1988 Honda Civic have fuel, spark, compression, won't start

Tiny
FAMPARKS
  • MEMBER
  • 1988 HONDA CIVIC
  • 4 CYL
  • FWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 140,000 MILES
I have the wagon, 1.5L. I visually see the injectors shooting fuel into the throttle body. I verified spark from all 4 spark plugs. I have compression. I have plenty of juice. I turns over but just won't fire. The triangle is complete and yet won't start. This one is blowing my mind. And no codes on the computer either. Does anyone have any ideas or should I start looking for gremlins.
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Wednesday, June 4th, 2008 AT 9:41 PM

11 Replies

Tiny
MHPAUTOS
  • EXPERT
Hi there,

You may just have very fouled spark plugs, change them and do a static ignition timing check as well

Mark (mhpautos)
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Wednesday, June 4th, 2008 AT 9:44 PM
Tiny
FAMPARKS
  • MEMBER
I put brand new spark plugs in the car. I was thinking the same thing, but did not change condition.
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Wednesday, June 4th, 2008 AT 10:51 PM
Tiny
KHLOW2008
  • EXPERT
Hi famparks,

Did you do anything to the engine before this problem started?

Mhpautos recommended static timing check and I agree as it would let you know if the firing order had been set correctly if you had taken out the plug cables.

Anyway, if the sparks are weak, it will also not start the engine.
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Thursday, June 5th, 2008 AT 9:33 AM
Tiny
FAMPARKS
  • MEMBER
Car has been kept in great shape, regular maintenance. Driving on hwy at 70 mph and car felt like it was going to die, pulled to the side and hasn't started since. Knowns are: Fuel & charging system are 100%. Timing is good. Spark verified visually at each wire. New plugs and fuel filter. Compression good. Timing checks good. At this point the only thing I can think of is the spark is not hot enough, How do you check that? I was thinking bad gas but I was driving awhile on the fuel that is in it now and sitting at 1/2 tank. Even sprayed starting fluid down throttle body with no effect what so ever. Any idea would be greatly appreciated. I have no idea what to do next.
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Thursday, June 5th, 2008 AT 10:42 PM
Tiny
MHPAUTOS
  • EXPERT
Hi there,

Ideally we need the engine running but if you are getting a decent size blue spark that should be OK, Have you done a scan yet? You may have a fault code set. The light will not always come on with a set code.

Mark (mhpautos)
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Thursday, June 5th, 2008 AT 10:47 PM
Tiny
FAMPARKS
  • MEMBER
The computer is not showing any fault codes and no engine light on dash. Thank very much for you help. Great ideas. Please keep them coming because I don't have any idea where to go next. As far as spark goes I pulled the spark plug wire and inserted a spark plug and spark is visible at the plug. Can't tell if it is blue, more yellow I guess.
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Thursday, June 5th, 2008 AT 10:59 PM
Tiny
KHLOW2008
  • EXPERT
Hi famparks,

If the spark looks reddish, it might not be strong enough caused by a weak coil.

Is the fuel pressure ok?
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Friday, June 6th, 2008 AT 6:03 AM
Tiny
FAMPARKS
  • MEMBER
I have good fuel pressure, good timing, good compression, and have spark, just don't know how good the spark is. No codes on computer. The spark seems to be the real unknown at this point. Is the spark hot enough? I can visually see spark during the day, can even hear the spark from the plug.
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Monday, June 9th, 2008 AT 9:44 PM
Tiny
FAMPARKS
  • MEMBER
I checked the igniter unit again. I have no continuity at white or blue wire. I checked it before and had it but maybe I was touching the case. I pulled the unit completely out this time to check. I am guessing a bad ground somewhere. But to show up in the middle of driving and no maintenance being done? Wierd. Possible bad ground causing weak spark? Good ground from distributor case to chassis and battery. What links the blue and white wire together? This is the question. Where they get there ground has got to be where the problem is. Now to just find a wiring schematic.
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Monday, June 9th, 2008 AT 10:12 PM
Tiny
KHLOW2008
  • EXPERT
Hi famparks,

With ignition on,

Black/yellow = ignition current = 12 v.

White/blue = coil primary circuit = 12 v.

Yellow/green = ECM

Blue = Tachometer.

If you don't have power supply to white/blue wire, the coil or wire is faulty.

Test the resistance of the coil, primary = 0.6 to 0.8 ohm
secondary resistance = 12,800 to 19,200 ohms
replace coil if out of spec.
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Tuesday, June 10th, 2008 AT 9:19 AM
Tiny
MK2CRAIG
  • MEMBER
Hey FamParks you still out there. Did you ever find the problem? Got an 88 civic wagon with same problem.
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Wednesday, July 6th, 2016 AT 3:16 PM

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