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1985 honda civic timing way off


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kevin r.
Novice

May 29, 2017, 9:47 AM

Post #1 of 15 (806 views)
1985 honda civic timing way off Sign In

Hi!

My Friend and I recently bought an 85 civic wagon (the ones that look like a space shuttle) as a fun project. When we bought it it didn't run properly, would overheat very quickly and idle at 3000 rpm. sounded like a timing issue and when we got it home and checked, sure enough the timing was very retarded.

The previous owner had the distributor mounted improperly (so it sat way advanced) in order to get it to idle, as soon as the distrib is back in its limits the barely idles or doesnt idle. tdc is porbably 15 degrees retarded. its supposed to be about 12-14 advanced so overall the timing is off about 30 degrees!

what we've tried -
1-comfirm all wires/ cap/ rotor/ connections are correct
2- new timing belt/water pump tensioner
3- mechanically advance the cam one tooth (very small results with this which seemed odd.
4- rotated the cam gear 180 degrees
5-?????
what should we do next? could it be something in the distributor itself? a worn cam gear?

any advice on what to dig into next would be greatly appreciated as we are at a loss of were to look.

thanks!


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

May 29, 2017, 10:44 AM

Post #2 of 15 (796 views)
Re: 1985 honda civic timing way off Sign In

You shouldn't TRY anything. You should just time the engine correctly.
I'm betting there was nothing wrong with the timing until you messed with it.

Start with getting the timing belt set to where is should be before you end up with bent valves.

Is this a 1.3 or 1.5 engine?



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



(This post was edited by Hammer Time on May 29, 2017, 10:55 AM)


kevin r.
Novice

May 29, 2017, 1:51 PM

Post #3 of 15 (782 views)
Re: 1985 honda civic timing way off Sign In

we did check the timing before we did anything to confirm it was off.
cam gear and timing belt are all at factory spec.

the issue is we cant set it correctly within the adjustment limits of the distributor, cant even get it close.

its a 1.5 ew1
thanks for the help btw


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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May 29, 2017, 2:00 PM

Post #4 of 15 (776 views)
Re: 1985 honda civic timing way off Sign In

When you time this are you leaving all the vacuum hoses connected and the car in drive?

Are you sure you are reading #1 cylinder







~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



kevin r.
Novice

May 29, 2017, 2:11 PM

Post #5 of 15 (771 views)
Re: 1985 honda civic timing way off Sign In

the manual calls for the vacuum advance to be disconnected and plugged, so no we do not have it connected. when we connect and check the timing it advances it but still does not advance it enough for us to correctly set the timing.
we have been checking the timing with the car in neutral (its a 5 speed)

the caps in the diagrams you posted have #1 at different spots. i wonder if that could be our problem, we have the wrong cap....


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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May 29, 2017, 2:14 PM

Post #6 of 15 (769 views)
Re: 1985 honda civic timing way off Sign In

No, the manual does not say to disconnect the vacuum hoses. It specifically states to leave them connected..


At slow idle and Before Top Dead Center, unless otherwise specified.

1981-89: Leave distributor vacuum hoses, as equipped, connected.

1988-89: On models w/o vacuum advance (EST), remove yellow cap from timing connector (located in left rear engine compartment or by coil) and jumper the two terminals.

1990: Jumper terminals of timing connector located on right side under dash. The connector has two wires leading to it and is blue in color.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



(This post was edited by Hammer Time on May 29, 2017, 2:15 PM)


kevin r.
Novice

May 29, 2017, 2:19 PM

Post #7 of 15 (761 views)
Re: 1985 honda civic timing way off Sign In

you are right, that was a mistake having it disconnected. but even with it connected it still cant be adjusted enough to set it.


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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May 29, 2017, 2:25 PM

Post #8 of 15 (753 views)
Re: 1985 honda civic timing way off Sign In

Then you either have something installed wrong, are testing it wrong or have the wrong distributor.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



Tom Greenleaf
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May 29, 2017, 2:40 PM

Post #9 of 15 (745 views)
Re: 1985 honda civic timing way off Sign In

Just to add confusion: Is the distributor any good? They wear. Shaft bearings, forms of thrust bushings so it doesn't fly a rotor right out, gear of some sort to cam held by something frequently a roll pin or whatever it is, is it tight and good to shaft or can that slip and jammed in wrong spot.


Thing is old. Rebuilt even have to wonder on some parts distributor would be one. HT just asked if the right one? OMG if that mixed up gotta get that much known correct,


T



kevin r.
Novice

May 29, 2017, 4:15 PM

Post #10 of 15 (739 views)
Re: 1985 honda civic timing way off Sign In

you're right, the condition of the distributor is unknown. it does however look newish.

i disassembled it and found that the main shaft bearing was completely frozen. that is now cleaned and relubricated and spins freely. i think i'm going to reassemble and see if that changed anything.


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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May 29, 2017, 5:54 PM

Post #11 of 15 (723 views)
Re: 1985 honda civic timing way off Sign In

How would an engine run with a frozen distributor.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



kevin r.
Novice

May 29, 2017, 6:20 PM

Post #12 of 15 (721 views)
Re: 1985 honda civic timing way off Sign In

update: got a hold of a vacuum tester and checked the vacuum on the advance on the distributor and it is leaking. this seems like it would definitely be an issue and i will replace.

but when i held a steady amount of vacuum with the tester and ran the car the timing got better, almost to no retard/advance, but it didnt fix it completely. is it wrong to expect the problem to be solved with me holding vacuum manually?

thanks


Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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May 30, 2017, 12:40 AM

Post #13 of 15 (690 views)
Re: 1985 honda civic timing way off Sign In

What? It leaks then you make it work? Back a few "but it looks new" - that helps a lot.


Just toss that one if you want this car to run at all no way to know what else you will need when you finally get engine to run properly if you ever can. They may want your old one for exchange and I suggest you don't give it to them till the next works and has a new "vacuum advance" that works as well.


It could be or used be available separately - don't bother your distributor if once frozen can't be any good for even a core to work with IMO from description,


T



Loren Champlain Sr
Veteran / Moderator
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May 31, 2017, 3:38 PM

Post #14 of 15 (661 views)
Re: 1985 honda civic timing way off Sign In

Kevin; As HT suggested, you need to recheck the timing belt. It HAS to be off a tooth or two. If you need help with that, just ask. About the only other thing that I can offer would be valve adjustment. If the valves are too tight, can cause same symptoms.
Loren
SW Washington

(This post was edited by Loren Champlain Sr on May 31, 2017, 3:39 PM)


Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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Jun 1, 2017, 12:31 AM

Post #15 of 15 (648 views)
Re: 1985 honda civic timing way off Sign In

It all matters. TMK these are solid lifters you do adjust and most people don't or never did as most of the few then did lube themselves so well they didn't wear much to need it in the life of the car before enough other problems rendered them parts only.
TMK - these engines - all of them really spray oil around under valve cover to lube parts. If they sit a long time I can see where distributor also lubed from there and valve adjustment would take a quick hit and be frozen as stated or quick wear if it can recover from some gun rust I'll call it.


Timing belt always must be exactly right,


T







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