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Engine-Off-Coast
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Discussion Starter #1
tl:dr;
  • 2001 5MT stalling on hills, has P0420 and P1457
  • Dirty air filter, but ALSO an unidentifiable oily residue (but also possibly water??) noticed in air box near air intake
  • Tires woefully underinflated too
  • Swapped O2 sensor for a used one I had on hand
  • What could the residue in the airbox be??
I'm working on my first Insight again, it's a Canadian 2001 5MT. Current owner reported CEL, weak driving, and stalling when going up steep hills.

I took a look at the car. CEL was P1457 and P0420. I don't think the 1457 has anything to do with this. But P0420 can obviously have an effect on engine output.

I also had a look at the tires, 3 out of 4 were underinflated, and one was down to only like 15 PSI. I aired them all up to 40 PSI.

For the upper O2 sensor, I swapped it with another one I had on hand. It's used, I don't know how long it will last, but I'm not super worried about that, if it goes back I'll just have her buy a new one online.

Final item I inspected was the air filter. It was pretty dirty, I recommended replacement. When reinstalling the old filter (didn't have a new one on hand) I also noticed a strange residue inside the top of the airbox coming from where the air intake is, next to the sensor. I couldn't determine if it was oil-based or water-based, as it had dirt in it and was pretty thin, but it was definitely still a liquid. I tried using the search function here, but it's all messed up now. :(
 

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If oil is coming into the air box from the engine the PCV valve may be stuck closed? Or the vacuum line between PCV valve and intake manifold is broken/missing? Air should be drawn into the engine through the tube that ends in the air box and sucked out of the engine through the PCV valve and tube into the intake manifold.

Would start with the air filter (eliminate anything obviously bad first) and then read up on how to detect intake vacuum leaks with and without a code scanner.

Since the whole car sounds neglected, consider a bunch of quick checks to gather more data: look at the plugs for discoloration, do a compassion test, adjust the valves, etc.

Sounds like a fun project!
 

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Also, check the oil level. Has it been changed regularly? Is it a dark thick mess or what you would normally expect?
 

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...I don't think I actually answered the question which is the title of the post. I suspect the oil is condensation of oil entering the air box from the crankcase in most form due to air flow from crankcase to air box which is the opposite direction it should be going. That is my uninformed guess. See if the oil is near the tube that runs to the valve cover. Hopefully the car does not have excessively worn rings or valve guides that might be aggravating this (thus my oil questions above).
 

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Engine-Off-Coast
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Discussion Starter #5
I changed the plugs at 137K miles, it has 188k miles now.

I'll check the valve you mentioned. She bought new tires thankfully (I forgot to mention in OP they were like at the warning bars). I had done the oil and filter for her less than 4000 miles ago. P1457 is back of course, P0420 has not returned yet.

This car is back in the Honda Insight Repair Bay and Soy Sauce Supply Loading Dock for the exact same leak that Scott was showing everyone on the Friday of Insight Fest 2019, so I'll have a look at the PCV while I'm at it.
 
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