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Discussion Starter #1
Today, I did the valve clearance adjustment on my wife's E. When I took the coils off, I noticed that two of them are a brown-ish color at the bottom. See the attached picture. The other two looked normal. Does anyone know if this is typical? The plugs need to be replaced badly. Can worn plugs cause damage to the coils?
 

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Worn plugs can cause coils to go bad but if you arent having any driveability problems then I wouldnt worry too much about replacing them. The discoloration is normal and can be caused by heat and water.
 

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When you pull the plugs you will notice a little brown staining right where the ceramic meets the steel and that is normal.
 

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Pop in some new plugs, re-use the coils and keep on motoring. I do not see anything to worry about. I am at over 102K with the original coils and my E still purrs like a kitten.
 

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"If it ain't broke, don't fit it."
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the replies. I guess the thing that made me question this is that I have never worked on a car with this type of coils before. I have always had a coil pack and standard plug wires. I just thought that if two of these are brown, then maybe those two cylinders are getting too hot and maybe this is a sign of some problem that I need to fix. I am sure these coils are not cheap, so I don't want to burn one of them up. Earlier, NOSkweezePSI mentioned that worn plugs can cause coils to go bad. I am not really having drivability problems, but I only got 20 to 22 mpg highway on our vacation trip last week. I thought it would be better than that, but we've only had the car a month or two. The plugs need to be replaced but I'm not sure how much that will effect the mpg.
 

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You have a 2008 model, and your're doing valve adjustments? If you're not writing about the vehicle in your profile, you should identify by model and mileage.

Unless you've been running crappy fuel, plugs should be good for 80,000 mi, but why be uncertain? Replace the plugs and find out.

The #1 and #4 cylinders of a transverse 4-banger may run warmer at lower speeds because of fan placement.

20-22 mpg isn't unusual for mixed driving conditions. If it happened to me for 100 mile or longer stretches of continuous highway driving, I'd double-check the tire inflation, the weight of the cargo including passengers. When I have a full load in the back of my E, or anything on the roof, the mpg drops significantly.

Next I'd keep an eye on the speedometer to see if I were driving faster than 60 mph.:) MPG drops exponentially with wind resistance as sped increases above 60 mph. My Element loves the open highway; if I don't use the cruise control and keep pressure off the accelerator, it's so smooth (and fun to drive) that I'm constantly finding myself driving faster than I should.

I'm pretty sure that the 685# cargo rating of the Element isn't entirely based on what the vehicle can safely carry, but is needed to meet the EPA mpg numbers. (I believe that the EPA highway rating is based on 55 mph:) ).

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Coils don't gradually deteriorate from worn plugs; they fail- from serious overheating, which can be caused by running an engine with good plugs too hard, from plug electrodes melting shut(uncommon) or high voltage cables with failing insulation shorting the coil secondary to ground. A shorted secondary causes the thinner primary coil winding to melt. The Element doesn't have high voltage cables.

With a coil per cylinder in a 4 cylinder engine, the duty cycle on the coils is a lot lower than that of a typical engine. If a plug were badly worn, its larger gap would lead to carbon buildup, unburnt fuel in the exhaust and misfiring, so the check engine alert would probably come on long before the coil could be damaged. If a coil were to go bad, you'd have symptoms like sluggish acceleration, a rough idle, find it difficult to reach and maintain highway speed.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Actually, I am writing about an 08 model. We bought it with 130,000 miles because it is in good shape and I thought that many miles would not really hurt a Honda. The plugs are worn, and I will be replacing them, but did not have time before we went on vacation. We drove 400 miles to the beach, 300 or so while we were there, then 400 miles back. 22 was the best mileage I got. That was for my wife and me, two kids (10 and 6), and all our stuff was in the back, not on top of the car. I was running about 80 mph. After saying all that, maybe 22 isn't so bad. I just thought that if my 2000 V6 Accord got 27 on the highway, that the E with a 4 cyl would get 25 or so for mixed driving. Maybe that's overly wishful thinking.
 

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Actually, I am writing about an 08 model. We bought it with 130,000 miles because it is in good shape and I thought that many miles would not really hurt a Honda. The plugs are worn, and I will be replacing them, but did not have time before we went on vacation. We drove 400 miles to the beach, 300 or so while we were there, then 400 miles back. 22 was the best mileage I got. That was for my wife and me, two kids (10 and 6), and all our stuff was in the back, not on top of the car. I was running about 80 mph. After saying all that, maybe 22 isn't so bad. I just thought that if my 2000 V6 Accord got 27 on the highway, that the E with a 4 cyl would get 25 or so for mixed driving. Maybe that's overly wishful thinking.
Compare the gross vehicle weight and the frontal area of the two vehicles.

Figure that quality of "streamlining" is a constant for simplification. Two basic forces resist a vehicle in motion.

Force1= Mass x acceleration in a vaccum and
Force2 is proportional to frontal area

Work = force x distance, with the fuel doing the work.
 

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I have an 03, with just over 260,000 km, and commute 140 km per day - most of it stop and go. The plugs were changed at about 130k, so they are probably due again, but I'm averaging 500 km per tank, and it's the best mileage I've ever had...
Maybe the E just has a longer 'work in' period than most vehicles....lol
 
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