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First the "Cranks no start" symptoms. No fuel or no spark.

First check for spark. This can be done by unplugging one spark plug cable at the distributor and holding it very close to it's terminal, then cranking it. If you see/feel a spark, you have spark (although it could be weak). If you do not get a spark, diagnose it this way...

Remove the distributor cap. Using a test light ( at auto parts store), ground the cable and probe the + coil terminal. If the test light pulses (flashes) then the ignitor is probably good and the coil is probably bad. There is a remote chance the ignitor is weak but pulsing properly, but it almost never happens. If the test light pulses properly and replacing the coil doesn't fix the problem, verify the distributor subassembly is not rusty and that all connections are clean. Also check for +12V at the black/yellow wire on the 2P distributor connection.

If you have spark and your car doesn't start, simply check for fuel by removing the fuel return hose from the fuel pressure regulator with a pair of pliers and crank it. If fuel pours out, the main relay is activating the pump properly. The main relay also powers the injectors. If you get no fuel from the regulator when cranking, it's almost always a bad main relay or dead fuel pump. Easiest test for a main relay is to just put another one in and try it. A slightly more complicated way (but cheaper!) is to remove the rear cargo tray and unplug the 4P connector from the fuel sending unit cover. Using your test light, check for +12V from the yellow/black wire with the key in the cranking position. If the light illuminates, there is power to the pump and the main relay is working. If you have someone listen through the fuel filler pipe for pump noise while cranking, this helps confirm whether or not the pump is running. Summary: if you get +12V at the fuel sending unit harness the main relay is good aand the pump is bad. If you don't get power, the main relay is bad and the pump is good. If you crank a car long enough with a bad main relay the ECU should throw a code 16.

If you have any ECU codes stored, diagnose them with the service manual and often you will solve your problem.

Dies while driving...

If the car will restart, but dies quickly, it's probably a bad ignition switch electrical portion.

Check for spark and fuel as needed.

Runs rough...

First thing I always ask is "When was your last tuneup?" If your ignition system checks out, might want to check for proper fuel pressure. The gauge is almost never easy to mount, but it is a valuable tool, especially with forced induction.

If your car bogs when accelerating from a stop and at about 1800 RPM, and it's a DX/HF, check for clogged EGR ports. The ports are very hard to clean completely. I use carb cleaner and a coathanger or a speedo cable. Also clean the EGR valve by lifting the diaphragm by hand and spraying carb cleaner into both holes. Code 12 is often caused by a sticking/clogged EGR valve. Unfortunately, if the valve is clogged you may have an oil burning problem.


Don't use the overflow bottle as a method for checking coolant level. It sucks. When the engine is cold, remove the radiator cap and look to see where the level is. If you can't see the coolant at all, add some until it's full. Cap it and start the car. Run it up to normal operating temperature. Visually check for leaks and white, sweet-smelling smoke from the rear. Smoke is a sign of a bad head gasket. Leaks? Fix them. Many towns have radiator repair shops that can replace just the leaking plastic tank and not the whole radiator. no leaks? Get a cooling system pressurizer from the auto parts store and pump up the system. If the pressure drops you have a leak. Hopefully it's leaking fast enough you can pinpoint it easily. If not, leave it pressurized overnight and check for a small puddle the next day. if the wetness is found to be behind the timing cover the water pump is leaking. If it's on the front crossmember it's the bottom tank (assuming you don't find any coolant residue on the top tank). If it's from the back of the engine it might be the thrmostat housing or a bypass hose. After fixing any leak, bleed it like this: run the car to normal operating temperature. Open the bleed screw enough to let coolant dribble out (not shoot out!) and when you get a fairly consistent stream of coolant it's burped. For ZCs i recommend jacking up the front of the car and simply removing the radiator cap to bleed the system. Their bleed screw is poorly placed.

If you found no leaks externally, remove the spark plugs and shine a flashlight down the plug hole. Look for coolant/wetness on the piston tops. If you find any you have a blown headgasket. Civics rarely crack heads. If you need a headgasket ONLY use a honda headgasket and headbolts. Anything else (other than ARP studs and a steel gasket) will blow out in approx. 6 months.

Burning excessive oil suddenly...

First check the PCV valve. it is located between the #1 and #2 intake runners and has a short hose going to the intake plenum. Remove the valve and test it by putting your mouth on the end of the hose and trying to first suck on the hose, then blow through it. A good PCV valve will only allow the air to go in one direction. A sticking valve is easily cleaned with carb cleaner. BTW, the taste is PCV hose is gross.

If replacing the valve doesn't fix it, you may try the ATF ring-cleaning procedure. Cars with sticking oil control rings have good compression but poor oil control. The rings get loaded with carbon and the oil holes clogs up due to insufficient oil changes.

The ATF cleaning procedure is as follows: Remove the spark plugs. Set engine at TDC, then go another 90 degrees past it on the crank. The piston tops should all be at similar heights. Pour genuine Honda ATF down each plug hole until the ATF reaches the spark plug threads. Let sit for 24 hours. The ATF will seep past the 2 top rings and will soften the carbon in the oil ring grooves. After 24 hours, suck out as much ATF as possible with a vacuum pump, turkey baster, or by slowly turning the crank and letting the piston push it out (warning: wear a raincoat and have LOTS of rags). After most of the ATF is out, spin the engine with the starter out and evacuate as much ATF as possible from each cylinder. Reinstall the plugs. A small amount of ATF may seep into the crankcase (you'll know when you check the ATF level in each cylinder after 24 hours). Do not drive very far with this in the engine, even though the detergents will help break up varnish inside the engine. Start the car and it should smoke SERIOUSLY bad until all the ATF is blown out of the exhaust. Drive it hard to help blast all the softened carbon from the cylinders and pistons. Hopefully this will remove some of the carbon from the oil rings. Change the oil soon after. Note: I am not responsible if you damage your engine doing this... any ATF still in the cylinder after the pugs are installed can raise the compression ratio to over 200 psi and damage can occur.

If the ATF cleaning procedure still does not stop the oil consumption a rebuild may be needed. If the car smokes only when letting off the gas at high RPM or when shifting, the valve seals/guides may be bad. General smoking all the time is a sign of bad rings.


They all make noise sometimes. Mine are noisy when wet. If the pedal or steering wheel vibrates when you brake, you probably warped your rotors (like everyone else). Pull up slightly on the ebrake while driving... if the vibration occurs you warped your rear rotors/drums.

Squeaks from the rear...

The top shock bushings, the trailing arm bushings, the rear hatch adjustment cushions, the rear hatch seal, and all the other bushings in the rear suspension can squeak. To remedy this, i use either heavy axle grease (won't wash away) or K44 silicon lubricant (a stinky clear paste) on all the bushings. Also, adjusting the hatch adjustment cushions a tad tighter (counter-clockwise) can help quiet them.

Oil leaks...

Many Hondas with steel pans have oil leaks in that area. The drain bolt reinforcement SUCKS and many drain bolts are at least partially stripped. A leaking drain plug will only put oil on the bottom of the pan and around the bolt itself. A leaking oil pan gasket is often simply just from loose pan bolts. Tighten them and the leak may stop. if not, you'll find oil all the way around the pan and probably on the lower timing cover and transmission. A leaking cam seal may put oil on the driver's rear side of the engine block, near the rear bolt for the upper timing cover. The seal can be inspected by removing the upper cover and with a flashlight. A leaking crank seal will put most of its oil o the bottom edge of the lower timing coer and might spread to the lip of the pan. A leaking rear main seal will put oil out the bottom of the flywheel dust cover and usually on the transmission. A leaking shift shaft seal will put oil on the shift rod boot and shift rods...and almost nowhere else. A leaking headgasket will POUR oil down the back of the block. This occurs because the copper ring around the oil control jet fails. A leaking valve cover gasket will have oil all around it's perimeter. A leaking distributor o-ring will leave oil under the distributor, and possibly on the valve cover gasket in the distributor area. Leaking spark plug tube seals will leave a pool of oil in the spark plug tube.

Noise when turning...

Clunk? First check for torn CV joint outer boots. Next check for a bad rack end bushing by trying to wiggle the passenger tie rod up and down really hard. If it rattles, it's bad. If the steering has any associated slop in it you may have a bad tie rod, bad radius rod, or loose subframes. Also check your shocks for oil on the outside... that's a sign of a bad shock.

Groan? If it only happens at low speed when turning it may just be the tire corner blocks making noise. If the noise happens at higher speed also, check the tires first for cupping. Cupping occurs from lack of tire rotations. Each tread block is no longer flat, but angled, so when you run your hand along the tire tread it feels very uneven. A tire that is not cupped feels smooth all around. if the tires are fine and wearing properly, and the noise only happens at failry high speed, you may have a bad wheel bearing. This can be checked by jacking up the front of the car and running it in gear, then probing the hub with a stethoscope (Harbor Freight, ). Hear bearing noise? You found it. Usually the bad bearing will groan when you turn awya from it... bad RF bearing will graon when turning left... bad LF bearing groans turning right. Rear bearings can be checked by spinning the wheel by hand and probing with the stethoscope.

If you have a vibration in the steering at high speed you have cupped tires or imbalanced tires. A low speed vibration is usually from a bad tire.

Bearing noise...

Using the previously-mentioned stethoscope, probe the suspected area while it's moving (run the engine, spin the tires, etc.). The bad bearing will be louder the closer you get to it. For a possible bad timing belt tensioner, probe the tensioner bolt if possible, or the driver's engine mount. If the noise is possibly from the trans, look at it this way: bad release bearing will mak noise when you push the clutch IN. Bad mainshaft bearings make noise easily heard in neutral, car running, with the clutch OUT. Bad pilot bearing makes noise with the clutch IN and stops quickly after the clutch is released... hard to diagnose between it and a bad release bearing.

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Total messages: 4

CRX dies on 3/4 of a tank
posted by: Mark on Saturday, March 28, 2009 at 10:56 PM
I had this issue too. Original Honda (not aftermarket one) fuel pump and new original gas filter solved the problem.
Aftermarket fuel pump I have installed before that caused the problem since the first day it was installed.
crx problem
posted by: christy on Saturday, March 28, 2009 at 10:35 PM
my 91 hf automatic crx dies when i stop suddenly when gas gets to about 3/4 of a tank,any lower and it dies whenever i stop..mechanics cant figure it out,i replaced the fuel pump and filter and it didnt help.ive been driving it on full for 3 years please help!
Check your Main relay
posted by: Mark on Thursday, December 4, 2008 at 11:27 PM
Just check your main relay:
I had the same issue - gone.
1988 CRX
posted by: jmb on Thursday, December 4, 2008 at 10:00 PM
Have CRX since new. Been having trouble with car engine stopping while driving. Had it in the shop and no one can figure out why it does this. Also, would stop at bank etc. and only run in and jump back in car and it wouldn't start have to wait a few minutes then it starts right up. Has any one else have this problem?