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Help! Engine won't start

Old 11-Mar-2006, 01:38 AM
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Help! Engine won't start

Car: 95 Civic LX
Problem: Engine cranks, but will not start
What has been done so far:
1) Replaced spark plugs - and tested that there are sparks while cranking - i.e. ignition wires and distributor/rotor (brand new) are good. Also, checked resistance of all ignition wires - all are way below 25,000 ohms

2) Check Engine light goes out after 2 seconds when the key is in the "ON" position and I can hear the fuel pump prime during those 2 seconds - so, fuel pump and main relay should be good

3) Can smell gas while cranking - fuel is delivered to the engine without problems. Also, after removing a spark plug, I can see gasoline on the spark plug - so there IS fuel in the engine - so, fuel pump and main relay should be good

4) Since the engine cranks, then the starter should be good

5) Battery is fully charged using an external charger - so there's plenty of juice

6) Based on the above, ECU should be good - since the check engine light goes out after 2 seconds when the key is in the "ON" position

Please help! Any other things to check/test? What do you think the problem is?

Please let me know. Thanks in advance for your help!
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Old 11-Mar-2006, 09:59 AM
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Did u check grounds? Worth a shot.
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Old 11-Mar-2006, 11:25 AM
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Thanks for your reply. I've cleaned/sanded the valve cover to radiator support ground. Any other grounds I should check?

I searched in the forums and people have mentioned that the ground to the thermostat housing is critical, since the ECU is grounded there too. Will a bad ground to the thermostat housing cause the engine not to start?

Thanks again!
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Old 11-Mar-2006, 11:32 AM
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sounds to me like theres something wrong with ur distributor maybe?
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Old 11-Mar-2006, 11:49 AM
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But I'm getting sparks on all 4 spark plugs - can the distributor still be bad? I would assume the distributor, spark plug, spark plug wires and the ignition coil are all good?
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Old 11-Mar-2006, 12:01 PM
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oh wait ur right
crap sorry i dont know
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Old 11-Mar-2006, 10:14 PM
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I cleaned all 3 grounds today, but still have the same problem. Can anyone suggest what else might be wrong? Could it be the ECU? How can I test the ECU?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 12-Mar-2006, 01:33 PM
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Maybe you connecter the spark plugs to the dist. cap wrong ie. cylinder one to 3 on the distrubutor cap. if the car was working before and now it doesn't and that's all you did, then you did something wrong more than likely
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Old 12-Mar-2006, 02:06 PM
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No...the car was running/starting perfectly after the distributor cap/rotor were replaced (about 2 months ago). A few days ago, the car wouldn't start.

Any other ideas? Thanks.
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Old 12-Mar-2006, 02:30 PM
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hmm...alternator maybe?
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Old 12-Mar-2006, 03:40 PM
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I thought all cranking power comes from the battery during start up, since the alternator doesn't run when the engine is not running yet? I guess it's not the case? Can you tell me what role does the alternator play during cranking and engine startup? Thanks in advance for your help.
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Old 12-Mar-2006, 04:14 PM
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^ agree, i dont think it would be the alternator
but who knows, it might be the alternator and we could both be wrong
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Old 13-Mar-2006, 06:33 PM
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Any other ideas please? Thanks!
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Old 16-Mar-2006, 05:17 PM
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I've jumped the service connector and when I turned the ignition to on, the check engine light stays on constantly. Is it suppose to be like that if there are no codes in the ECU, or is there something wrong with my ECU?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 16-Mar-2006, 08:21 PM
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where are you located? if you can find someone around you plug in their ecu just to rule that out
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Old 16-Mar-2006, 08:34 PM
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Maybe with all that cranking you couldve flooded it. Highly unlikely though.

My bet is on weak spark.
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Old 17-Mar-2006, 12:04 AM
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What should I do with a weak spark? I've already got new plugs, new distributor cap and rotors. The wires all tested out to be under 11,000 ohms - so I think they're ok. Thanks.
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Old 11-Apr-2006, 01:43 AM
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I've also replaced the ignition coil with a brand new one. Interesting thing is...the resistance between terminals A and B is 1.1 ohms (on both the new coil and the old coil), but the Helm's manual says it should be between 0.6 and 0.8 ohms?

The resistance between terminal A and the external coil is 16.5K ohm, which is within specifications.

So, with a brand new ignition coil and brand new spark plugs, I think I can rule out weak sparks, correct?

Anything else I should check? Thanks in advance for all your help!
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Old 11-Apr-2006, 02:03 AM
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could be your starter.
have a friend tap on the starter with a rod or something while you try to crank it.

even tho the car is cranking it could still mean the starter is messed because it is not allowing it to turn over.
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Old 11-Apr-2006, 02:15 AM
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If you're getting spark then there's a fuel problem.

a) while cranking put a screwdriver on the injector and your ear to the handle end of it. If you hear clicking then they are firing.

b) if they are firing but no start, when you click the the ignition to ACC, listen carefully for the fuel pump, it will be a gentle hum for a 3-4 seconds.

c) if the injectors fire, and fuel pump works, it's probably your firing order.

d) if the pump is not humming, take some brake cleaner and give it a rip, it will start no matter what. If your fire order is correct, the brake cleaner will ignite. If the motor starts you've got a fuel delivery problem. Which can be a dead pump or clogged filter.

Good luck.
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