While driving on the interstate I experienced what seemed to be a loss of power in my Honda Civic. While going up hill, I felt I needed to shift down to a lower gear to maintain speed. Any suggestions? Could it be spark plugs or spark plug wires? Is that hard to change in a Civic?
Start with the easy stuff. check the plugs. make sure they are not wet with oil leaking from the spark plug stem seals located on the rocker cover. Check your air filter to make sure its clean. Now for the slightly harder stuff. The spark plug wires should be changed every 80k or so. My suspect the reason for the power loss is most likely a clogged cat convert in the exhaust system. check your exhaust flow. Way to do that is to check the temp. of the exhaust before the cat and the temp. after the cat. If the Cat is plugged the temp before the catalytic converter will be abnormally higher than after the cat.
BUT if you are experiencing misfire of engine. I would go straight to replacing spark plugs and wires. Distributor cap and rotor.
Also check the charging system. make sure the alternator is charging the battery at above 13Volts. With all components on. ( radio/lights/highbeam/AC). Use a voltmeter and check at the battery positive and negative. if its not charging above 13 V replace the alternator.
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The 96-98 Civic EX came with an OBD2A D16Y8 engine. That is the only engine that will go in as a direct replacement with your current engine ECU. It's an SOHC VTEC engine that has two extra connections not found on the other 96-98 Civic engines - a VTEC solenoid and a special oil sensor used to determine if VTEC engagement is possible. If you swap in an older Civic engine (92-95 generation) you'll have to convert the car to OBD1 (requires a special adapter hardness) and run the ECU that goes with whatever engine you use. This will break functionality of your OBD2 diagnostics port, and depending on which state you live in will cause you to fail emissions checks. If you install a D16Y8 engine from a 99-00 Civic EX, you will have to swap the intake and exhaust manifolds from your old engine to the new engine, and you will be able to continue to run your existing OBD2A wiring and ECU. The 99-00 Civic EX engines have additional sensors, since those engines are OBD2B. The easiest fix would be to find a SOHC VTEC D16Y8 from a 96-98 Civic EX, as it would be a direct plug and play replacement.