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Old 02-28-2012, 09:22 PM   #1
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Icon2 94 Civic LX won't start when ever it rains - no spark

Is there a way to test my ECU?

My car won't start when ever it rains. From what I hear that's either your distributer cap or the ECU.

I already replaced the distributer cap.

Where is the best place to buy an affordable ECU? Can I get one that's rebuilt or from a scrap yard?

Also, how in the heck is moisture getting into the ECU in the first place, when it is inside the car, and inside a sealed box?

The only thing that has me questioning if it is the ECU or not, is that the check engine light comes on and then goes back off.

It cranks like it really wants to start.
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Old 02-29-2012, 12:35 AM   #2
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Default Re: ECU questions

you should check the basic for distributor check for spark. for ecu check for injector pulse with noid light. check for fuel and pull the code out and need more info like model year of the car.
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Old 02-29-2012, 05:22 AM   #3
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Sorry, its a 1994 honda civic lx. 4 door.
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Old 02-29-2012, 05:53 AM   #4
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Default Re: ECU questions

Have we even bothered to look at the ECU and the area it's installed at to see if there is any moisture getting to it? Or are we just guessing at this point?
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Old 02-29-2012, 07:02 AM   #5
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Default Re: ECU questions

My guess would be the ecu. If it works when it is dry then I would assume you need to take care of the moisture that is seeping in. It is a common thing in these cars for the passenger floor board to fill up when it rains. You need to figure out where the water is coming in on the firewall and seal it up
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Old 02-29-2012, 05:10 PM   #6
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Default Re: ECU questions

There was rust near the ECU but not on it. Just pulled it out, popped it open, and don't see any obvious damage anywhere. No corrosion or black burn mark. Looks perfect.

Crap. Now I really don't know what's wrong with it.
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Old 02-29-2012, 06:33 PM   #7
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Default Re: ECU questions

I'm not seeing as to how you got that your ECU is the issue when starting in the rain, unless you know it is getting wet....

From what it sounds like to me is a short, MOST likely for rain water leaking onto a connector, wire, etc.
Make sure the windshield drains are clear as well as the tubes on either side. Inspect area of that would effect starting if faulty or damaged. Grounds, Ignition wiring, fuses.

When you turn you car to the 'ON' position, can you hear the fuel pump, and do all the accessories light up?
What is the extent of your issue? What else does not work? Does it just not crank?
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Old 02-29-2012, 11:23 PM   #8
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Default Re: ECU questions

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Originally Posted by Lil Gnome View Post
When you turn you car to the 'ON' position, can you hear the fuel pump, and do all the accessories light up?
What is the extent of your issue? What else does not work? Does it just not crank?
The ECU was a really good guess, since there was rust next to it and that is the "usual suspect" when a honda doesn't start after the rain.

When the car is turned on everything lights up, you can hear the fuel pump, and it almost almost starts. It cranks. This car wants to start so bad but can't quite make it.

Last edited by BSG; 02-29-2012 at 11:40 PM.
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Old 03-01-2012, 02:05 AM   #9
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Default Re: ECU questions

so what have you check so far. so when it rain its does'nt start but when its not raining it start. have you even pull the engine light code yet
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Old 03-01-2012, 02:12 AM   #10
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Icon4 Re: ECU questions

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Originally Posted by BSG View Post
The ECU was a really good guess, since there was rust next to it and that is the "usual suspect" when a honda doesn't start after the rain.

When the car is turned on everything lights up, you can hear the fuel pump, and it almost almost starts. It cranks. This car wants to start so bad but can't quite make it.
So it's spark. you hear your fuel pump, your probably getting fuel to your injectors the. your ingnition coil could be going bad.. change your rotor. no need to change wires/plugs since when it does run, all 4 cyl are running? to change rotor, pull distributor cap. 3 phillips screws/8mm. then youll want to pull dizzy off so you can access phillips screw holding rotor and 2 phillips holding ignition coil on. coil is like $60 at autozone.. i had this problem it was ignition coil.
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Old 03-01-2012, 02:22 AM   #11
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So it's spark. you hear your fuel pump, your probably getting fuel to your injectors the. your ingnition coil could be going bad.. change your rotor. no need to change wires/plugs since when it does run, all 4 cyl are running? to change rotor, pull distributor cap. 3 phillips screws/8mm. then youll want to pull dizzy off so you can access phillips screw holding rotor and 2 phillips holding ignition coil on. coil is like $60 at autozone.. i had this problem it was ignition coil.
Well, I pulled off the distributor cap, which turned out to be fine but replaced that anyway just in case. The rotor was fine and didn't need replacing either. Wouldn't water have had to get through the distributer cap to get into the ignition coil? It was bone dry when I pulled it off, no cracks.

I just went out and tested my fuses, and noticed the "motor check" fuse does not light up. Not even after I switch it out with a fuse that is known to be working.

Last edited by BSG; 03-01-2012 at 02:52 AM.
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Old 03-01-2012, 03:25 AM   #12
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Default Re: ECU questions

What's the condition of your exhaust system?
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Old 03-01-2012, 05:53 PM   #13
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Default Re: ECU questions

The exhaust is fine, it doesn't smoke, isn't loud, and I just got my sticker days before so it passed the emissions test.

I'm going to throw a new ignition coil at it and see if that gets it.
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Old 03-01-2012, 07:37 PM   #14
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Default Re: ECU questions

Interesting. Keep us posted.
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Old 03-05-2012, 12:21 AM   #15
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Default Re: ECU questions

Believe me, when I figure out what it is I'll be sure to let you all know.

Talked to a mechanic and he said he doesn't think it's the ignition coil, since the distributer cap and rotor are just fine. Said ignition coils in hondas don't go bad, not until well after the 100k mile mark.

It's probably an electrical short somewhere. A friend has suggested I spray the car down with water and try to follow the leak. See where the water is going.

Here's a question: If I check the engine code would that tell me where there is an electrical short? Or would it only tell me about the engine?
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Old 03-05-2012, 04:03 AM   #16
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Default Re: ECU questions

You mentioned you found rust near the ECU. So the is rust, (water/moisture) damage in the car?
Did you find any moisture near, or around the ECU when you inspected it?
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Old 03-05-2012, 05:11 AM   #17
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Default Re: ECU questions

No. There was no moisture there. The rust was on the piece of metal its mounted on, it just looked old. There was no rust, corrosion, or moisture on or inside the ecu box itself. Almost wish there was, the mystery would be s4olved.
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Old 03-05-2012, 05:49 AM   #18
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Default Re: ECU questions

Old plug wires can cause the problem you're having.

And what exact fuse are you talking about?
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Old 03-08-2012, 06:29 PM   #19
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Do you guys think this could be my main relay going out on me again? I fixed it not too long ago bc the car wouldn't start when it was hot. Is it also rain/humidity-sensitive? But I guess not if I can hear the fuel pump, so idk.

Quote:
RonJ@HT: Old plug wires can cause the problem you're having.
The plug wires didn't look corroded when I switched out my distributor cap.

Quote:
RonJ@HT: And what exact fuse are you talking about?
The motor check fuse, in the ABS fuse box under the hood. It's fuse #2

Also while I was inside the car looking at the interior fuse box, I noticed many of my fuses didn't light up even though I know them to be working well, such as the power windows, lights, etc.
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Old 03-08-2012, 07:35 PM   #20
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Also while I was inside the car looking at the interior fuse box, I noticed many of my fuses didn't light up even though I know them to be working well, such as the power windows, lights, etc.
Fuses don't light up...
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Old 03-08-2012, 07:37 PM   #21
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Default Re: ECU questions

Yea dude, check that main relay. I heard the main relay was an issue with 93-97 accords, and like models when it came to temperature. But you seems to have had the same issue, and fixed it as you said.
How did you fixed it?

So you have, power, fuel, and the turning over of the motor. I feel like moisture is somehow getting into your combustion chamber. Not enough to hydrolock, but enough to cause your no start. But I'm assuming seeing as most likely areas of concern are not the cause, or direct cause.
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Old 03-11-2012, 05:02 PM   #22
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Had another mechanic over to look at the car and he said I have 3 cracked engine seals leaking fluid onto the spark plugs and that's why it won't start. He pulled the spark plug caps off the top of the engine, and when he pulled them out they had oil on them.

Also can someone tell me how much is reasonable to fix?

Last edited by BSG; 03-11-2012 at 09:08 PM.
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Old 03-13-2012, 07:47 AM   #23
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The next mechanic to look at it says oil on the spark plugs wouldn't be enough to keep it from starting and that I needed a whole new ignition. I said why not just switch out the coil and he tried to tell me the coil wasn't servicable. I told him it was and he said I was mistaken. We went back and forth until I said I went on honda-tech.com. That's when he backed down and admitted that it was servicable but pretended he didn't know "Its been a while since I've worked on one of these old hondas."

***update. Switched out igniton coil and damn thing still won't start. Mechanic pulls me aside away from his boss and says 90% I need a new distributer and that I can switch it out myself. (Which is a completely different story from the new ignition I was told I needed a minute ago) The part itself will run me @ least $200.

I will keep you updated on how this goes.
Oh, and he said something about the third coil or something being burnt out...anyone know what the hell he was talking about?

94EG8, a fuse tester lights up, when you tap your fuses to see if they are working.

Lil Gnome, I just switched out the main relay two years ago. Do they go out that fast?

Last edited by BSG; 03-13-2012 at 09:58 AM.
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Old 03-13-2012, 10:20 AM   #24
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Default Re: ECU questions

idk about your no start but never ever go back to that shop.
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Old 03-13-2012, 10:26 AM   #25
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Default Re: ECU questions

What color is your spark?
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