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CRX Chronic starting issue

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New User

Aug 29, 2014, 10:06 AM

Post #1 of 2 (841 views)
CRX Chronic starting issue Sign In

1991 Honda CRX Si
148000 miles

I need help with a diagnosis! Sometimes the car won't start, although most of the time it starts on the first turnover and runs fine. It will sometimes go weeks without a problem, and then have a little series of no-starts. It always cranks. When it doesn't start sometimes it stutters but doesn't quite catch. Sometimes, if I do succeed in getting it started after it has failed to start, it stumbles at low revs, and the revs actually appear to dip slightly when the accelerator is very lightly applied. But if it starts the first time, it runs fine.

This has been a chronic problem for a few years now. Typical scenario: Parked the car, running fine, the previous evening. Went to start it the next evening (dry conditions both evenings) and it would crank but wouldn't catch. Tried it a few times, then left it for a couple of hours. When I tried it again, it started, although the revs dipped for a while on very light application of the accelerator.

I changed the plugs last year, and changed the spark plug wires and the distributor cap last month. No discernible change in behavior.

Possible unrelated: There is a soft wail/whistle that matches the revs. when the car is under acceleration. Not sure if this is a belt or something pneumatic.

Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

Aug 29, 2014, 10:21 AM

Post #2 of 2 (833 views)
Re: CRX Chronic starting issue Sign In

  All "crank, no start" conditions are approached in the same way. Every engine requires certain functions to be able to run. Some of these functions rely on specific components to work and some components are part of more than one function so it is important to see the whole picture to be able to conclude anything about what may have failed. Also, these functions can ONLY be tested during the failure. Any other time and they will simply test good because the problem isn't present at the moment.
If you approach this in any other way, you are merely guessing and that only serves to replace unnecessary parts and wastes money.

Every engine requires spark, fuel and compression to run. That's what we have to look for.

These are the basics that need to be tested and will give us the info required to isolate a cause.

1) Test for spark at the plug end of the wire using a spark tester. If none found, check for power supply on the + terminal of the coil with the key on.

2) Test for injector pulse using a small bulb called a noid light. If none found, check for power supply at one side of the injector with the key on.

3) Use a fuel pressure gauge to test for correct fuel pressure, also noticing if the pressure holds when key is shut off.

Once you have determined which of these functions has dropped out,
you will know which system is having the problem.


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.

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