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Hello all! This is my first post and it will be a lengthy one with a list of the current odd things I've noticed since buying this used 2003 EX 2WD AT with 43,000 miles a few weeks ago. I have done a number of searches online and through this forum to try and understand what they could be, so I thank everyone who has posted similar issues/solutions. This post is mainly a list of my issues, their status, and a request for some guidance on the one issue that is the most important now (water on the front foot areas).

Check engine light. Status: Resolved so far

I went to my local auto parts store and used their diagnostic check and found codes for P0420 "Catalyst Efficiency Below Threshold". After doing some reading on here and Google, I thought best case it was the gas cap, and worst case the cat had issues. I also read online that some people had success after opening the throttle a bit on the highway to help blow out the carbon build up. I bought this car from an older person who was handicapped, so I thought maybe the carbon build up could be it. I put some Seafoam into the tank and hit the highway. Sure enough, the engine light went away on its own after about 30 minutes. So far, it has not come back on.

Clunky noise from the rear. Status: Not a high priority

I checked the spare tire area and removed everything for the test ride, and the noise still happened when I roll over dips/bumps/sometimes in turns. After reading some posts, I thought it could be those two inexpensive rubber bushings, but after installing them nothing changed. My next guess after reading would be the sway bar end links. I'm not very concerned about it with my other issues, because once I turn the radio on I can't hear any noises.

Shuddering/low idle/stalled at a stop sign. Status: Seems resolved.

I turned the car on to move it to a different spot in the driveway and when I turned the A/C on, it blew warm air, as if just the fan was working. Then I noticed the car shuddered and shook when I put it in reverse. I noted the RPMs dropped below 500. I didn't think anything of it because I was only moving it to a different spot, and the car hadn't been warmed up more than maybe 20 seconds. The next day I noticed the same thing happened, but I sat with the engine running for probably 1 minute and 30 seconds before pulling out of the driveway. When I hit the gas to go forward, the A/C blew cold and the car drove fine for 150 yards, until I reached a stop sign. The engine shut off when I came to a stop. I shut the A/C off, started the engine, let it warm up for about 2 minutes, and then started the A/C again and drove off. I did some reading online and found a video showing the IACV (Idle Air Control Valve) could be the culprit. I followed the video on how to take it apart, and the issue I ran into was those two screws holding the valve to the throttle body. I couldn't get them off no matter what I tried. I ended up rounding the head of one of them, so I just gave up on cleaning the valve. I poured a little Seafoam straight into the valve where the throttle body has small slit leading to the valve. I also added some more Seafoam to the tank. I haven't had the car shut off anymore, nor has it blown hot A/C at idle, and I haven't had shuddering when I first start it. I did notice the idle has dropped very low at a few stop lights, even after several minutes of driving around town and on the highway, but it never stalled again. It seems to not be an issue anymore.

Water on the driver and passenger floor area. Status: Not resolved

The other night we had very heavy rains, and I drove the car on the highway after the heaviest rains had stopped, so I drove during average/light rain for about 10 minutes, and then 30 minutes of it was on a very saturated highway. I ran the A/C and at one point I shut off, and turned the recirculation "OFF", to see how the fresh air was for about 3 minutes. I live in South Florida, where the humidity is high and I never turn off the recirculation. I also turned the recirculation off because I notice there seems to be a slight noise/whistle coming from the center air vents/dash area related to when I hit the gas pedal. I know it only happens when I hit the gas because I can hear it only when I hit the gas and as soon as I let off the noise dies. It's really hard to describe, but it's a faint high pitched hum/whistle. I honestly don't know if it is normal or not because I'm coming from a 2004 Acura TSX, which had way more sound deadening all around and it was a luxury ride, so it's silent inside. This EX feels like a school bus because of the plastic floors and noise level. So I drove home and parked it. The next morning I found water on both the driver and passenger floor area. It was a brownish tint, and the only odor I could smell from it as I soaked it up with a paper towel would be described as "old/dirty" so I don't think it was coolant. It had some tree bits/grime/sand with it, but that could be because that stuff was somewhere between where it came from and where it ended up. It seemed to be closest to the foot kickplate areas. I'm not sure if that's what they would be called, but I'm talking about the area where if you were sitting in the driver side you would kick left towards the door and hit the plastic trim, and the same but for the right on the passenger side. I also noticed since the day I got the car that the rubber/plastic floor was slightly looser/bubbled in the front foot areas. It just looks like they used more material than in the rear. It isn't tight like the rear floor material. Not sure if that's normal or not. So after reading on here and on google, I could be facing an issue with the windshield trim, A/C drain clogged, or...?

I'm planning on trying to find the A/C drain line to see if I can blow some air in it to unclog it (if that's the issue). I will also look into finding the cabin air filter, because that might show me if there's evidence of water there. I will also dig around and see if I can find where the water came from. I have a feeling the rain had something to do with the issue because I've run the A/C around town and on the highway without seeing water anywhere. Any additional recommendations are greatly appreciated, and if the cabin filter/drain/windshield don't show anything obvious to me I'll just have to go to a shop and look under the car. I know there were some spots that seemed rusted, like the black metal things that hold the rear passenger windows on. The paint has rusted/chipped away on those black metal disc things, so they're rough to the touch. Thanks for reading, and any advice!
 

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rear clunk could be sway bar bushings. If your element is rust free (or had them replaced regularly) then it should be a 30 min fix with $30 in parts (and that includes the time you stand at the back of the car staring at it deciding if you need to flatten a cardboard box before crawling under the car in your driveway or street parking space)

The PO replaced them on mine ever 30k miles or so. for whatever reason his use of the thing as a work truck + pittsburgh ripped through them. I haven't had a problem with them since I owned it in AZ, but he described exactly what you are describing as the symptom. Unfortunately, I don't how to inspect rear sway bar bushings to see if they are bad...
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks, I replaced the sway bar bushings but that didn't fix my noise. I've found plenty of posts and videos about that noise, so I'll look into them eventually. The water is the more pressing issue at the moment.
 

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I would guess it's the end links as well. For the shuddering, even though you're fairly low mileage, it might be worth getting the valve clearances adjusted. It surely won't hurt to do.
 
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