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Mechanic doesn't hear the problem......

Posted by CatherineT (My Page) on
Fri, Nov 4, 05 at 15:16

HI all,
I have a 2001 Honda Odyssey mini van. I take it in about every 3,500 miles for servicing, which is usually 3 months. About 4 months ago, it started sounding like it would idle, slower, fast, slower. Sometimes I would see the tachometer moving back and forth with it. At my service 3 months ago, I told them, and they said they found nothing. I took it in for another service yesterday and told them it was worse. But the darned dealer's service department was so loud, nobody could hear it. He said they just couldn't find anything wrong......which meant nobody could hear it.
He said the "check engine" light will come on, if it gets too bad. I like to fix things before they break down at a very inopportune time.....especially since I live out in the country.
This is a very respectable dealership, and I have been totally impressed with the treatment I've gotten there in the last 5 years. But I'm concerned about this sound of the inconsistent idling. What do you think it is? Is it possible that I'm just too perceptive to small changes that the service people aren't hearing yet?
I'm going to trust what they say......but I sure hope this doesn't inconvenience me big time in the future, when it gets bad enough for them to finally pick up on.
And couldn't they have hooked it up to some computer?? gas mileage has decreased by about 2-4 mpg. I think this is significant. But what confuses the issue is that my 16 year old son drives the car sometimes. I'm pretty sure he doesn't speed (famous last words!!). Perhaps he's gunning it too much on take-off.....which could decrease the fuel mileage, right? Also.....would the problem I'm describing cause a decrease in fuel mileage? Thanks for your input!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Mechanic doesn't hear the problem......

I think you solved your own problem. Don't let the teenager drive it. Buy him a beater. Or better yet, make him buy his own.

RE: Mechanic doesn't hear the problem......

Well, that might be the gas mileage problem, but it's not the idling problem.

RE: Mechanic doesn't hear the problem......

Is the air conditioner or windshield defrost on? This causes a step change in engine load when the compressor kicks in or out, or when the electric fan turns on or off.

RE: Mechanic doesn't hear the problem......

Sometimes it is, but sometimes it isn't. I know what you're talking about, and I've noticed that, but it doesn't cycle as fast as this does. This makes the engine go fast and slow about every 3 seconds, back and forth, back and forth.

RE: Mechanic doesn't hear the problem......

This problem does seem to be a malfunctioning idle control unit.. Sometimes these can be cleaned and oiled as necessary..
And I would be concerned with the fuel economy..
The trouble is, todays cars are extremely complex, repairs can be very expensive. A complete diagnosis should be performed to determine exactly what is wrong - without any wasteful guesswork..

If the RPMs fluctuate on the tachometer, hearing and background noise have nothing to do with this. But I would think a variance of 50, even 100 is normal, during the time a heavy load is incurred (AC compressor switching on)....

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