Civic Starting Problem

Since the radiator burst, flooded and stalled the engine on my 1993 Honda Civic with more than 150 thousand miles on it, I am experiencing intermittant starting problems on cold and damp mornings. The starter turns
the engine but it won't start. After several cranking attempts over three or four minutes the engine sputters slowly to life. I changed the ignition coil, but no help. Could have I injested coolant? What parts might have been affected? The engine runs very good after it starts, it's a little tired because of it's age, but runs good. I would appreciate any advice. RichR
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Rich Rossler wrote:

With the engine flooding, do you mean that coolant sprayed all over the engine or that it appeared flooded in that it has too much gas? Have you determined that the spark was indeed a problem, since you needed to replace the coil?
Bad wires sometimes can cause conditions like this as well. If you replaced the wires, cap, rotor, coil, did you use orginal Honda parts (makes a big difference).
You might have hosed some of the electrical components down with coolant, but one would doubt it finds its way inside the engine. You could try and clean all electrical components and connections well - WD40 is not a very good lubricant, but it does tend to dry things out very well and cleans connections.
Remco
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That this correlates to damp mornings (which cold ISTM would exacerbate) strongly suggests the distributor needs a thorough drying out. I would start by replacing the cap and rotor with OEM (= genuine Honda ones). That's around $30 for parts. Labor is straightforward. Consider removing the distributor housing and letting it sit in a warm house for a day, too. If all of this doesn't help, then consider replacing the housing seal. Be gentle with all distributor parts. Its connections are fine electrical ones. Moisture ingress can foul it up. Forcing the cap on incorrectly is easy to do. The top holds the coil. Don't let it take a blow. One side of the housing holds the igniter; its wire harness connections can start snapping off.
A full tuneup could certainly help. It's due every few years, anyway. Also you don't want minor problems, easily remedied by a tuneup, to compound your troubleshooting. Check ignition wire resistance; all should be less than 15k ohms. If not OEM wires, then replace them, period. Spark plugs should be as recommended by the owner's manual, period. NGK spark plugs one of a few the manual recommends and what I use in my 91 Civic. Platinum plugs are not necessary. Replace air filter and fuel filter, unless you know they're less than two years old. Then at least inspect and shake out the air filter (though moisture wear won't be obvious). If possible, get a timing light and check the timing, per the online 93 Civic manual at www.autozone.com . Also per the manual top off and purge the cooling system of air.
Your engine may be flooding, due to leaky fuel injectors. Buy a bottle of Chevron Techron injector etc. cleaner for $6 at WalMart, dump into a near empty fuel tank, fillup.
What you describe does not sound serious, and I'd be optimistic it can be remedied over several hours and for under $150 (which may include a tuneup that is due, anyway).
www.tegger.com/hondafaq reinforces several of the points above, particularly under the running/starting problems section.
Updates welcome, to help others in the future.

on my 1993 Honda

experiencing
The starter turns

attempts over three

changed the ignition

Ingested where? Into the distributor housing? Sure. Into the engine? Not from the radiator itself bursting.
You sure you don't mean something like the engine cylinder head gasket failed? That would get coolant into the engine cylinders.

because of it's

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Elle responded:

Elle got this one right.
The antifreeze together with water conducts electricity sufficiently to cause this malfunction. It occurs almost certainly at the high voltage side of the ignition system. Likely places would be those where a film of antifreeze between a high voltage point and ground can be formed. I am talking in general terms because I have no knowledge about the 93 Civic. Very likely, you do not have to replace anything; repeated wiping with a wet cloth, even washing with water, to remove the antifreeze will be enough. But be sure to get the water off. Then, after the items are clean and dry, apply a >thin< film of silicone grease (shouldn't be visible) and the problems will be gone.
Disregard what Elle wrote after her first paragraph.
.
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Can you at leat critique what she wrote after her first paragraph? I've got some of the same stuff on my Web site. If it's wrong, I want to correct it.
--
TeGGeR

The Unofficial Honda/Acura FAQ
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snip
You know it better.
Irrelevant stuff needs no critique.
.
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karl wrote:

Saying something is wrong or irrelevant without stating reason makes your post irrelevant.
Aren't you the Karl that also critiqued (different thread) as to where to measure voltage when there is no current running? You are like a thread seagull - you crap all over the thread and then leave.
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