top of page
2023-10-29_18-41-52_787.jpg

The Daily Driver

2015 Honda Civic SI

I promised myself I would not work on my daily driver myself and make sure it is taken good care of by an experienced Honda shop. So, here is a record of how I broke my promise and didn't even feel bad about it.   

1. 110,000 miles service
Civic 110000.png

A 110,000-mile service on my Honda is rather straightforward. It calls for only replacing the spark plugs and the engine oil and filter. If planned ahead, a set of 12 oil filters can be found for roughly $6 each. I did not plan ahead. I don't know why Honda had to make the cowl such that there is a bolt buried so far back with such a high likelihood of it falling out calling you to be prepared with a magnet along with the ratchet and extension. Terrific. All work combined, should not be more than 2 hours including rotating the tyres which is just cumbersome especially when you only have 2 jack stands. You can always cut corners and have the side lifted on a jack and risk it. Not advised.

2. P0102 / P0113
Civic_P0102.png

On a random morning while going to a friend's place, out of the blue the car decides to enter limp mode. Luckily enough I was carrying a scan tool and found the following errors. 

  1. P0102 - Mass or volume air flow circuit low input

  2. P0113 - Intake air temperature sensor 1 circuit high input

A faulty MAF sensor is usually the culprit in this sort of situation. If the engine cannot read the input of the air coming in, it won't be able to judge the amount of fuel required to run the engine. In these situations, the engine derates to what is called 'limp mode'. The engine revs not more than 3000 rpm, essentially allowing you to limp back home.

Typically replacing the MAF is the only and best way forward. But my car has a cold air intake. In order to accommodate the system, there is an extension harness that fits between the original harness and the MAF sensor on the cold air intake. There may be an issue with this harness extension since it is aftermarket.

On close examination, I find some dielectric grease on the connectors and the sensors. Dielectric grease is used to assist with connection inside a connector. For someone to need it, there must be something wrong with the connector in the past. 

To fix this, the first step is to remove the dielectric grease with a clearer.  Then check for continuity and measure the resistance and voltage at each connector pin. I did not have the cleaner, so I put the connector and the sensor right next to the heater overnight and the grease had melted away by the morning. Adapt, improvise, overcome.

 

To procrastinate doing the continuity checks, I plugged in the sensor and BAM! Error vanished. Never to be seen again. I guess it was the dielectric grease causing a problem in the first place.

3. 120,000 miles service
  • Valve Clearance adjustment
Civic_ValveClearance.png

Adjusting the valve clearance in the engine is a very intricate job. Slight errors can result in the engine not holding pressure and hence poor combustion and misfires. Major mistakes can result in engine breakdown. So, I had to do it myself. Make sure to get the process and the adjustment settings written down along with the process to refer to, just in case. For a Honda like mine, I would highly, highly recommend an angled feeler gauge. Makes your life so much easier. I also used the special Honda valve adjustment tool - jam nut. Working with a set wrench is doable but the tool makes it so much easier. Especially the exhaust valves that are placed farther away. And, it will always take way longer than you would think would take to put your car back together.

  • Rear Brakes
Civic Rear Brakes.png

Doing brakes is all straightforward until you hit rust. If you do, good luck. I had to do my rear brakes before I did my front since one of the rear pads wore out sooner. While one can expect about 3 hours to do the rear brakes, I was changing out the callipers and battling a rusted park brake bracket on the calliper so it took me an eternity instead. I ended up removing the park brake bracket from the old callipers entirely and bolting it on the new one for both sides. Putting the brake line back on the calliper is not easy either. Definitely makes you question your strength. The hub bolts are not torqued in but due to the rotation of the wheels, it gets torqued and is incredibly difficult to get it off. But with a manual impact wrench, the same becomes a piece of cake. Definitely keeping one of these for all future projects. It takes a lot of patience while bleeding the brakes, but it's so important to be patient and not ruin it with air pockets. The finished product looks pretty good to feel proud of and you get a reward in the end. The reward is to drive your car with handbrakes engaged to brake into the brakes. Satisfying.

  • Front Brakes
Civic_frontbrakes.png

Since I am not changing the callipers on the front, it increases a little bit of work. Once you have the brake pads and the carrier out, it is wise to re-grease the glider pins. It is recommended to use the "orange" stuff, but I had the blue grease on me so used that anyway. Make sure to get the shop towel in where the glider pins are set because it is possible to have some grease deposit deep in there that should be cleaned out. The piston on the calliper needs to be pushed back when putting the calliper on the new pads. When the brakes are set in place and you push on the brakes, the fluid in the lines pushes the piston onto the pads that create the braking force. Hence this piston needs to be pushed back. A $10 O'Riley's tool is what you would need. It somehow takes a lot less time on the other side than it took on the first side you take on. It is usually better to do both sides in a series because in case you forget what goes where it can be checked from the other side. The last step is to bleed the brakes. Starting from the furthermost brakes from the master cylinder, and moving up to the closest usually doesn't take any more than 30 mins. Unless you have a suction and the ability to get the whole fluid out in a second. 

  • Clutch Flush
Civic_clutch_flush.png

It is a little tricky to spot the clutch bleeder valve in the first look but it is right behind the logo in the front and halfway through the total height of the engine. The refill point is right beside the brake canister. It can be a little tricky to get the bleeder bottle in and regulate the valve screw with the close-tip wrench. I rather choose to not have the bleeder bottle and have the clutch fluid drop into a bucket instead. Ended up making a mess and cleaning later, but it went very quickly. Very pleased with the result. 

  • Engine Oil / Coolant Flush
Civic_clutch_flush.png

It is a little tricky to spot the clutch bleeder valve in the first look but it is right behind the logo in the front and halfway through the total height of the engine. The refill point is right beside the brake canister. It can be a little tricky to get the bleeder bottle in and regulate the valve screw with the close-tip wrench. I rather choose to not have the bleeder bottle and have the clutch fluid drop into a bucket instead. Ended up making a mess and cleaning later, but it went very quickly. Very pleased with the result. 

  • Cabin Air Filter
Civic_cabinairfilterpng.png

The cabin air filter in this car was disgusting. It can be found in the air box behind the glove box. Takes 5 minutes to get to the folder but be mindful of the direction in which it is supposed to go inside. Nothing that is no intuitive. 

4. Front Headlight
Civic_Headlights.png

While the driver-side headlamps are easy to access, it can be very hard to reach the passenger-side headlamp bulbs. Until you take the windscreen wiper fluid tube out. Twist, pull, and wiggle should get the job done. The headlamp is easy, but because of the angle it is set in, there is no good way to get a grip on it. It can be hard to twist it out of the spot. I have usually found a towel or a rug works wonders by giving your hand some extra grip to grab on. 10 mins, easy peasy.

5. Scratch Removal
civic_scratch.png

I had a minor unfortunate scratch on the driver-side rear. I very faint scratch that could not be ignored by an observant eye. My friend Niko came to rescue me here. His experience working in a body shop came in handy and made it good as new within 10 minutes.  

bottom of page