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thebesthonda
thebesthonda, ASE MasterTechnician
Category: Honda
Satisfied Customers: 3084
Experience:  26 years experience
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Honda Civic I need to know if it is a distibutor problem or

Customer Question

I need to know if it is a distibutor problem or an electrical problem. My 92 si has a 00 si dohc vtec in it. Everything works, its just the car wont start. Testing the distributor, the coil has no spark. It has power to the coil but no spark. It reads 12.5 and the book I have says it supposed to read 12.8. I am not sure but I thought that was irrelevant. Is something shorting out or is something fried? I also checked the computer(ECU) and that is working fine. I do not want to buy a new distributor and that is not the problem. Would it be any of the wire harnesses under the dash? All fuses are still good.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Honda
Expert:  thebesthonda replied 3 years ago.

thebesthonda :

If you have any more questions or need anything please don't hesitate to ask. If the answer I send helps you, please click ACCEPT.

thebesthonda :

Did you just do this swap and it won't start, or has it been in it already?

thebesthonda :

Did you use an obd1 ecu or obd2?

Customer :

The engine swap was years ago. Still using the obd1.

thebesthonda :

Remove the coil from the distributor and check for burn marks on the side. Normally when these start to go bad, they will "arc" out the side and cause a grayish burn mark. If you see any of these, replace the coil. These are notorious for failure.


 


While the coil is out, look for oil or metal shavings inside the distributor..if you see any of this, the entire distributor should be replaced. Also inspect the distributor cap and rotor for burns and cracks. If you see any, or it has been 50,000 miles since they were replaced, you may want to change these. A bad distributor cap and rotor can cause engine misfire, poor gas mileage, and stalling. Always use Genuine Honda parts from your dealer for the best fit and quality.


 


Please let me know if you need further information. I will be glad to continue working with you until this is resolved.

Customer :

ok thanks. The only reason that there might be a doubt that the problem might not be the distributor is because that when the car was trying to start when it went out, there was a little bit of smoke coming from the driver side dash. When I looked under there, I found a green wire that was burned a little near the blue plug it was coming out from. Would this have anything to do with the car not starting up? I can see nothing wrong with the distributor as far as the things that you mentioned.

Customer :

I know most of the time the problem will be the distributor but I have chated with you before about electric problems with my car and it has been not that serious but this is a big problem now. I could drive before with my dash meters going in and out but now it just wont start.

thebesthonda :

It's hard for me to picture which wires you are referring to unless I was in person...did you remove the coil already?

thebesthonda :

Turn the ignition on...does the check engine light come on for 3 seconds then go back out?

Customer :

The check engine light is always on since the swap. I dont have the o2 sensor hooked up. The coil looks fine .There are no burns, cracks, oil, or any signs of heating on or near the distributor. I have a friend who knows alot more than me who has been helping me this whole time and has been testing the distributor and checking the coil. I dont want to get a new distributor and the problem still exist because I forgot to tell anyone about the smoke and burnt wire. It is a green and white wire coming out of a blue plug that is located on top(or along side it ,above it) of the fuse box under the steering wheel. It looks like the wire is still connected to the plug but it is burnt. WHAT IS THAT GREEN AND WHITE WIRE FOR AND HOW WOULD IT BURN?

thebesthonda : Can you attach a picture of the area and the wire? There are thousands of wires under the dash, but if I see it, this could help.
thebesthonda :

Also, have yu cehcked the stored trouble codes? Even though the check engine light has been on with no problems...there could be a trouble code that may point us in te right direction. Can you hear the fuel pump prime for 3 seconds when you turn the ignition on? If so, this will confirm the operation of the main relay without seeing the check engine light come on for 3 seconds then go out. Let me know. I will be back online later tonight.

Customer :

Here are the pics. The green and white wire that comes out of the small blue plug it burnt.

Customer :

Customer :

I am not sure how to send a picture thru this live chat. Can I send it to an email?

Customer :

I don't hear the fuel pump at all when I turn on the ignition.

Customer :

How do we test the relay to see if its still good. We think the green wire is for the abs and taillights. Thank you for bringing up the fuel pump. Never noticed that it was not turning on. I also appreciate your patience with me. I am not a mechanic and that is why I have someone helping me that can confirm and test what ever you tell me to do.

Customer :

Well I bought a new relay because it was not too expensive. It still does not start. The fuel pump does not turn on like it should.

thebesthonda : Use this little green tree symbol in the toolbar above to attach a picture. The other one did not come through.
Customer :

Full Size Image

Customer :

Full Size Image

Customer :

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I am sorry but I think my picture's file is to big to upload to the site.

Customer :

Full Size Image

Customer :

See the green wire that splits. From the plug to the split is burnt.

thebesthonda :

That shouldn't split from factory. What does the other end feed to? A remote start or alarm system?

Customer :

there used to be an alarm but it was removed.

Customer :

it is a loose wire now and it is covered.

thebesthonda :

That looks like an it may be an interior light wire. That would make sense if the alarm was tied into it. I don't feel this has anything to do with your starting problem. Put your hand on the main relay...turn the ignition on. Can you feel it click...pause 3 seconds then click again?

Customer :

I can feel it click the first time I turn it on but no second click.

thebesthonda :

Ok, Have you tried to check the trouble codes yet?

thebesthonda :

I would like to see if the ecu flashes a trouble code.

Customer :

the check engine light is not blinking at all.

thebesthonda :

Also, be sure g101 ground wire is tight.

Full Size Image

thebesthonda :

It doesn't blink when you jumper the service connector below the dash?

Customer :

no flashes. We tried to jump it to get the codes but no flashes. All the grounds are on tight. We checked the one you are showing.

Customer :

it just stayed on.We have search everything on the web and blog sites to trouble shoot and checked the easy and obvious.

Customer :

checked all the sensors and grounds. everything looks good.

thebesthonda :

Turn the ignition on...does the battery indicator light up?

Customer :

Why would the fuel pump not turn on? The sparkplugs have no spark. That is why I got the relay because I thought it was the problem.

thebesthonda :

The ecu has to tell the main relay what to do...if the ecu does not tell it what to do.....the relay will not work correctly.


Turn the ignition on...does the battery indicator light up?

Customer :

Yes and it stays on

thebesthonda :

Your ecu is defective. Anytime you have a check engine light on, but the ecu does not flash a code...the ecu is bad.

thebesthonda :

The battery indicator tells me the ecu is getting power...the rest is up to the ecu and the ground is fed from the g101 ground.

Customer :

Does it have to do with the fact that it is the older ecu that came with the car hooked up to a newer engine? I never had a problem before and it has been years since the swap.

thebesthonda :

Did you use the obd1 injectors, and distributor?

Customer :

I do not think so.

Customer :

I kept nothing from the old engine.

thebesthonda :

Ok, yes, this will fry the ecu. If you're running an obd1 ecu, you have to run obd1 injectors and distributor.

Customer :

so do you think anything is wrong with my distributor and why did it take years to fry the ecu. I had it running like this for a long time now.

thebesthonda :

It takes time for this to happen. Different resistances in the injectors and distributor will eventually fry the ecu. This is not the first time I have seen this.

Customer :

So as far as you can tell without really inspecting the car yourself, do you think my problem is the distibutor or the ecu? Because I will get what ever I need to fix my car, I just dont want to replace things that are working fine?

Customer :

Is there a way to test the ecu to for sure?

thebesthonda :

Your problem is the ecu. As I stated above, the ecu is responsible for storing codes...when the check engine light is on...a code should be stored...if the ecu does not flash a code, it's bad. No doubt.

Customer :

Thank you I will try a new ecu and I will keep you posted. Thank you. You have been very helpful.

thebesthonda :

My pleasure.

Customer :

I needed to know what ecu to get?

thebesthonda :

You need a 94-95 Del Sol dohc Vtec with distributor and injectors if you're going to keep it obd1. If you want to go obd2 and keep your injectors and distributor, you need a 99-00 Civic Si and an ecu obd1-0bd2 adapter.

Customer :

Can I use an ecu out of an automatic civic? Does it have to be from the exact car the engine came out of to get the car to work again?

thebesthonda :

An automatic won't work. I posted the ecu's that will work above.

Customer :

Which ecu do I get? I see obd2a and obd2b. Is the adapter going to connect to both obd2a and obd2b?

thebesthonda :

You would just have to buy the adapter for the appropriate one. Either ecu will run the engine.

Customer :

I found and ordered a 00 si ecu but it is hard to find the right jumper. There is only 1 site I found that has a obd2b ecu to obd1 car and its not taking orders right now. On ebay, they only have obd2a ecu to obd1 car. Do you know of a store or site that I might find that makes these jumpers other than rywire.com?

thebesthonda :

Try www.hasport.com

Customer :

thanks i will try that one

thebesthonda :

Anytime.

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