Fix of The Week 8/17/19


Fix of The Week

Every week we’re posting our favorite head-scratchers and interesting mechanical issues submitted by our Direct-Hit customers.

For a chance to have something you’ve worked on appear as a Fix of the Week, and win a cool little prize for your shop, all you have to do is post your unique fixes in Direct-Hit. Just look up the vehicle you’re working on, click on Post Fix at the top right, then tell us the problem and what you did to fix it.


This Week’s Winners

On this edition of Fix of The Week: A Subaru with a lack of power and two Hondas with cruise issues.


2006 Subaru Outback – Black Rock Auto

This Subaru had a lack of power and no fault codes. The engine oil level was low but still registered on the dipstick. I verified lack of power on the test drive, noted the low engine oil activity, and verified there were no codes. Data showed that the fuel trim was correct, but using a 5-gas analyzer at the tailpipe showed a lambda value of 1.185 and CO2 at 13.0% with O2 at 3%. I tested the fuel and found 10% alcohol content OK.

I solved the issue by topping up the motor oil and observing 5-gas at the tailpipe. I saw the CO2 climb to 15.4% and O2 drop to 0.1%. Power was restored—it was due to the cam phasers not filling up and affecting the valve position, which caused the engine breathing problems. The ECM doesn’t recognize this and doesn’t set codes so top off the oil and the problem solved.


2016 Honda Civic – Accountable Automotive

This vehicle had no cruise nor adaptive cruise, and the cruise main would turn on but wouldn’t set. The system stopped working for the customer suddenly, and they confirmed no debris ever hit the vehicle to knock out radar and they hadn’t recently replaced the windshield. The dealer had recommended replacing all cruise components, about $6,000-$8,000 worth of work—they had no idea.

The vehicle didn’t have any codes but did have some history of U, VSA, and steering history codes. All inputs were good: brake pedal, accelerator, radar, camera, yaw, main switch, set, decel, resume, PRNDL, VSA. Lane departure, collision avoidance, VSA features were all operating properly.

We cleared all codes—none returned, still inoperable. We didn’t find any wiring or connector faults. We just so happened to have a ’16 Civic to compare inputs with and view some identical data.

I disconnected the battery and jumpered across terminals for 20 minutes. On reconnect, the system went into an “initialization mode.” All driver integration modes were disabled and “tells” on the cluster (LKASS, VSA, collision avoidance, ACC) instruct you to drive carefully while initialization is in process. I drove until all the lights went out, about 3 minutes, and the cruise and adaptive cruise were back to operational.


2002 Honda Accord – Lester Gutierrez

This vehicle’s cruise control was inoperable and the main switch indicator light was off at all times. I checked fuse 6 driver’s under the dash fuse box. I resistance tested the cruise control main switch and found both bulbs in the circuit open. I replaced the blubs and conducted a cruise control unit input test. The cavity 2 gray wire had no power when the brake pedal was released. I test drove the vehicle and the cruise set above 25 MPH—the indicator lights on the cruise control main switch and cruise control light on the dash were working as required.