1994 Honda Civic won't start

Page 1 of 2  
Hi,
My 94 Honda Civic EX automatic will not start. It has plenty of battery juice, and turns over, just no ignition. Any recommendations? I'd like to
try to fix this without going into a shop.
Related info: It's very humid, rainy. This happened a once couple months ago, and seemed to resolv itself w/o repair.
Thanks.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
hutchtoo wrote:

Are you getting spark? Usually ignition problems that show up when it is humid or raining are related to your cap, rotor and wires. If it has been a while since they've been replaced, replace them. Use original Honda components - they are a little more expensive, but do tend to be better and last longer than aftermarket.
You if you are not getting any kind of spark, it could also be your ignitor. This is an electronic component inside your distributor and commonly fails on Hondas. Here's some really good info on it: http://www.tegger.com/hondafaq/startproblems.html#badigniter
Hope you'll fix it soon. Remco
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I agree about the moisture, particularly affecting the distributor cap.
I'd start with replacing the cap (the part costs about $20). Still no start, then change the plugs ($10-$20). Then the wires ($50-$75). Then the rotor ($15?).
If you have a voltmeter, you should be able to check the resistance of the wires.
Alternatively, post the age (in years and miles of each of the above), and people can comment further.

Agreed. A new ignitor will run about $100.
Buy OEM everything.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
<snip>

How conclusive is this test? I've heard varying opinions.
Greg.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

If you mean that a wire whose resistance is in spec is not necessarily fine, then I agree. But if the resistance is way high, the spark at the plug will be inadequate, and this may be the cause of the no start. (Note: I am going on the assumption people have all-in-one electric meter gadgets that include both a voltmeter and ohmmeter, among other testing features. I just called these gadgets "voltmeters" for short.)
Ways to check plug wires are discussed a lot on the web. Google for {plugs wires resistance check}, and see for example:
http://www.inct.net/~autotips/plugwire.htm
http://www.ehow.com/how_16427_replace-spark-plug.html (see the tips on wire testing at the bottom)
http://ca.autos.yahoo.com/maintain/answer.php?ignition_system2.html
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Looks like you are located in Waltham, Massachusetts. If it rainy and freezing I'd make sure the distributor seal is in perfect condition to keep the moisture out. Use dielectric grease to seal the ends of the plug wires.
In this image distributor seal is part #10
http://www.slhondaparts.com/images/PCI/13SR40/017/6.jpg
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
hutchtoo wrote:

==================================== Hutchtoo,
Don't go off pursuing any untamed ornithoids. (wild goose chase). Electronic components don't fail overnight. Spark plugs don't get fouled overnight. We had the same problem on our Odyssey. One morning it just wouldn't start. Spun good, but no start. If I had realized that one of my injectors had simply dripped a load of fuel into the engine overnight, I would have opened the Owner's Manual and found the part about how to start a 'flooded engine'.
Hold the pedal to the floor crank the starter for up to fifteen seconds. When it starts to run, back off the pedal. It may blow a bit of smoke. Run a tank of Gasohol or a bottle of injector cleaner thru it.
'Curly'
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

The OP's problem is due to moisture from his climate change. Leaky injectors would leak wet or dry, no?
The OP should check for sparks and observe the smoke from the tailpipe to fill us in to real nature of the problem.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload


Here he gives a slightly better description;"spun good",but no start. He didn't mention any misfiring like one would get if there were leaking spark impulses.
"spun good" but not starting is a typical failed MR indicator.

Says who? the OP didn't give any indication of leaking HV like misfiring or stumbling,only "no start" which doesn't describe anything.

Smoke would indicate that some cylinders were igniting,at least part of the time,and there would be misfiring and stumbling in trying to start it.
--
Jim Yanik
jyanik
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote in

The OP hinted that "It's very humid, rainy." The OP crank but won't start in this condition. A leaking HV from the coil straight to ground via moisture (and never making it to the plug wires) will crank but not sputter. And yes, if it's leaking from a spark plug wire or two, it will stumble/misfire. We shouldn't be too adamant about one scenario.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

It could also be a bad main relay. http://www.marklamond.co.uk/howto/electrical/main-relay/main-relay.htm
tegger.com is also a great Honda/Acura info database.
--
Jim Yanik
jyanik
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Good to know. Though both times this happened with a cold start (albeit in warm humid weather). Distributor assy seems to be the top suspect based on most of the feedback....
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Actually, distributor cap and wires are both equally likely suspects. Moisture/insulation breakdown/cracks will all leak voltage to ground on wet days.
This is the sort of thing regular maintenance prevents 100%.
And use OEM. Forget the aftermarket shit. It's false economy.
--
TeGGeR

The Unofficial Honda/Acura FAQ
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

A symptom of a bad MR.(not humidity,though) even just whacking the MR can temporarily 'fix' it and get your car started.Lose fuel pressure and your car will not start,and you can crank until the battery is dead.

Yes,but it's very easy to resolder the main relay and *eliminate* it as a source of trouble.Much easier than messing with the distributor.
I note the others have you swapping parts right off the start. Parts cost money.
--
Jim Yanik
jyanik
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

You mean me? You're right.
I forgot the most obvious method of temporarily fixing a moisture problem: Wipe off the rotor and the inside of the distributor cap, wipe off all the plug wires. Spray wires with WD-40 (don't wipe WD-40 off). Reinstall. If it still won't start, then it's something else.
--
TeGGeR

The Unofficial Honda/Acura FAQ
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload


Not just you,and no offense meant to any of you.
The Honda main relay is such a common,frequent problem,and she DID say WARM along with humid,and beginning with a cold start;sounded just like the MR problem. It's a problem easily eliminated without new parts,IF one has the tools and skillset.
I think you folks saw the words 'humid' and 'ignition'(which I took to meaning "not firing up",or starting),and put together -ignition problems- (no spark),which IMO,are a bit less common than the relay problem.
I also think that if it were ignition problems,the 'starting' would be a bit rough,like misfiring,where she said it just cranked and didn't start.
I still could be wrong,and you folks could be right,though.
I just read it a little differently.
--
Jim Yanik
jyanik
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Jim Yanik wrote:

When I saw the words humid and ignition, I asked if he had spark or even a weak one. Usually my answers go like "does it do this?", "If so, check this..".
Since he then asked about OEM vs aftermarket parts, it was my (and probably everyone's) conclusion that he lost spark.
Humidity is actually a fairly common cause of a no-start. He could have easily have a cracked cap. Replacing this components periodically, especially if they've never been replaced, is just good maintenance.
To just swap parts is expensive but I don't think that was suggested.
Remco
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Not a total,crank-to-death no-cylinder-firing no-start,but a stumbling,erratic misfiring no-start.I didn't get that from his post.

--
Jim Yanik
jyanik
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Easy to solder, but not easy to remove it from inside the dash.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

It is if you remove the knee bolster. http://www.tegger.com/hondafaq/mainrelay.html
--
TeGGeR

The Unofficial Honda/Acura FAQ
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    Motorsforum.com is a website by car enthusiasts for car enthusiasts. It is not affiliated with any of the car or spare part manufacturers or car dealers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.