Why won't my '92 Civic start and what do I test/try to fix next?

Tiny
BEEGEE
  • 1992 HONDA CIVIC
  • 220 MILES

'92 Civic LX 220K+ miles. Was running fine for a long time. Not sure if the following is relevant but. I drive the car every day. Last month I went 2 days without starting it, and when I went to start it, it acted like it might not start but did. Every day after that it started like normal. I noticed then if I didn't start it for 1 day, it would 'almost' not start the following day. So I go on vacation for a week. I come back and it won't start period.

I put in new spark plugs, new wires, distributor cap and rotor. Nada. I'm 98% sure I did all this correctly (this is the first time I ever have done any of this). It wants to start SO BAD but won't, it's SO CLOSE. I can't describe it, after I put in the Dist. Cap and rotor, it felt like it DID start for a second there, and the engine was in this 'no man's land' between fully engaged and almost engaged for a second or 2.

Could anyone point me in the direction of additional troubleshooting or diagnostics? My friend who was with me the first day said I was getting a spark from the starter (or something similar).

If the problem is fuel, what do I do, and what do I test for? What's next on the list of troubleshooting and things to try?

Also, I'm new to all of this and love learning about this stuff as I go along, and would like to test and try new repairs to get my chops going (especially if it will save me some $$$$$)

What do you guys think?

Please let me know

Thanks.

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Tuesday, May 15th, 2012 AT 12:32 AM

13 Replies

Tiny
DRCRANKNWRENCH
  • EXPERT
  • 3,444 POSTS

If you actually had a spark coming from the starter, either the starter is bad or the positive battery cable is not connected correctly. Check it for a good tight metal to metal corrosion free fit and do the same with the negative cable.
I am going to give you a walk through diagnostic for your situation if that is not the problem. Also, you might have a failing battery. Batteries can hold a charge but when put under load the voltage drops. This is due to a cell failing in the battery. You can test this by checking the battery voltage when you try to start the car. You could also take the battery to Advance Auto or Auto Zone to rule it out. The walk through will continue the process of eleimination into the most likely causes. So, use the link below and follow it thouroughly.

http://www.2carpros.com/articles/car-cranks-but-wont-start

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Tuesday, May 15th, 2012 AT 12:49 AM
Tiny
DJCL
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To check it properly you will need some equipment that you may no have. Start out by trying to put the car in clear flood mode. Holt the gas pedal all the way down to the flore and crank the engine for about 10 second and see it that gets it running.

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Tuesday, May 15th, 2012 AT 12:53 AM
Tiny
BEEGEE
  • MEMBER

I tried starting it jumped to another running car (i noticed battery power was low). No dice. Flood mode start didnt work. When I turn the car on I hear the "hummmmm" of the fuel pump (it is the fuel pump right?). Ive heard problems about the relay, especially when its hot. What is this and how do I check if thats the problem? Whats the difference between a relay and a fuse? If I hear that 'hummmm' when I turn the car on is the relay the problem?

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Tuesday, May 15th, 2012 AT 1:31 AM
Tiny
DJCL
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Whats huming? A relay uses low curent to turn on a hi curent. Fuse is a protection part. To check the fuel pump you will need to check fuel psi. Asuming there is voltage @ the pump

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Thursday, May 17th, 2012 AT 2:04 PM
Tiny
BEEGEE
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Does anyone know where I can get a cheap fuel pressure gague for this? Everyone I find is $40 and if I'm going to buy one, I might as well have a shop diagnose the problem for $80. Im looking for one for around $20 or so. Will shops let you rent their parts or borrow them or can someone point me in the right direction?

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Thursday, May 17th, 2012 AT 2:38 PM
Tiny
DJCL
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Some parts stores will rent them

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Thursday, May 17th, 2012 AT 5:08 PM
Tiny
BEEGEE
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Checked pressure, consistent 44 psi. Fuel pump and filter are fine.

Whats next?

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Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012 AT 12:15 AM
Tiny
DJCL
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If you have spark and fuel psi see if you have inj pulse. You will need a noid light or a scope to check this. Noid lights are cheap.

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Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012 AT 6:17 AM
Tiny
BEEGEE
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Can this also be checked with an ohmeter as per the service manual?

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Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012 AT 11:20 PM
Tiny
BEEGEE
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I checked the resistence across all injectors and all are within spec.

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Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012 AT 1:25 AM
Tiny
DJCL
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That's good. But are the injectors working. Get a noid light and see is if there being told to turn on and off.

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Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012 AT 2:30 AM
Tiny
BEEGEE
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Ok update.

-voltage at injector terminals = 12V

-thinking something was wrong with main relay I removed it and resoldered it. However I botched this pretty bad, probably fried part of the board among other things (first time soldering anything and used a 40w iron by mistake.)

-plugged it back in, still heard fuel pump and CEL click/off after 2 seconds. No start

-checked for spark at all cylinders, no spark anywhere
-checked for spark at ignition coil, no spark, and rotor turns
-used LED test light, hooked up neg. To battery ground; positive to positive bolt on the distributor(blk/ylw wire with '+' symbol). Light lit up and stayed lit during cranking
-used LED test light, hooked up pos. Terminal to battery pos. Terminal, negative to terminal on distributor with (-) symbol. Light flashed on and off during cranking.

This last test implicates a bad coil based on what I read. After doing this I checked ALL fuses in the car. Here is how I checked them (not sure if this is the correct way)
- multimeter set to 12V. Connected ground (COM) lead to negative battery terminal, then checked both ends of all fuses with pos. Lead with key in ON position.

I had no reading (0 volts) for fuses 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 18, 19, 21, 22

I really dont know what this means. I dont know if these normally dont register voltage under these testing conditions, I dont know if I was testing these fuses incorrectly, and I dont know what this means overall. All other fuses registered 12V at both terminals.

If someone could help me analyze these results I would appreciate it. I assumed I jacked the main relay and ordeder one online it should be here tommorow

Thanks

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Tuesday, May 29th, 2012 AT 1:18 PM
Tiny
DJCL
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You checked the fuses ok. Some don't have voltage un less there powered up. Like headlights. Replace the coil and retry

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Tuesday, May 29th, 2012 AT 11:20 PM

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