1995 Honda Civic 95 Civic EX won't start

Tiny
SEWUNICORN
  • MEMBER
  • 1995 HONDA CIVIC
  • 4 CYL
  • FWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 208,000 MILES
My '95 Civic won't turn over. It drove fine on Friday - the last time I actually used it. No hesitation, no funny noises, no weirdness. Saturday afternoon I wanted to go to the store. I thought it fired up fine but when I went to drop into gear, I discovered that the engine wasn't actually running and I was just in accessory mode. I shut down completely and tried to fire it up again and it just revved without actually turning over. It's been doing that every time I've tried since.

My dad, who drove this car for over 10 years before giving it to me, thought that I might have flooded the engine somehow, so he told me to go out periodically and give it a 10-second try. His though seems to be that if I did flood it, those attempts would burn out the excess gas and it would fire in 3-4 tries. Well, I'm now on Day 5 with 4-6 attempts per day.

We've checked the connections at the distributor cap and fuel injector, and everything seems solid. The battery is now starting to lose juice from several days of trying, but the fact that I had battery at all on Saturday tells me that it's not alternator. It's trying to fire, so apparently (?) It's not starter or solenoid. And I have no idea where the fuel pump even is, but I would think that if that was having problems, I'd have seen some sort of hesitation or something while driving Friday.

Since I can't start it, I can't get it to the service center to let a pro figure it out. And it's about 18 degrees outside and I don't have any kind of shelter, so anything I do is out in the open. However, we had gorgeous warm weather all weekend, so if something's frozen, it happened AFTER the starter issue hit.

Any suggestions you can give would be GREATLY appreciated.
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Wednesday, December 17th, 2008 AT 11:37 PM

6 Replies

Tiny
BRUCE HUNT
  • EXPERT
Well, let's start with finding out if you have spark and if you have gas. You need to check these things first. They will tell us which way to go. For instance, a sensor could have gone out causing no spark or the fuel pump could be out, etc.

Can you start with that and let us know what you find?
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Thursday, December 18th, 2008 AT 2:57 PM
Tiny
SEWUNICORN
  • MEMBER
Half a tank of gas, all of the connections on the distributor cap and fuel injector are tight, but it's way too bloody cold for me to open up the cap and actually check the spark plugs right now. Is there a way to check for spark without opening the cap? I also don't know how to tell if the gas is actually getting into the engine.

Thanks!
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Thursday, December 18th, 2008 AT 11:04 PM
Tiny
BRUCE HUNT
  • EXPERT
I generally pull out one of the plugs and crank the engine to see if there is spark by grounding the tip to the engine. After the cranking you should have a strong odor of gas coming from the cylinder that has no plug.
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Friday, December 19th, 2008 AT 12:18 AM
Tiny
SEWUNICORN
  • MEMBER
Ugh. We got the car towed to the dealer last night and I just talked to the tech. Apparently the entire distributor is foobed.

I was told that the distributor sub assembly is leaking oil. The coil and igniter need to be replaced just to get the car moving, it'll run for a while with a leaking sub assembly but that needs to be replaced as well. The fun part is that they don't have parts on hand and need to order them. I'm looking at about $800 in parts alone and about a week before they get them in hand because of the holidays.

Dad's thoroughly confused about the "sub assembly is leaking oil" part. Leaking into the sub assembly? Leaking out of it? He didn't know there was oil in there. And what exactly is the sub assembly compared to ordering a distributor with cap and rotor from someone like PartZone, which I'm seeing for about $250?

I'm hoping that the costs and repair needs they're quoting are legitimate and not just a case of taking advantage of a girl who doesn't know better. With 208K miles on the car and this is still original equipment, I guess I'm not surprised that it needs to be done. I'm gasping at the cost.
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Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008 AT 1:01 PM
Tiny
BRUCE HUNT
  • EXPERT
Well first off the sub assembly will be the case that the distributor is in. The shell so to speak or the outside. Now, the distributor does not contain oil and should not. That leak they speak off can cause the parts to go bad. The subassembly has an oring that can be replaced.


http://www.2carpros.com/forum/automotive_pictures/10316_95_Dist_1.jpg



Personally, I would go with the other distributor. The diagram shows all of the components in the distributor. There are quite a few. Buy the distributor and put it on yourself. The only two big things to watch for are to have the timing checked once it is put on and to make sure that you note where the plug wires came off from and put them back on exactly like they came off from the old one.
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Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008 AT 2:26 PM
Tiny
SEWUNICORN
  • MEMBER
Thanks for all your help! I had the shop go ahead and do the critical repair portion and the car will be ready later today. The rest is on order and Dad and I will take care of that over the New Year weekend.

I'd give you rep points but it won't let me cause I don't have any. :(
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Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008 AT 3:59 PM

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