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1994 Civic LX, 1.5L hard to start #4955766 12/19/18 09:01 AM
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Gito Offline OP
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1994 Civic LX, 1.5 with ˜200k

Past month my friend has been having issues with starting the car when it is raining.
On rainy days the car would crank and turn but the car would not start.
We removed the main relay and resoldered and are waiting for a good rainy day to test.


Monday- Drizzled on and off and car started up fine (slight drizzle).

Tuesday- Trouble
Morning was cold (40's deg F), and car started up fine but later that day it got warmer (70's deg F) and car would not start.
Floored the accelerator pedal all the way down and turned the ignition to try to start the car.
It cranked for about 9 seconds and the car finally started.
Ran rough for a few seconds and then drove fine afterwards.




I'm looking at other possibilities that might be causing the issues-

Bad Wires
Bad Distributor
Bad main relay (soldered may not have done job properly)
Fuel Filter (friend says he doesn't remember ever replacing it)



Parts replaced: Cap and rotor about 1 month ago, prior to desoldering main relay. Did not solve issue


Any advice is greatly appreciated













Re: 1994 Civic LX, 1.5L hard to start [Re: Gito] #4955768 12/19/18 09:06 AM
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mk378 Offline
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When it won't start, turn the key on but don't crank, and watch for the check engine light to come on then go out. If it comes on and stays on there is a problem with the main relay or the ECU and it's not going to start until the light goes out.

If that is OK next mist some water on the spark wires, if that causes them to short out, replace them. Also check your "new" cap for cracks.

Last edited by mk378; 12/19/18 09:11 AM.
Re: 1994 Civic LX, 1.5L hard to start [Re: Gito] #4955780 12/19/18 09:12 AM
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E150GT Offline
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I remember when I got my parents old ford econoline (1990) in 2002. It had never had a tuneup. the misty morning dew would not allow the car to start. I literally had to bust out the hair dryer and dry the wires before it would start. First thing I did was tune that bad boy up.


1984 Mercedes-Benz 300SD - 100k
1995 F150 XL 4.9 reg cab 5MT - 251k 5w30
2016 Mazda6 Touring 6MT - 68k 5w30
2006 Buick Lucerne CXL 3.8 40k 5w30
Re: 1994 Civic LX, 1.5L hard to start [Re: Gito] #4955801 12/19/18 09:38 AM
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andyd Offline
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Yah. Wires fixed this on 250K BMW


'16 Camry LE STP synth 0w20 and STP filter. the Fridge

1994 Ranger ,the Rat, 5w30 dino, STP filter

'16 Camry SE, Valvoline HM 0w20 and OEM filter
Thick oil is better grin2
Re: 1994 Civic LX, 1.5L hard to start [Re: Gito] #4955807 12/19/18 09:47 AM
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WyrTwister Offline
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Visually check the spark plug wires at night . Much easier to see any arcing . Then hit them with the mist , if needed .

In a pinch , I have used WD-40 to " dry out " plug wires / distributor cap .


Wyr
God bless
Re: 1994 Civic LX, 1.5L hard to start [Re: Gito] #4955826 12/19/18 10:04 AM
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Alfred_B Online Content
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the main relay controls the fuel pump. turn the key on, but not crank, and see if you can hear the fuel pump start in the fuel tank. if it makes a humming sound, the main relay is ok.

Re: 1994 Civic LX, 1.5L hard to start [Re: Gito] #4955839 12/19/18 10:22 AM
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JMJNet Offline
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If I were you, I post this issue with a specific Honda forum where the members knows all the quirks of Honda.

Over here, we have member who does not even own a Civic trying to help you from their experience from other type of cars with a different set of quirks/issues.

Have your friend be a member of that forum directly so he can see the answer also.


  • 2017 Toyota Sienna
  • 1995 GMC Suburban 6.5L Turbo Diesel


Re: 1994 Civic LX, 1.5L hard to start [Re: Gito] #4956030 12/19/18 01:24 PM
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dogememe Offline
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If you plan to keep the vehicle for a long time you may as well change the fuel filter.

Check the plug wires carefully. Night time with a spray bottle of water is best.


2010 Ford Escape 2.5 ~98K Miles
Valvoline 5W-20 from Valvoline Instant Oil Change.
Re: 1994 Civic LX, 1.5L hard to start [Re: JMJNet] #4956138 12/19/18 03:44 PM
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andyd Offline
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Ok, get a 2nd opinion from the Honda guys. You're not gonna hurt my feelings. The symptoms, including the age of the car, are generiic old heap . and not model specific grin2


'16 Camry LE STP synth 0w20 and STP filter. the Fridge

1994 Ranger ,the Rat, 5w30 dino, STP filter

'16 Camry SE, Valvoline HM 0w20 and OEM filter
Thick oil is better grin2
Re: 1994 Civic LX, 1.5L hard to start [Re: andyd] #4956165 12/19/18 04:21 PM
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maxdustington Offline
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Originally Posted by andyd
Ok, get a 2nd opinion from the Honda guys. You're not gonna hurt my feelings. The symptoms, including the age of the car, are generiic old heap . and not model specific grin2
That's not an old generic heap, it is a Japanese car from the golden era before they started watering them down for North American sensibilities. I wish they built them like that today.


03 Jetta AWP/09A 210k kms
Edge 0W40 + Mann 719/30
Re: 1994 Civic LX, 1.5L hard to start [Re: Gito] #4956172 12/19/18 04:41 PM
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nthach Offline
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Where the valves ever adjusted? It might be a long shot, since tight or loose valves on a Honda will result in the engine running funny or needing a valve job due to burned valves. There's an igniter module in the distributor but it rarely goes out in those.

Do the basics first - wires(NGK or Honda OEM), plugs(NGK or Denso), fuel filter and then work up.

Re: 1994 Civic LX, 1.5L hard to start [Re: maxdustington] #4956173 12/19/18 04:44 PM
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fsdork Offline
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Originally Posted by maxdustington
That's not an old generic heap, it is a Japanese car from the golden era before they started watering them down for North American sensibilities. I wish they built them like that today.


Amen. I still longingly search ebay for a 1989 Accord 5 speed like my friend's parents had in highschool. It's getting less and less likely I'll find one in good condition.

With that said, a crash in one of those would make for a bad day.


2003 Ford Explorer Limited 4.6L 4x4 - 219K km
2008 Ford CVPI 4.6L - 133K km
2011 Ford F-150 Lariat S/C 6.2L 4x4 - 90K km
Re: 1994 Civic LX, 1.5L hard to start [Re: Gito] #4958768 12/22/18 02:08 PM
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Gito Offline OP
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Update

This morning we decided to perform a few tests that may lead to solving the hard starts.

Test 1
We turned the ignition so that all the dash lights were on and then waited a few seconds to see which lights would turn off (prior to starting the car).
We noticed that the SRS and Check Engine lights eventually turn off.

At the same time we could also hear that classic buzzing sound come on and then turn off (can't remember how many seconds from time it turns on to time it turns off).
Again, all of the dash lights came on and after a few seconds the SRS light turned off first then after a few more seconds the Check Engine light turned off.

Test 2
We turned the ignition like we would normally do and the car fired right up, car turned on. (Cold morning and first attempt to start car).
We then turned the car off and went to Test 3. We did not drive it.

Test 3
We turned the ignition like we would normally do and the car would only crank and would not start (would not turn on).

Test 4
We stepped on the accelerator to the floor (held pedal to floor), turned the ignition to try to start and car started right up.

Test 5
We turned the ignition so that all dash lights turned on and then proceeded to try to start car immediately after the SRS light turned off.
Car would only crank, No Start.

Test 5
We turned the ignition so that all dash lights turned on and then waited for the SRS light to turn off and waited for the Check Engine light to turn off.
Car started with no hesitation

So far, the car will start if we wait for the Check Engine Light to turn off (will not start if Check Engine light is lit).



Whats next:

1. Replace fuel filter. It looks like the fuel filter has never been replaced.
2. Going to check spark plugs.



Any advice is greatly appreciated

Re: 1994 Civic LX, 1.5L hard to start [Re: Gito] #4958809 12/22/18 03:12 PM
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mk378 Offline
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Turning the key on but don't crank, the check engine light should come on for about exactly 2 seconds then go out. Every time, without fail.

Delayed turn-off of the check engine light is either the main relay or the ECU. If the light is staying on, the ECU is not properly booted up and the engine cannot start.

Check the ECU ground wires on the thermostat housing they can cause a lot of ECU related weirdness.

Re: 1994 Civic LX, 1.5L hard to start [Re: Gito] #4958844 12/22/18 04:10 PM
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Popsy Offline
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How is the tension of the timing belt (not sure these engines have timing belts) ?


96 Barchetta, 300V 5W40 | Forfour 95, SHU 0W40
Mazda 6 2.3, Castrol 0W30 | Colt Ralliart, 300V 0W40
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