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Old 12-08-2009, 03:19 PM   #1
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Default 1991 Honda Civic won't start

Was highway driving the car yesturday and it was shaking a little. At low speeds it was shaking alot. Thankfully got it home but when I went to restart it 10 minutes later it wouldn't start. It is cranking but won't catch.

I can hear the fuel pump do it's job so I checked for spark and got nothing. looked in the distributer and found the small part that sticks from the d. cap into the ignition coil was all gone so I put a new cap on, no change )I recently replace the ignition in the distributer too). Then I put new wires and no change. (well, used parts but different ones). My Dad checked the compression a few weeks ago and they were around 48, 50, 48, 52 or something like that. They were all close in number anyway. I changed out the main relay, but still not starting.

Don't know what else to check.

Any ideas?
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Old 12-08-2009, 03:22 PM   #2
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Default Re: 1991 Honda Civic won't start

compression numbers look horrible
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Old 12-08-2009, 03:36 PM   #3
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Default Re: 1991 Honda Civic won't start

really, id be surprised if your car even ran with the numbers that low.. that thing should have, i think, at LEAST 150 across the board, if im not mistaken.. pretty much ANYTHING that low is allllll bad....

did you block open the throttle body when you did the compression test? the numbers would be low like that if you did the test wrong..
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Old 12-08-2009, 04:26 PM   #4
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Default Re: 1991 Honda Civic won't start

Exactly what do you mean by "block open the throttle body".
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Old 12-08-2009, 04:31 PM   #5
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Default Re: 1991 Honda Civic won't start

well, when you run a compression test, you need to have the throttle WIDE open, to get the most air you can.. when you are reading it, you will see the pressure build.. that is air coming in through the intake manifold, and compressing.. less air, less PSI..

So when you do it, if you have the throttle closed, or have your exhaust plugged up for whatever reason, you wont get the TRUE reading from it, because you arent giving it the air its supposed to have..

PS.. ALWAYS disable the fuel system and spark system when you do it..
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Old 12-08-2009, 04:44 PM   #6
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Default Re: 1991 Honda Civic won't start

A closed throttle body will not make it give that low of numbers.

Either way it sounds like the timing belt jumped a few teeth.

To "disable" the fuel and ignition system just pull the "Hazard" and "ECU" fuses that are located under the hood.
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Old 12-08-2009, 04:50 PM   #7
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Default Re: 1991 Honda Civic won't start

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Originally Posted by N3va3vaSatisfi3d View Post
A closed throttle body will not make it give that low of numbers.

Either way it sounds like the timing belt jumped a few teeth.

To "disable" the fuel and ignition system just pull the "Hazard" and "ECU" fuses that are located under the hood.
well yeah..i know it wont make them that low, but ALOT of people dont do the compression test right, so i was just throwing it out there.. a lil information never hurt

but yeah.. thats how you disable it.. lol.. very easy, but you just dont want fuel in the combustion chamber, and of course, sparking plugs just lying around is not kosher either... hahaha

check your cam timing... if it did jump timing, you need to figure out WHY.. like, did the tensioner fail and give the belt slack? did it shave a tooth off the belt? etc etc etc
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Old 12-08-2009, 05:54 PM   #8
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Default Re: 1991 Honda Civic won't start

can you tell me why you think the timing belt is the cause?

I looked at the belts and they llok ok but Im not sure what to look for.
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Old 12-08-2009, 05:57 PM   #9
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Default Re: 1991 Honda Civic won't start

well, the timing belt is sitting behind a cover on the front (driver side) of the engine.. and it doesnt have to be TOTALLY loose right now to jump timing.. just enough is all it takes..

you would need to pull those covers off and check the cam timing at TDC.. if its not lined up, then you know it skipped teeth.. set the timing back, and try it out.. lol
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Old 12-08-2009, 06:08 PM   #10
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Default Re: 1991 Honda Civic won't start

If its not too much trouble could you describe how to do that for me? Or perhaps point me to a webpage that can give the instructions?
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Old 12-08-2009, 06:12 PM   #11
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Default Re: 1991 Honda Civic won't start

I just suggested to my dad the timing belt problem and he said the problem is that the car is not getting power. There is no spark and this wouldnt have anything to do with the belt...
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Old 12-08-2009, 06:28 PM   #12
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Default Re: 1991 Honda Civic won't start

No spark wouldn't cause the engine to have that low of compression...
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Old 12-08-2009, 06:47 PM   #13
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Default Re: 1991 Honda Civic won't start

sure, but it was running before with the low compression so i think the lack of spark is the first problem I need to worry about. What could be causing no spark?
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Old 12-08-2009, 06:49 PM   #14
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Default Re: 1991 Honda Civic won't start

BAD: coil, ignition module, ground, ecu, fuse/s, wires, cap/rotor, ect, ect.... There are a lot of things that could cause that.

Check to see if you are getting power at the coil first then go from there.
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Old 12-09-2009, 01:31 PM   #15
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Default Re: 1991 Honda Civic won't start

ok, gonna check for power at the coil tonight. I'll let you know how that goes. I put in a used ignition coil a couple months ago that I bought from a sketchy guy so it was probably ready to die and that would explain why the contact from the cap to the igntion coil was all destroyed.
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Old 12-09-2009, 03:09 PM   #16
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Default Re: 1991 Honda Civic won't start

can someone give me the instructions for checking for power at the ignition coil? I looked it up online and it looks like I have to actually open up the brass casing the coil is in.
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Old 12-09-2009, 04:21 PM   #17
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Default Re: 1991 Honda Civic won't start

ok, I tested them and got 12 volts, so there is power going to the coil. Whats next?
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Old 12-09-2009, 06:26 PM   #18
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Default Re: 1991 Honda Civic won't start

Check the wires at the distributor plugs. If they all seem good (or you can actually test them with continuity), then I would look at the ignition module. If you take it out then an auto parts store can test it for you. Double check all your fuses and make sure the ECU's "red light" flashes once when you turn the key to position two.

Since you have power to the coil then I would lean more towards the ignition module or faulty wiring.
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Old 12-09-2009, 06:43 PM   #19
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Default Re: 1991 Honda Civic won't start

just curious but how does the hazard fuse interupt the fuel and ignition. My car is running for like 5 minutes and dying b/c I am losing spark. When you fix it let me know what it was.
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Old 12-09-2009, 07:59 PM   #20
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Default Re: 1991 Honda Civic won't start

Quote:
Originally Posted by lil_wilde View Post
Was highway driving the car yesturday and it was shaking a little. At low speeds it was shaking alot. Thankfully got it home but when I went to restart it 10 minutes later it wouldn't start. It is cranking but won't catch.

I can hear the fuel pump do it's job so I checked for spark and got nothing. looked in the distributer and found the small part that sticks from the d. cap into the ignition coil was all gone so I put a new cap on, no change )I recently replace the ignition in the distributer too). Then I put new wires and no change. (well, used parts but different ones). My Dad checked the compression a few weeks ago and they were around 48, 50, 48, 52 or something like that. They were all close in number anyway. I changed out the main relay, but still not starting.

Don't know what else to check.

Any ideas?
48 psi??? holy hell...im at 190 ish across all 4
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Old 12-14-2009, 04:39 PM   #21
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Default Re: 1991 Honda Civic won't start

ok, so I got it started by replacing the ignitor and ignition coil.

Its still shaking when I drive though, especially when waiting at a light, and it seem to be accelerating as efficiently either.
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