The end of my Civic?

VicVinegar

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Oct 5, 2012
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#1
I have a '00 Civic with 212k on it. I've had it for 11 years. It's been rock solid for the time I've had it, but as it ages some things begin popping up.

A couple days ago I got a CEL for catalytic converter. While reading the code in my garage I noticed the motor's temp spiked slightly above normal and came back down. Yesterday I got stuck in traffic coming home from the office and the temp started rising again. I turned the heat on to be safe and it leveled off. When I'm driving the temp is fine.

I got home and listened for the fan to kick on and it did, although I may have taken longer than I expected. I am familiar with how it cycles "normally" (which may or may not be correct). It was only 70 degrees yesterday here, so it wasn't a particularly stressful day for the cooling system. I had the radiator replaced two months ago and it looks like I've lost some coolant from the overflow tank. I noticed it previously because I thought it was overfilled but concluded it wasn't a big deal.

I'm wondering if the P0420 code plus the sudden tendency to want to overheat is a sign my head gasket is done. Any thoughts?

I'm watching the coolant level and will try to log some miles this weekend. No visible smoke out the tailpipe. Oil on the dipstick didn't look out of the ordinary.

Add this to the broken a/c, the need for a routine timing belt/water pump service, and the stripped oil drain plug thanks to some untrained "mechanic" changing the oil and it might be time to part ways with the Civic.
 
Dec 8, 2004
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#2
You might want to think about something newer as you don't want to spend a shit ton of money to fix something that is basically worth nothing.

Did that with my 95 Infiniti... before I got the truck it got new tires ($800), new exhaust (exhaust manifold back) $1 200... finally got rid of it when the ABS sensor went off (could have been anywhere from $400 to $1 200 to fix) and it needed a new fuel injector ($400). Note I got all of 1k when I traded it in.

Well that and hauling hay in a car tends to ruin the leather...
 

tattered

Uber-Aryan
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#3
I have a '00 Civic with 212k on it. I've had it for 11 years. It's been rock solid for the time I've had it, but as it ages some things begin popping up.

A couple days ago I got a CEL for catalytic converter. While reading the code in my garage I noticed the motor's temp spiked slightly above normal and came back down. Yesterday I got stuck in traffic coming home from the office and the temp started rising again. I turned the heat on to be safe and it leveled off. When I'm driving the temp is fine.

I got home and listened for the fan to kick on and it did, although I may have taken longer than I expected. I am familiar with how it cycles "normally" (which may or may not be correct). It was only 70 degrees yesterday here, so it wasn't a particularly stressful day for the cooling system. I had the radiator replaced two months ago and it looks like I've lost some coolant from the overflow tank. I noticed it previously because I thought it was overfilled but concluded it wasn't a big deal.

I'm wondering if the P0420 code plus the sudden tendency to want to overheat is a sign my head gasket is done. Any thoughts?

I'm watching the coolant level and will try to log some miles this weekend. No visible smoke out the tailpipe. Oil on the dipstick didn't look out of the ordinary.

Add this to the broken a/c, the need for a routine timing belt/water pump service, and the stripped oil drain plug thanks to some untrained "mechanic" changing the oil and it might be time to part ways with the Civic.
Changing the oil is really the best way to check it for coolant.
The cat cel could be from the amount of ethanol in gas these days. The cats on my stepdads 2010 F250 went bad. He has an extended warranty so the dealership fixed it for free and told him that it was he got a high dose of ethanol in a fill up. He doesnt have a flex fuel engine like I do (dunno why the reg and flex fuel 5.4 are the same price)
 

Don the Radio Guy

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#4
(dunno why the reg and flex fuel 5.4 are the same price)

The difference really isn't that much. Probably only couple hundred bucks when building the car. They probably use the flex fuel models as loss leaders.

As for the Civic, I'd let the overheating go for now and see if it gets worse. It could be a few things. Thermostat, water pump might be starting to go, etc.
 

tattered

Uber-Aryan
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Aug 22, 2002
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#5
The difference really isn't that much. Probably only couple hundred bucks when building the car. They probably use the flex fuel models as loss leaders.

As for the Civic, I'd let the overheating go for now and see if it gets worse. It could be a few things. Thermostat, water pump might be starting to go, etc.
No I ment I dont know why he didnt choose the flex fuel its the same price
 

whiskeyguy

PR representative for Drunk Whiskeyguy.
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#7
If you're in a position to buy a new(er) car, now might be the time to trade in the Civic before it really starts to go bad.
 

Don the Radio Guy

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#8
If you're in a position to buy a new(er) car, now might be the time to trade in the Civic before it really starts to go bad.

It's a Civic. You could get more for it on Craigslist from someone wanting to build a ricer. But, if you have the means it might be time to consider newer.
 

whiskeyguy

PR representative for Drunk Whiskeyguy.
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#9
It's a Civic. You could get more for it on Craigslist from someone wanting to build a ricer. But, if you have the means it might be time to consider newer.

Well then go that route. I'm just saying offload it before you're paying to have it towed away.
 

tattered

Uber-Aryan
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Aug 22, 2002
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#10
Options/color/availability?
He got a black xlt extended cab with an 8' bed 4x4 and a 5.4L (Same setup as my F150 cept I have a reg cab). Pretty standard shit for a F250. Its a work truck so hes not all that picky about color. He could of found obeone. If I was him I would of got a diesel but he still thinks they are crazy loud and smelly like back in the day
 

THE FEZ MAN

as a matter of fact i dont have 5$
Aug 23, 2002
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#11
I would worry about the frame rotting out
 

VicVinegar

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#12
Thanks for the thoughts. I can afford a new car. I've kicked the idea around for years now but the Civic never gave me a reason to get rid of it. It was cheap to maintain, started everyday, and gave me 32 mpg. I have a roughly 85 mile roundtrip commute, so unfortunately my options for a new ride are limited to fuel efficient ones, and I'll rack up mileage quickly. Buying what I really would want is out of the question, so I've always just said "Keep the Civic" instead of buying a new Civic-like vehicle. At the moment it is still starting everyday and delivering 32 mpg, but I have no a/c and there is this new issue with the CEL/overheating.

The thermostat is brand new, along with the radiator from when the original cracked a couple months ago. Since the replacement, I've sat in traffic in 90+ degree heat and had no issue. The water pump could be a culprit, as I need to get the timing belt/water pump "200k mile" service done. I've just been lacking the time to drop it off with my mechanic thanks to a job change.

I'm relatively OK replacing things on this car as long as it wasn't something that could affect reliability. I was going to get a quote on the a/c (probably needs a new compressor), oil pan, and have the mechanic give it one last once over before I sunk the money in for the t-belt service. The thing I don't like about this CEL and overheating issue is that it could put me on an expensive search for the problem. I've read too many threads on car forums where guys replace the converter, only to have the replacement stink or still need to replace the O2 sensors, and then find out the motor is running rich which killed the converter in the first place. The overheating could be the water pump or could be the beginning of a head gasket from what I've been reading. I just don't want to get into that kind of mess.

Luckily I can go get one of the mother-in-law's cars for commuting next week while I figure out my plan. I'd drive mine if I knew I could avoid a traffic jam where the overheating would happen. Unfortunately here in the DC area, that is nearly impossible at 4:30 on a weekday and I don't want to be that guy blocking traffic because my car is overheating.

The ethanol idea is interesting. Could that cause the tendency to overheat? I'd think alcohol would burn at a lower temperature than gasoline. I filled up the night before the CEL kicked on, and it was at a gas station I don't normally use. Maybe I just need to burn off this tank? About 100 more miles and I'll be through it. Although so far my MPG seems to be normal. I'd expect "bad" gas to hurt the fuel economy right?

And yes, since it is a coupe, I've had random offers to buy it over the years from 19 year old guys and if I get rid of it, I will probably throw it on CL to see if someone wants to give it a new life with fake vents, Type-R stickers, and a coffee can muffler. There probably aren't too many unmolested 2000 Civic coupes around these days. If it was a stick, I know some ricer would be all over it.
 
Last edited:
Dec 8, 2004
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#13
Again you have to weigh how much it is going to cost to fix a 13 year old car with over 200k on it...

 
Jun 30, 2005
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#14
I had a 1999 Civic EX with 120K on it that got a boo boo in february...as my wife said it was the only way I was ever going to get rid of that car...LOVED that car...I've had it fuh yeaz....
I was sooooo happy when insurance gave me a totaled value of $4,764 ...subtract out post accident costs etc and I got a check for just over $4K
Now I have a 2010 Tacoma and love it...gas is a bitch...I have it up to about 20mpg but I only drive 15-18 miles a day...

 

maz

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Feb 16, 2005
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#15
Pretty sure I wouldn't replace an oil pan just because the drain threads were buggered up
Put a rubber plug in there or a self-tapping type plug
 

THE FEZ MAN

as a matter of fact i dont have 5$
Aug 23, 2002
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#17
i hate to suggest this, and feel a little dirty, but have you looked into a VW diesel? you actually drive enough to justify it and once you get past the quirks of owning a vw it might be the car for you
 

Don the Radio Guy

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#18
I don't know if I'd go brand new, but that's a choice you'll have to make. You could just as easily sell that one, throw in another thousand or two and get a model a few years newer than what you had with plenty of life left in it.
 
Dec 8, 2004
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#20
i hate to suggest this, and feel a little dirty, but have you looked into a VW diesel? you actually drive enough to justify it and once you get past the quirks of owning a vw it might be the car for you
That is all my buddy drives as their camp is like 8 hours away... years ago when he had a diesel rabbit he ran out of the fuel in but fuck nowhere... dumped a gallon of 50:1 in the tank and gave them enough to get into town to fill up.

My chick still wants to get (what she had in the 90's) a mid to late 70's Mercedes 240D... I would opt for the one with the 5 cylinder upgrade rather then the stock 4 cylinder. Seems to be a pretty common upgrade for the used cars I have come across.
 

VicVinegar

Registered User
Oct 5, 2012
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#21
TDI repair bills scare me or else I would get one. Maybe if I knew of some stellar VW mechanic, but the high pressure fuel pump seems to like to fail on those things way too often when you are out of warranty. VW in general scared me off. I wouldn't mind a GTI either.

A Prius would save me like $1200 a year in gas, but I might just throw in the towel on life if I bought a Prius. Same with a Chevy Volt. Dealer near me has Volts for $11k off with the 7500 tax credit. It'd be effectively down to 23-ish.
 

Ballbuster1

In The Danger Zone...
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Aug 26, 2002
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#23
Fuck diesels. They're gouging you for fuel anymore
so the better mileage is a moot point. Gas engines can
deliver just as well with less hassle.

I have 2 accounts where they're changing their trucks
over from diesel to gas because it's not just worth the
expense of maintaining them any more.
 

Sinn Fein

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#24
With all the chatter about states implementing supplemental taxes/fees for owners of hybrids because they aren't paying as much gasoline tax, I'd go with just a regular car that gets great mileage. There are plenty of choices that hit in the high 30's, even near 40 MPG. The new Civic gets near 40 on the highway.