Honda recommends that the ignition timing be checked every 60,000 miles (96,500 km) and adjusted (if necessary).
On all Civic series engines the timing marks are located on the crankshaft pulley, with a pointer on the timing belt cover. All are visible while looking at the driver's side of the engine compartment. The timing is checked with the engine warmed to operating temperature-176°F (80°C)-idling in Neutral (manual transaxle) or Drive (automatic transaxle), and with all vacuum hoses connected.
Fig. 1: Timing mark location on the timing cover and crankshaft pulley-1984-87
Fig. 2: Clean the notches prior to setting the timing. This will make identifying them much easier
See Figures 7 through 10
Fig. 7: Location of the service check connector for 1992-95 models-shown is post-1993 model which also includes a 3-pin data link connector
Start engine and allow to reach normal operating temperature (cooling fan comes on).
Remove the YEL rubber cap from the ignition timing adjusting connector. This is located at the rear of the engine compartment on 1988-89 models or under the right side of the dash on 1990-91 models.
Fig. 8: Location of the ignition timing adjusting connector-1988-91
Connect a jumper wire between the BRN and GRN/WHT terminals of the connector.
Connect a timing light and check timing using the red timing mark.
Fig. 9: Aim the timing light at the crankshaft pulley-1988-91
Timing should be:
All Models Except Wagon-16-20° BTDC 675-750 rpm
Wagon Models Except 1988 4WD-16-20° BTDC 700-800 rpm
1988 4WD Wagon-16-20° BTDC 675-750 rpm
Adjust timing as needed, by turning the distributor counterclockwise to retard the timing, clockwise to retard the timing.
Turn engine off, remove jumper wire and install the rubber caps.
Fig. 10: Timing mark locations on the timing cover and crankshaft pulley-1988-91
Remove the YEL rubber cap from the from the ignition timing adjusting connector, located at the rear engine compartment on 1988-89 models or under the right side of the dash on 1990-91 models.
Jumper the BRN and GRN/WHT terminals of the connector.
STD Models-16-20° BTDC at 675-750 rpm
SI Models-16-20° BTDC at 700-800 rpm
HF Models (Except California)-12-16° BTDC at 550-650 rpm
HF Models (California)-12-16° BTDC at 600-700 rpm
Turn engine off, remove jumper wire and replace rubber caps.
That's another whole issue.
The ignition timing won't change by itself. If you suspect the timing belt has jumped, then you will have to remove the covers and check the timing marks on the pulleys.
Unless you have some legitimate reason to suspect the timing belt, you usually want to start with the basic troublshooting for a no start condition and if it passes all those tests, then you would begine to suspect the belt.
Here is the prodedures for isolating the problem.
Every engine requires spark, fuel and compression to run. That's what we have to look for. You need to first test a few functions during the failure.
1) Test for spark at the plug end of the wire using a spark tester. If none found, check for power supply on the + terminal of the coil with the key on.
2) Test for injecter pulse using a small bulb called a noid light. If none found, check for power supply at one side of the injecter with the key on.
3) Use a fuel pressure gauge to test for correct fuel pressure, also noticing if the pressure holds when key is shut off.
Once you have determined which of these functions has dropped out, you will know which system is having the problem.
Here's what the noid light looks like.