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!
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
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
I wish I had cheerier prospects for you.
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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