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Old 11-25-2008, 10:16 PM   #1
Esteban
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Intermittent Loss Of Power

Wonder if you guys can help me. I have a 99 TL. 125K miles. New air filter. Plugs are about 2 years old. Iridium. Always use 93 octane gas. Battery is not even 1 year old. The transmission was rebuilt in February.

Every once in a while the car would feel sluggish, lacking a little power. Some vibrations and rattles in the engine area would come and go, even though I recently replaced 3 different mounts. This is always very noticeable especially when the AC compressor kicks in. The whole car will shake for a split second in those cases, but I never paid attention to that because I understand that is pretty normal in the TL and mine is been doing it for at least 3 years and I never had a problem.

It's been relatively cold here in FL recently, and I have not used the AC in at least two weeks. I've been enjoying the car a lot more this way. I do feel a difference in power/response whenever the AC is not working.

Yesterday, however, I was coming back from a store. I got inside the car and without turning the engine on, I switched the ignition into the first position to briefly eject a CD from the radio and to use the top light to read a magazine I had with me. This did not take more than 45 seconds. A minute, at the most. I then proceeded to fully turn the car on, and even though the dashboard was illuminated, the car was dead. I tried a couple more times, the whole car vibrated, and I felt something shaking underneath my feet (no kidding!). I tried the ignition for a third time, stepped on the gas and it finally started after some hesitation. I slowly drove it back home, and once I got there i turned it off. I started it again after a few minutes, and everything seemed fine. I drove somewhere else about 20 minutes after that, and again the car started with no problems. However, I did notice a lack of power. I drove it some more and the car definitely "feels" different. Slower, sluggish, hesitant... The tranny shifts ok, but it holds the gears longer. I'm at 4K RPM's sometimes, and I still feel almost no torque.

Any ideas? A bad alternator? A bad battery? Like I said, the latter it's not even a year old. I will take the car to my usual mechanic in the morning, but perhaps you can give me a few suggestions first. Thanks in advance!
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Old 11-26-2008, 9:20 AM   #2
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Anybody? Car was at the mechanic this morning. They didnt't find anything wrong. Alternator and battery readings are fine. But it definitely feels different to me, and power is just not there anymore. Any ideas?
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Old 11-26-2008, 9:39 AM   #3
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One possibility is a failing ignition switch. There was a recall on the ignition switch for the 1999 TL. If the switch in your TL has not been replaced under the recall yet, Acura will install a new one for free. You can call Acura with your VIN number and they can tell you the status of the recall. You can also check that online via OwnerLink.

And even the recall replacements have failed. My 1999 TL is on its 3rd ignition switch.

It's about a $50 part and there's a great DIY thread here:

http://tl.acurazine.com/forums/showthread.php?t=686000
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Old 11-26-2008, 9:44 AM   #4
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pull a spark plug and see how it looks- what brand iridium did you use, NGK?
if denso brand they could already need to be changed!!
Pull the codes (parts store will do for free) to see if misfire code -indicating a bad coil
The TL should never shake like you describe-
Other possibles are the trans- smell the fluid- burnt? doesnt matter if it was rebuilt- was it acura or aftermarket rebuild?
or it needs the EGR port cleaned- they get really plugged up and will cause major problems
check with acura and see if the recall for that was done on your 99
1-800-382-2238 x5
If it was done some years ago- do it again yourself!
Do a seafoam cleaning of the intake manifold thru main vac port
run good cleaner in gas to get injectors spraying right

what brand name gas- must be `Tier1` quality level or will run poorly

Could have an exhaust system plugging- take to muffler shop for test if still bad after the other things are checked

Do run the AC at least 30 minutes each month- preferably all at once- not a minute here and there-- to keep the seals conditioned, or expect big repair bill next year
Using front defroster turns the ac on for you and will suffice for maitenance.

Last edited by 01tl4tl; 11-26-2008 at 9:47 AM.
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Old 11-26-2008, 9:45 AM   #5
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Thanks very much, Bob (BTW, I remember you helping me a while ago when I had some problems with my GPS unit... thanks!). I''ll take to the dealer this weekend to see what they say. Question, though: how would a bad ignition switch affect the car power-wise? Now that I think about it, my dashboard lights sometimes flash for a split second. The intensity of the dashboard flickers and then goes back to normal. Would this be connected to the ignition switch problem?
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Old 11-26-2008, 9:51 AM   #6
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Thanks, 01tl4tl. To answer a few of your questions...

Plugs are NGK, yes. No codes, according to my mechanic.
The trans was rebuild by an after-market shop, yes, but I didn't smell anything wrong. However, I'll bring it back to have it checked cause I do hear a slight whining noise before each shift, specially when the car is cold. I got the EGR and throttle valves cleaned recently and I regularly use Lucas to keep the fuel system clean. Always use Mobil, BP or Shell gas. Nothing else.

I will definitely take the car to the dealer this weekend. Thanks for the advice.
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Old 11-26-2008, 10:15 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Esteban View Post
Thanks very much, Bob (BTW, I remember you helping me a while ago when I had some problems with my GPS unit... thanks!). I''ll take to the dealer this weekend to see what they say. Question, though: how would a bad ignition switch affect the car power-wise? Now that I think about it, my dashboard lights sometimes flash for a split second. The intensity of the dashboard flickers and then goes back to normal. Would this be connected to the ignition switch problem?
When my second ignition switch started to fail, I experienced starting problems, stalls at low RPMs and also momentary power losses at higher speeds. I recall that the tachometer and speedometer needles would briefy drop to zero before the power returned. I wouldn't be surprised if ther dash lights would go out also. (I don't recall that but I may have been driving during the day with the light off.)

Basically, anything that is powered up through the ignition switch can be effected.

As a simple test, you might want to wiggle your ignition key when the car is parked and running to see if anything happens.

Good luck and post an update when you figure out what's wrong.
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Old 11-27-2008, 10:02 AM   #8
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Well, some updates on this problem. The car has been behaving erratically. Most of the times it will start fine, but still not drive the way it used to.

I took it to Acura to see if I needed a new ignition switch based on their recall. Based on the vin number they told me it had already been replaced on that car, but they could not (of course!) tell me WHEN this was serviced. It wasn't while I owned the car, and I had it for more than 3 years. Of course they wanted to charge me a fortune just to connect the scanner to see if there were any codes, so I left.

On my way back home, the car wouldn´t start again. The dashboard lights come on, the engine turns on, but the RPM's are so low that the engine stutters and immediately shuts itself off. The Acura mechanic was right there, he saw the problem, he saw the rough idling, but had no clue. "It definitely is not electrical", he said. Long story short, due to the holiday, he said he could not do much else that day. I drove home, still feeling that the car has not enough power and pick-up as it used to, and the engine noise was a little rougher and hollow, as if the car was straining itself a little harder than usual. Other than that, the it drives fine. And, of course, it has 125K miles, so I don't expect miracles. But it definitely feels different.

Back home, it turns out one of my neighbors is an Acura mechanic. He works for a local shop that specializes in Japanese cars. Talk about good luck! He had his own scanner with him, he plugged it in and these are the codes he got:

P1399 - Random misfire, injector, mechanical fault
P0420 - Catalytic efficiency below threshold

He said I should bring the car to the shop tomorrow (Friday). They are obviously closed today. His boss is apparently well versed in problems like this. He thinks the bad catalytic converter would explain the loss of power and the rough idling, but it could be something else.

What do you guys think? Any help or advise is appreciated. Thanks!
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Old 11-28-2008, 9:01 AM   #9
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Anybody?
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Old 11-28-2008, 11:40 AM   #10
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Anybody?
Personally, I would just go ahead and replace the ignition switch. It's about $50 and you can install it yourself.

Good luck!
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Old 11-29-2008, 12:37 PM   #11
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I took the car to the mechanic yesterday. As I mentioned in a previous post, one of the codes indicated a random misfire, but he checked that and all the cylinders were working fine. All the coils were fine, too. I mentioned the possibility of a bad 02 sensor, which would also explain the loss of power and the "Catalytic efficiency below threshold" code. I also mentioned the possible ignition switch problem. He said that those codes, plus the intermittent problems with starting the car, can be connected to something else. He thinks the timing belt (which he replaced about a year ago, once my car passed the 105K miles mark) might not be working properly and that one of the teeth in the belt might be out of place. I never heard of a timing belt "not working properly". I thought they either worked or they don't, and that if they were not installed correctly, the engine could be seriously damaged and simply not work at all. Would this explain the loss of power, the intermittent rough idling, the shaking, the vibrations, etc?

What do you guys think? He said to bring the car back on Monday so that he can check the belt. At least he didn't charge me anything yet...
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Old 12-01-2008, 1:11 PM   #12
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bump... anyone?
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Old 12-02-2008, 11:34 AM   #13
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Well, more updates on this: it's not the belt. The mechanic checked and he says that's fine. Everything else looks fine, too. He said his scanner did not detect the "P1399 - Random misfire, injector, mechanical fault" code I mentioned above. He doesn't even know what that codes means, so there wasn't much he could do about it. He suggested the dealership, but they'll probably rape me there. Any ideas regarding this code?
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Old 12-02-2008, 12:40 PM   #14
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Here's one thread where a P1399 code was due to a bad coil:

http://tl.acurazine.com/forums/showthread.php?t=695291

Maybe the coils can behave intermittently and that could explain how they tested fine.

Also, try a forum search for P1399 and see if that helps.

Good luck!
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Old 12-02-2008, 12:47 PM   #15
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Here's another thread to check out:

http://tl.acurazine.com/forums/showthread.php?t=594749

Note that an Autozone pulled code for P1399 included the following note:


P1399
Manufacture controlled ignition switch or misfire


So maybe a failing ignition switch can cause a P1399 code.
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Old 12-02-2008, 1:43 PM   #16
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Thanks, Bob. Reading now... Did some research online and yes, that code can mean a million different things... Will keep you posted on this.
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Old 12-03-2008, 11:14 AM   #17
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There seem to be a lot of similar threads on the board regarding idling problems, rough starts, RPM's bouncing back and forth, engines vibrating, fuel injectors clogged, etc... Similar situations on other forums, too. I wonder if this is not all due to that crap ethanol that they are using in the gas now... The more I think about it, the more I believe that my problems with engine vibration and loss of power started pretty much around April/May, when stations down here in FL began carrying that stuff...
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Old 12-03-2008, 11:29 AM   #18
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There seem to be a lot of similar threads on the board regarding idling problems, rough starts, RPM's bouncing back and forth, engines vibrating, fuel injectors clogged, etc... Similar situations on other forums, too. I wonder if this is not all due to that crap ethanol that they are using in the gas now... The more I think about it, the more I believe that my problems with engine vibration and loss of power started pretty much around April/May, when stations down here in FL began carrying that stuff...
I'm not sure about an ethanol connection but I had another thought. One fairly common problem in the second gen TLs is a sticky IACV (Idle Air Control Valve). This can cause low RPM stalls and power loss. You can clean this yourself or you can have your mechanic do it. There used to be a great DIY thread with a ton of photos but I think the photo links have since expired.

I actually had the IACV cleaned on my TL before I figured out that the ignition switch was going bad.

Anyway, that's just another thing to consider. As you've found out, there are a ton of things that can cause power loss problems.

Last edited by Bob_F; 12-03-2008 at 11:33 AM.
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Old 12-03-2008, 2:45 PM   #19
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Bob, my mechanic cleaned both the EGR and throttle valves about two months ago, when the problem began to get worse and the RPM's were too low. Everything was fine for a few weeks after that, but then the problem started again, the vibrations got worse, and the car sometimes would stall or not start properly, as I described at the beginning of the thread. I also tried some Lucas injector cleaner a few times (the concentrated one). This seems to help a little bit, and power comes back for a few days, but then the problem starts all over again. You would think the fuel injectors are the cause of the problem, then, but I read numerous posts where people with the same car replaced all 6 injectors, or even their fuel filter, and after a while the problem showed up once again. So, something in the ignition/fuel delivery chain might be causing this, and even brand new injectors get eventually dirty/clogged. This is why I mentioned ethanol...

Is the IACV valve you mention the same as the EGR valve?
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Old 12-03-2008, 3:01 PM   #20
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... Is the IACV valve you mention the same as the EGR valve?
No, those are different parts.

Here's a nice description of an EGR valve:

http://autorepair.about.com/od/gloss..._egr-valve.htm
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Old 12-03-2008, 3:01 PM
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