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Old 02-07-2011, 11:03 PM   #1
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Default vtec, balance shafts falling off, other issues

Fellas,
I could use some of your advice on this situation. There are a number of issues and factors so I think the best way to summarize the problem is to give you a brief history of the car. Please bear with meÖ

Car is a 2000 Honda Accord 2.3L VTEC. Got the car new in 2000 and had it trouble free till í06. At this time, I attempted to change the timing belt, screwed up the timing, and destroyed the head. It was my first major DIY job and took away a lot of lessons from it. The car went to a shop that said they could have the head machined and put the car back together. I got the car back and it ran fine for a while until the CEL came on with P1259 VTEC system malfunction. Engine speed limited to 4k and the car will idle rough. I took it back to the shop and they said it could be anything from the computer, but they would probably start with the solenoid, and work on the problem from there. In addition, this was completely unrelated to the repairs they just completed. I promptly told them to stick it. I have replaced the VTEC solenoid, filter screen on the solenoid, the oil control orifice beneath the valve train, and I still get the code. I lived with the car this way for a number of years as whenever I would reset the CEL, the car would run fine and I would be able to pass inspection. 100 miles later the CEL would come back on and the car would struggle to idle and sometimes quite altogether Ė but this wouldnít happen often. The car has been seriously wrecked by this point, so I didnít want to put the money into it so I drove it as is.

About 2 months ago, the timing belt let go about 35k miles before it was due to be changed. I was on the highway ended up having the car towed home. I changed out the belt and had the head machined and the car ran fine, although now I had the dummy light flickering at idle. This has progressively gotten worse and now, instead of the car idling roughly, the car will struggle to idle altogether. Especially coming off of speed (like a highway offramp to a stop sign) the engine will barely make an attempt to idle. Iíve always suspected that my VTEC issue had something to do with the oil pressure and the oil pump, but was told that these things are relatively bomb proof. I ran an oil pressure test a few months back and found that I was about 10 psi below spec. I had a leaky connection and a car with 175k miles on it, so I figured 10 psi is not that bad. Maybe Iím incorrect. Regardless, the dummy light now flickers at idle, but only when the car is hot. Iím not sure if this has something to do with viscosity and pressure but that is my theory. So thereís that issue.

About a month ago, the rear balance shaft sprocket worked itself loose and destroyed itself and ripped the front balance out of its rear bearing. From the look of it, the balance shaft sprockets are pressed on the shaft? Has anyone else had a problem with this happening? This seems like a half *** design for something that looks at that much force, especially when a simple pin connection would completely remove the possibility of this ever happening. I removed the balance shaft belt and the car seems to run fine. I understand there are some kits out there that are designed to remove these belts to free up horsepower. Do these kits actually remove the entire balance shaft, or is it just the belt and cover up the sprockets? I could use some schooling on this.

So all this leads me to start saving money for a new car. The Accord is drivable at the moment Ė although I donít know how long it has. If it leaves me on the side of the road one more time Iím parting it out for what itís worth. But until then, I can drive it. My inspection is up in May. I would like to try and get at least the VTEC issue sorted out so my CEL is off for that. I have been resetting it for the past couple years to get it by. But with the new drivability problems, I need to do some more work to it before then. I donít want to put any more money into the damn thing but my research and gut is telling me that if the oil pump is replaced and I replace the balance shaft seals, then I should be OK for the life of my rings.

Any advice is appreciated. Thanks in advance.
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Old 02-08-2011, 06:43 AM   #2
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Default Re: vtec, balance shafts falling off, other issues

Your motor sounds like it's gone, if your timing belt broke machining the heads won't do anything unless you get the damaged valves replaced. Not to mention that type of failure will often not only damage the valvetrain but damage the tops of the pistons as well. Sounds like you have bent/leaking valved. Which is most likely the cause for your poor running, and machining the head does nothing to fix that.

As for your Vtec, if there is a check engine light the ECU will disable the Vtec system.
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Old 02-08-2011, 07:28 AM   #3
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Default Re: vtec, balance shafts falling off, other issues

Thanks for the reply.

When I had the head machined, the bent valves were replaced.

The piston faces had some scarring from the contact with the valves but I consider this to be minimal. I may have some pictures of the piston face on my cell phone and will post them later.

Yes, the VTEC system is disengaged - the car has a CEL and is giving the code for the VTEC system malfunction, P1259. The car is in limp more - motor will not spin above 4k under load. Also, it struggles to idle - but I don't believe this is part of the limp mode and think it is the root of my problem.

My theory is that the oil pump is not putting out enough pressure to engage the VTEC system. I think this is also why car struggles to idle and triggers the dummy light. I'm thinking it's the oil pump, but again, have been told these are bulletproof.
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Old 02-08-2011, 07:40 AM   #4
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Default Re: vtec, balance shafts falling off, other issues

It's possible, You could have a damaged bearing. The would explain the difficulty idling and the low oil pressure. If I were you, after two busted timing belts I would swap in a new engine. Then you can strip the old one and sell it for parts or repair it once you've diagnosed the failure mechanism.
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Old 02-08-2011, 08:15 AM   #5
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Default Re: vtec, balance shafts falling off, other issues

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Originally Posted by chikin pickle View Post
It's possible, You could have a damaged bearing. The would explain the difficulty idling and the low oil pressure. If I were you, after two busted timing belts I would swap in a new engine. Then you can strip the old one and sell it for parts or repair it once you've diagnosed the failure mechanism.
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Old 02-08-2011, 02:12 PM   #6
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Default Re: vtec, balance shafts falling off, other issues

Yes, I've considered a new engine. But, I cannot find the proverbial $500 engine that I read of on forums. Even if I found said engine, it would cost me another 500 bucks to get it in the car. The car has major body damage, about $4k worth, so I am hesitant to put another $1000 (at least) into it. I hope I'm not coming off as difficult, but I'm trying to get out of this on the cheap.

I'm familiar with what a bad bearing sounds like but I don't hear the knocking that I'm familiar with (carpenters). I hear some slight knocking, but I believe this is the now loose balance shafts rattling around as it doesn't seem like the sound is related to engine speed. I could possibly post a vid of it running.

Anyone have an oil pump that's gone bad? I would really like to explore this: Low oil pressure and the effect it has on these motors.
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Old 02-08-2011, 02:36 PM   #7
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Default Re: vtec, balance shafts falling off, other issues

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I cannot find the proverbial $500 engine that I read of on forums.
Where are you located, and where have you called?
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