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    JugglingWolves's Avatar
    JugglingWolves Posts: 7, Reputation: 1
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    #1

    Sep 18, 2006, 02:24 PM
    95 honda civic won't start, help!
    My 1995 civic will not start. I have never had a problem with this car before. The battery is fairly new; only about a year old. It cranks just fine with a normal starting sound, but nothing else happens. I've checked all the fuses and they're all fine. I thought it was flooded, so I tried starting it with the pedal all the way down, but that didn't help at all. It smells of gas now, from opening it all the way, so I know fuel is actually getting somewhere. I just had a major tune up done less than a year ago with new spark plugs, new timing belts, new fuel and water pump, everything.

    Any suggestions on helping me diagnose and repair this problem?
    TxGreaseMonkey's Avatar
    TxGreaseMonkey Posts: 16,756, Reputation: 5596
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    #2

    Sep 18, 2006, 05:15 PM
    If you turn your ignition ON, the Check Engine Light, on a properly running Honda, should come on and then go off after 2 seconds. During this time, you should hear the fuel pump run. If the Check Engine Light does not come on and then go off, focus on the main relay, ECM, and ignition switch.

    So, describe what your Check Engine Light, battery light, oil pressure light, and fuel pump are doing?

    Did you check all under-hood and under-dash fuses?

    What's the mileage on your Civic?
    JugglingWolves's Avatar
    JugglingWolves Posts: 7, Reputation: 1
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    #3

    Sep 18, 2006, 05:54 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by txgreasemonkey
    If you turn your ignition ON, the Check Engine Light, on a properly running Honda, should come on and then go off after 2 seconds. During this time, you should hear the fuel pump run. If the Check Engine Light does not come on and then go off, focus on the main relay, ECM, and ignition switch.

    So, describe what your Check Engine Light and fuel pump are doing?

    Did you check all under-hood and under-dash fuses?
    The check engine light functions properly. It turns on and after a second or two relay, it shuts off. The only other light that comes on and stays on until I turn the ignition is the oil light, but that shuts off after I crank it for a few seconds.

    Fuel pump sounds like it's working and it's brand new. I also smell fuel when I pump the gas pedal.

    I did check all fuses, both inside and out.

    Ignition switch went out on this car about four years ago and it doesn't feel like the same problem. When it went out before hand, it would crank and start, but would only continue running if I held the key in the start position.

    I am very perplexed by this problem. There is something else, but it might be a coincidence. My Miata quit running yesterday and I tried to jump start it with my honda. I know that I hooked everything up right when I tried to jump start the miata (it didn't work for the miata, because as it turns out, it's another yet undiagnosed problem). The bit that makes me feel like it's a coincidence is that the honda ran totally fine after that for the rest of the day. I only had problems starting it this morning when we went to go look at a new Honda.

    EDIT: Mileage is just over 162,000
    Battery light turns on when the key is in the on position and flickers when I try to start, then stays on after I quit trying.
    TxGreaseMonkey's Avatar
    TxGreaseMonkey Posts: 16,756, Reputation: 5596
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    #4

    Sep 18, 2006, 06:02 PM
    Have you checked for spark?
    JugglingWolves's Avatar
    JugglingWolves Posts: 7, Reputation: 1
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    #5

    Sep 18, 2006, 06:07 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by txgreasemonkey
    Have you check for spark?
    Not yet, as I don't have a spark plug wrench. These spark plugs are about 7 months old and are upper end parts. It sounds to me like it could be spark issues, but intuitively I don't think it is. My brother is on his way over with his tools to try and help me figure it out.

    Any idea what it could be if the spark plugs are okay?
    TxGreaseMonkey's Avatar
    TxGreaseMonkey Posts: 16,756, Reputation: 5596
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    #6

    Sep 18, 2006, 06:12 PM
    You don't have to remove a plug. Disconnect one of the plug wires, attach it to an old plug, and touch it to the ground on top of the valve cover, while someone cranks the engine. Look for spark. I'm sure your existing plugs are fine.

    Since your Check Engine Light, fuses, ECM, and fuel pump appear to be working OK, then the problem should be in the ignition system. If you don't get spark, I would focus on the igniter (ICM) and coil inside the distributor. With the mileage you have on your Civic, the igniter is a prime suspect, which Autozone can test for free.
    JugglingWolves's Avatar
    JugglingWolves Posts: 7, Reputation: 1
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    #7

    Sep 18, 2006, 06:56 PM
    If I don't have an old plug laying around, is there any other way I can test if there's spark?
    TxGreaseMonkey's Avatar
    TxGreaseMonkey Posts: 16,756, Reputation: 5596
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    #8

    Sep 18, 2006, 07:01 PM
    Yes, pull one of the wires out of the distributor and hold it about 1/2" from the distributor socket and have someone else crank the engine. Only do this for several seconds. This will also test your coil. Alternatively, stick a plastic handle screwdriver in where the spark plug goes and hold it near the ground on top of the valve cover and look for spark, as a friend cranks the engine.
    JugglingWolves's Avatar
    JugglingWolves Posts: 7, Reputation: 1
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    #9

    Sep 18, 2006, 07:10 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by txgreasemonkey
    Yes, pull one of the wires out of the distributor and hold it about 1/2" from the distributor socket and have someone else crank the engine. Only do this for several seconds. This will also test your coil. Alternatively, stick a plastic handle screwdriver in where the spark plug goes and hold it near the ground on top of the valve cover and look for spark, as a friend cranks the engine.
    I just tried holding the wire close to the distributer socket and absolutely nothing happened. So you suspect it's the igniter? Is this part of the ignition switch?
    TxGreaseMonkey's Avatar
    TxGreaseMonkey Posts: 16,756, Reputation: 5596
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    #10

    Sep 18, 2006, 07:15 PM
    No, it's inside the distributor. It is an electronic analog to points on older cars. It causes the electric field in the coil's primary circuit to build-up and collapse, thereby generating high voltage in the secondary circuit of the coil. It's this voltage that goes to the spark plugs.
    JugglingWolves's Avatar
    JugglingWolves Posts: 7, Reputation: 1
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    #11

    Sep 18, 2006, 07:18 PM
    Thank you so much for all your help! I'll pass this information along to my much more car-savvy brother who, hopefully, will be able to replace what needs to be fixed.

    Also, is this a problem that just happens suddenly, as in your car is fine one moment, then won't turn on. Or is it kind of a degenerative problem, where the car slowly deteriorates?
    TxGreaseMonkey's Avatar
    TxGreaseMonkey Posts: 16,756, Reputation: 5596
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    #12

    Sep 18, 2006, 07:21 PM
    Normally, it comes suddenly. Solid state either works or it doesn't. Hondas are notorious for igniters and coils going, especially with the mileage you have on your's. ICMs contain a sophisticated computer chip, which is ruined by heat over time. Remove the igniter and coil and take them to Autozone for testing. If you plan on keeping the car, I would replace the igniter and the coil. This is what Honda dealers would do. Most Honda dealerships probably replace this "package" several times each day.

    If you end up replacing the igniter, remember to apply silicone dielectric grease to the back of the igniter, which is mounted to a heat sink. The silicone grease assists in heat transfer. Also, apply silicone grease to the four electrical contacts. Even if your old igniter tests OK, it's very important to reapply dielectric grease, before reinstalling it.
    JugglingWolves's Avatar
    JugglingWolves Posts: 7, Reputation: 1
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    #13

    Sep 19, 2006, 08:42 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by txgreasemonkey
    Normally, it comes suddenly. Solid state either works or it doesn't. Hondas are notorious for igniters and coils going, especially with the mileage you have on your's. ICMs contain a sophisticated computer chip, which is ruined by heat over time. Remove the igniter and coil and take them to Autozone for testing. If you plan on keeping the car, I would go ahead and replace the igniter and the coil. This is what Honda dealers would do. Most Honda dealerships probably replace this "package" several times each day.

    If you end up replacing the igniter, remember to apply silicone dielectric grease to the back of the igniter, which is mounted to a heat sink. The silicone grease assists in heat transfer. Also, apply silicone grease to the four electrical contacts. Even if your old igniter tests OK, it's very important to reapply dielectric grease, before reinstalling it.
    Again, thank you for being so much help! I called autozone to see if they had an igniter and the coil for my car and they called it an "igniter coil". I'm hoping that's the same thing. I plan on going to pick it up today and, with your new advice, I will also get some silicone grease for it.

    What kind of tools do I need to change this?
    TxGreaseMonkey's Avatar
    TxGreaseMonkey Posts: 16,756, Reputation: 5596
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    #14

    Sep 19, 2006, 09:56 AM
    If you have an Advance Auto Parts where you live, check prices with them. Their igniters and coils have been less expensive than Autozone's, when I have checked.

    You will need an 8mm nutdriver (or ratchet wrench with a 6" extension) to remove the distributor cap and a Phillips #2 screwdriver to remove the rotor and igniter. You will also need a pair of needle-nose pliers, to remove the connectors [TRICK: Remove coil to greatly increase room for working on igniter and replacing wires]. Silicone grease is sometimes included in the box that the igniter comes in, at least with the G.P. Sorensen igniters I have seen. To get to the igniter, you may have to crank the car to position the rotor screw for removal. So, remove the distributor cap, rotor, dust cover, and coil; then, you will have plenty of access to the igniter. Remember to disconnect the negative battery terminal, after removing the rotor.

    Once you remove the igniter and heat-sink, undo the two mounting screws securing the igniter to the heat-sink. Coat the back of the new igniter with silicone grease and mount to the old heat-sink. Reinstall igniter/heat-sink, coat terminals with silicone grease, replace wires, and "button-up" the operation.
    TxGreaseMonkey's Avatar
    TxGreaseMonkey Posts: 16,756, Reputation: 5596
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    #15

    Sep 19, 2006, 10:56 AM
    Looks like Autozone is cheaper for an igniter for your year Civic.
    TxGreaseMonkey's Avatar
    TxGreaseMonkey Posts: 16,756, Reputation: 5596
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    #16

    Sep 19, 2006, 11:13 AM
    Looks like Autozone is cheaper for an igniter for your year Civic.
    fourtheboys96's Avatar
    fourtheboys96 Posts: 2, Reputation: 1
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    #17

    Jul 15, 2007, 08:51 PM
    I used to have a similar problem. The mechanic changed the igniter and ignition coil.

    My problem now is that after turning the car keys to "on" the check engine light would also turn on but it would not come off after 2 seconds as it used to be.

    On a cold start, it would sometimes take 5 minutes before the CEL comes off and that's the only time I would be able to start the car.

    Any idea on what should I check?

    Thanks!
    TxGreaseMonkey's Avatar
    TxGreaseMonkey Posts: 16,756, Reputation: 5596
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    #18

    Jul 15, 2007, 09:02 PM
    fourtheboys96, run the K-Test. It sounds like your ECM is failing.
    fourtheboys96's Avatar
    fourtheboys96 Posts: 2, Reputation: 1
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    #19

    Jul 15, 2007, 10:13 PM
    It is the first time I heard of the K-Test. Can you describe how its done. Thanks!
    TxGreaseMonkey's Avatar
    TxGreaseMonkey Posts: 16,756, Reputation: 5596
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    #20

    Jul 16, 2007, 07:39 AM
    The K-Test: Remove the MAP Sensor connector and turn the ignition switch to ON (not start). Using a multimeter, check for 5 volts going between the MAP Sensor connector's reference wire (+) and ground. As you look at the connector, this is the socket on the right. Really press the black test lead into a cleaned main ECM ground on the thermostat housing. If the voltage is low, it's probably indicating ECM failure. Most failed ECMs will record a fraction of a volt.

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