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civic - studdering problem, and won't start


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Hi there,


My 98 Civic has a strange problem. Hopefully someone can help! I think it'll be easiest to describe by explaining what happened over the last few days.


1) The car sat in the parking lot for 10 days while I was away. During this time it rained a bunch.

2) When I returned, I drove to work on Monday morning (about 5 miles, non-highway) and noticed a few instances of "studdering", or "chugging", at about 30 mph, in 3rd, or maybe 4th (i.e., low rpm's).

3) That afternoon when I drove to lunch the car studdered a lot! Like, constantly. And, it stalled at the stop light. It did this twice. Then, after lunch I couldn't restart. The engine cranked, but no start. When it did start, it wouldn't idle, and quickly stopped. Didn't keep cranking, just hitched a ride back to work.

4) After work I was able to restart the car and drive home w/ no studdering and no idle problems.

5) 15 minutes later, I thought I'd try to run down to the nearby grocery store but couldn't start. Same as above.

6) I left it in my parking lot until this morning (3 days).

7) Started it up and drove to a mechanic 4 miles away. It started no problem and drove fine at slow speeds. I did notice a little chugging when I accelerated up past 40mph or so, again, ramping up from fairly low rpms.

8) I talked about this for a few minutes w/ the mechanic, and also discussed my timing belt (see my previous post).

9) We decided that I'd shop around for a couple more estimates but when I tried to leave the car wouldn't start. Same as above, again!!

10) Now how stuipd do I feel?! My car is stuck at a mechanic's shop, whom I'd just told I'd get back to if I couldnt' find a better price. Damn!


So, when I told the mechanic that it wouldn't start just now, he suggested that it was "hydraulic'ing" and that there was too much fuel. I think he meant that the valves weren't operating correctly and too much fuel had been injected (or not enough waste product exhausted) as I'd been driving to his shop that morning. Therefore, it was flooded and wouldn't start. This makes sense to me in light of the sequence of events outlined above. The car started fine after several hours (or days) of rest, but wouldn't start after just moments of rest. I'm imagining that excess fuel would have had time to evaporate or otherwise disappear w/ longer periods but not in shorter periods.


Anybody have any ideas? If it is related to the valves, what kind of job is required to fix it? How much would it cost?


Thanks for your thoughts,



Edited by nan00k
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