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Zen and the Art of Integra Maintenance

Posted: September 29th, 2012, 1:48 pm
by evtsteward
I know, this looks like a long read but, it goes fast, if you don't laugh too much. Way back when I tried to start a thread with this title and unfortunately it didn't take/upload/whatever. I took the usual pounding of WTFs and all in stride and stayed the course. Time to dust off the keyboard and tell the most recent tale......and by the way, add to this if you've vuja de'd (i.e. a Eureka! moment) into the Integra twilight zone and miraculously made it back with tales of glory. :D

Yes sir, boys and girls, quite the rude awakening on Sunday afternoon. No go on the LSSE. Should have seen this coming, for every 20-25 times I would stop for a sec, doing errands or checking out the lakes, it would leave me stranded for up to a half hour. No clicks on the MFR, banged on the pump a little, checked this and that and decided to swap the MFR from the running project car (cause we all KNOW it's the problem :? ). A quick visit to the FAQs here and checked the links. Mulled over the sequence of events. trying to lock them in my head for under dash recall. As I lay on my sill plate, trying to dislocate a disc or three, I quickly removed the knee bolster under the steering wheel. Gathered up the will to try not to slice off a couple fingers or sustain a screwdriver stab to the vicinity of the eyes and tried to recollect what I'd just read. As I contemplated the removal steps, one point came back more than once, and I didn't, at that time, know why. The pic of the relay sitting on the workbench and you trying to pry the ends open enough to pull the relay out of the black dust shield kept floating around the back of my mind. Intrigued, I decided wtf and unplugged the connector, then using my amazing dexterity, gritting of teeth and Chuck Norris body flailings, the damn thing popped right out. No broken extremities, stitches or bandages needed. More to the point, The relay can easily be removed with two hands and "NO TOOLS" involved. Hallelueah!! On to the project car, hahahaha, "Repairs shall be mine, forthwith," I thought, but, Murphys' Law was yet to become involved.

Grinning stupidly, I assessed the solder points on the circuit board and declared, without a doubt, that they were probably bad and therein lay the no go solution. Walking over to the project car, with that strut of confidence that had built up slowly over the last 20 minutes, I proceeded to again deftly remove the mfr from the known running engine, without incurring any long term chiropractic bills, and popped the known bad mfr in its' place. Not having the keys with me, I left it for now and went back to the LSSE, and put the good mfr in place. Much to Murphys' delight this swap failed to relieve the no go situation. Muttering under, and over, my breath, I grabbed the project car keys and proceeded with confidence, knowing that at least "that" car wouldn't start. Much to my dismay, it started right up. Damn...

Assessing what I had done, I thought about how I didn't hear the fuel pump prime on the LSSE prior to engaging the starter, now realizing that, I couldn't any longer forestall the fact that the fuel pump alone was the problem. A couple cel calls and a run in the project car brought home an Airtek pump and fuel filter, plus, on the way I had stopped by the local Pull-A-Part and snagged another mfr for a dollar. A couple hours later success was achieved when all sorts of noise erupted from the fuel pump area, the relay clicked and "whoa Nellie" the car started. I went inside the garage for a moment to get out of the sun and to use my one man butt kicking device, also to finish my, now warm, beer. Definitely should have gone with the direct evidence as it was, that the relay clicks weren't as they should be, I was being cheap, and the pump obviously wasn't priming, should have been in my face. After reprimanding myself for a good minute or two I decided there was enough beer, I mean time, to qualify the junk yard relay as good or bad.

Being that I had yet to snap the project cars' mfr in its dust housing it lay suspended by the wire harness. Double checking that the relay clicked as prescribed I smugly turned to relay over to disconnect the plug and proceeded to shower myself with sparks as the mfr struck an arc against the cabin fuse support bracket. Luckily, after welding my initials into the under dash bracketry, I removed/replaced the relay, placing it carefully back into its dust cover and cursed myself again for having generously caused another problem for myself in possibly screwing up the one good relay. Hopefully, the car would start without any hiccups and my job would be done. Alas, this was not to be as the engine just cranked, pump primed, relay clicked, lights went on and off and I began banging my head off the steering wheel and honking my horn like the maniac portrayed my Matt Perry, the dentist, in the beginning of the movie "The Whole Nine Yards."

Having thus relieved myself I then proceeded under the hood, where it became apparent that the little 3 bar fuse holder thing next to the battery, located on the struts tower, was only common to the 86'-87' tegs and were nowhere to be found on the 88'-89'. Except possibly in that black box contraption against the firewall near the wiper motor. Disengaging the cover, I found an assortment of fuses to choose from, and after finding my multimeter, proceeded to remove one-check it-and reinstall, finding the bar/plastic box style fuses to be in working order. Disgusted, I walked away and found a cold beer to rub on the back of my neck and contemplate the self inflicted dilemma and whether I should fire up the butt kicker again. It was then I noticed a single, blue, 15 amp blade fuse, all alone in the middle of the bar fuses. Other than it being a different color situated in the middle of black/silver fuses and white connectors, it seemed to call to me like a siren luring sailors to their death among the rocks along the oceans shore, or maybe it was the third beer of the afternoon talking.

Opening the FSM to the electrical section and found no mention of what that exact fuse was tied into. "Never mind," chirped the little voice in the back of my head, "just check the damn thing or go finish that beer." Dutifully, I went ahead and checked it, found it to have blown and replaced with a new one. The project car fired right up and cheerfully settled into its idle while I swigged down the last of my ice cold.

So, what did I discover through all this?

1)The Sherlock Holmes theory-"When all other possibilities are eliminated, what remains, however unobvious, MUST be the truth." Or, "Trust yourself, cause you got no one else!"

2)Look at all the time, frustration and beer I would have saved if I'd just did what the damn FSM said to do.

2b)If you don't have an FSM, get one already. You'll save a ton on beer/money wasted going the wrong direction. and as an added incentive, you'll not bother us too much and perhaps you'll have your own Vuja De'

3)Try not to FU more than one thing at a time, as in, "I almost had 2 cars out of commission."

4)Learn when the little nagging voice no one else can hear is maybe correct.

5)You should have your very own version of the manually operated butt kicker. Yours, from Ronco Products, for only three easy payments of............

Re: Zen and the Art of Integra Maintenance I

Posted: September 29th, 2012, 1:50 pm
by evtsteward
Zen and the Art of Integra Maintenance II

All it takes is 2 minutes out of your day, a 5 lb sledgehammer and, a broken flat blade screwdriver to remove the 500 lb monkey off your back and send him packing. Also helps to have a diagnostician named Martin the Magician who, for the last 15 years has worked as an Acura/Honda repair shop lead mechanic. Fortunately, or unfortunately for me, we had lost contact over the last few years for no better reason other than I never had a serious problem with the 6 or so tegs I fixed, repaired and either kept or sold. Yeah, so what I'm admitting is that my time had run out. But, hey! As has been mentioned before, I am a "Crunkass Mechanic" on my best days. This is my latest forehead slapping story and I'm sticking to it. Make what you can out of it, perhaps you'll never need to apply any of this but, maybe you'll help some other lost soul with bits of information that will surface as the tale is told. Enjoy and as always, comments are appreciated. Criticisms can be parked down by brother Reds boat dock, next to his Ford Aerostar Paddle wheeler.

Once upon a time, I had a lovely blue 89 5dr LS sedan automatic. Engine lovingly refurbed and tranny that ran nice. It was, at the time, the project car residing in the 3rd car garage. Mint seats and alloys, which would later be sold to KRoundy along with other essentials. Hopefully the car would be put to use by the significant other when it came time to retire the Dodge Grand Covered Wagon. The daughter wore out another teg before the covered wagon drove off into the sunset. She called from Portland and told me the 87' auto teg had to rev like, 4500 to reach freeway speed, then would graciously rev at 3500 on the flat areas. I asked her to pull over to a service station and have the trans fluid checked. The fluids were full and unburnt so; I asked if she wouldn't mind trying to make it the last 180 mile home, which she did to my amazement. The car, on the other hand was toast. The next day I set out to get the nice blue project teg its' tags when, a soon to be navy nincompoop, who had his right hand stuck down his girly-girls pants for the last time, Deciding to smooch instead of steer, he drove straight through a curve and found my drivers fender/drivers door interface. Majorly ruining my day, as I had spent the afternoon, double checking, prepping, and getting the emissions tested. Having passed with flying colors and looking forward to handing the keys to the daughter for her use at college, I instead paid $85 to have the car towed 2 blocks and left in the driveway. Major bummer.

A month later the blue car was hauled off and I had $100 to spend. Kevin came by and spent a couple hundred for $500 worth of parts, most of which I foisted off on him. (If you see him, tell him there's more where that came from, hehehe). Loaded with moolah, I started searching for another teg in which to deposit my great eng/trans. I found the SE sister ship, sporting the Kaminari kit toward the end of autumn last year. It's a white 89' LS coupe, 200,000 miles, has an alarm system with power door locks, and in decent condition except for the ZC engine roughing up an auto trans. That engine went into a friends CRX and the trans is taking up space. During the last couple months I spent my free hours idly swapping stuff out. Thinking that this should be a piece of cake, as both engines were running great when pulled. My irritation began as I lowered the good engine and trans into the white coupe. As some of you know, and actually believe me when I say I've fixed up, sold, scrapped and, own or have owned a total of 29 1st gen tegs, which I like to think I have everything down to a science. Yeah, like Igor could install a brain. Whoa Nellie! Crap is about to fall on my head. Better duck! Aaah, too late. There I went and smashed up the TPS on the firewall mounted actuator rail. Too bad I never installed the one bolt in the chain to keep it from slipping through the engine hoist hook. Oh well, I'd deal with that when the engine was securely mounted in the bay.

A couple days later I was able to tackle the TB situation. Two trips to the pull-a-parts nearby didn't pan out. Neither did on-line searching. It was then I decided to pillage my spare blacktop, attached to a 5sp, I'd picked up in between the project cars. After removing both TBs I set about cleaning the crud out of the non broken TPS one and swapping the bracket that holds the clutch cable housing with the bracket that holds the auto kick down cable. Ooh, and look at that. The manuals trans cable pulley thingy only has one groove to hold just the throttle cable, while the auto needs to have two grooves. Duh! That's simple enough, just undo the only, really, the "only" 11mm nut on the entire teg, as far as I know. Carefully undo the spring and unstack the washers, ferrules and vacuum arm. Tada! Almost done here, carefully stack everything back in place, hook up the spring and presto! Everything operates, looks the same, and cables can now be hooked up. New gasket in place, triple check orientation, and gasp! Possibly start the car up, yes, sure would be nice to hear this engine run again. Okay, calm down, don't wet your pants. Prime the fuel system 3 times, quadruple check all stuff is plugged in one more time. Fire in the hole!!! Clear prop!!! Take gulp of Tecate'!!! Engage starter, engine fires to life quickly. You smile from ear to ear then realize the rpms are at about 4000 steady. Crap!!! WTF!!!!! Quick check of anything visible and obvious, nothing...........Shut her down and think, think, think with severely squinting eyes and furrowed brows.

Fast forward to the sound of the SpongeBob Squarepants announcer saying, "Two.....weeks......Laterrrrrrrr...." Yeah, I watch the novice fry cook and his pals playing the redundancy game for our enjoyment. But, I digress. More to the point, I've seriously stood on the mental edge in my man-cave and considered life after calling for help over this. Not the manliest of things in my playbook, right next to laughing like an 8 year old girl while trying your luck at the lake amongst some crusty crabs you like to call "acquaintances" or letting one rip, that every agrees sounds like something off of Zamphirs' latest Pan Flute Exposition. Two solid weeks of carefully mulling over the actuals and comparing them to the FSM troubleshooting charts. BTW, Martin says the ECU wire harness adapter is no longer available, if you were so inclined to be that anal. I've never followed the stupid vacuum, electrical and mechanical checks so closely. Feel like I'm a novice surgeon trying to save your taste buds somehow. Changed the charcoal canister, the assy which holds the idle up solenoid besides other things three times, double checked all the vacuum lines, changed the EACV twice, installed new figure 8 o-rings also, swapped the ecu, checked all the connectors for proper voltage. Nothing changed except the slight dent in the center post in the middle of the man-cave. It was time to make the call.

Martin came over on Wednesday after work. Ran the same checks I had done so I felt a little better about my failed efforts, just knew that he was putting the situation together differently. He looks inside the TB and notices the butterfly is slightly open and asks if I had noticed that. Yeah, I had, just thought it was supposed to be that way but the TB never opened up like you'd suppose it would. Nope, he replies, this isn't a carburetor. The fuel injection TB need to be closed air tight. He picks up the bad TB and sprays carb cleaner into it till it pooled up, then shows me the underside and says there should be no leakage, drips, runs or seepage. The TPS is sensing that more fuel is required and providing air through the EACV to allow the engine to rev higher because something is holding the butterfly open. So we discuss the fact that all I did was use a manual TB on this auto TB car. Just swapped out the pulley to the double groove. Oh ho! There's that slight twinkle in his eye as he proceeds to show me that the pulley has a small tang that rests against the idle stop screw, using the broken TB as an example. Get this, Honda, in all their infinite wisdom, decided to not make the single groove pulley (manual) 1/16 of an inch higher than the double groove pulley (auto). Dagnabit! Consarnit!!@ Tarnation!!! So it's the idle set screw that's holding the butterfly open, which is telling the engine to rev at 4000.

To finish up this diatribe, Martin asks if I have a flat bladed screwdriver he can break and a large hammer. Well, hell yeah, can't work on a teg if you don't have those basic knuckle busters. Hand him the tools and start the car. He proceeds to place the screwdriver blade on the tang resting against the idle set screw. Then gives the screwdriver a good hefty whack once or twice and the idle falls to a reasonable 1500 or so. He adjusts the air screw for a second, yes, with the EACV plugged in, whacks the tang a little more, adjusts the screw, taps the tang some more, adjusts the screw and voila!!! Engine is idling steady at 750. Right then I'm so ecstatic that I almost gave him a big hug. He just grins sheepishly and says that it’s just the end result of 15 years of working on Hondas. I did do the victory dance for a second or two before I shut off the teg though. The future Navy Commander goes into the service and never gets a ticket for his improper parking maneuver. I get to move along with cleaning the interior. Martin got to head out to Lake Chelan with his new hottie girlfriend with my everlasting thanks for his 15 minutes of work. And lastly I told the 500 lb monkey to get the hell off my back, leave the man-cave and never come back.

Re: Zen and the Art of Integra Maintenance I

Posted: September 29th, 2012, 1:52 pm
by evtsteward
Zen and the Art of Integra Maintenance III

Some folks have asked how it is I've had/worked on so many tegs. There is, of course, no one, two or three answers to that. I suppose it gets down to the need to, the insane desire to save something form extinction, or having to fork over large amounts of income to let the stealerships maintain it awakens you, having been first in line when they were introduced helps, of course, along with having so many thrown in your side yard helps. But some of that is pretty sad in retrospect.
Words written or stories told do not completely justify the feeling one gets from driving home a "New" teg, or any new car for that matter, depending on your love for that car. Let's just say that once upon a time I happened to be in need of a new vehicle and after testing 17 or so, in no particular order in 1986, it became obvious that the teg was the cream of the crop and I've owned one ever since. But that's just me.
Back then we had no internet to scavenge through and make some sort of informed decision. Just Road & Track, Car & Driver, possibly Consumer Reports magazines. In my case, the Honda Integra was new to the world, the first of the foreign manufacturers to do the upgrade line of vehicles. Yes, I tested the Prelude, Accord and Civics. The wife thought the CRX too small. Too bad there, I love those CRXs and would probably have a D16 in one today. But before I digress further, allow me to give some background.
Raised on a small farm, with some equipment, I started my mechanical journey by putting soup cans on the exhaust stacks, graduating to helping grease fittings and hand out tools. By Jr High I'd moved on to helping maintain them and the farm vehicles, relieving my dad from that drudgery. When I got my license, my daily driver was the hand painted, oil eating, manure hauling, hog carrying 49' Dodge 3 window farm truck.
My first car started out by rebuilding a 283 Chev V8 and finding a 57 4dr Delray body to stuff it into. The farmer I bought the carcass from told me he'd kinda promised it to his nephew a couple years ago. After a week he finally called and told me to come get it. Overjoyed, my brother and I showed up to tow rope it home. When I popped the hood to make sure it would roll, I found the bastard nephew had thought about it some more and decided to cut the wire harness, inside and out, into six inch chunks. Ended up getting everything running and working except the backlight for the speedometer. When I proudly explained to Dad that my car was ready to be licensed and insured, he just shrugged his shoulders and said that it was too bad I didn't tell him the month before cause he paid his insurance yearly back then. Lesson learned, I drove the 49' Dodge another 11 months.
Over the next few decades I suffered through a dozen or so cars and along the way got married to a wonderful mother of our eventual three kids. Our first new car was a 79' Honda wagon, which we drove the legs off of, in all types of weather. On the way home from work one day the cvcc engine shredded itself and I gathered my first experience with an import engine business. Of course nothing swapped from the imported engine to the USDM wagon. That's when we wandered into the Acura showroom and spun out with an 86' LS coupe. Two weeks later, "We were pregnant." Woot!!! The next 9 months was full of fun and anticipation. Alas, when Rachel arrived it became evident we needed to trade the coupe for the family 87' 4dr automatic LS. Cool, power everything. Had that car till February of last year, 260K on the clock, two transmission.
Starting in 1990, I became a Union Steward and along the way got totally distressed with dropping the teg off at the stealership so they could rape and pillage my bank account. It was then I decided to get the FSM out of the spare tire pit and read it for once. Found that I could do most everything as far as tune-ups were concerned and once I tackled some minor fixes, the maintenance became mine. Along with that, the company I work for started one of its famous layoff. Fellow workers were leaving in droves and begging me to relieve them of their broken down cars so they could move. That said, I once had 12 cars of all makes at the house, including another teg with a bad trans. After looking them all over one day, I trashed/sold/ scrapped all of them except the teg. Why? Take a look sometime at the 80's Accord, Sentra, Mazda, Toyota engine bays. Sheesh!! I didn't know where to start diagnosing anything. Hell, it looked like the Royal Forks dumpster mixed with AudioLab leftovers from my viewpoint.
Another decade slides by and it dawns on me that my kids will be driving soon. It was time to get busy. Of the 29, 3 got totaled, 2 the kids wore out, still have 2. Another 11 were refurbed and sold, which meant 11 were brought home to harvest the body or engines/trans then trucked to the salvage yard.
So, perhaps it's understandable that the Pull-A-Parts know my face and why I cry when I see another perfectly good SE out there being picked apart with no chance of taking her home How cool would it be to have a black and a white LSSE in the driveway. Look, if you don't want the damn car, let me or someone who cares know cause you're killing me by throwing them to the wolves for a lousy $100. The counter people at Schucks/O'reillys, Autozone, NAPA, PepBoys and Action all start out by asking what year teg and my LSSE has now got over 345K on the gauge. If I could have one wish, besides Mr. Foose stealing my car and 'Overhaulin' it, would be that Honda/Acura reintroduce the first generation body with a Type R motor and upgraded suspension. You'd have to get up pretty damn early to beat me to the showroom door.
Now quit reading and go drive your teg to the lake. Now!!!

Re: Zen and the Art of Integra Maintenance I

Posted: September 29th, 2012, 1:54 pm
by evtsteward
Zen and the Art of Integra Maintenance IV

Déjà vu' all over again

Time of year for the 1200 mile drive to and from Ashland, Oregon. This trip was to move the eldest to her new digs for the summer. She's going to be staying there till she graduates next spring and working her job as receptionist at the Stage Coach Inn located in Jacksonville, then on to Las Vegas or Southern Florida University for grad school.
The teg had started puffing blue oil smoke recently whenever I was slowing, then shifting down and accelerating. It had been a few months since I'd changed oil and had been adding some as required, like a quart every tank full. Not enjoying that so much, and with the good weather here and it being light out early, was starting to embarrass me and I thought for a while someone might take their BP spill rage out on me. So, over the fourth I bought the oil change special and, from some on-line research, decided to try out the Engine Restore product that advertised the rejuvenation of cylinder walls of minor scratches resulting in blow-by. For the next week I noticed a somewhat dramatic increase in compression and the drop in visible pooping of oil plumes from the rear view mirror. Didn't know if it was the Restore stuff changing the color of the oil burn to a less blue-white color or what. Just say I was a little less embarrassed to drive the SE in publicly congested areas. After a week of letting it settle in I had to add about half a cup of additional oil which I think was more to do with the new filter.
Left work Friday at 10am, then filled the wallet, car and cooler. Not necessarily in that order. Had the car packed with her stored items and my small duffel, travel tool box and, of course, my fishing gear. Day started out climbing into the low 80s as I blew down I-5 from Everett to Portland. Made fantastic time so decided to take 205 around the Rose City and maybe enjoy a stop at Lake Oswego. I'm giving the Accord 5th gear set a chance to stretch their legs and was hoping for the elusive 40 mpg goal, like most of us with the swap. Around Sherwood the traffic comes to a grinding halt. Alas, it only gets worse. Three miles into the slog and two miles from the double onramp to south I-5 the reader board is all lit up with, "Single Lane Onramp Ahead-Merge Left". Great. Not having been blessed with more than one bladder I reckoned it was time to avoid this #&*@! and go another route so, with the slow right lane being a northbound onramp only I decided that would do for now. Made quick work of avoiding merging cars and shoulder driving I made it to the next off ramp and parked the teg for a half hour in the now 95 degree heat. Felt like a cinnamon pop tart in a toaster. Bought a couple more water bottles to offset the cursory hourly Tecate' imbibement. Rolled back onto the side street heading toward the onramp when the engine dies. Dagnabit!! Crank furiously for a few seconds and she fires up so, I jolt onto the onramp through a yellow light and blast onto I-5 again.
Fifteen minutes later I'm relegated to the roadside without engine power. Quick check of the ECU shows the telltale O2 sensor flashing. While I'm being buffeted by triple container trucks whipping by at 70+ mph I pop the hood and drain the brain of codes. The SE fires right back up. I repeat this every 15 minutes a couple more time. I really am not up to another 8 hours of doing this bull@$%&. Maybe it has to do with the tach revving over 3000, I don't know. It's sooooooo freaking hot I pour what's left of the water bottle over my head as I coast gently into the truck weigh station and barely make it to the "Official Oregon Highway Transportation Vehicles Only Parking" stall under the glaring eye of Fatso leering out his air conditioned office. Pop the hood, pull the fuse and saunter over to the door of his shack. Find out that Woodburn is just two miles down the road and have auto parts outlets in town. I figure by now that I've got at the most 15 minutes of vehicle operation before it takes a crap. Make it to the off ramp light and have 10 minutes left till downtime. Get the light turn left and find myself behind 500 vans and pickups waiting to take lefts and rights into groceries, nail salons, minimarts, non-service bay stations and coffee stands. With 5 minutes to go I'm stopped by a red light but, in the front row, with views of two directional signs saying downtown in both directions. I opt for the right and the engine dies, whip open the door and say thanks for flat roads hereabouts. Well consarnit if there isn't a bike lane conveniently placed where I want to stop so, one block later I pull into a minimart and pull my drooping shorts back up around my waist.
The lady at the register doesn't know what car parts are but, the yellow jerseyed road crew worker tells me directions across town. Two miles later I have my choice of a sun baked Schucks or a, thank you, thank you, thank you, shade covered side lot of Autozone. It's now 100 degrees out and I luckily find out they have the O2 sensor and a 22mm box end wrench. Take my travel kit out and remove the air crossover tube off and the exhaust heat shield. Six bolts and no problems except for having my face 12 inches above the BBQ grill called an engine bay. Shirt get tossed in the front seat, another splash of water over the head and I tackle the sensor one flat at a time. Only scorched my knuckles on screaming hot radiator fins and manifold castings a couple dozen times before the new O2 is in place, the shield and tube are back on. Towel off with the tee shirt and head back inside to the air conditioned Zone, buy a couple more waters and start the teg up. Seems to run pretty good now so I back out and head back to I-5.
I'm white knuckling the wheel as I go past the 15 minute barrier and staying behind slow-ass trucks so I don't over rev. Hit the 20 minute mark and all is still fine and start silently congratulating myself and the teg for being able to overcome yet another obstacle. Oh yeah, engine powers down and I'm left all to myself without a crossroads in sight and consoled by the roar of semis, RVs and a group of Hawg riders who courteously honked as they whizzed by. The windows are down and the interior is starting to fill with hay stems, discarded Kleenex and whatever. I roll an iced beer across the forehead and neck while I contemplate how many times I'll need to drain the ECU before I get some resolution to this chronic condition. Late Friday afternoon, no dealership, capable service bay around, giant tow bill, scarcity of parts, who know what wrecking yard, just three or four g1teg members to bother, what else needs said. I reckoned back last year when I was dragging the MIL home for a summer BBQ while she complained about the temp and why I had the climate controls on heater instead of vent. To get her to relent I had switched it over to vent and within 5 minutes we were likewise stranded alongside the local freeway enduring the same bull@%*# problem because......................................dang!!!!!
I'm sure, if polygraphed, you'll all say you knew it all along. And I'll say crap, sometime you just don't remember the important things right away. It wasn't just the heat, the beer, the frustrating situation, the traffic, the journey itself. You just don't put your finger right on the cure. Admit it, you've all done something similar. I'm just willing to embarrass the heck out of myself so when you're broke down in the teg, perhaps some crazed guys rant on that old website will put a fire under your butt. Go.... take.... the.... MFR.....out....'s .....suffocation/sweat .....and ......let So there you go. Been there, done that. More than once. Waited 15 minutes and let the road warriors blow th relay cool, started it up and headed down the road without any further difficulties.
Oh yeah, the Restore product I put in the oil seems to have paid off. No more embarrassing smoke screen but still some oil consumption of 1 quart after 1500 miles driven over two weeks, most of it in 3 days of hot, hot, hot weather. By the way, with the Accord 5th gear set, averaged 37.7 during the hiccups and 39.3 on the way home with the new O2 sensor contributing.

Re: Zen and the Art of Integra Maintenance

Posted: September 29th, 2012, 1:57 pm
by evtsteward
Zen and the Art of Integra Maintenance V

Let me start this Zen diatribe by saying upfront, "What a month of car crap!!" I'm sort of afraid that it's just the start but, if I don't catalog the trials and trivializations now, I'm sure to go into failure mode. So, just after the July 4th festivities, I started to clear out the man-cave and sort through the mountain of crap for our annual garage sale. We all know, those of us with family and a man cave, that the house just craps into the garage whenever it wants and the wife’s said "NOW!" Along the way a very good friend of mine purchased a 5th wheel and requested his cherry picker back. Hey, no problem there, he can even have the unused engine stand that I've never had to use over the last 12 years of borrowing/storing this equipment. Anything to help him be able to remove and install that behemoth of a tow hitch.

As luck would have it another friend of mine wanted to empty his garage to be able to drywall and do some remodeling so I've got the loan of a heavy duty fold up cherry picker and new engine stand, which takes up a lot less room than the orange Harbor Freight giraffe that used to hang out in the 3rd bay. Garage sale went off without a hitch a couple weekends later so for those of you still reading, I made the wife some vacation money, things left the man cave by the van load and the rest of this epic battle took place in the last two weeks of the month. You can all just say "Sheeesh!' about now cause you'll be laughing or cussing with me a little later.

During Saturday of the weekend of the garage sale, the daughter had driven up to Stanwood to help a fellow wannabe hairdresser study for the state exam. Danny (jdm7da) wandered over in his white SE with his sister for an impromptu visit/gab session. After they left, to head to the Pull a Part, I get a frantic call from the daughter yelling about how the Accord starts but, can't be shifted into drive. Great, I think, give me the address so I can map it and zoom up there. Wife takes over the sale, I load my tool kit and zoom off to find her. The SE for some reason decides it doesn't want to idle but, runs down the road just fine under power. By the time I get to the apartments she's stuck at, some swarthy neighbor has taken pity on the daughter and has graciously manhandled the shifter button that wouldn't depress, with all the delicateness of a UFC contestant. Great, something else to fix up. So, yep, the shifter won't come out of park unless strong-armed but, will drive and reverse. We decide to just use neutral when parked since there aren't any real hills to worry about and I'll get around to fixing it when the shops open on Monday. For a $50 diagnosis fee I find out it's the brake switch. Could of guessed that myself. $30 later the car shifter works fine but, the techs recommendations on the overall condition of the belts isn't making me happy. Besides the SE isn't idling very well and I'm got a not so good feeling about it.

So this brings us back to the sons' LS, which I sold out from under him one day after getting fed up with a 16 year old attitude and sold to Kent, who lives, where else? In Kent, Wa. He's Kevin’s' (KRoundy) brother and a wonderful guy who just happened to be proudly driving the LS auto when the 1st-2nd clutch pack in the trans decides it's had enough. I get a call about it and after a couple days of negotiating we decide to pull a weekender of replacing the bad with another auto trans I just happen to have laying around. Saturday at 3pm, after working all day, we all show up at the man cave and start ripping into it. Everybody pitching in, relaying tools to those under or on top of the engine bay. Some even finding time to start loosening the cam caps on the old SE engine on the engine stand in the bay. Ryan and myself got a partial trans fluid bath upon dropping the oldie on the floor while K & K held the chain from above. Using the cherry picker we check balanced the replacement trans and remarkably, IMO, we were bolting it together by 6pm and filling the reservoir by seven. All buttoned up by 9-ish, Kent jumped in and started it up and I dib shotgun. Backed out the man cave and headed out to the main street. Shifted like factory spec so we u-turned and slid back into the drive. I thought I heard the exhaust manifold outlet ring gasket huffing too loudly and discovered that it had let go during the manhandling of the engine. Asked Kent to restart the engine and, you guessed it, it wouldn't turn over, just click. Thinking I hadn't adjusted the shift linkage I tackled that for the next half hour with no luck. The intermittent starting still remained and the exhaust was getting louder. At 10:30pm I reluctantly declared this day was over. Ryan graciously ferried K & K back to Ks' house where K borrowed Ks' RS and headed home. The next day, after working again, I tackled the exhaust header gasket problem, found one broken stud and one nut just spun. Broke out the peanut grinder and the header was laying in the trash pile. Prepped the replacement that I had so luckily stored from a previous teg and waited for Kevin to arrive with the exhaust gasket. Messed with the starter some more and thought maybe it was bad so I replaced it with my spare (really, evtsteward has a spare?). Problem solved, started every time. Monday evening, Kevin shows up with aforementioned gasket, header gets installed and voila', car starts, is quiet and runs great. Drive the LS over to Ks', K drives it to work and K reluctantly returns Ks' RS to him and K drives his LS home. Get calls later saying how well every works. Did, done, dead tired, and only one gash on the right hand pointy finger large knuckle. Still have to go to work tomorrow.

Had started driving the RS to work for the time being because of possible head gasket problems on the SE. Was sucking up coolant and burning a quart of oil per 1000 miles or less. Not good, especially when you lay a cloud of smoke in the bumper to bumper traffic that is I-5 in Everett. The Restore product I tried had a small affect but alas, the engine is going south faster than I'd like so the RS is the main runner right now. Compression dry turned out the following numbers 1-4 and then again while oiled up 195-70-40-40 and 205-125-70-70. Amazingly it starts and idle somewhat nicely. Aside from pooping on the guy behind me, it still rocks down the road. I seriously going to get AAA towing for the likelihood that I'll be decommissioned somewhere god-awful. My favorite Martin the Mechanic was given the luxury of getting me a quote for the new parts to have installed in the spare engine after machine work. I know I'll pay dearly for his expertise but, when one has a Martin he uses him sparingly and pays him handsomely for his talents. See 2 previous Zen threads for his value to the teg community. Will update this as another Zen thread when it happens.

Of course, I had listed the RS for sale on craigslist to facilitate getting my son a different car and, after weeks of single digit phone calls I had someone willing to come over the next weekend and check out my baby. Then the RS started doing the crazy stuff. Startup and die, over and over. After the 4-5 tries it would run and drive fine. Stop again and it was another embarrassing 4-5 tries before it ran. Very freaking annoying. Once, it shut off while I had it idling prior to leaving for work. After 3 mornings of nail biting start ups it suddenly hit me that when it died, the gauge didn't have any lights, not even the check engine yellow. Martin suggested that I check the ignition switch, that the end connector/switch was worn. Next time it died I slightly turned the key against the spring pressure and the gauge light came on. When I turned on the starter I didn't let go of the key but, instead held it against the spring tension. Bingo! Engine started and ran fine so today I'm heading home for a couple cool beverages and a switch swap, then sell the RS, call K and K and R and give them a woot while waiting for my favorite Martin to call and make me cry................again.........

Now, I know K and K and R were all playing around with their respective blackberries and such, so now you can come out of the closet with some messy pics and such of the tranny swap and engine sabotage. Hahahahahaha! I'm so thirsty........

Re: Zen and the Art of Integra Maintenance

Posted: September 29th, 2012, 1:58 pm
by evtsteward
Zen and the Art of Integra Maintenance VI

As most of you know the 360K SE 5sp I've driven for the last few years has finally decided to burn some valves and it now sits in the man cave awaiting it's new power plant. Got somewhat tired of the sneering looks from big ass diesel pickups getting offended by my slight puff of oil burn soiling their 500 sq ft of chrome grill, I guess. Probably made me drink a few more Tecates' due to my embarrassment of taking up space on their hiway. Got to the point where I wasn't sure of making it home from a good afternoon of fishing so, it's up on jacks with the engine prepped for pulling this weekend.

In the meantime I had to obtain another daily runner. Although I've made fun of the scarcity of tegs in most areas around your back yards. The few nearby tegs for cheap were just that, sad piles of whatever color teg it used to be. Being such an advocate of first gens it was very disheartening the way some humans were treating these finely engineered works of art. Having such a short window to obtain a vehicle, I (shudder) considered getting something different. Much to my amazement when craigslist popped up with another SE only 40 miles south and strangely described as an auto trans. If any of us have owned or have experience with auto trans, we kind of know they're not long for this world without a $2000 rebuild. Decided I had to at least go take pics of this rarity.

After work on a Saturday my friend Kirk and I got the truck hitched to the tow dolly and sped off to the other side of Seattle, near Felony Flats. Car and owner were waiting as planned at the Costco gas station, waiting patiently in the near 80 degree sunshine. Body looked straight, chassis wasn't twerped, no major punches or rips on the exterior and the interior was complete less the hatch carpet and board. Engine bay was completely stock, no signs of leakage or mods. Good so far. Well, hey, lookie there! Something even this old crunkass, owner of 30 g1s' had never seen. A completely authentic oem pistol grip shifter on the center console. Car started just fine, idled great, no hiccups. Test drove it around the parking lots stressing the suspension, no squeaks or squawks, tracked fine, nothing loose. Freeway acceleration was great, shifted fine. Rolled back to the station and offered the guy a couple hundred less and I became the proud owner of two white SEs. Couple minutes later it was strapped down and we were headed back to the safety of Snohomish County.

First fill up had me somewhat worried about the fuel gauge as I was creeping over 360 miles and still had over 1/8th registering on the dial. Fearing some water contamination I filled up and added some AutoZone witches brew. Between him and I the mpg turned out to be 35 and it's been steady at 34-35 since I brung her home. Nice! No oil consumption, no puddles in the driveway, no overheating, no sudden problems arose. Then the weather turned el nino on us. Typical overnight soaking mist giving way to drizzle, then scorching afternoon sun breaks with spectacular sunsets. The glory that is the northwest. One morning, prior to the Labor Day weekend, it got down around 50ish and the need for warmth kicked in. Much to my dismay, at 4am, the heat didn't work, so I thought, "Oh well, the heater valve cable popped off the lever in the engine bay." Got to make sure that the "UP" box is installed on this baby when I get home.

Much to my dismay, not only was the "UP" box missing, the heater hoses were looped together thru the valve, which was unbolted from the firewall bracket. Shoot! There wasn't even stems protruding from where the heater core as located, just a single application of Brother Reds finest. Duct tape. Damn! Alright then, Autozombi and Oh-NotReallys' showed them probably available, on order, in 3-1000 days for only $125 plus $20 core. Core? What freaking core? Heck, even I wouldn't saw those tubes flush with the firewall. Off to Pull-a-Part I go, to practice dash removal 101, and to see how the heater box is taken out and apart to get at the heater core. You know that single 12mm nut located below the eacv connector? Yep, that’s the hidden shock mount for the bottom middle of the heater box. The other two are pretty straight forward located right on top. Heater core is removed by a bottom plastic cover and the metal tube clamp. three screws IIRC, it slides right out. Happily paid $10 for it and stood by at Stan’s Radiator Shop off Hwy 9 for 30 minutes while Jerry reformed the slightly bent tube ends, pressure tested it to 20 psi in the dunk tank, then pressure washed the inside and outside. Pronounced it fit for use for another $10 and I headed home to await the holiday weekend.

Saturday morning dawned overcast but warm. Removed seats, consoles, glove box and glove box support, crossover tube from blower, left and right door vents, steering wheel, shroud over turn signal/wiper pod assys and said assys', gauge cluster/speedo cable, fuse box door, knee bolster, steering column ground, plugs from fuse box, hood release lever, loosened fuse box, cover over center dash attach bolt and six dash attach bolts. Phew! Beer time. Afterward, proceeded remove the heater box and core cover. Yes sir, no heater core. Installed my replacement, tidied up the heater box, refit the firewall rubber seal and installed the box again. Spent the rest of the late afternoon cleaning the dash vent system, under dash area and vacuuming the vacant cab area. Also, installed another functional antenna between the continuous celebratory 12 ouncers. Left the man cave around 6pm.

Sunday awoke to an even better looking day. Had to pinch myself to shock me back into why it was I needed the heater to work. Just mother nature playing tricks on us. So, alright, first the dash needs to go back on. Check, before I do that I should make sure the heater control cable from the climate controls is routed correctly. Hah! The fickle finger of fate just stabs my left eye. Where in the %*@# is the cable? Hey, no matter, I'll just go back up to PAP and snag the one from the dash I already removed. Guy at the counter insists that the teg in row B2 is no longer there but, there's the one in row C1 and another in J2. Dang, really didn't want to tear out a climate control from an installed dash if it has the notorious round Phillips pan head on the side bracket. Recheck the teg on C1, 87' dash installed. Fearing it has "The Screw", as most 86-87's do, I head out to the far reaches to the unknown teg. Spend 20 minutes wandering the back rows aimlessly without a hatchback to be seen. Disappointedly head down, trudge back to the 87' but, since I'm on the side near the wall I take a chance the guy didn't know what the yard crew was up to, headed over to where the B2 teg should be. Yeah!!! It's still right where I left it, including the dash and it has a climate control. Freaking perfect. Four screws later, including the 88-89' style hex head bracket screw, I've got the cable in my hands and graciously pay the man $1 at the checkout and head home to finish the reinstall. Woot!

Arriving home, I dive into the dash to remove the climate control and assemble the control cable only to find, yes, same finger, different eye. The white plastic slide arm is broken off on that side, but on the bright side, I know where there's a perfectly good one. Also, about this time, I start feeling the wifeys scowl penetrating the man cave ambiance. Not good, got to stop screwing up or being screwed over. Have a brew, "Shields up and holding Captain." That's better. Should of gotten a return hand stamp, duh! $4 later I'm back, the dash is laying back in place, the cable is hooked up and rigged to full heat. The rest of the reinstall goes without a hitch. Couple of test runs, with beverage breaks at outlying lakes, proves the heater system to be fully operational and much appreciated in the prognosticated weather forecast. Yessir, the windows can now be fully defogged. Total cost $26 and a 12 pack over 3 days. Worth having heat for the fall/winter? You betcha!

So, in retrospect, do all of us die hard teggers a favor. "DO NOT PERMANENTLY REMOVE OR UNDO SOMETHING THAT WILL CAUSE A DIVORCE WHILE TRYING TO RE-INSTALL." This, too, will be scrawled on the unpainted drywall of this crunkasses man cave soon. Right after I get the shingles made for the event attendees. BTW someone needs to come up with a US version Reds' "Possum Lodge" for me. I'll handle the club motto and sacred oath. Thanks.

Re: Zen and the Art of Integra Maintenance

Posted: September 29th, 2012, 1:59 pm
by evtsteward
Zen and the Art of Integra Maintenance VII

"Zen." I said, "Maybe this old crunkass needs to chime in with his paltry thoughts on this matter."
"Why not?", the wizened one answered, “You’ve never been one to shy away from an embarrassing life defining moment!"
And so I did.

MFR - Main Fuel Relay
Problems with and/or attributed to. Part 1 of 5697. JK

1) It's a hot day, with or without a/c. The teg stops running while breezing down the road. Most probably the distributor but could also be the MFR.
2) Any day of the year, with or without a/c. The teg won't restart after sitting for up to an hour. Most probably the MFR but could be something else.
3) Any day of the year, with or without a/c. Won't start after sitting all day/night or starts up, idles and dies. Then starts and runs fine.
Where to start. I'm writing this and I'm already confused. Hahahaha! Oh, wait! I know............

Did you know that the MFR has 4 circuits inside? 2 for the fuel pump and 2 for the Igniters.
Did you know that the ECU runs the MFR? That's why the fuel pump side of the MFR shuts off after fuel rail pressure is obtained.
Or if not, the other side of the MFR won't let the igniters fire because the distributor isn't allowed to provide spark?
Pretty clever and confusing system Acura/Honda has in our cars.

Situation 1)
I personally have never experienced the distributor failure. Have suffered though a number of MFR failures, particularly during heat waves but occasionally during mild/cool weather. Some having to do with my own stupidity other times because of my own inebriated arrogance. First off, there are 2 blue 15 amp blade fuses that provide power to the MFR. The first is the #4 fuse in the under dash fuse box. Yes, fourth from the left in the only long row of blade fuses. Sorry if some idiot mismatched colors because he didn't have the right one. Say, while you're in there, replace any missing spare fuses okay? The other 15 amp blue blade fuse is out in the engine bay fuse box. Yes, it's the only one in there that isn't a red or tan or black clear windowed box type fuse. Either of these fuses are burnt, you'll be going nowhere. The only reason these will blow is that you inadvertently grounded the MFR circuit board while replacing the MFR into its holder. The only other reason would be that you have a fried ECU. Been there, done that. Don't ask.

Situation 2)
Pretty much the same answer as Situation 1 but, with a clever make it home or to the parts store fix. You can either take the MFR out of it's sweat box holder and let it dangle in front of the floor outlet on the heater box to cool off for a few minutes. Or, you could just reach in the glove box and pull out your resoldered spare MFR, unplug the faulty one and snap your spare onto the connector letting it dangle for the time being until you get home and sober up enough to replace the bad one. First bit of crunkass advice - yes, you can resolder the components back onto the ends of the printed circuits on the board. But, can you be sure that this fix alone will solve a cracked circuit board or deteriorated components? I'm sorry Charlie but, the answer is a resounding "Nope!" Can I just say how much better you'll feel knowing that the #&+@#^& MFR is not the problem. For $40 it's a MAJOR peace of mind. Do it and be done with it whether it's the problem now or a couple months down the road. Hey, it is Christmas. Treat yourself. I'd rather buy a six pack and a MFR than have a fridge full and a non running teg.

Situation 3)a
Okay, here goes. I'll try not to go off on a tangent but, I've had years of practice doing so. I promise that after you read this a couple more times you find it makes some sort of sense. Hehehe. Nice set up, eh? Since these are actually two different problems and by now you'll have considered doing the checks in Situation 1 and 2 and eliminating them or not. How long does it take to check a couple fuses anyhow? Half a beer by my shop manual.
Let's start at the spark plugs. Why check them if you've only put 10,000 on the teg since they were new? But that was 3 years ago. How’s your fuel consumption, driving habits, terrain, climate, fuel additives, intake choice, O2 sensor? What I'm trying to say here is that there's a number of things that will wear or corrode the plugs. Once this happens then we're talking high school electrical basics. Remember those? Voltage, Amperage and Resistance and their second cousin Wattage. If you increase resistance what happens? Right, Voltage or Amperage must increase to make up for it. Bad plugs make the coil try harder, as does a dirty rotor cap electrodes and dirty/bent cap contact spring button. Anyone want to guess what happens then? Of course, spark is apparent but is it enough to fire the compressed fuel/air mixture? Again, nope! I've fixed a number of non runners by using WD-40 inside the cap after cleaning the electrodes and replacing the plugs. Secondly, the unspent energy has to go someplace and I know where. Seems like the weakest link it the whole spark generating system is the "COIL". That's because the primary and secondary windings are submerged in oil, encased in the thinnest and flimsiest housing the can make to contain it. Electrons from the primary outer winding can easily penetrate the large molecules that make up plastic or Bakelite housings. All that pent up energy starts pushing thu this barrier because it can sense somehow that the coil itself is being held in the distributor by a Large Freaking Iron Bar. See "magnetism" in your local dictionary. Whether this leak is enough to effectively shut off the entire spark to the plugs or not, it still weakens the attempt at firing the cylinders and performance decreases to the point of a no run situation.
Compression. All I'm going to say about this is with weak spark and low compression is you better have a marine battery and a spare starter handy. It's ratio thing here. The more you have to crank over the engine till you have sufficient compression you've probably caused the coil to start shorting out. Twice the "Fail!"
Fuel, let's see whether or not having a fine mist swirling with the incoming air makes a better burn than spitting fuel on the sides of the valve seat and having it wash whatever oil there is off the compression rings will do for valve burn blow by. You really think the ECU likes to compensate for this debacle? Sheesh, makes the ECU run it's course for sure.
Oh yeah, Vacuum. Setting your valves are a tune ups best friend. Will save you lot's of headaches years down the road. Do this, per the book, religiously. Or end up with a garage full of engines. Like me, snivel.....This goes for hoses too. What the heck you think happens at 4000 rpm that’s different with those hoses at idle. Come on, WAKE UP here. They need to be tight, not just snug and not collapsing. Let's see here. Less than $5 at any auto parts and they'll be all new. Besides the ECU loves a well vacuumed engine. Less yo-yoing to compensate.
Situation 3)b
Starts, idles, then dies. Maybe a couple times or restarts immediately and goes good. Probably the key cylinder end switch is worn out where it comes to rest after pressing the ignition against the spring to engage the starter. You think after 22 years of doing this over and over and over and over, even you'd get a little worn. So, try this next time the teg does this stupid car trick. After starting, let the key return to the rest position almost. That is, just hold it slightly against the start of spring pressure. In effect you've moved the run position slightly. If this seems to keep the engine from dying then it looks like you need to make a 3 beer run to Pull a Part and tear into the steering column covers. Two Philips screws, one connector and a little wiggling and you be the proud owner of another teg fix.

Re: Zen and the Art of Integra Maintenance

Posted: September 29th, 2012, 2:02 pm
by evtsteward
Zen and the Art of Integra Maintenance VIII

I'd been contemplating, again, about trying to round up some spare change and get my 373,000+ mile windshield replaced. My twenty-third year behind the wheel, staring through the accumulated pits and pockmarks, were beginning to take as much toll on my nerves as my aging eyesight. Years of climbing behind the wheel at a very early hour, usually as the rain drums on the car roof, the wipers barely screeding off the overflow, the glare of on coming headlights and the light diffracting into a galaxy of sparkles made me want for a clearer view. With the northwest weather being what it is, this year in particular, I'd begun doting on ways to make this a reality. An added benefit would be to also stop the notorious upper seal drip from behind the rear view mirror that managed to find both pant legs just before I'd arrive at work. It wasn't like the glass was cracked at all, even though I'd taken some major blows that would have TKO'd a lesser vehicle, I'd always admired the slant of our tegs protective barrier and its drag coefficient of .31 as being the best of its class having something to do with the angle of attack and resulting deflection. In fact, never have I been behind the wheel of any of my thirty-one or so tegs, I'd ever had the pleasure of witnessing this event in person, although I've bought and sold some in that condition. But, hey! Let's not go Einstein on this subject as I'm somewhere between almost sober and in need of a beverage right now.

Ever wonder how your reputation comes to be with your friends on co-workers? I don't pretend to know or want to deep dive this subject but with as many cow-orkers as I've got it's really hard to have lots of sympathy for some of the Darwinians around me. Just bear with me, let me ramble for a few minutes, try and enjoy this Integra related babble and then back to your lives as I tell you how I got my new windshield and a new side bar on my life’s business card of fame. I'll just begin by noting that I am an overtime whore. I doubt if I've taken more than a week off in the last five years. Three kids in college, tuition, books, lab fees, special fees, blah, blah, blah.......five cars to maintain, insurance, gas, food.......yadda, yadda......I'll just throw something out here my old pappy used to quote.
"Wish I had enough money to buy a couple elephants!", he'd say.
"Why would we need a couple elephants?” I stupidly ask.
"Oh! It's not that I want the elephants." He says. "Just wish I had the money!"
I really never got the gist of what he was saying, but, let me tell you, my wife and kids do.

One minute to curtain. As the lights dims, the impatient crowd settles in for the first act. Again, I had already worked fifteen days straight and was heading into the home stretch by being on the job for the rest of this weekend and the regular workweek before getting to rest on my laurels for two days. I was into my regular "Zombie" mode as it were. Work, chores, errands, car repairs as necessary routine. It was a overcast Saturday afternoon and I had a couple hours of errands to run when I noticed the dreaded right axle click during full turn parking lot maneuvers. No problem, I thought. Twenty minute job and I had five points on my Auto-Zone reward card burning a hole in my wallet. On the way back from Thai food pick up, I scored the box and chucked it onto the passenger floor. On the way across town the phone rang and George was blasting me about not being at his "Cinco De Mayo" party at his lake resort pavilion. I tried to beg off because of the axle issue and that I had to work the next day.
"Too freaking bad!" He then chastised me about not being there for his Noel and Halloween festivities and as a regular dues paying member I'm now obligated to show my face at the lake to atone for my atrocities. Fine, I'll be there in an hour but, the pumpkin turns back into a Teg at ten sharp. Toss the food and axle in their respective portions of the house and roar off into the night.

The gate guard tells me that all parking is down by the lake and pool area just inside the gate, so I pull through and down the first entrance and park just to the right on top of the pine cones and gravel. Golf cart shows up and delivers my butt to the pavilion which is rocking with the live band doing some form of Huey Louis and the News. Right up my alley, for the next couple hours and couple of brew skis. Hobnob with a bunch of derelicts for the next couple hours and wrangle a beautiful wench with a cart to haul me back to reality. She drops me by the teg, blows me a nice kiss goodbye and rumbles off out of sight. As is my custom I get her started and then get out checking the exterior and knocking the accumulated dust of the windows. After all there's no telling what sort of nonsense these chuckleheads will do to someone who loves their mode of transport as much as I. They all act like you just got married and have to disable whatever they can to make the exit that much more enjoyable. Come on. You have to admit, you been party to this. I know because I helped write that book. Settling in behind the wheel I crunch across the gravel and pine cones, swing a hard left out the exit and slide to a halt broadside to the chain the guard had conveniently put up across the road I'd come in by.

"Nice try dork!" I muttered to myself. Jamming the teg into reverse I backed away and moseyed down past the rows of cars until I see this "EXIT" arrow nailed to a huge cedar tree. I swing the teg to the right and ramble perhaps ten feet. Just as I straighten the wheel another cable cracks across the right headlight and slams loudly down on top of my hood. WTF?
Slamming the car to another halt, I said out loud to anyone and everyone, in no particular order, "(@%!&(&@#% >&#@%$BF@%*+:<}!!!!!!!"
Retract the lights back out from under, set the brake, open the door, operate the headlight switch so that I can clearly hear the metal on metal scraping sound of the bent headlight assy and survey the paint abrasion on the fender and hood edges. Now that I'm slightly testy I do jam it in reverse and toss pine cones and gravel in a random pattern while avoiding doing any damage to others vehicles. Slipping it into first I continue my journey past the grove of trees and finally find an unblocked exit to the main road leading up to the guard shack where I hope the idiot is tending to his hemorrhoids with the wrong ointment. Signaling for a left, I pull onto the county road where the front tires start to spin slightly on the wet pavement. I use this to relieve a couple things. The first is my pent up angst about the cosmetic damage to my beloved teg and the second is a pure elation of smoking the tires in frustration of recent events and claim it's for "clearing out the carbon" benefits. Twenty seconds of 6000 rpm and I let loose of the emergency brake and surge off into the night.

Next morning I rise at four am, shut off the alarm clock, get the coffee going, shower, dress, grab my stuff and am out the door and warming the teg. Been up thirty minutes and am cruising to work. My standard path is what I call the "Milk Truck Route". It follows the edge of a valley till it meets a freeway onramp. I knew I wasn't the only knucklehead on the road by the headlights proceeding around the bends ahead of me. BTW, the speed limit is 35 mph.
"Just me and the drunks motoring around on a Sunday morning," I think to myself. Reaching down I grab my coffee cup and take a decent slurp. As I round a tight right turn I come upon the following holocaust in my headlight search field. No less than three plastic buckets full of construction whatever, a partial roll of tarpaper, 3 parts of lower kitchen cabinetry, various size/length boards and assorted other remodeling debris, Dancing, if you will, before my astonished eyes. Thinking that I can react quickly under duress I decide that: a) Just beyond that telephone pole is a side out for the farmers barn on the right, b) If I can get there before the deluge of random shitstorm does I can completely avoid destruction, c) I'll chase that lousy no good mother-fer down and make him pay!!!. What actually happens is that I slide into the ditch just after the pole as my seat belt secures itself. Thereby allowing the metal buckle that's held in place between the second and third lower ribs to tear some cartilage and shred some muscles. As I grimace in slight pain, a full length two by four gracefully cracks my windshield across the top blue tinted area from side to side. I resign myself to totally flunking accident avoidance class 101. I back out of the ditch and notice that I've increased the damage total no more than stuffing grass and dirt between the dust shield and brake rotor. Nothing bent or broken after a quick suspension check. I then proceed to go Terminator on the refuse left in the roadway so I can putter on to work. While doing this in my adrenaline induced state I proceed to finish whatever damage I started to on my ribs.

Worked most of the day, I whine to my boss around noon and he let's me head home. The window on the teg has decided to relieve its stress on its own and now it’s cracked from top to bottom in five places and into the corners. I want to thank the OMG stares I received on the way home. I'm guessing that church mass must have covered the likes of me for a solid hour. Made it home safe and sound but sore. Iced the ribs down for a while and the wife gave me some pills from her arsenal of containers. Started feeling relaxed enough to get a few glass replacement numbers off the internet so I'd be ready come Monday for my dream to come true of having a new windshield installed. Took the day off since I could hardly get out of bed the next morning, I'm almost in tears as I call the attendance hotline to placate my pointy haired boss. Look up the hours for the chiropractor and get around visiting the local medical clinic. Three hours later I'm proud to know that maybe I should have broken my rib, would have been less trouble for the recuperation. The chiro commented that when I do something I really do it well. Made me feel "Special". Picked up my painkillers and muscle relaxers. On the way home I get to thinking that on Wednesday, the wife, daughter and mother-in-law leave for a weeklong vacation. I, on the other hand, have not taken more than a four day holiday weekend in about five years. On top of that, I'm halfway through my work years and still have five weeks of vacation accrued. That afternoon I call the attendance hotline and request vacation pay for the next nine days.

Everyone’s gone, I'm at peace and on drugs, a new windshield is in place on the teg and I feel like driving again. I head out to Pick and Pull to grab another headlight assy, the axle can wait till I'm a lot better and feel like crawling around on my back. Headlights fixed, gravels gone from the dust shield/rotor area. Life is good but I find that the pain killers and stuff aren't pulling their weight and I'm consuming them faster. I decide to put some blue tape on the bottom and toss them in with the wife’s other stockpile. I'm done with that crap. I'd rather put up with the occasional scream of agony than walk around dazed and confused. the Weather turns decent and I hit the lakes early and late, catch a few, miss a few and mostly let them go if I can. Otherwise they make good halibut bait this fall. I head down to Sea-Tac and pick up the x-factors from their trip and listen to them prattle on about the adventure. They kindly spend two seconds asking how I am, then its back to the white noise. Tomorrow I go back to work even on four hours sleep.

Wander into the break room at my usual time to the OMG stares of my previous shift cow-orkers. I wonder to my self what that's about. As the day crew arrives I get the usual, "We thought you'd died?", "You wreck your car or something?", "Wow! When you go on a bender you must take the whole town!" BS. Work starts and I wander about doing my thing. everyone I see has this OMG look when they see me. It's like they can't believe I'd leave the precious confines of this big ass windowless building unless the company paid me? Jeez! Over the next few days I hear it all.

What outfit did you get confined to so you could dry out?
How many sheriffs did it take to shackle you up?
How much was bail?
I heard you totaled your car!
Heard you crashed your car and were in a body cast.
Everyone else make it out alive?
Heard you pulled a bunch of brodies at the lake, smashed up your car and a couple trees, then drove your teg home and parked it behind the garage.
Whoa, doesn't take much to get you lit up at a party.
So, heard you started an off-road racing school nearby.
They have you car posted at the guard shack under the no admittance column.
I was going to pass around a get well card for you but I didn't know where you lived. Your lead said he would deliver it but, you know, I really don't like your lead very much.
Oh, I thought you borrowed my tow dolly so you could get the teg home after the diver and wrecker pulled your car out of the lake?

Re: Zen and the Art of Integra Maintenance

Posted: September 29th, 2012, 2:06 pm
by evtsteward
Zen and the Art of Integra Maintenance IX

Friends like mine, another car/boat most of us can attest to, are sometimes a riot to be around. Even to hear of their latest exploits/pratfalls are to be enjoyed. Others, not so much. I'd just like to reminisce a little about a good friend named Gord. Oh, he's still with us, barely, and he might be revisited in the future if his type of luck keeps going this way. Gords not a bad person, he just doesn't want to conform to the local rules as much as the authorities have wished. "Scofflaw", comes to mind as I blunder around the keyboard. I think he started young, probably an enterprising youth who could morph junk together to somehow run or make impressive lawn ornaments. As a young man he somehow impressed another human of the opposite sex to marry and procreate. This is now something he rather regrets as he lives out his life alone in a 30 year old single wide, nestled comfortably beside the detached double car man-cave, separated by a row of at least six of those tube and canvas portable car sheds. Underneath are the blue tarped over loves of his life to which he once had breathed life into but now sit languishing. He insists that they all start and run, if he had a good battery to put in them. BTW, over on the side of the man-cave is a stack of at least 30 batteries that I should steal some day and recycle for the three bucks apiece. The only thing uncovered is his beloved metal scrap heap which hides the rusting hulk of a sportsman class Malibu race car chassis. Oh, he and his "girlfiend" have a few good running cars/trucks to boot, so I'd guess his driveway and roundabout have at least eight vehicles stacked up. His latest stock car resides in the pile which he casually calls the garage, proudly protruding a piston crank out the side of the block, front and center. Another catastrophe about not really caring if he did or didn't add oil prior to each heat. The backyard is rather large and includes a 5 bay carport ram shackled closed with construction remnants. Inside are the effects of his other loves, boats and boat chrome, matching Mercury outboards sets and at least twenty-five shelves chock full of every metal and plastic truck, grader, bulldozer, etc. toy that Tonka ever made. Think in the hundreds here. Outside the carports are nine side by side ski boat, cruiser, cuddy cabin and boat trailers, and stuffed under the bow is his assortment of lawn equipment that nobody in their right mind would make off with.
The first time I wandered over to his villa I found Gord mowing his cornfield. I repeat, with a gas powered push lawnmower he was savagely attacking his ten foot by fifty feet by 7 foot high cornfield. He'd invited me over so I could help him doll up his Mazda Hornet class race car for the three hundred lap enduro that weekend. With that in mind I proceeded to help him skilsaw some Plexiglas and screw, bolt and rivet it onto the body to make some neat ground effects and such. I can only say that I'm glad I wasn't going to be on the same shrapnel infested track as he. After loading the chariot onto the car trailer we then changed out the road tires for some "stickies" he'd bought, just because he was going to run laps around them ***holes. Later that week I chanced into Gord at work and with a glum look he explained what had occurred. Not realizing the stickies were two inches lower than the street tires he dismounted the trailer and immediately ripped the front air dam clean off. During the first half of the enduro his poorly designed down force spoiler flicked off and stuck itself into the trailing Honda Civic DX radiator causing a mild scuffling of fire suited drivers during the ensuing pit stop. Alas, with a couple dozen laps to go Gord was three laps ahead, because of the stickies doing their job, when the nephew of the DX owner decided his street legal tires were just as good and decided to have a go at that ***tard in the **'d up Mazda. This calculation of error not only sent both vehicles off course and into the tinder dry sagebrush but, caused the local fire department to drop their donuts and tackle the acre and a half blaze before it brought down the Equestrian Palace located north of the oval.
The next time over to visit I was regaled by Gord on how those **n Adams County ***ard sheriffs no goods weren't very understanding about his RVs' problems. Just because he was wandering back from Montana having survived another family gathering without incurring alcohol poisoning or black eye. This with the valve cover gushing enough oil to finally catch fire, burning his spark plug wires in the process of camouflaging the right lane with pungent blue smoke screen. He showed me where his tennis shoes had actually melted to the bare metal brake pedal. After careening to the wide out, dousing the flames and waiting an hour he proceeded to tighten the valve covers, splice the remains of most of the wiring back together and put the last two quarts of oil into the engine. That left him only two quarts low and two hundred miles left to be home. You'd think this would be about the end of this story Huh? Nope, didn't take more than another fifty miles before fate stepped in front of his grill while doing seventy and downhill. This time it took out his hobbled together front awning tie down strap, actually a coat hanger and one foot bungee cord. It was all hands on deck as the mizzen mast deployed with a mighty whoosh! It was all he could do to keep the RV from taking flight as again he launched toward the road side, brakes screaming for mercy and the RV cabin groaning with despair. Unfortunately, trying to make up time and doing seventy plus in the fast lane, the poor SUV in the slow lane had to introduce some seldom used maneuvers to avoid a collision with that ****head in the RV. As Gord wobbled the RV to a halt, he set the brake and sprang outside to assess the possible damage he'd caused on the hiway. As he emerged from in front of the RV, the SUV was just setting itself down on all four wheels. The driver glared at Gord and decided he'd spare another human life because he only had one chance to put space between him and that **n RV nutcase. His engine running he left a hundred foot burnout in the memory of the moment spent in Gords world.
Another day, another invite. This time Gord was gushing with pride with his latest car-volution. A sixty-nine Jaguar Coupe stuffed with a three twenty seven and four speed. Sex red and topless, this car just made most guys dream of, well. You know. Dang, this was freaking beautiful, even for Gord. That entire HP on a good set of rails. Look out Northwest roads! Warning to all those other clunkers, move to the side cause we're ripping through. Proudly he explained all the hacking and chopping and this and that he'd done to get her "just right". Yep. This was a good moment for Gord. Made me almost proud to know the guy. He'd just got done mounting the dual Holley 650s on it and was ready to fire it up and wanted someone there to enjoy the moment. With that said, he asked me to turn it over while he tended to the engine. I've got to stop here because most of you probably are two steps ahead of the story. I just wanted to set the table for you first. As most crunk asses will realize, Gords garage is not a thing of beauty or neatness. Years of man cave decorations adorned the walls and overhead racks two layers deep or better. All things hung gingerly with four penny nails so as not to knock anything else off. That said, when the engine finally fired and took to life, the fuel pump now operating at full potential through unclamped fuel hoses. Gord was leaning over the engine bay, at the ready should the engine sputter when the great ball o fire erupted form the hoodless engine bay. Gords great reflexes helped save him from that Home Alone Burglar look, along with the din caused by fifty pieces of license plates, hub caps and road signage raining down from above. Not saying I'm the hero here but, after turning off the key and as I leapt back myself, I found myself scrambling across a welding blanket which worked neatly to smother the inferno. An hour later, hoses tightened, things double checked and items rehung we found ourselves laughing pretty well as we cruised down hiway ninety-two.

Re: Zen and the Art of Integra Maintenance

Posted: September 29th, 2012, 3:59 pm
by KRoundy
Now that the Zen is back, I feel like is really up and running again!

By the way, Robert, since we replaced the MFR in my '88 it has run perfectly. No more stalls or chugging when it is hot. Yay!


Re: Zen and the Art of Integra Maintenance

Posted: December 5th, 2013, 2:15 am
by evtsteward
Once upon a time, for those who need that at the entrance to this Karma. . . . . A strange thing happened to me and my teg! Really you jibe? Yes. Of course it did.
Why do you ask? Well, one could suppose. Anyway. . . . not to belay the point but, since I know what all the keys on this board can create, let me embellish you with my diatribe. As it were. Or maybe I should include all events the doofuses that I've run into on my merry journey. I could fill hours of your day with that. No, that won't do, so here! 8-) Five days later. . . . . . .

Re: Zen and the Art of Integra Maintenance

Posted: January 27th, 2015, 3:01 am
by evtsteward
Zen and the Art of Integra Maintenance X

Number twenty come out of Capitol Hill in Seattle. Didn't run, had flat tires and was somewhat in pieces
when it came to the interior. Regardless, from what I could tell, after a three pack of Tecate', it looked
and sounded pretty decent for $250. Told the jack to inflate the tires and make sure they held air because
I was coming back tomorrow with a tow dolly. My friend Kirk, always at the ready with his Dodge truck,
offered to abandon his wife and help me drag this beaut home. At noon we arrived and true to his
word the car was on its feet soundly. All we had to do was push it uphill twenty feet into the alley and
then coast down to the entrance to 43rd street. Then it was steeply downhill to the waiting dolly. Mission
accomplished, if the brakes worked. The teg arrived at the man-cave around twoish.
Spent the next couple weeks cleaning, fixing and getting her running. That turned out to be the ECU was
toast. After a number of test drives I pronounced her ready for sale, much to the wifes relief. Craiglist ad
waited a couple of days and then magically a friend of mine, who's brother cherished his brothers RS was
joining the game and wanted to look. Not only did both brothers show up in support but, their dad, a
grand old gentleman reaching into his eighties bothered to provide the checkbook.
The automatic proved her worth and after a very short debate on price, it was signed and on it's way to
a good home. I provided the wife with a pile of hundreds and pocketed the rest, as I've been known to
Once in a while I'd hear about the tegs exploits from my friend, then for a while it disappeared.
A year or so later it came back to the man-cave with a malfunctioning trans. I questioned what he'd
been doing with it and it appears he was spending his spare time delivering pizzas. Dang, that's not the
intent of these fine cars but, as it happens I had a spare trans in the corner of my garage I'd harvested
from elsewhere. He left the car with me after he and his brother promised to come over on the weekend
and help turn wrenches. Amazingly another teg nut case happened to be in town and offered to help.
No way this wasn't happening right?
At the appointed hour we all showed up. I had already got a decent start on the beast and was
awaiting a hand with the moving of heavy things. The guys readily pitched in and in no time we had the
trans replaced and had broken a stud on the exhaust manifold. I didn't happen to have a spare stud but
regardless, I told the owner to take her for a test drive. He and his brother came back all smiles saying it
performed better than ever. I mentioned I'd like to see how she shifted and it was then we started
having problems restarting the engine. I played with the shifter adjustment and a couple other things. It
would start one or two times in a row and then not. By now it was closing in on 11 pm and I kicked
everyone out for their own sake. This problem and the stud best wait for the next day.
Decided to change the starter and O'Reillys had a stud pack so, the next afternoon it was back on the
road. The owner took charge of his teg for the cost of an eighteen pack of my favorite beverage.
I didn't hear back from him for about three years. I happened upon it again while visiting my
go-to mechanic Martin, whom I try and visit once every couple week or so. He's done wonders to the
problems I couldn't fix and I've helped him in a number of way's. Mutual jive. He was going over the
radiator repair on number twenty while I happened to be in a visiting mood. Something about
overheating all the time as he resoldered the upper seal. A couple months later it was back having
overheated and had been left at his dad' residence while he borrowed the families spare Audi. Within
the week it had a new head gasket, courtesy of your's truly and Martin and again pronounced fit for the
That lasted a couple more weeks and it ended up at a Firestone dealership for a split radiator top. One
new OEM radiator, thermostat and hoses later she hit the road again but, now she was trasversing from
Leavenworth to all points around Seattle while the owner parlayed his food business to prospective
suspected fine dining establishment, their clients in search of readily frozen and reheated restaurant
Finally the day arrived when the Audi won out over the Integra. The towel was thrown, at least the
owners dad thought it was better in my hands than some scrap yard. She arrived under power, full of
pep and vigor and not overheating in the least from what I could do during a bunch of test drive. I even
visited Martin again and he could not find it to overheat the least bit. Brought her back home and
commenced to go through all the engine systems to try and diagnose the problem.
It was one sad grey afternoon while in the side yard, after yet another scintillating test drive with no
problems, I once again jiggled the raidiator cap, which Firestone had installed. It appeared sort of loose
and I wondered if a tighter seal was part of the problem. I removed the air intake and dug into the
overflow bottle to verify it had coolant in it. Not only was it up to the prescribed level, it was all the way
to the cap. Well, guess what? I seems somewhere along this tired and true regaling of one fine tegs
adventurous lifetime some one installed a completely faulty radiator cap. They not only did that but
somehow the dip tube into the coolant reservoir had gone missing. Martin and I laughed long and hard
about that. Who in their right mind would remove the dip tube? Sad to say, the teg spent a good part
of her later years not being able to siphon coolant back into the radiator.
Your guess is as good as mine. I'm never one to point blame but, this was so totaly stupid that I just never
hope to meet the person who did the unthinkable. All those years of work, cost and parts for a fifty cent
nylon piece of tube.
The car now rests in the capable hands of a college student attending SPU. I count this one as number
thirty-nine in my hike toward the ultimate wisdom in life. He couldn't be happier. Although his starter
went out a couple days after buying it. If I had another on the shelf it would have been another twenty
minute bother in the crunkasses life. Such that it is.