Category Archives: Car Repair

Acura 2002 RSX Won’t Start

I was having intermittent starting problems with my Acura.  Mostly when it was warm but sometimes when it was cold.  Starter wouldn’t crank at all but would eventually start if I waited a minute or two.  There are three potential failure points: the battery, the clutch switch and the starter itself.  Talking to my mechanic, he suspected the starter since my battery is only 2 years old.

The starter on the RSX itself is fairly easy to replace but the problem is getting at it in the cramped engine compartment.  With the RSX, the intake manifold needs to be removed and the radiator loosened to get it out.

Starters are electric motors and will have worn out and dirty contacts over time and can be rebuilt by replacing these parts.

In hindsight, I should have purchased a remanufactured starter on ebay from the US and saved over $100.  New substitute starters are even cheaper.

If your starter isn’t turning, you can try hitting it with your lug wrench or a hammer from underneath your vehicle to create some contact to get it going.

 

Acura RSX Window Trim Molding Peeling Paint

The paint on the bottom molding on my driver’s side window was cracking and peeling exposing the chrome underneath.  Replacement pieces are $61 USD part numbers 72450-S6M-003 (left) and 72410-S6M-003 (right).  Online forums suggested  repainting it instead of replacing.

Removal is fairly simple and there are some online videos on the procedure.   Lower your windshield and twist it out from the pillar side first.

Once it is out, give it a good cleaning since it gets gunky.  Using a razor scraper, scrape the paint off the exposed surface.  I went a little too far and scraped the edges and ending up showing a small gap when I reinstalled it.   Just scrape the front face.

Once I got  rid of all the peeling paint, I sanded it down with some 150 grit sandpaper.  I then cleaned the surface with rubbing alcohol.  Next I masked off the edges with painters tip to prepare for painting.

You can use spray on truck bed liner or plasti dip but I just used flat black enamel spray paint.   I gave it two coats with a bit of drying time between coats.  I did get some bubbling so you should spray outside the area first to clear any air inside.  Don’t apply it too thick or else it will run.

I did miss a narrow strip at the bottom so will need to redo a bit of it and will repaint my wiper arms at the same time.

Acura RSX Upgrade Light Bulbs to LED

My latest project is to upgrade my interior and exterior lights to LED for my 2002 model vehicle.  LED bulbs are fairly inexpensive on ebay, especially shipped from China.

With LED bulbs, you can get a bright white light and you  won’t have a dead battery the next day if you leave your dome light on.   There are two styles of LED bulbs – one made with modules and COB (chip on board) where the lighting element is directly mounted onto the board.  COB should be theoretically more reliable with less solder connections.

Here is a listing of the bulbs for 2002-2003 Acura RSX from my research –

Interior

Map light (x2) – DE3175
Dome light –  DE3175
Glove box light – DE3021 (DE3175 will fit if it’s narrow)
Trunk light – 168
Cup holder light – T5 mini
High mount stop light – 7440

Exterior (not including headlights)

License plate – 168
Front side marker (x2) – 168 AMBER – these are visible so get nice looking ones
Front turn signal (x2) – 7440
Rear turn signal (x2) – 7440
Rear side marker (x2) – 168
Rear tailight/brake (x4) – 7443 (incandescent bulbs are dual filament with 4 leads and 2 levels of brightness)
Backup (x2) – 7440

Most of the interior bulbs can be accessed by popping off the plastic lens cover with a narrow flat blade.  Exterior bulbs are typically removed by turning the holder 1/4 turn counter clockwise.  LED bulbs have polarity so flip them around if they don’t light up.

DE3175  LED bulbs can be quite wide to provide the surface area for the module.  Be careful when choosing from the many different versions.

Update 1: My DE3175’s arrived and were fairly easy to install.  I used a 1″ scraper to pop off the covers.  The bulbs I bought fit the glove box light as well.  To access this bulb, it is easier to pop the glove box stoppers out from the sides.  Empty the glove box  and push the stopper from the outside towards the inside and it should pop out.  The glove box can now flip all the way down and out of the way.  You now have better access to replace the bulb.  Note that the sidelights need to be turned on for the glove box light to come on.

Update 2: My 168 bulbs came in.  I ordered COB LED rated at 80 lumens and 1W.  The old incandescent bulbs are marked 5W which convert to 75 lumens so the LEDs should be slightly brighter.  194 bulbs are 3.8W for incandescent and compatible with the LED version.

Update 3: My 7440/7443 COB LED bulbs came in.  They are very bright.  For the turn signals, the lower power is causing the flasher to hyperblink (blink fast) which usually happens if you have a burnt out bulb.  I have ordered a new flasher module that is LED compatible in order to use the LED bulbs.

For the tail/brake lights, the bulbs are not making good contact on the low side but work ok on the high (brake) side.  The wires on the LED are a bit thinner than the incandescent bulbs  and I need to figure out where contact is being lost.

Update 4: The T5 mini’s came in for the cup holder.  Pry the assembly out with a small screwdriver and twist the holder to access the bulb.  It will pull straight out.    The LED replacements  are a bit long and the lens is a narrow slit so the light doesn’t hit it properly.  There isn’t much light coming from the cup holder so I put the incandescent bulb back in.

Acura RSX Water in Trunk and Wet Rear Seats – Replace Tailight Gasket

After some subzero temperatures and heavy rain, I noticed my interior was very humid which lead to finding my rear seats wet and about 2 inches of water in my spare trunk wheel well.  Google indicated my tailight gaskets were probably leaking.  I vacuumed out about 8L of water.  There is a foam pad from the rear seats that goes inside the well which ended up wicking the water up to the seats.

If found a guide here and dug out my service manual on how to remove the bumper.  Looked pretty straightforward so I decided to attempt to replace them myself.

Acuraoemparts wanted $10 USD each and $5 shipping to the US.  Part number is 33502-S6M-A11  The dealer charged $21 CAD so I bit the bullet since I needed them changed out before it was going to rain again.  I had to phone around to find a dealer that had 2 pieces in stock.

The service manual indicates you should have a helper to remove the bumper but I found that I didn’t need  one.  The bumper is fairly light and I put a milk crate under the bumper to rest it while detaching the license plate light.

The bumper is held by 3 philips screws on each side by the rear wheels.  One is hidden and pointing up.  I had one extra screw on each side from the mudflaps.  The entire mudflap doesn’t need to be removed, only the two screws attached to the bumper.  It was a little difficult to remove these since the tire was in the way.  Even a stubby screwdriver was too long so I ended up using the philips stubby bit and a wrench.

There are pop up retaining clips under the bumper.  I broke one removing it and the second one was already missing.  I am going to order some ebay since they are much cheaper.  Part is 91503-SZ3-00

With all the screws and retaining clips removed, the bumper snaps out fairly easily.  The license plate light assembly is attached to the bumper with clips so I used a flat blade screw driver to release the clip and free it.  I could then set the bumper out of the way.

With the bumper removed you can access the two screws holding each tailight assembly from the bottom.  I popped off the center interior panel easily to get better access and unscrewed all the bulbs.  Four 8mm nuts held the assembly in place and were put on fairly tight by the factory.  I made sure I had them tight when I reassembled.

With the tailight removed, parts of the old gasket remained due to double sided tape in four spots.  I scraped all these off to get a good seal with the new gasket.

Putting everything back together was straightforward as well.   Make sure you install the bottom tailight screws before putting the bumper back on.

My service manual is for a 2002-2003 RSX though 2004-2006 should be similar.

Update 1: After replacement, I am still getting wet rear seats and a bit of water in the trunk wheel well.  I think I have clogged moonroof drains.

Update 2: My mechanic indicated my moonroof drains were not blocked and suspected the weatherstripping around the hatch.  I ordered the part#74440-S6M-003 from acurapartswarehouse.com  The service manual indicates it is just pushed in so it should be relatively easy to replace.  There should be an alignment mark at top center of the weatherstripping.

Update 3:  The weatherstrip arrived.  Fairly easy to install though a rubber mallet might have helped.  It was a bit tricky to get the weatherstrip over the rear hatch panel and the headliner.  There is a painted alignment mark on the weatherstrip and the service manual indicated to align it with the center of the hatch.  I assumed it meant top center.

 

Replacing Power Door Lock Actuators 2002 Acura RSX

My car alarm wasn’t arming one day and I realized that the passenger side door wasn’t locking with the key fob.  Once I manually locked the door, the system would chirp and arm.  It was obvious the power door actuator had failed.  Searching for the part on online part stores gave me a part number which I could then comparison shop.  There were lots of non-OEM parts on ebay for less than $10 USD  and the cheapest original Honda version was around $55.  There could be a huge profit potential in counterfeit parts by putting a fake Honda sticker on the cheaper part.  The ebay seller I ended up buying from, hondapartshub, was a Honda dealer with an online parts store.  The same actuators are used in model years 2002-2006 for the RSX and in other Honda models like the Odyssey.

I found a guide to replace the actuator here but it was missing a few tips and steps.  You have to remove the door panel first which is fairly easy.  Once you removed the handle, power window switch and the 3 screws, you can easily pop the door panel off from the bottom and lift it up without any special tools.

With the actuator, you need to disconnect two rods to be able to pull out the assembly.  The gold coloured rod needs some pressure to release it (use pliers or pry with a screwdriver) but it will come out.  If you don’t disconnect it, you will end up bending the rod that goes up to the top of the door.

I also had some problem with the three screws at the edge of the door holding the latch.  You need a #3 phillips (with a flatter tip).  A normal phillips bit could strip the screw head.

To get at the latch, you will also need to remove a 10mm bolt that holds a guide rail for the window.

My last mistake was to not remove the protective cap on the new actuator before installing  it since there is a small clip that holds it in place.

The same day I replaced my passenger side acutator, the driver’s side failed.  The part for the driver’s side I ordered from a different ebay seller.  My original replacement was in a bubble wrap bag with a Honda sticker and one of the terminals capped.  The replacement for the driver’s side came in a box with a sticker, no bag and no cap though the ebay picture showed the part in a bubble wrap bag.  I am a bit worried that it was counterfeit but have no way of knowing for sure.  That seller’s store sells a lot of Honda parts.

Edit: My friend’s Acura had failed actuators and I purchased a non-OEM set (right and left) for him on ebay for $20USD and helped him install.  Seems to have no issues with them so far.

Cleaning foggy headlight lenses

The headlight lens on my Acura RSX gets foggy being an old car.  I purchased Meguiar’s Headlight Restoration Kit based on good online reviews.  Think I picked it up at Walmart in the US though it is available at Canadian Tire and Amazon as well.  The kit comes with a buffing pad you attach to your drill, polishing cloth and polishing paste.  It is pretty easy and quick to use and has excellent results.  I do need to repolish every year though.

Update: Further research indicates the headlight get yellow because of UV and that the factory installed clear coat has worn off.  There are multiple youtube videos on how to apply a clear coat to your lens so you don’t have to constantly restore it.  Will be a project for the summer.

 

92-97 Volvo 850 Stuck Glove Box Repair

My dad called me since the glove box on their Volvo was stuck.  He phoned the auto repair shop and they wanted $200 to repair it.

Searching the internet, the best site to fix this problem is here http://www.matthewsvolvosite.com/fix-a-stuck-glove-box-tutorial.html   I followed their procedure and found it was missing a few steps.

I drilled a very small hole following the instructions there and managed to open the glove box door after a few attempts.  You need to push into the hole and lift up to release the latch.  I used the end of a smaller drill bit.

Once opened, the glove box panel needs to be removed to work on it.  First remove the seven philips screws.  Removing the plastic supports on the sides first will make it easier.  From the back of that panel, insert a flat blade screwdriver into the slot where the support attaches and pry it to release the support.  I would also put some tape on the ends so they don’t fall back into the dashboard.  This did happen to me on one side so I had to remove the bottom panel held by three Torx T-25 screws to retrieve the support and push it back through the opening.

Once you have the door removed, you can see how it works.  Lifting the handle rotates the bar which connects to a piece with a nub that pushes the latch open.  This nub breaks off and can be replaced by drilling a hole and inserting a small machine screw.  The metal is soft enough that you don’t need to tap it.  You can also replace the whole piece by searching for the part on ebay.  I found a kit that included the latch hook and retaining clip.

To get at the assembly you will have to remove the three screws.  Before this step, make note of the spring that will pop out.  It pushes the door away from the latch once opened.

I didn’t need to disassemble the piece that broke off to drill a hole to insert a screw.  Just find a screw approximately the same diameter as the piece that broke off and use a drill bit slightly smaller.

I have a vinyl repair kit that I can use to fill in the hole I drilled to complete the repair.

Latch part