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Thread: 87 accord lxi, newbie, code 12 pgm fi light

  1. #1
    DX User Tito's Avatar
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    Question 87 accord lxi, newbie, code 12 pgm fi light

    Apologies for the length of this post, and apologies if this is the wrong place to put it. Also, hello people ! I am new!

    I am a 15 year old kid with a 1987 honda accord lxi. Beautiful car, and i love it. The car is in excellent shape as it has only had one previous owner and was essentially untouched by anyone else besides the occasional honda mechanic from the dealership. Only has 136,000 miles on it as well. This car is stock. All original everything. It literally is Grandmas car having only been driven around town by my middle aged neighbor's mother.

    Everything is really going well with this car. On the first day we had it, even going for a test drive the PGM FI light came on after about 5 minutes. I summed it up to "Oh this car has been sitting for about a decade, it just needs to be driven". but as time has gone on the light still has not fixed itself.

    I drew the line at when i was in a parking lot and the car wasn't wanting to start. I had to turn off the car all the way and wait a few minutes to try again, and even then it was pretty rough start.

    It was time to take action at this point. The first thing i noticed was that the light would never come on immediately. I would have to drive the car around for 5-10 minutes before the light showed itself. I'm not entirely sure what that means, but i think it's worth mentioning.

    The car would also idle a little faster than i'd like. It would shoot up to around 2000rpm, then i would kick the accelerator and it would drop to around 1100rpm. Better than 2000rpm, but still a little faster than what i'd like. I proceeded to go under the driver seat and count the blinks. There is 12 blinks, and my research says that means that there is most likely an issue with the EGR valve. Okay, fine. I decided to take it out earlier this morning, and check everything. The diaphragm moved smoothly enough and there was only a little bit of gunk inside. I shot it with some penetrating oil and decided that would have to do. I put things back together and called it good. Car started immediately with no stutter. The idle was solid around 900, and i thought things were all good I checked the blinks and sure enough, still 12 of them. I decided to check the EGR one last time. To my understanding, if i disconnect the vacuum hose leading to it, then the engine should stall. So I took out the hose and sure enough, it did not stall. I was a bit bewildered but I took it out for a drive anyways. It took about twice as much time for the PGM FI light to come on, and the RPM started to get a little bit jumpy when it did turn on. When I finally pulled back into the driveway the idle was back to around 1100rpm and wouldn't lower even after kicking the accelerator.

    The electrical connection on the EGR was the only thing I didn't check. If you know how to, please provide instructions. How much vacuum should the hose hold connecting to the EGR itself?

    That's where I'm at at this point. I'm not sure where to go from here and I'm not a super mechanical kid anyways. I did a lot of research, but if you can point me into the direction of what I should do now. It'd be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you
    Last edited by Tito; 06-29-2019 at 11:39 AM.



  2. #2
    2.0Si User
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    Re: 87 accord lxi, newbie, code 12 pgm fi light

    Quote Originally Posted by Tito View Post
    Apologies for the length of this post, and apologies if this is the wrong place to put it. Also, hello people ! I am new!

    I am a 15 year old kid with a 1987 honda accord lxi. Beautiful car, and i love it. The car is in excellent shape as it has only had one previous owner and was essentially untouched by anyone else besides the occasional honda mechanic from the dealership. Only has 136,000 miles on it as well. This car is stock. All original everything. It literally is Grandmas car having only been driven around town by my middle aged neighbor's mother.

    Everything is really going well with this car. On the first day we had it, even going for a test drive the PGM FI light came on after about 5 minutes. I summed it up to "Oh this car has been sitting for about a decade, it just needs to be driven". but as time has gone on the light still has not fixed itself.

    I drew the line at when i was in a parking lot and the car wasn't wanting to start. I had to turn off the car all the way and wait a few minutes to try again, and even then it was pretty rough start.

    It was time to take action at this point. The first thing i noticed was that the light would never come on immediately. I would have to drive the car around for 5-10 minutes before the light showed itself. I'm not entirely sure what that means, but i think it's worth mentioning.

    The car would also idle a little faster than i'd like. It would shoot up to around 2000rpm, then i would kick the accelerator and it would drop to around 1100rpm. Better than 2000rpm, but still a little faster than what i'd like. I proceeded to go under the driver seat and count the blinks. There is 12 blinks, and my research says that means that there is most likely an issue with the EGR valve. Okay, fine. I decided to take it out earlier this morning, and check everything. The diaphragm moved smoothly enough and there was only a little bit of gunk inside. I shot it with some penetrating oil and decided that would have to do. I put things back together and called it good. Car started immediately with no stutter. The idle was solid around 900, and i thought things were all good I checked the blinks and sure enough, still 12 of them. I decided to check the EGR one last time. To my understanding, if i disconnect the vacuum hose leading to it, then the engine should stall. So I took out the hose and sure enough, it did not stall. I was a bit bewildered but I took it out for a drive anyways. It took about twice as much time for the PGM FI light to come on, and the RPM started to get a little bit jumpy when it did turn on. When I finally pulled back into the driveway the idle was back to around 1100rpm and wouldn't lower even after kicking the accelerator.

    The electrical connection on the EGR was the only thing I didn't check. If you know how to, please provide instructions. How much vacuum should the hose hold connecting to the EGR itself?

    That's where I'm at at this point. I'm not sure where to go from here and I'm not a super mechanical kid anyways. I did a lot of research, but if you can point me into the direction of what I should do now. It'd be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you
    Well you got yourself a pretty good first car and it sounds like you are on top of it.

    I would clear the code by removing the positive battery terminal for about a minute. Then drive it again and see what it does.

    There some areas where the vacuum lines goto the "black box" that a solenoid in there is dirty or not working correctly. EGR doesnt do a whole so driving the car without it wont hurt anything.

    You can download the service manual for these cars here on this website.
    1988 Lxi owner since August 1995
    336k miles running strong!
    Now running E85.

    My Acura Type R front brake thread

    https://www.3geez.com/forum/showthrea...r+brake+option

  3. #3

    Dr_Snooz's Avatar
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    Re: 87 accord lxi, newbie, code 12 pgm fi light

    Welcome! You've definitely done your homework. The EGR should stall the engine if you put vacuum to it. Just pulling the vacuum line will only trip a CEL. You can download a shop manual for the '89 model year from the link in my signature. It will be somewhat different from what's in your car, but it may help to explain the system so you can test it. EGR troubleshooting starts on p. 12-79. Let us know what you learn.
    Dr_Snooz

    "I like to take hammers, and just break stuff, just break stuff." - Beavis


    1989 Honda Accord LX-i Coupe, 220k miles, MT swap, rear disc swap

    Shop manual downloads available here: CLICK TO VIEW

  4. #4
    DX User Tito's Avatar
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    Re: 87 accord lxi, newbie, code 12 pgm fi light

    Hello !

    I spent this morning working on troubleshooting what was wrong with the EGR system.

    After messing around with a vacuum pump/gauge for a little while i decided that there was no vacuum in the hose connecting to the EGR valve itself. Obviously that is a bit of a problem. After checking other hoses with the vacuum gauge I finally narrowed it down to a little canister inside the black box. A vacuum hose would be connected to it and would not cause suction in the other hoses coming off of it.

    My solution was to spray some Brake cleaner into the canister and shake it around in hopes that the carbon buildup inside of it would be knocked loose. I sprayed excess cleaner out with some compressed air. I then reattached it and started the car. It was idling nicer than it was previously which happened before, but It's a good sign that something changed. So I turned off the car, reassembled and reattached everything I took off and called it good.

    I proceeded to take the car out for a test drive. Took it around the neighborhood. I went up and down some pretty steep hills and cornered a bit, essentially trying to put the system through different cycles. No light came on. Took it on the highway. No Light. As far as I'm concerned at this point the issue is fixed. I reset the ECU and no blinks came on even after driving. So I presume that that side of things is alright.

    I still have an unrelated question, The idle speed of this thing is still around 200rpm higher than I think it should be. If anyone could provide me with some idle speeds that'd be super helpful. Just keep in mind that my LX-i is an automatic, I know that can effect how things idle.

    Thanks for the manual, and thanks for the direction towards the black box. Definitely super handy information. Thanks again!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails -20190630_102023-jpg  

  5. #5
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    Re: 87 accord lxi, newbie, code 12 pgm fi light

    Quote Originally Posted by Tito View Post
    Hello !

    I spent this morning working on troubleshooting what was wrong with the EGR system.

    After messing around with a vacuum pump/gauge for a little while i decided that there was no vacuum in the hose connecting to the EGR valve itself. Obviously that is a bit of a problem. After checking other hoses with the vacuum gauge I finally narrowed it down to a little canister inside the black box. A vacuum hose would be connected to it and would not cause suction in the other hoses coming off of it.

    My solution was to spray some Brake cleaner into the canister and shake it around in hopes that the carbon buildup inside of it would be knocked loose. I sprayed excess cleaner out with some compressed air. I then reattached it and started the car. It was idling nicer than it was previously which happened before, but It's a good sign that something changed. So I turned off the car, reassembled and reattached everything I took off and called it good.

    I proceeded to take the car out for a test drive. Took it around the neighborhood. I went up and down some pretty steep hills and cornered a bit, essentially trying to put the system through different cycles. No light came on. Took it on the highway. No Light. As far as I'm concerned at this point the issue is fixed. I reset the ECU and no blinks came on even after driving. So I presume that that side of things is alright.

    I still have an unrelated question, The idle speed of this thing is still around 200rpm higher than I think it should be. If anyone could provide me with some idle speeds that'd be super helpful. Just keep in mind that my LX-i is an automatic, I know that can effect how things idle.

    Thanks for the manual, and thanks for the direction towards the black box. Definitely super handy information. Thanks again!
    Nice job!

    Thanks for the picture too that will help the next person..

    Check the suspension out good as well for loose or bad parts. These are great cars the suspension design is still very good for this day and age and with good tires they handle great.
    1988 Lxi owner since August 1995
    336k miles running strong!
    Now running E85.

    My Acura Type R front brake thread

    https://www.3geez.com/forum/showthrea...r+brake+option

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