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Old 12 Apr 2011, 12:01 am
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 39
Default Honda Civic Ignition Timing/Timing Belt? Help?

Hi there,

Well I was driving quite casually when, all the sudden my Honda Civic made an unusual sound, then turned off, and was unable to start again. I got a mobile mechanic, I have used before, to check out the car, and apparently my timing belt had snapped. I feared the worst thinking there was bent valves and what-not. I got a call back from my mechanic saying he had just replaced the timing-belt, and the car runs fine. I was definitely relieved. After having the car back for a week or so, i noticed the engine "pinging" as I tried to accelerate, especially when driving uphill, etc. I got him to come back and check out whether the ignition timing was correct. He looked at the car for about 2-5 min before saying that he had turned the distributor cap as far as it would go, and it should run fine.

It is now months later and my car is still making the "pinging" sound, i have poor fuel economy, power loss, and I've had to top my oil up twice. (I have never added any oil previously since changing the oil 2 years back)

My question is whether I might have valve damage, or whether something more simple (such as ignition timing) is off. I was under the impression that if there was valve damage i either wouldn't be able to start the car, or it would be much more noticeable? It's now like when I put my foot down, nothing happens (overtaking people is not an option anymore) I have a '95 Honda Civic EG, and it was a great car before this happened. If anyone has had a similar experience, or is particularly knowledgeable in the area I would be most grateful for your feedback, before I spend hundreds of dollars getting those rip-off mechanics to look at it. Cheers
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Old 12 Apr 2011, 12:16 am
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Join Date: Apr 2011
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I have and bad news its expensive. On mine th belt was behind the water pump. You may have valve damage and its best to find a good mechanic.
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Old 12 Apr 2011, 12:31 am
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Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 881

" he had turned the distributor cap as far as it would go"

Wrong. That indicates a problem right there, he should not have let you continue to drive the car like that. The distributor on a stock Honda engine correctly timed should have no need to be fully turned in either direction.

The pinging was pre-detonation from an incorrectly timed engine, in other words the air/fuel mixture was igniting most likely too soon.

He was probably off a tooth or two when he timed the timing belt which threw the the valve and ignition timing off. In your case sounds like it was too Advanced, advanced timing causes intense heat in an engine. Intense heat = damage. Probably burnt some valves.

You need to take it to a different shop and request that they check the mechanical timing and do a cylinder compression test plus a cylinder leak down test. I also wouldn't be surprised if some valves are bent because when those belts go odds are hugely in favor of at least a couple valves getting bent.
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Old 12 Apr 2011, 12:46 am
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Join Date: Apr 2011
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First of all I am amazed when you say you never changed oil since changing it 2 years ago. Normally you are supposed to change it every 5000Km (or depends on your brand/vehicle make, etc) If not every 4,3 months for cars like Honda (that is how it does in Sri Lanka)

However going back to original issue there can be several causes for the problem. Mainly engine pinging (engine knock hopefully) caused when fuel mixture is compressed too much when ignition happens early while piston move upwards.

Does your car has EFI system or carburetor? However most likely the cause is ignition timing problem. But it is highly unlikely that when timing belt is broken on the move, that you get away without any damages to valves.

Since you have major power loss also I suggest re do the ignition timing and at the same time use a fuel system cleaner and proper tune up, which includes changing the air filter too.

It there is no change then I suggest for you to check out the valves,etc.

Also note when engine oil getting old, and heat up every day it looses its viscosity and loose the ability to lubricate the moving metal parts inside engine. And all the sudden you will feel power loss due to compression leaks caused by worn out piston rings, and cylinder bore.
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