93 Civic please HELPHELP!!!

Hi there, so to get right to it, I have a Honda Civic 93. Approx. 185,000 miles on it. It began sounding like I had ball bearings rolling around in the engine or gas tank (I know, very different
areas, but I'm second guessing where exactly the noise is coming from now that I think back but pretty sure the engine) With gas prices these days I have been having to fill it with reg. 87 occtn. gas (the lowest one)...when I was filling it with the premium highest occtn. It purred like a kitten, ran smoothly and no probs., but since I started filling it with the lowest crap, it got progressively worse over the last few months. Two days ago it started sounding worse than it has ever before, much louder ball bearings rolling around-like sound and a loud weird clicking noise along with...I drove it two miles,(it sounded really like it was not going to make it) stopped the car, got out for two minutes, got back in, restarted it (with no problems) and got not more than ten feet away from my parking spot and the car died! Just stopped dead after shuddering a bit... It wont start now.(had to get a tow) When I turn the key, all power comes on in car, but the engine keeps making a kind of whiny rar-rar-rar-rar-rar-noise and wont actually start up. My boyfriend thinks it's the solenoid starter...but I'm thinking maybe the timing belt? Maybe the crappy gas screwed it up? and if it did...then screwed WHAT up?!!I need to fix this myself and need some help (please?) with a rough diagnosis!
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The first questions that come to mind are: 1) Is the oil level and condition (still runny liquid) okay? and 2) When was the timing belt last changed? Please say the timing belt has been changed at least once since the car was new!
Assuming there is decent oil in the engine:
I have an unpleasant feeling you are right - the strange starter sound is not a good omen. (If the starter fails to engage it makes an uninterrupted whine of the motor speeding up and then slowing to a stop when you let off the starter. A bad starter won't cause your engine to die, either.) It might be something else, but even then a number of the possibilities are serious. I am especially concerned about the parade of noises and the consistent loud clicking near the end.
First order of business is to determine whether the timing belt has failed altogether. If you remove the oil filler cap (where you add oil at the top of the engine) and peer inside with a flashlight, you should get at least a glimpse of the camshafts - might be only one camshaft in the middle on your engine... dunno. See the photos in http://timingbelt.soben.com/ to get your bearings; the camshafts are the parts that have the toothed pulleys and timing belt at the end. Have somebody crank the engine a second while you watch the camshafts for rotation. You should have no trouble seeing the movement. If there is no movement, the timing belt has failed.
If the camshafts rotate, there are more worries to address. About the only way 87 octane gas can harm the engine is by causing detonation. It shouldn't happen with regular gas in a Civic engine, but the effects are damaging to the valves and pistons. Anyway, get back to us when you know about the camshft movement.
I wish I had cheerier prospects for you.
Mike
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LexiC wrote:

my crx died of symptoms like that - turned out to be the water pump siezing up. $45 + labor. gas shouldn't have anything to do with it.
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jim beam wrote:

If that's what the OP's problem is, hopefully the timing belt hasn't broken yet as a result.
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Let's keep a good thought, although the stalling and now refusal to start is worrisome.
Mike
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Check for sparks, maybe a dead coil or something. Maybe the bearings rolling around-like sound is due to a slipped timing belt or a lean mixture. Probably it slipped far too much near the end and died. Check the timing.
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