Honda Car Forum


 

Go Back   Honda Car Forum - Accord Parts Civic Tuning Acura Racing > Honda Acura > Honda 2

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1 (permalink)  
Old 29 May 2007, 06:09 pm
Adam Christopher Lawrence
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default '93 Civic CX - DIED in parking lot?!?

93 Civic CX hatch, Canadian model, 244 000 km (the "clown car" featured
on Tegger's site, FYI).

I've had a broken ball joint and a ruptured Canadian Tire tire in the
past month and a half (I blame a pothole) but the other two problems
have me much more concerned.

Six weeks ago, spontaneous failure to start. Cranked but did little
else. After being towed to a CAA-approved garage, the ignition control
module was found to be faulty and was replaced. Also, oil had leaked up
high around all four plugs (which was blamed for the failure of the
ICM). We had replaced the valve gaskets 2 years prior. A new gasket set
was installed.

Car ran sort of OK for the next four weeks. The subsequent two weeks, we
started having start problems (had to crank it twice or three times) and
the low idle seemed a little sputtery. It also seemed to be a little
sluggish as well. We chocked it up to the car needing a tune-up having
last been done around 2 years ago.

After leaving the car in the lot for the weekend, spontaneous failure to
start returned on Sunday. Something along the lines of
crank-crank-crank-crank-crank - SPUTTER-SPUTTER crank-crank-crank etc. -
different than last time. A gasoline smell came after cranking a few
times. No oil was observed around the plugs. No check engine light.
PGM-FI relay seemed to be clicking as it should, fuel was pumping,
decent spark, etc. The oil was down a bit, but still above the 'fill'
dot on the dipstick.

I got the car towed to my regular mechanic who is now of the opinion
that the engine needs to be replaced. I intend to go to the garage and
have him better convince me of this before I shell out bucks for an
engine replacement, but I have a few questions that are lingering...

1.) The mechanic warned us (2 1/2 years ago) that leaving the
oil-leak-around-the-plugs problem could result in catastrophic engine
failure. I've not found any Internet source that can verify this story.
Any opinions?

2.) Any chance that the ECM could be screwy? I can't see it being that
since there's spark and fuel pumping, but can't be sure.

3.) The whole concept of gently-used Japanese motors was new to me when
the mechanic recommended a used Japanese motor as opposed to tearing my
existing one apart. Is it true that they export engines and
transmissions (as well as whole cars) because of their stringent vehicle
inspection policies?

Thanks,
Adam (unhappy clown car owner)
Reply With Quote
  #2 (permalink)  
Old 29 May 2007, 06:30 pm
Joe LaVigne
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: '93 Civic CX - DIED in parking lot?!?

Adam Christopher Lawrence wrote:

> 93 Civic CX hatch, Canadian model, 244 000 km (the "clown car" featured
> on Tegger's site, FYI).
>
> I've had a broken ball joint and a ruptured Canadian Tire tire in the
> past month and a half (I blame a pothole) but the other two problems
> have me much more concerned.
>
> Six weeks ago, spontaneous failure to start. Cranked but did little
> else. After being towed to a CAA-approved garage, the ignition control
> module was found to be faulty and was replaced. Also, oil had leaked up
> high around all four plugs (which was blamed for the failure of the
> ICM). We had replaced the valve gaskets 2 years prior. A new gasket set
> was installed.
>
> Car ran sort of OK for the next four weeks. The subsequent two weeks, we
> started having start problems (had to crank it twice or three times) and
> the low idle seemed a little sputtery. It also seemed to be a little
> sluggish as well. We chocked it up to the car needing a tune-up having
> last been done around 2 years ago.
>
> After leaving the car in the lot for the weekend, spontaneous failure to
> start returned on Sunday. Something along the lines of
> crank-crank-crank-crank-crank - SPUTTER-SPUTTER crank-crank-crank etc. -
> different than last time. A gasoline smell came after cranking a few
> times. No oil was observed around the plugs. No check engine light.
> PGM-FI relay seemed to be clicking as it should, fuel was pumping,
> decent spark, etc. The oil was down a bit, but still above the 'fill'
> dot on the dipstick.
>
> I got the car towed to my regular mechanic who is now of the opinion
> that the engine needs to be replaced. I intend to go to the garage and
> have him better convince me of this before I shell out bucks for an
> engine replacement, but I have a few questions that are lingering...
>
> 1.) The mechanic warned us (2 1/2 years ago) that leaving the
> oil-leak-around-the-plugs problem could result in catastrophic engine
> failure. I've not found any Internet source that can verify this story.
> Any opinions?


IMO, it shouldn't. I suppose it is possible, but usually replacing the
seals should solve the issue.

>
> 2.) Any chance that the ECM could be screwy? I can't see it being that
> since there's spark and fuel pumping, but can't be sure.


I doubt it. The ECM is pretty hardy. Unless it was covered in water (car
in a flood), the ECM should last pretty damned near forever.

>
> 3.) The whole concept of gently-used Japanese motors was new to me when
> the mechanic recommended a used Japanese motor as opposed to tearing my
> existing one apart. Is it true that they export engines and
> transmissions (as well as whole cars) because of their stringent vehicle
> inspection policies?


Yes.

Reply With Quote
  #3 (permalink)  
Old 29 May 2007, 06:40 pm
Adam Christopher Lawrence
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: '93 Civic CX - DIED in parking lot?!?



>> 1.) The mechanic warned us (2 1/2 years ago) that leaving the
>> oil-leak-around-the-plugs problem could result in catastrophic engine
>> failure. I've not found any Internet source that can verify this story.
>> Any opinions?

>
> IMO, it shouldn't. I suppose it is possible, but usually replacing the
> seals should solve the issue.


Thanks for the advice. Here's another question: does the first
mechanic's hypothesis about the oil leak frying the ICM make sense? I
mean, if the sparl is arcing to the engine block instead of coming out
of the plug, would the igniton system really see any difference?
Reply With Quote
  #4 (permalink)  
Old 29 May 2007, 09:23 pm
Tegger
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: '93 Civic CX - DIED in parking lot?!?

Adam Christopher Lawrence <madmanguruman@gmail.com> wrote in news:13325
$465cb9d6$cf707bea$30311@PRIMUS.CA:

>
>
>>> 1.) The mechanic warned us (2 1/2 years ago) that leaving the
>>> oil-leak-around-the-plugs problem could result in catastrophic engine
>>> failure. I've not found any Internet source that can verify this story.
>>> Any opinions?

>>
>> IMO, it shouldn't. I suppose it is possible, but usually replacing the
>> seals should solve the issue.

>
> Thanks for the advice. Here's another question: does the first
> mechanic's hypothesis about the oil leak frying the ICM make sense? I
> mean, if the sparl is arcing to the engine block instead of coming out
> of the plug, would the igniton system really see any difference?



No it wouldn't. But *you* might notice. The engine could misfire badly
enough to cause driveability problems.



--
Tegger

The Unofficial Honda/Acura FAQ
www.tegger.com/hondafaq/
Reply With Quote
  #5 (permalink)  
Old 29 May 2007, 09:41 pm
Tegger
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: '93 Civic CX - DIED in parking lot?!?

Adam Christopher Lawrence <madmanguruman@gmail.com> wrote in
news:9c075$465cb299$cf707bea$17378@PRIMUS.CA:

> 93 Civic CX hatch, Canadian model, 244 000 km (the "clown car"
> featured on Tegger's site, FYI).
>
> I've had a broken ball joint and a ruptured Canadian Tire tire in the
> past month and a half (I blame a pothole) but the other two problems
> have me much more concerned.
>
> Six weeks ago, spontaneous failure to start. Cranked but did little
> else. After being towed to a CAA-approved garage, the ignition control
> module was found to be faulty and was replaced.





I'd *love* to know how they determined that. Did they backprobe the blue
wire and check for dropped signals? That's the only real way to tell,
on-the-car.

You don't have a tach, do you? The stock tach is a handy diag tool,
since it gets its power from the igniter's blue wire.



> Also, oil had leaked
> up high around all four plugs (which was blamed for the failure of the
> ICM). We had replaced the valve gaskets 2 years prior. A new gasket
> set was installed.
>
> Car ran sort of OK for the next four weeks. The subsequent two weeks,
> we started having start problems (had to crank it twice or three
> times) and the low idle seemed a little sputtery. It also seemed to be
> a little sluggish as well. We chocked it up to the car needing a
> tune-up having last been done around 2 years ago.
>
> After leaving the car in the lot for the weekend, spontaneous failure
> to start returned on Sunday. Something along the lines of
> crank-crank-crank-crank-crank - SPUTTER-SPUTTER crank-crank-crank etc.
> - different than last time. A gasoline smell came after cranking a few
> times. No oil was observed around the plugs. No check engine light.
> PGM-FI relay seemed to be clicking as it should, fuel was pumping,
> decent spark, etc. The oil was down a bit, but still above the 'fill'
> dot on the dipstick.
>
> I got the car towed to my regular mechanic who is now of the opinion
> that the engine needs to be replaced. I intend to go to the garage and
> have him better convince me of this before I shell out bucks for an
> engine replacement, but I have a few questions that are lingering...
>
> 1.) The mechanic warned us (2 1/2 years ago) that leaving the
> oil-leak-around-the-plugs problem could result in catastrophic engine
> failure. I've not found any Internet source that can verify this
> story. Any opinions?
>
> 2.) Any chance that the ECM could be screwy? I can't see it being
> that since there's spark and fuel pumping, but can't be sure.
>
> 3.) The whole concept of gently-used Japanese motors was new to me
> when the mechanic recommended a used Japanese motor as opposed to
> tearing my existing one apart. Is it true that they export engines and
> transmissions (as well as whole cars) because of their stringent
> vehicle inspection policies?
>
> Thanks,
> Adam (unhappy clown car owner)




Before you spend lots of dough getting the engine replaced, find a
better mechanic. This is not rocket science and he's no rocket
scientist.

If the Check Engine light comes on for two seconds when the key is first
turned to "II", then goes off, and if the fuel pump runs while the CEL
is on, then your ECM is FINE. Do NOT replace it.

Your symptoms right now point to a possible weak spark, weak enough to
cause a misfire. Your mechanic needs to ascertain that the spark AT THE
PLUGS IN THE ENGINE is a fat and purply-blue. A "spark plug tester" will
not tell anybody if the spark is grounding before the plug gap.

If the cap/wires/rotor/plugs are over 5 years old, or show ANY sign of
arcing, then the spark is probably not making it to the plugs in the
engine, but may be arcing out in the plug tubes. Check for discolored,
burned or sooty spots at the plug wire ends, and on the plug tube walls.

Your symptoms also point to a possible weak coil. The blue-spark check
is a good test for that as well. A weak coil will put out a (yellow or
darker) spark.

If the spark is purply-blue when viewed at a standard plug gap in a dark
area, then the ignition is likely just fine.

A final strong possibility is a flooded engine due to a leaky injector.
If the car sits for long periods, gum can build up in the injector,
sticking it open slightly. The cure is to floor the gas, then hold it
there while you crank. This causes the ECM to shut off the injectors in
order to clear a flooded condition.

If the car eventually starts when you do this, you've got a fuel
condition. If the car starts fine when it's used frequently, then the
leaky injector theory becomes more probable.

If the problem turns out to be leaky injectors. Canadian Tire sells the
Motorvac injector service, which I highly recommend. It's $100 and is
worth doing on any older car. Just make sure you have a high-volume shop
do the work, and make 100% certian that they will plumb in at the fuel
filter, NOT the fuel pump connections.

Good luck.

--
Tegger

The Unofficial Honda/Acura FAQ
www.tegger.com/hondafaq/
Reply With Quote
  #6 (permalink)  
Old 29 May 2007, 10:09 pm
Adam Christopher Lawrence
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: '93 Civic CX - DIED in parking lot?!?


> I'd *love* to know how they determined that. Did they backprobe the blue
> wire and check for dropped signals? That's the only real way to tell,
> on-the-car.
>
> You don't have a tach, do you? The stock tach is a handy diag tool,
> since it gets its power from the igniter's blue wire.


No, it's an automatic unfortunately.

I rode along with the car and was watching over the shoulder of the
mechanic while they tinkered. There was *zero* spark when the initial
check was done. They checked the cap and rotor, then swapped the whole
distributor with another (weak spark) then put the ICM from the other
distributor back into my old assembly (problem "solved").

> Before you spend lots of dough getting the engine replaced, find a
> better mechanic. This is not rocket science and he's no rocket
> scientist.


He's been good to me in the past, but I intend to pay him a visit before
agreeing to something as drastic as an engine swap. I want to be
thoroughly convinced that nothing else will work.

> If the Check Engine light comes on for two seconds when the key is first
> turned to "II", then goes off, and if the fuel pump runs while the CEL
> is on, then your ECM is FINE. Do NOT replace it.


This is what's happening. I can hear the fuel pump run until the CEL
goes off. Agreed that the ECM is most likely not involved.

> If the cap/wires/rotor/plugs are over 5 years old, or show ANY sign of
> arcing, then the spark is probably not making it to the plugs in the
> engine, but may be arcing out in the plug tubes. Check for discolored,
> burned or sooty spots at the plug wire ends, and on the plug tube walls.


The cap, rotor and wires were replaced two years ago by the same
mechanic. Probably after-market (which is its own can of worms, I know)

> Your symptoms also point to a possible weak coil. The blue-spark check
> is a good test for that as well. A weak coil will put out a (yellow or
> darker) spark.


I'll keep this in mind for tomorrow's chat.

> A final strong possibility is a flooded engine due to a leaky injector.
> If the car sits for long periods, gum can build up in the injector,
> sticking it open slightly. The cure is to floor the gas, then hold it
> there while you crank. This causes the ECM to shut off the injectors in
> order to clear a flooded condition.


If it's conceivable that 30 hours of inactivity can leak enough fuel to
flood the engine, then this could be the problem. I normally use the car
daily.

I did try cranking the car with the gas down as per the FAQ, but still
couldn't get it to change its condition. Prior to Sunday, it was having
trouble starting every day but would get going eventually (would
sometimes take two or three sets of cranks to get going).

> If the car eventually starts when you do this, you've got a fuel
> condition. If the car starts fine when it's used frequently, then the
> leaky injector theory becomes more probable.


> If the problem turns out to be leaky injectors. Canadian Tire sells the
> Motorvac injector service, which I highly recommend. It's $100 and is
> worth doing on any older car. Just make sure you have a high-volume shop
> do the work, and make 100% certian that they will plumb in at the fuel
> filter, NOT the fuel pump connections.


If I get a good resolution tomorrow, I'll absolutely consider this.

Thanks for the advice!
Reply With Quote
  #7 (permalink)  
Old 29 May 2007, 11:45 pm
Joe LaVigne
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: '93 Civic CX - DIED in parking lot?!?

Adam Christopher Lawrence wrote:

>
>
>>> 1.) The mechanic warned us (2 1/2 years ago) that leaving the
>>> oil-leak-around-the-plugs problem could result in catastrophic engine
>>> failure. I've not found any Internet source that can verify this story.
>>> Any opinions?

>>
>> IMO, it shouldn't. I suppose it is possible, but usually replacing the
>> seals should solve the issue.

>
> Thanks for the advice. Here's another question: does the first
> mechanic's hypothesis about the oil leak frying the ICM make sense? I
> mean, if the sparl is arcing to the engine block instead of coming out
> of the plug, would the igniton system really see any difference?


I doubt it. The car would run like hell, but it shouldn't bother the
ignition system.

Reply With Quote
  #8 (permalink)  
Old 30 May 2007, 05:38 am
Tegger
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: '93 Civic CX - DIED in parking lot?!?

Adam Christopher Lawrence <madmanguruman@gmail.com> wrote in
news:7cb44$465ceae3$cf7041c7$1858@PRIMUS.CA:

>
>> I'd *love* to know how they determined that. Did they backprobe the
>> blue wire and check for dropped signals? That's the only real way to
>> tell, on-the-car.
>>
>> You don't have a tach, do you? The stock tach is a handy diag tool,
>> since it gets its power from the igniter's blue wire.

>
> No, it's an automatic unfortunately.
>
> I rode along with the car and was watching over the shoulder of the
> mechanic while they tinkered. There was *zero* spark when the initial
> check was done. They checked the cap and rotor, then swapped the whole
> distributor with another (weak spark) then put the ICM from the other
> distributor back into my old assembly (problem "solved").




I see their reasoning, but with a Honda you're much more likely to have
NO spark than a weak spark, from a failing igniter.

An igniter usually works fine all along, then quits outright, usually
while driving.

I'm really thinking a weak coil at this point. I might be wrong, not
having actually been there when they did their work...

Ask them if they checked for shorting into the spark plug tubes.


<snip>

>
>> Your symptoms also point to a possible weak coil. The blue-spark
>> check is a good test for that as well. A weak coil will put out a
>> (yellow or darker) spark.

>
> I'll keep this in mind for tomorrow's chat.
>
>> A final strong possibility is a flooded engine due to a leaky
>> injector. If the car sits for long periods, gum can build up in the
>> injector, sticking it open slightly. The cure is to floor the gas,
>> then hold it there while you crank. This causes the ECM to shut off
>> the injectors in order to clear a flooded condition.

>
> If it's conceivable that 30 hours of inactivity can leak enough fuel
> to flood the engine, then this could be the problem. I normally use
> the car daily.
>
> I did try cranking the car with the gas down as per the FAQ, but still
> couldn't get it to change its condition. Prior to Sunday, it was
> having trouble starting every day but would get going eventually
> (would sometimes take two or three sets of cranks to get going).




Make 100% certain the spark is actually good before getting the Motorvac
done.

If your car is used daily, chances are the injectors are fine. Modern
fuels have loads of detergents and do a very good job of keeping
injectors clean.


--
Tegger

The Unofficial Honda/Acura FAQ
www.tegger.com/hondafaq/
Reply With Quote
  #9 (permalink)  
Old 30 May 2007, 09:46 am
madmanguruman@gmail.com
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: '93 Civic CX - DIED in parking lot?!?

When I pulled the plug wires to check for oil, the tubes looked clean.
The first mechanic did a quite thorough job cleaning out the oil.

I interrogated my mechanic today (in person) and was able to see a
very good reason for my engine woes.

Compression test: 105 / 80 / 60 / 60 which improved on the low
cylinders when a little oil was squirted in. Looks like a ring problem
- explains the sluggishness and hesitation too. He expects ~110 psi
across the board for an engine of my vintage.

The ignition circuitry does seem to be giving a good spark.

He agreed that just replacing the ICM (which the first mechanic did)
was something sort of odd. He would have opted to replace the whole
assembly for a remanufactured one.

Sigh ...

Reply With Quote
  #10 (permalink)  
Old 30 May 2007, 07:32 pm
Tegger
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: '93 Civic CX - DIED in parking lot?!?

madmanguruman@gmail.com wrote in news:1180536400.115161.192510
@q69g2000hsb.googlegroups.com:

> When I pulled the plug wires to check for oil, the tubes looked clean.
> The first mechanic did a quite thorough job cleaning out the oil.
>
> I interrogated my mechanic today (in person) and was able to see a
> very good reason for my engine woes.
>
> Compression test: 105 / 80 / 60 / 60




Oh. My. Gosh.

You are, not to put too fine a point on it, WAY, WAY LOW.



> which improved on the low
> cylinders when a little oil was squirted in. Looks like a ring problem
> - explains the sluggishness and hesitation too. He expects ~110 psi
> across the board for an engine of my vintage.



Wow. And you've only got 244,000km, which is a skimpy 151,000 miles.

While I considered the possibility of low compression as being the cause
of your woes, I did not expect that your compression could be that low
at this mileage.

You bought the car with 106K miles on it, and got a pretty good price.

I'm afraid the previous owner did not take care of the car quite the way
you might have hoped. At this point you should consider either selling
the car or replacing the engine.

A rebuild will likely not be economic. An engine with compression this
low has suffered severe neglect, and it is a guarantee the crankshaft is
scored.

What were your numbers when you passed DriveClean when you transferred
ownership? Do you still have the printout? Did the car start and run OK
when you bought it?



>
> The ignition circuitry does seem to be giving a good spark.
>
> He agreed that just replacing the ICM (which the first mechanic did)
> was something sort of odd. He would have opted to replace the whole
> assembly for a remanufactured one.
>
> Sigh ...
>



Sorry, Adam. Wish the news was better.



--
Tegger

The Unofficial Honda/Acura FAQ
www.tegger.com/hondafaq/
Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
95 Civic Temp Gauge died DGB Honda 2 3 05 Jan 2009 12:20 am
94 civic died marblondie@hotmail.com Honda 2 5 12 Mar 2006 06:53 pm
92' Honda Civic Died CivicGuy Honda 2 8 29 Dec 2005 08:26 am
Re: 92' Honda Civic Died Rob B Honda 3 0 24 Dec 2005 06:51 am
93 Civic CX died yesterday Geezitron Honda 3 2 14 Feb 2004 10:35 pm


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 08:36 am.


Attribution:
Honda News | Autoblog
Powered by Yahoo Answers




Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
LinkBacks Enabled by vBSEO 3.6.0 PL2 © 2011, Crawlability, Inc.
HondaCarForum.com is not affiliated with Honda Motor Company in any way. Honda Motor Company does not sponsor, support, or endorse HondaCarForum.com in any way. Copyright/trademark/sales mark infringements are not intended or implied.