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Old 03-04-2013, 02:13 PM   #1
Trayeberle
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Engine Bogs Down Under Half Tank of Gas?!?!

Hey guys. I REALLY need some help with this issue. Sorry for the extremely long post but I figured it would be best to explain my situation completely.

Well I purchased my 1992 H23 Prelude late last year and this issue has persisted since day 1. Basically, I will drive my car and it will perform top notch UNTIL my gas tank reaches below half. I will start at the beginning: The day I purchased my car, it was performing great. I took it for a test drive, and it drove like a dream. So once I made the purchase, I set off to the interstate to drive back to my house. I wasn't concerned about gas since my gas meter showed FULL. So about 30 minutes down the road, my car started performing oddly. I would lose power and then it would KICK back up. After a while, the issue happened more and more until I decided to stop by the gas station and see if that would fix the issue. While driving on the exit ramp toward the gas station, my car dies complete and my gas light comes on. I was extremely fortunate to be able to make it to the gas station (slowly.) I was able to put almost $60 of v-power shell gas in it. So problem solved right? Fuel Level Sending Unit as broken. Replaced it and now my gas meter works. But now here's my current problem. The symptoms that will happen will usually be the most noticeable on the interstate or when I'm pushing the car a little bit. I will have an issue where when I press down my gas to accelerate faster (passing someone) the engine will not give any power. It will seem sluggish and bogged. Now here is what I've noticed, if I drive like a grandma, I can get below half a tank without engine bog but when my tank is that low and I pull up to a stop (sometimes) my engine will either start to idle lower and then go back up OR my engine will completely shut off. It can be quite scary to pull to a stop with traffic and have your engine die on you. So my question is what could be causing this? Clogged fuel filter? Faulty fuel pump? I'm open to any ideas! I click my battery on to listen for my fuel pump and it DOES make noise but not constant. It will buzz until my engine light shuts off.

Also, when I purchased my vehicle, I had it inspected by Ken Towery's and they informed me that all regular maintenance had recently been done. Fluids, Spark Plugs, etc.

Thanks for any help that you guys can give! I'm desperate for answers
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Old 04-10-2013, 10:10 PM   #2
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I did some work with Tray tonight and we replaced the fuel filter. The fuel filter bolt and fitting had some rust on them and the contents of the filter itself were very rusty and dirty.

The car drives fine for 10 or 15 minutes, but then nearly falls on its face. The engine doesn't still, but if you give it more than just a bit of gas, it cuts out. Now here's the odd thing. You can stop and shut the motor off. Wait all of 30 seconds, start the car right back up, and everything is fine for another 10 or 15 minutes.

When the gas tank is full, no issue, at least until you get to about 70 miles or so from a full tank. That's when the issue starts back up again.
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Old 04-10-2013, 10:39 PM   #3
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First thing I would do is get a fuel pressure test gauge ( one that will hook up to the fuel filter ) see if the pressure drops at all when it starts to bog down. That would be a good start. You said you did replace your sending unit, did you replace the pump and sock when you did that ( sorry I kinda quickly read your first post because of the jumbled mess it is ). I had a friend that had sort of the same issue because the fuel pump sock fell off.

You buddy said the fuel looked dirty as fuck also so I would blow the main line out ( compressed air is your friend along with brake clean ) make sure you blow the line from the pump.
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Old 04-10-2013, 10:41 PM   #4
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fuel pump or main relay?
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Old 04-10-2013, 10:45 PM   #5
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I was thinking it was probably a relay of some sort too, given you can turn it off and back on and the problem seems to go away for a bit. Fuel pump could be a good bet too, but I would check fuel pressure like miz said first before putting money into that.
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Old 04-10-2013, 11:43 PM   #6
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So like Chett said, we worked on my car today with no success. The thing that makes this such a difficult issue to fix is the fact that I get no check engine light, so I cant plug it up to see what's wrong...

however, here's another weird thing that it does. The car only bogs if its in motion. If I stop the car and put it in neutral, I can rev it completely fine. Same result with the clutch held in. This is why I don't really know how we can check the pressure since the only time it occurs is while in motion.

@themiz92lude, I simply removed a fuel level sending unit from another prelude and replaced mine. Didn't touch the pump.

Here's our theory. Let me know if you guys think this to be a possibility.

Since I can simply shut the car off and turn it back on to temporarily fix the problem, what if when I turn the key on and the fuel pump primes the engine, that gives the engine plenty of gas to perform normally. Then after a few minutes of driving, the engine starts to have less and less gas because the fuel pump isn't sending fuel fast enough. Then when I try accelerate, all it does is bog down because it barely has enough fuel to idle. Just a thought.

ANY INPUT IS EXTREMELY WELCOME AND HELPFUL!!!
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Old 04-11-2013, 12:33 AM   #7
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Hey your boy has a prelude swap his coil on your car and see what it does. Start from there. I don't know why I didn't think of this first. A going bad coil will do this same shit. Small load it will fin but any good amount of load it will cut out and run like shit. So try that when you two have time. Let me know how that goes.
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Old 04-11-2013, 01:11 PM   #8
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^^ Good idea.

Tray if it is the external coil, I got one I could send to you or Chett. This is Chett's bro that lives in AR.
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Old 04-25-2013, 02:45 PM   #9
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Well I thought I would let everyone who's interested know the good news! So as I said, I took my car to Ken Towery's auto repair and the plan was to have my fuel pump assembly replaced. So a quick call to my warranty company informed me that a diagnosis had to be performed before they would cover any charges. So I dished out $60 for the diag to find out the fuel pump didn't have any issues... So needless to say, I was a bit discouraged. Especially considering I was taking a trip to Import Alliance in Atlanta a few days later. So my car continued to have the same issues it had been having.

So before my trip, I went ahead and put some injector cleaner in my gas tank since I had some laying around and left with my friends to Atlanta. So just to be safe, I continued to fill up at half-tank of gas to prevent from having serious problems. Well, needless to say, there were a ton a people headed to ATL on the interstate and numerous races ensued. So the trip went great. No noticeable issues with my car.

Anyway since I've been home, I did not fill my tank just for curiosity's sake and managed to drive my car all the way to 2 gas bars left (1/8th tank of gas) before I decided to fill it up. I have noticed a considerable amount of difference with the way my car drives and picks up and I'm EXTREMELY happy to say that I believe my problems are solved! I had previously used injector cleaner with no success but I suppose me driving my car extremely hard on the interstate helped clean out the pipes I'm not asking questions. I'm just thankful my problem is solved!
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Old 04-25-2013, 11:05 PM   #10
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Very nice!! I'm glad you got this figured out...I wondered how you got to Import Alliance!
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Old 04-26-2013, 12:38 PM   #11
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Now make sure to get your daily dose of rompage in so it doesn't do this again =) lol
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Old 05-07-2013, 03:57 AM   #12
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