93 civic loss of power

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Mostly, that works well. An exception is when the distributor is failing and the timing is erratic - there is no correct setting then, and a timing light will show the timing is jumping around. The timing light is a great diagnostic help for that, as it points a big red arrow at the distributor. Of course, if there is anything seriously wrong with the fuel or valves the timing can't be set by ear (and sometimes not even set quite right with a light) because the operation is never right.
Mike
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Michael Pardee wrote:

you'd both be right if this vehicle had a chain driven cam, but this is a belt driven cam, so the only way you'll get erratic timing is if the belt is loose. go to a junk yard and check this for yourself - there's only maybe 30% of belts set right. it's something i'd have a hard time believing myself unless i'd seen it. so, if y'all have this issue, check your belt tension.
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jim beam wrote:

and locate the service connector so the leads are jumped too - with that done and a properly tensioned belt, honda timing is rock solid.
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jim beam wrote:

I'm not an expert in later model distributors but if the centrifugal weights are on their way out, that should cause erratic timing. Late Hondas may not even have such things... Geeeez, I'm not an expert on any Honda I guess.
Though off topic sort of, that was a common problem with my Studebakers with Prestojunk distributors with the only good cure being a replacement with the solid earlier GM Delco distributor. I had one NOS Prestolite go belly up after a measly 16K miles and that's the reason they no longer exist in my inventory (the distributors that is).
JT
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update:
The platnum plugs are Bosh branded. I put them in last night, and they seem to be just fine. I also installed the OEM spark plug cables I ordered online.
I changed my zip tie out with the real bolt, blowing my car up didn't sound like a good option.
I tried the "feel and sound" method of the distrbutor adjustment, but I guess my feel and sound is not so great.
I figured out how to hook the timming light up, and found the timming belt marks. The belt isn't shaking around or anyhting, but it does look to be way off on its adjustment.
Thats as far as I got last night. I plan to get the adjustment done tonight, and hopefully have a nicely running civic very soon.
Thanks to everyone with thier help again. I was worried at first to ask such a general question 'why is my car slow", I figured I would get flammed for posting that, but everyone has given good advice, and put me on the path of fixing this car. Once all of this is done I may post some pics on a website so you all can see. *wish this forum allowed picture posting* Thnaks again everyone!!
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Belt?
You should not be able to see the timing belt when doing this adjustment. Maybe you mean the alternator or power steering belt, which loop around the crankshaft pulley? The crankshaft pulley is the pulley with the four timing marks etched into it.

Clicking on a link to a web site with Honda photos on it is preferable to me, and in fact I almost always go to such web site links posted here.
Rough running cars come up a lot here and fortunately for 1990s or so and later Hondas, are usually easily remedied with a proper tuneup or possibly replacement of a few other not-too-expensive parts.
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Grumpy AuContraire wrote:

indeed, they don't.

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I've had erratic timing three times, all with gear driven cams. In our 64 Dodge the gear on the distributor lost some teeth (apparently not that uncommon), in the '70 Volvo the plate the advance weights rode on wore so the advance plate jumped rather than slid, and in the same car the distributor shaft actually cracked. They are admittedly not mainstream problems, but they are nearly impossible to pin down without a timing light.
Mike
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Michael Pardee wrote:

A failing distributor should be pretty easy to catch. Of course, I working with relatively primitive cars (the newest being the '83 Civic). Valve problems hopefully would be on the noisy side.
I'm used to the simpler old style vacuum advance distributors where the timing was set with the vacuum disconnected. One could then use a timing light to check the rate of advance when applying the gas pedal. Easy task on an old V8 where everything is out in the open.
On my '83 Civic, the long sleep that it endured left the whole vacuum-electro-mechanical control system in some disarray. For example, when I first got the car running in May, the spark would advance by turning the distributor counter clockwise which is the opposite of what the manual calls for. Later, it would not respond at all and now it seems to work (somewhat) as it should.
The vacuum for the advance is tapped of of the carb insulator which is of course below the butterfly. Since manifold vacuum decreases when the butterfly(s) are opened, how would this advance timing. The vacuum line is a "T" with the other line going to "Control Box 1."
<shudder>
JT
(Amazed by those crafty Japanese engineers...)
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Grumpy AuContraire wrote:

the 93 civic has neither vacuum advance not centrifugal weights - it's all electronically controlled with timing maps stored in the ecu.
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jim beam wrote:

Which in turn limits the ability to resolve issues by the consumer. I suppose (or hope) that failures are rare with Hondas. Detroit junk OTOH, could cause a lot of sleepless nights...
JT
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You can always get a Hondata programmable ECU,and a laptop will allow you to reconfigure as you wish.
--
Jim Yanik
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Grumpy AuContraire wrote:

if anything, it's easier - it either works or it doesn't. agreed, you can't use your old skill set, but a new skill set is easy enough to acquire, thanks to the net and the efforts of people like tegger.

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Less to go wrong or wear out. Good. Follows the KISS principle!
--
Jim Yanik
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Brandon Scarbrough wrote:

timing is out.

definitely.
get it timed correctly.

don't bother. unless the car's losing power fully loaded at freeway speed up a hill, there's nothing changing the filter will do for you. they're usually good for the life of the vehicle and then some. this is honda, not detroit hunkojunk.
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I have changed the fuel filter, no noticable improvment, but it should have been done anyway.
I have purchaced a PVC valve and a timming light, I plan to have those 2 things done today.
I went to the auto parts store for the spark plug wires, they didn't carry OEM wires, so I ordered a set of OEM wires online.
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Ordering OEM parts online is a popular choice among do-it-yourselfers. They usually beat dealer prices by a lot. What OEM online parts web site did you use?
Make sure the plugs are those recommended in the owner's manual, Most likely NGKs and a few other choices. People here report bad experiences with Bosch plugs, for one.
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Brandon Scarbrough wrote:

well...
good. before you start doing the timing, make sure the marks on the pulley wheel are clean and identifiable, then you should have no problems. remember to jump the service connector to make sure the automatic timing advance is disabled while you're making adjustments. if the timing marks appear to be unsteady, the timing belt may be loose - loose belt allows the cam to lash back and forth relative to the crank so therefore the timing appears to lash back and forth also.

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