Well I'm poor.
Lately my 1994 Honda Accord (4 door LX 4 cylinder) has been idling low - I mean really low - somewhere around 300-400 RPM. Besides the incredible shakes that make you think it will die at any minute, it has started dying as I back out of parking spaces. This problem happened when the engine is warm - starting in the morning with a cold engine got a decent response until the radiator fan came on.
Unable to pay for someone to diagnose and fix this for me, I scoured the internet. I found this post on Honda-Tech.com. People smarter than I had ran into the same problem.
**Now, sometimes all you need to do is turn the idle control screw on top of the throttle body and adjust the idle speed, but I figured my problem was deeper than that given my car's 260K + miles.
This post described how to clean your Idle Air Control Valve (IACV) which adjusts the amount of air let into the engine (if I understand it correctly). A clean IACV gives you better idling RPM and more fuel efficiency.
I'm not going to recreate the excellent "How-To" on Honda-Tech.com, but I will give you some thoughts.
|There it is waaayyy in the back|
|A closer view|
|Yes, that's a battery|
First, I disconnected the battery because 1. electricity runs through the IACV and you need to reset it after cleaning it, and 2. I don't want to die.
|Darn black tube in my way|
|Ah! Much better!|
Once I got it off, I easily saw how right I was about the etiology of my problem.
After putting it back in, I almost didn't check the radiator fluid. The resevoir was almost dry, because of the lost fluid from the tubes that run through the IACV. Topped it off after another trip to Autozone, and it's idling at 750 RPM like a champ!
The whole experience was awesome, because I realized I can fix a car without breaking it more, I saved tons of money, and it reminded me again how similar car repair is to surgery - without the malignant residency to go through...