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Continued: Fixing up a 98 Honda Civic LX.


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My introductory post is here: Intoductory post about my 98 Honda Civic LX purchase.


Hi, I am back! I have done quite some work on the Honda, and still have more questions and as always looking for advice to make the car perform better.


There was a noise coming from the wheels, I thought a bad bearing. When I took the car to get looked at, the mechanic shop owner told me I have 'chopped tires'.

Apparently thats slang for many things, and unfortunately I didn't ask what he meant by that. Should I be concerned? The tires do make a woo-ing sound when driving around 49 mph. I am pretty sure its because the tires weren't ever rotated or something... A friend told me it should quiet down and go away eventually.


A conclusion I can make about the purchase of this car, is that the guy I bought it from - really didn't give a crap about it. So now I know that the cars maintenance was poor, and I am expecting problems further down the road.


Here is what I have done to the car:


-Changed Spark Plugs, with the proper gap. (The old spark plugs were somewhat burned out and the gap exceeded the norm max by at least 10mm. The car performed much better. I think.


-Changed the Air Filter... (the one I took out was falling apart.)


-Changed Fuel Filter... (I don't know the condition the old one was in, but as part of maintenance to increase gas mileage I thought would be a good idea.)


-Changed Oil and Oil Filter (Mobil 1 - quite expensive full synthetic)(Ok when I changed the oil it was rather cold, but the oil that came out was pitch black, sludgy looking, took a while to drain, and believe me that it was nowhere near 4-5 qts... It shocked me to see oil in that condition.)


-Ran TeChron through (I put it in the gas tank with Shells Premium) (My check engine light came on the next day when the gas was almost depleted, I'm thinking its cause of this, because I reset it, and it has not come on since) I heard running TeChron through cleans injectors. Etc. I don't know if I need to replace 02 Sensor, if it comes on again perhaps... any advice?)


-Replaced Turn Signal Light Bulb(it fixed the frequency of it lighting up when in use)


-The PCV Valve is good, checked it thoroughly.


-The noise coming from the wheels were really worn out pads, VERY VERY worn out. So once I put new ones in, it stopped. Yay.



As you see - just general maintenance.


Problem! - The car leaks oil... looks like it comes from the valve gasket cover ... left corner...


I really want to clean under the hood of the car. That way when there are leaks I can clearly identify them. (Any suggestions how to clean grease/oil deposits ... basically make under the hood of the car nice clean and shiny like new cars...???)


I haven't done a Tranny drain and fill, or a Coolant flush, or a Break Flush (I checked the fluid on this - its nice greenish clean, no sign of moisture(black), so I will not do this.

Will a Tranny drain and fill improve the cars performance? And how will that be noticable?)


The mileage went up quite a bit from 20-22 mpg, to 25-27mpg (last reading read 27.04)


Here is my dilemma, I would like to break 30 mpg and make the car less noisy.

Hopefully the Tranny flush will take care of my car's racecarlike shift. 1st to 2nd is not quite smooth enough for me I guess.

The most important thing is to quiet down vibrations from the motor (which are minimal but exist enough for concern).

When I accelarate - it gets loud. I don't like it, I never cared about horsepower, rather than the luxury of the ride and the mpgs.


If I replace the tires I know it will take care of the 49mph noise of the tires, but what can I do to quiet down my engine?


I will have to change timing belt around 160k miles. Hopefully the car lasts that long. (My 94 Toyota died at 148k due to tranny problems)


I need clarification on SeaFoam and where to put it/how to use it. What is Air Intake?? etc


get some seafoam and follow the directions (use in oil before change, fuel system, and intake system).. it'll probably smoke like crazy when you put it in the air intake but its funny and it'll stop after a while.. sounds like it might be dirty injectors and its having to idle higher to get the fuel needed to it..


Do I put it where oil goes/gas tank and ... wait where is intake system.... See I don't know about cars... lol.


What is Valve clearance? Someone recommended "good valve clearance'.


But the three general problems I'd like advice on is the following:




What else can I do to improve my gas mileage? I do not want to change anything that isn't bad tho... How do I identify things that need to be changes and have gone bad?


What things can I do to quiet down my engine when accelarating/being idle? I know as the car ages you cant really retighten the whole car, and many things vibrate and make noise, but what can I do?


The oil leak is a concern... How can I check the valve gasket cover? Someone said using too fine of an oil - as in the synthetic may cause leaks in old cars... perhaps that is what happened... maybe not, how can I fix that? How can I clean out my engine so there are no leaks? Someone said to retighten the gasket cover, I think you're supposed to do it after some time when you change the gasket cover, and I am sure it wasn't done.


As always guys - I really appreciate advice and help!




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Too much info to take in at once. I commend you on your effort but that wall of text is a little difficult to digest.


Fist thing: cars with higher mileages that have been running on conventional motor oil do not take well to transitioning to synthetics. Your car will be more prone to oil leaks then if you had stayed with the conventional.


Trans drain and fill may help mildly grinding gears (5spd) and hard shifts or hesitant shifts (auto). be sure to use the correct fluids for your car. Honda transmission fluid is specifically formulated. Not that you have to use honda brand, just make sure what you are using says formulated for honda.


if your valve cover gasket is leaking that is a 10 minute and $5 fix. four 10mm bolts and the thing comes right off. you might even be able to hand-loosen them. usually if you are seeing a significant oil leak it isn't a leaking VC gasket though. if the oil leakage is coming from the passenger side, or right side of the engine near the distributor housing then you might just need to replace the distributor gasket/o-ring.


For a benchmark, my 00 5spd civic dx hatch, with 175k, commuting 35 miles one way with three adults doing 75/25 highway/city routinely achieved 34-36mpg. the only modifications to the car were a crap aftermarket muffler and a k&n air filter. your lx is the same engine, about 200 or so pounds heavier and an auto. you should be getting at least 32-34 under same driving conditions, if not more.

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