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Discussion Starter #1
At about 125K my '00 ser. # 120 started shaking it's head at about 1700 to 2150 rpm and it got worse over the course of about 1000 mi. Since this is the sweetspot for the majority of my cruising on the highway I struggled to diagnose the cause. It usually only happened during lean burn, or was more noticable. I kept coming back to the EGR valve as being the cause, but since it is electric and I was getting no codes, I was allowing myself to be led down the path of crud on the valve heads accumulating from the gasoline that absorb some fuel during injection. This has been a problem on other lean running V-TEC Hondas and so I did an induction clean, and noticed a substantial improvement, but the bucking was still there. Also cleaned the injectors by removing them and spraying Honda carb cleaner through them while opening them with a jury rigged momentary switch and watching the pattern while hooked to the spraycan. The pattern improved with the cleaning, the car ran the same, but I kept coming back to the EGR. At my wits end I consulted with the dealer who's mechanic suggested disconnecting the EGR connector. Wonder of wonders, 90% improvement! So I had a new one sent next day air and it was 100% cured. That was 12K ago and problem solved totally. In my work on the inlet side, I removed the intake manifold and inspected the passages in the head to look for crud or blockage in the passages as that might make a ballast tank to hold exhaust gas but it was nearly perfect, just a slight accumulation of crud which I cleaned. But my intakes are shiny clean now and with all this I acheived a new sectional high, 93.6 mpg over about 150 miles. The plugs looked like new and the valves were still in spec. I storm the mountains BTW and regularly deplete and recharge the pack, as there is less damage to the gas mileage using this technique.
Bottom line: The mechanical pintle of the EGR valve was leaking allowing exhaust gas to enter the inlet side during high vacuum running, that is during lean burn.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I kept the valve for future snooping or disection. Methinks once it sticks it will always be suspect, but as I plan on putting on huge miles in the future, I will attempt to clean this thing and then watch the new one to see if this begins to be a long term maintenance routine practice. At least I have one to ruin if it comes to that.
 

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I assume the car has thrown P1491 Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) Valve Insufficient Lift when the valve was removed? Was lean-burn still available at this time?

I have experimented with disabling EGR to trouhleshoot my issue with rough running under light loads, and found that disabling EGR significantly narrowed the lean-burn range, almost eliminating it. Have you seen similar results?
 
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