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    prelude1974's Avatar
    prelude1974 Posts: 22, Reputation: 1
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    #1

    Feb 12, 2010, 03:20 PM
    Engine turns over but wonít start (1992 Honda Prelude 2.0i)
    I replaced the battery as it was dead and then started up the engine and it started fine. I did not take the car for a drive then.

    The next day I tried to start the car and it would not start and heard a loud bang/pop noise from the engine area. Tried many times since then but the engine turns but wonít start.

    For the past 9-12 months, it sometimes took a 2nd attempt to start the engine in the mornings, but it ALWAYS started.

    Itís a very low mileage car for its age, 85,000 miles.

    What could be causing the problem? And what do I need to do to get the car working again?
    cdad's Avatar
    cdad Posts: 12,687, Reputation: 1438
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    #2

    Feb 12, 2010, 03:30 PM

    You could have lost a timing belt. If you have fuel compression and spark it should start. The loud bang pop could have been a backfire through the fuel system ? Carb / throttle body.
    If the miles are low and the car is old then the belt can weaken over time and a backfire could caus the belt to slip or break.
    TxGreaseMonkey's Avatar
    TxGreaseMonkey Posts: 16,755, Reputation: 5596
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    #3

    Feb 12, 2010, 03:32 PM

    . Ensure the timing belt did not break. Remove the oil filler cap and, while someone else cranks the engine, look inside and see that the camshaft rotates.

    . Perform tests in the link below:

    https://www.askmehelpdesk.com/cars-t...ml#post2123675
    prelude1974's Avatar
    prelude1974 Posts: 22, Reputation: 1
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    #4

    Feb 12, 2010, 05:46 PM
    I will check the belt tomorrow, however I don't think it's that as a new belt was put in at about 80,000 miles.

    Will also run through the tests outlined above and come back with my findings.
    TxGreaseMonkey's Avatar
    TxGreaseMonkey Posts: 16,755, Reputation: 5596
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    #5

    Feb 12, 2010, 06:06 PM

    It's important to note whether the Check Engine Light comes on for 2 seconds and then goes out, when the ignition switch is turned to ON (Position II). Also, note whether you can hear the fuel pump, located in the fuel tank, run during that 2 second interval.
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    prelude1974 Posts: 22, Reputation: 1
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    #6

    Feb 13, 2010, 03:09 PM

    UPDATE:

    I did the Check Engine Light test and it comes on for 2 seconds and then goes out

    I had a guy who lives near me (he is a mechanic) come have a look at the car (as my experience is limited). He took out the 4 spark plugs and attached a device to the openings. The device had a dial and on the dial, the 1st third was red, the 2nd third was Green and the last 3rd was again red.

    Every time the device was attached to each of the spark plug openings and I tried to stat the car, the dial needle measured between 400-450 (halfway through the 1st third Ė Red zone. He said something about not enough (or was it too much?) compression. He said the needle should be around 100 and reach the green zone at least.

    Does this help anyone in regards to what could be wrong?
    TxGreaseMonkey's Avatar
    TxGreaseMonkey Posts: 16,755, Reputation: 5596
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    #7

    Feb 13, 2010, 04:25 PM

    He ran a compression test and found out the compression is real low. Major engine rebuilding (valves, head, timing belt) will be required.
    cdad's Avatar
    cdad Posts: 12,687, Reputation: 1438
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    #8

    Feb 13, 2010, 05:34 PM

    Compression of 400-450 is way too high. It indicates the vales aren't working in this cylinders. They aren't opening at all. It could indicate a broken cam.
    prelude1974's Avatar
    prelude1974 Posts: 22, Reputation: 1
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    #9

    Feb 13, 2010, 05:52 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by TxGreaseMonkey View Post
    Major engine rebuilding (valves, head, timing belt) will be required.
    Can all them things malfunction at the same time? Or is it a case of once everything has been opened up then you find out what exactly need's to be replaced?
    TxGreaseMonkey's Avatar
    TxGreaseMonkey Posts: 16,755, Reputation: 5596
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    #10

    Feb 13, 2010, 05:56 PM

    Did your aluminum head engine ever overheat? Usually, valve damage and warped heads come from overheating. After the head is machined, the valves are repaired, the head gasket replaced, and then the water pump and timing belt are replaced. Depending upon where you live, it could cost $2,500 to $3,000.
    prelude1974's Avatar
    prelude1974 Posts: 22, Reputation: 1
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    #11

    Feb 13, 2010, 06:11 PM

    I'm not sure about the head engine overheating, how would I tell this? Are there any tell tell signs to spot this?

    One min, the car was running fine, had a flat battery so replaced that. Car started fine after replacing battery. Next day it would not start, head a loud pop/band from the engine and that's it.

    $2,000 - $3,000 is a lot of money, more than the cars worth!!
    TxGreaseMonkey's Avatar
    TxGreaseMonkey Posts: 16,755, Reputation: 5596
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    #12

    Feb 13, 2010, 06:26 PM

    Yep. In life, and with cars, that's often the way it is. One day, I put my 1993 Civic away in the garage as Miss Perfect. The next day, it didn't start and the ECM ($1,100 computer) was toast. If you keep a car long enough, some event will ultimately cause you to get rid of it.

    Even though I love my Civic, I feel Hondas and Toyotas are overrated. None of them deserve to be placed on a pedestal the way Consumer's Report and the American public have done.
    prelude1974's Avatar
    prelude1974 Posts: 22, Reputation: 1
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    #13

    Feb 25, 2010, 08:01 AM
    UPDATE:

    The mechanic opened it all up and found that the valves were leaking (just as you predicted). The valves have now been repaired, head gasket replaced & timing belt replaced.

    Now the engine wonít turn?? (there is no spark - when before there was a spark).

    What could be the reason for this? And what else can we try to get the car started?
    TxGreaseMonkey's Avatar
    TxGreaseMonkey Posts: 16,755, Reputation: 5596
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    #14

    Feb 25, 2010, 08:15 AM

    Did the mechanic set the timing at TDC on the compression stroke?

    Assuming the basic engine timing was set correctly, the distributor was installed properly (i.e. the timing is fairly close), and the wiring harness is fine, I would focus on the Ignition Control Module (ICM) and coil. The mechanic may not, however, have marked the distributor housing, prior to removal, and the timing is now way off. If the timing is fine, here's how to replace the ICM and coil:

    https://www.askmehelpdesk.com/cars-t...tml#post265896
    prelude1974's Avatar
    prelude1974 Posts: 22, Reputation: 1
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    #15

    Mar 2, 2010, 08:23 AM

    The mechanic came to the conclusion that the distributor may be at fault and sent it to be checked. This was confirmed that indeed it was not working in the manner that it should be.

    During this time he fitted another distributor (just for testing purposes) from another car and he got a spark. So this confirms that the original distributor was faulty.

    Yesterday evening he picked up a re-conditioned distributor for my car, fitted it and no spark??

    He is going to go back later on today to change the distributor and Iím hoping that this will finally solve the problem. But from the above scenario is there anything else I should get him to do/check?
    TxGreaseMonkey's Avatar
    TxGreaseMonkey Posts: 16,755, Reputation: 5596
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    #16

    Mar 2, 2010, 08:33 AM

    Have the mechanic install a genuine Honda distributor housing. Over 50% of new aftermarket and reconditioned distributors for Honda have not worked at AMHD. And those that did work initially died prematurely. It's fine for him to install an aftermarket ICM and coil in the Honda housing, in order to same money. This should solve your problem.
    TxGreaseMonkey's Avatar
    TxGreaseMonkey Posts: 16,755, Reputation: 5596
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    #17

    Mar 2, 2010, 08:39 AM

    Once you get your Prelude running again, here are some recommendations to properly maintain your car:

    https://www.askmehelpdesk.com/cars-t...tml#post219991
    prelude1974's Avatar
    prelude1974 Posts: 22, Reputation: 1
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    #18

    Mar 3, 2010, 11:22 AM

    TxGreaseMonkey, thank you for all your help so far, you have been spot on with your diagnostics :-)

    It seems the reconditioned distributor was at fault, as temporarily he has put in one from a prelude that was scrapped and my cars working. Just waiting on the faulty reconditioned one to be replaced and put back into my car. So could I have just used my old original distributor and simply replaced with an aftermarket ICM and coil?

    I took the car for a short spin and one thing I did notice is that the electronic temp gauge goes from 25% then 50% (midway) and then after a while drops back to 25%, sits there for a bit and then comes back to 50%?? This happened twice in a short journey, in the past I noticed it happen once in a blue moon on long journeys and even then it would be a one off instance. Is this anything for me to worry about?
    TxGreaseMonkey's Avatar
    TxGreaseMonkey Posts: 16,755, Reputation: 5596
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    #19

    Mar 3, 2010, 11:34 AM

    Likely, the answer is yes to your question. Once I know the problem is distributor-related, I almost invariably recommend replacing just the ICM and coil, in the old distributor, to save money. If the problem persists, then I suggest replacing the distributor housing with a genuine Honda product and installing the new aftermarket ICM and coil in it.

    This link should help you troubleshoot your temperature gauge:

    https://www.askmehelpdesk.com/cars-t...ml#post2043857
    TxGreaseMonkey's Avatar
    TxGreaseMonkey Posts: 16,755, Reputation: 5596
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    #20

    Mar 3, 2010, 11:44 AM
    Yes, I would get to the bottom of the temperature gauge issue. You need to have total confidence in your gauges. Since some of your problems may have stemmed from the engine overheating at some point, go over the cooling system. Ensure the system was refilled with the proper 50/50 mixture of antifreeze and distilled water. These links should help:

    https://www.askmehelpdesk.com/cars-t...tml#post235973

    https://www.askmehelpdesk.com/cars-t...ml#post1365453

    Maintaining proper fluids (chemistry) is the key to trouble-free motoring. Always use the best products available.

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