Thursday, July 12, 2012
2008 Honda Accord 2.4L Stalls
I looked up from the Buick I was working on to see a tow truck backing a late model Honda Accord into the shop. Since I hadn’t had a call or any hint of a tow in, I’m hoping I at least know the owner. That hope was dashed a moment later when a man in a business suit, complete with earpiece, briefcase, and a you’re wasting my time look on his face strode in. He was of course busily talking on his invisible cell-phone gizmo. I recognized in a flash he was going to finish his important business before deigning to converse with me. I hurried instead to the tow truck driver. He was getting ready to unload the Honda on me.
“Can you wait until this guy talks to me before you unload? I had no clue anyone was coming in and I don’t know this guy.”
The TT driver stopped immediately. He grinned over at the suit. “He talked like he was your long lost son. I’ll wait.”
“Thank you.” I returned to the waiting line for Sonny Honda to talk with me. After a long moment making eye contact, I could tell he didn’t quite understand how things worked down here in blue collar land. I moved closer. “Sir! Either get off the phone and talk to me or I’ll have your tow truck driver haul the Honda out of here without a conversation.”
He looked surprised, but ended the call. “That was very rude.”
“No, you towing your Honda in here without notice, then ignoring me and the man doing the towing is rude. Why don’t you let me know what you did come in for, and we can decide whether you can leave the Honda or not.”
More surprise. Yeah, Sonny probably has that look down pat. He points at the Honda. “It won’t keep running. It starts and dies every time. Can I wait for it?”
“No.” I give him the figure for diagnosing a no run problem and explain he’ll have to leave it until I finish the appointments I’d made.
Sonny smiles at me. “The diagnostic fee is fine, but you don’t understand. This is an emergency. I’m-”
“I understand your problem, but this is a one man shop, and I don’t push back scheduled appointments for emergencies. If you can’t leave it, you’ll have to tow it elsewhere.”
Sonny blanks out on me, mouth open in a little cute O. He’s rapidly dropping down the list of my favorite relatives. I wave. “Hello. Can you leave it or not?”
“I...I guess I’ll have to.”
Not really. I had a feeling I should boot this guy, but informative and humorous blog encounters are hard to come by lately. This 2008 Honda Accord might have something wrong that could help me and others in the future. I give the TT driver the okay to land it, fill out Sonny’s estimate, get a signature, and give him a copy before bidding him adios. It took me a little over three hours to get to it. By that time I was blessing wireless phones a shop owner can hook to his belt for quick ‘no comment’ answers to estranged fake relatives who called every half hour.
I opened the hood on the Honda. The 2.4L engine in it was a solid performer, even with the near hundred thousand miles Sonny had logged. I looked for obvious signs before starting it up with my scanner hooked into the system, like loose ground wires, or power leads, connectors burned through, etc. – nothing out of the ordinary. The oil looked clean, air filter dirty – yes, people still do drive their cars until the air filter becomes so clogged the car won’t run. The scanner data doesn’t turn up anything.
I decide since I’ve found a dirty air filter to see if it has allowed debris to screw up the down the line Mass Air Flow (MAF) sensor. I first start it to confirm the issue. It stalls. I next unplug the MAF, which will send the computer into limp in mode. The Honda starts and runs even with the dirty air filter. I price the MAF and air filter, call my fake son, and all is well. Sonny seemed pleased to get his Honda back in the same day so we parted amicably. The lesson here is don’t neglect those little maintenance items like air filters. They can screw up more expensive parts.
On a writing note, I’m hitting the 20,000 word point in my third book of my YA trilogy DEMON. It’s been so entertaining for me writing it, I’ve practically given up reading except for a few pages of a novel at night. :)