An Eventful Day for our 2001 Honda Odyssey

Today was an eventful day for our 2001 Honda Odyssey minivan:

  • The odometer dialed through 222,222. That’s a lifetime average of about 22,000 miles per year, but our records show the last two years averaged 25,000 miles each. It looks like our travel is increasing as our kids have headed off to different directions for college.
  • As we stopped for gas in Weed, I plugged in the OBD II device and discovered that the evaporative system had finally passed its trip cycle, three days after the operation I performed on the EGR port in the intake manifold. This was the last emissions system to complete its trip cycle.
  • Not wanting to wait even a day, we stopped by DEQ on the way into the Portland — and passed! Not a day too early, as our second trip permit expires tomorrow. The new license tags will look beautiful on our license plate.
  • We didn’t need to get gas between Weed and Hillsboro, even having some left in the tank when we got home. It looks like our car is running smoother and getting better gas mileage.

What a great day!

P0401 Code Fix For 2001 Honda Odyssey

Our 2001 Honda Odyssey needed to pass Oregon’s DEQ to get renewed license tags. Unfortunately, the check engine light wouldn’t stay off and it had code P0401 – Exhaust Gas Recirculation, Flow Insufficient.

After paying a mechanic to install a new EGR valve and catalytic converter,1I’m not complaining; I don’t think we’ve had problems with either of these for over 220,000 miles. and trying more expensive gas and gas cleaner additives, the code still showed up. It was time to take matters into my own hands.

But first, I needed some information. I searched YouTube and found the following video:

1999 Honda Odyssey Van EGR Valve Port Carbon Problem Repair Fix Code P0401

I also found Honda’s service bulletin 00-009 which has been superseded by Honda service bulletin 05-026.

Ordinarily, any instructions that tell me to remove big hunks of metal from my car’s engine, do something to them, and then put them back on would scare me off. However, having to pay someone more money to fix my car and/or not getting my car fixed in time before the trip permit expired scared me more.

I forged ahead, basically following the method from the YouTube video, informed by the steps of the service bulletin and the torque specs and reassembly instructions from an online Chilton’s manual.

Any time I attempt a fix, I take lots of pictures and take notes so I can put it back together. Some of the pictures are attached below.

I hope to be able to update this with a picture of my OBD II checker showing no errors after a complete drive cycle.

Wish me luck!

Update: I should “clear the air” a little about where I cleaned the intake manifold. I used the carburetor cleaner in the garage with the door open, not in the kitchen sink. You don’t want to use that stuff in an enclosed space. I used the kitchen sink to rinse out the manifold when I was done with the carburetor cleaner.

Update 2: The fix worked! Woo hoo!

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    I’m not complaining; I don’t think we’ve had problems with either of these for over 220,000 miles.