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Author Topic: Ignition Noise '99 Honda Civic LX  (Read 531 times)
W4QA
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« on: September 11, 2003, 09:03:44 PM »

I have just installed an Icom 2m rig in a 4 door 1999 Honda Civic LX (27,500 miles on it) and am having some ignition noise problems.  The noise has been verified to be coming in through the antenna, not the power leads (which, incidentally are 8 gauge, twisted pair, directly to the battery), and is spark ignition noise.  The noise varies somewhat depending on where the Larsen mag mount antenna is located.

I have just finished bonding the hood to the chassis with 1" tinned braid, and the noise has not abated.

Before I start bonding everything to the frame (muffler, engine block, etc.) or changing plug wires out is there anyone who has had some experience with Hondas that may lead me in the right direction?  Where to start first.

Thank you in advance for any help.

Rush -- W4QA
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K0BG
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« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2003, 09:14:26 AM »

One has to assume we're talking 2 meter SSB. I do not know what interval Honda recommends with respect to spark plugs and wire replacement. I suspect changing them will reduced the noise to an acceptable level.

As plugs wear the gap gets wider which increases the RFI. As plug wires age, the semi-conducting outer layer gets hard and "leaks" which increases RFI as well.

If you do the work yourself, you're looking at about $75.

Alan, KØBG
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KC0GUK
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« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2003, 06:27:57 PM »

Why SSB?  My Icom 207H in a Ford pick up has real bad noise problems.  Noise being radiated from the engine.  Dead quiet when antenna is disconnected.  Just curious on the SSB angle.

KC0GUK
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W4QA
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« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2003, 08:36:06 PM »

The radio is not SSB...rather 2m FM.  The characteristic ignition popping can be heard over top of most stations except the very strongest repeaters.

Incidentally, since the original post, I have added another strap around the other hood hinge and have replaced the spark plugs (which did apparently need replacing).  However...the noise is still there.

Rush -- W4QA
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AB0RE
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« Reply #4 on: November 01, 2003, 08:15:49 PM »

I have an 02 Accord and it has the noisiest power source of any vehicle I've ever owned.  I even had the dealer check it out as it affected all on-board radio equipment - since it was at the correct voltage they claim everything was within spec.

To make a long story short... my problem was solved by putting Radio Shack's 20 Amp noise filter in line.  I also put ferrite chokes on the alternator and power leads, but I don't know how much of a difference that did.

I noticed you said you had an Icom.  As much as I love my Icom radios, I've found that many tend to be very succeptable to noise in the power system.  The IC-2100 especially suffers if there is a ground "loop" (i.e. antenna grounded & radio grounded).

73,
Dan / ab0re
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W4QA
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« Reply #5 on: November 07, 2003, 09:56:39 AM »

Here is the latest update on my escapades with the '99 Honda Civic LX.  After bonding the hood to the chassis in two places (bypassing the hinges), installing Magnecor RFI reducing plug wires, replacing the spark plugs, grounding the engine block, and bonding the exhaust pipe to the frame, I had reduced the ignition noise just a little bit.  A slightly larger improvement resulted from installing a Larsen NMO type mount in the center of the roof and dispensing with the magnetic mount.  I suspect I have managed to reduce the noise by 10dB or so by doing all of this.

Unfortunately, I *still* have ignition noise (even in FM mode) across the 2m spectrum.  The popping noise is heard, in particular, when the engine is idling and lessens somewhat when going at a higher speed.  I can hear the popping even when listening to a repeater that is s8 or s9.  Again I have checked to see that the noise is "radiated noise" by using a handheld inside the vehicle -- the same noise is heard by the handheld, although it is not physically connected to the electrical system of the car.

Fan motor noise is another issue that I will tackle later, and I think I know how to take care of that.  Its just a bit of an ordeal getting to the fan motor to bypass the power leads -- so I want to cure the ignition issue first.

Any ideas on what to do next?  I am thinking of trying different plugs now (Autolite Resistor plugs instead of the 'standard' NGK plugs sold by Honda which I initially installed).  Are there other components in the ignition system that may fail causing the kind of problems I am seeing?

Help is very much appreciated.

73,
Rush -- W4QA

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KA0MR
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« Reply #6 on: November 10, 2003, 09:29:40 AM »

I have owned no less than 3 Hondas of the last 20 yrs and they are notoriously "Spark Gaps on rubber wheels".

I was never ever able to eliminate the problem to any degree of acceptable level.

Bob KAØMR
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W4QA
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« Reply #7 on: November 24, 2003, 07:06:08 PM »

Think I may have made some progress on the source of the ignition noise problem here.  Without going through all the details, here are some highlights that may prove useful to others faced with similar problems on Hondas:

1) Despite lots of time, discussion, visits, etc. with the local Honda dealer here in Charlotte + a letter to Honda America in California asking for a little help -- the moment that I mentioned that something other than a Honda product was installed in the Civic, they turned a deaf ear.  EMI and RFI are terms that no one in the Honda organization that I have spoken with are familiar with (not a big surprise).  I am sure that there are some standards that are engineered around EMI emissions on Honda products, but I can't find anyone that can tell me what they are.

2)I talked to numerous experts on the subject from various organizations -- and one fellow that manufactures noise filters on the West Coast was quite helpful.  Apparently, he had experienced a similar problem of "conducted ignition noise" from a late-model vehicle that has electronic ignition and traced the problem to a fautly "HEI" module (High Energy Ignition) module.  The module worked at providing ignition to the car, but was noisy with RF -- and the noise primarily had impact on FM receivers...a very odd noise source indeed.  This is consistent with my issue -- and an RF probe confirms that the noise is primarily coming from the distributor housing where the HEI is located.

3) After looking at the "new" prices of Honda HEI's (or Ignitors -- about $200), I found an entire distributor from a salvaged '99 Civic with 28,000 miles on it complete with all the parts -- for about $50. The Honda distributors contain an Ignition Coil, an Ignitor (or HEI module), rotor, cap, etc.  I plan on having this installed next week -- and will post results.

73,
Rush -- W4QA
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