

Thank you so much to anyone who bothered to read this tragic novel.

17 Answers

20

Oh I forgot to mention that the check engine light never came on during this time.

18,615

The boiling coolant is a symptom of a head gasket failure and exhaust in coolant and they do not have to be run hot to blow. There is some test to check for exhaust is coolant that can be purchased at auto parts store. Was the engine still running while the coolant was boiling. The shifting slow could just be a symptom of low power from the head gasket.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
20

Thanks so much for your reply, EC! The engine was running when I noticed the sound of the boiling coolant; the car had lost power and I was pushing it backwards into a parking spot, so I heard it under the hood.

18,615

I would be thinking head gasket repair.

20

Neither oil nor coolant shows signs of head gasket failure. Are you sure this might not be a transmission issue?

76,705

I would start with a tuneup and filter change and also check the transmission fluid level and maybe go ahead and change the ATF and filter but don't flush it.

76,705

You should check the coolant level. The noise you hear may be air in the system.

20

Coolant level does seem to be a bit low, I think I'll top it off. Sorry for my ignorance, but what do you mean by a tune up? Is that term still relevant to fuel injection systems?

76,705

A tuneup involves spark plugs and possibly spark plug wires and I would also change the air and fuel filters. Your car may also need a cap and rotor but not sure about your year car. Also look up how to purge the air out of your radiator on You Tube.

76,705

How many miles on your car?

20

Right about 190,000 miles on this engine.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
76,705

Well that is a lot of miles but cars like yours can go a lot more than that taken care of properly. Good luck with fixing your car!

20

Thanks so much! I'll definitely start with the fuel and air filters, and check the spark plugs and spark plug wires as well. But I gotta admit, I'm afraid for my transmission. :-(

76,705

If you have not changed the fluid and filter in the last 30,000 miles I would do that real soon. If the fluid is clean and bright red it is good. Brown and burned smelling is bad. Do you know how to check the ATF level? Check it with it in park and the engine running after shifting though the gears with the fluid warm.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
20

I haven't changed my ATF at all since I bought this car several years ago. ATF is at a good level and pale pink, but not brightly colored. I'll change this or first off, then go to the air and fuel filters. Thanks again!

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
76,705

You are welcome.

20

Ok so ATF has been flushed and topped off with new fluid, cap and rotor replaced, spark plugs and spark plug wires replaced, coolant topped off, and transmission replaced, minus the torque converter. Still having exactly the same issues as before. Engine revs, but that power is not being transferred to the wheels. I'll put the gas pedal to the floor and the car still just creeps along, and eventually stalls out (especially uphill). No sign of head gasket damage, oil and coolant look fine. I'm completely stumped.

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