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Still Not Working

August 24, 2002

The engine is bolted in, all accessories and peripheral equipment is hooked up, but I've got codes!  The ECU is flashing a Code 4 and won't rev above 3,000 rpm and the TCU is flashing a Code 7 and is stuck in 2 second gear.  Referring to my list of codes, it seems that the Code 4 is telling me that the crank angle sensor is bad and the Code 7 is telling me that the Shift Control Solenoid "A" is bad.  Some more investigation is in order.

Diving into the transmission first, I found the problem...solenoid "A" was shorted to ground.  Unfortunately, this looks like my doing.  When I first got the engine I was trying to find out what type of devices these were.  In a misguided attempt to unscrew one of the solenoids from the base, I sheared a wire inside which was shorting against the case.  THE INDIVIDUAL SOLENOIDS DO NOT UNSCREW!!  HEED THIS WARNING!!

It was no big problem to solder a new wire in place.  The trouble comes because the original steel case is crimped in place.  I had to physically cut it so get it out of the way.  It's a one-time-only part, it simply will not go back together.  I tried to call local salvage yards to get a replacement solenoid pack off a 90-92 luck.  I called Acura and they want $220 for a replacement and that didn't include a tube of KY to get FUCKED with!  So inspite of Asshole Carl, I fired up the lathe and turned out a billet aluminum replacement.  The new cap is held in place by 4 set screws around the base.  So far in the couple of trips around the block with my flaky distributor, all seems well.

Now for that distributor...My first suspicion is that despite all my diligent work, there may be a wire crossed.  A few minutes with the multimeter reveals that all is in order.  Maybe the distributor is truly bad...A couple of phone calls later, I find that Autozone has a replacement for a 91 Integra for $109 (The next closest competitor was $269 for the SAME part!!)  For that price, I'll enjoy the peace-of-mind of having a new distributor, so I ordered it up.  There were a few minor mods that needed to be made:

Three days and a special order later I had to cut off one leg to clear the VTEC solenoid, and the radio noise condenser was moved from the side to the top of the distributor, also for clearance.  My hopes were quickly dashed though, as the engine still set the same code!  Checking and double checking, I could still find no fault with the distributor, the wires or with the sensor itself.  I have double checked the timing.  Another of my fears is that I may have got the timing belt a tooth off, but as near as I can tell it looks to be dead on.  It is not "perfect" mind you, but definitely not off by a complete tooth.  This leaves the final dreaded step in the Helms manual..."Replace the ECU with a known good ECU.  If the problem is solved, replace the ECU"

After scanning e-bay for a week or so (and seeing some sales from guys I didn't really trust...10-12 negative feedback in the last 6 months)  I found a PR3 ECU that had been chipped (socket already soldered in) It had one performance chip in the ECU and two others included in the auction.  I hadn't really plan to "chip" the engine and the price is a bit high at $280, but I need a trial ECU, and I figure that I can sell one I don't need to help offset the cost.  After a couple of days of watching the auction, I snipe in at the last minute and get the ECU.


The ECU arrives today.  I unwrap it to find that the two "spare" chips have been smashed due to poor packaging.  My mood goes down even further after I plug in the new ECU and find that I have the SAME CODE AS BEFORE!!  (Insert 5 minute ranting using every curse word a couple of times here!!)  After a couple of hours, I can finally stand to look at the car again, I reason that the only part that hasn't been swapped is the wires connecting the distributor to the ECU.  Even though the test shorts to ground, no open connections, no high resistance joints, etc, I make a couple of quick cuts right at the distributor and ECU terminals and splice in a length of computer data grade shielded cable.  I twist the key and my spirits are lifted a bit as the car INSTANTLY roars to life...none of this "crrr....rrrr....rrrrr....rrrrr....rooommmm."  It's more like ""  I count two seconds and open my MIL light!!  I lightly rap the throttle...very crisp response...none of this choke and suck like before.

I'LL BE DAMNED it appears that it was the wire after all.  Keep in mind, though that the old wire had passed all tests for continuity and no shorts or open circuits!  I started to think that maybe this sensor was EXTREMELY sensitive to radio frequency interference.  Just for a test, I pulled the two ground wires from the shielding on my patch wire fully expecting to see it set a code.  NO code!  this truly has me amazed.  But at this point I'm tired of screwing with it...I think I will add two more shielded wires for the other sensors and leave it alone!