Balancing Act

Happy New Year 2012

I just returned from our 10-day road trip to Northern California. Suffice to say, it was a refreshing and respite retreat from the hectic life of Los Angeles. Shaggy, our adopted guinea pig survived the 1,600+ mile round-trip and was glad to be home. I am surprised to find that all the plants and all the fishes, with exception to one in the aquarium,  survived the absense of human intervention for 10 days. The albino pleco unfortunately did not make it, but its carcass provided food for the other 8 fishes in the Fluval. I'll need to pick up another pleco soon as the algae growth is visible due to the evaporation of the water. One of the ghost shrimp also molted and grew in size.

So today is the first day of the new year and also the first day of my final quarter at Cal Poly Pomona. Lots of things to work on this week and I look forward tackling each task, one by one. First line of business is to review a new set of LED replacement bulbs made just for the RSX. Anthony Vickrey of exLEDusa sent me a set of custom RSX interior light kit and when I tell you that I was amazed with the LED set I am using from Putco, I am totally blown away from exLEDusa's kit. I've used it for about 2 weeks now, most of it was during our 10-day road trip and it came in handy especially in Humboldt county. I'll follow-up with a more thorough review later this week.

I will also be writing a short do-it-yourself guide on cleaning the Acura RSX's idle air control valve (IACV). I ran into a small, but nerve wrecking mishap with it during the road trip and experienced major idle problems after any lengthy drive. Fortunately the problem occured at a residential street of San Francisco instead of a busy intersection. I had to park the RSX temporarily to punch in a route on my Garmin GPS. However, when I tried to start the RSX after a 10 minute stop, the RSX would fire up and the RPM jumped to 1k and immediately drops down to 0 and stalls out. The whole ordeal lasted for about 40 minuts while I tried to diagnose the problem. Eventually I ended up attempting to clean the throttle body and examined the stock air box, all at an area 400 miles away from home. The car did not have to be towed, but as a last resort, that would be an option.

Fortunately I embarked on the road trip prepared with tool sets. After all else failed, I drove the RSX for a block and as expected, the engine stalled out on neutral at a stop sign. I took the RSX for a longer run (5 blocks) and the IACV resumed normal operation. I stopped the car and restarted it and it fired up as normal. Another situation involving the IACV occured on our return trip home. When I was driving back home from Northern California, we stopped at a Carl's Jr. in Coalinga after a marathon 300 mile none stop drive from Mendocino County for a break and to gas up. Same thing happened when I tried to start the car. I replicated what I did in San Francisco and got the car up and running. So I concluded that the following symptoms will trigger an intermittent IACV failure:

  • RSX has accumulated 80k miles or more
  • IACV has never been cleaned during the 80k mileage of ownership
  • RSX has been driven through relatively urban conditions
  • Failure is prone to occur if the first two conditions are met AND when the RSX is driven for at least 150 miles none-stop

The labor involved to clean the IACV may be costly if taken to a shop so I'll write up a detailed guide on how to do it yourself.

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