92' Honda Civic won't start. Battery seems to be fine

Discussion in 'Civic' started by shah.hk, Dec 20, 2005.

  1. shah.hk

    shah.hk Guest

    I have 92' honda civic. Have been driving this car since last 4 years
    and just completed 150,000 miles.

    Today morning, I started the car, it made some cranking noise, but I
    thought it was due to cold weather. I drove the car for 3-4 miles and
    when I stopped at signal light, car just cut dead. I tried starting it
    again, but it won't start. I don't think it battery problem as
    head-lights and stuff just works fine.

    I have changed timing belt, tranmission,battery last year. I have also
    got oil change recently. Have been putting regular gas on it and not
    more then 600 miles/month.

    What could be the problem? And what could be the cost of each of the
    - loose relay/alternator connection - $$ ?
    - dead coil in spark-plug? - $$ ?
    - some timing belt issue? - $$ ?
    - or soe more grave problem?

    Its old car and I don't want to sepnd too much into repairing..where do

    I start from?
    shah.hk, Dec 20, 2005
  2. shah.hk

    Elle Guest

    You want to check for spark, most likely.

    No spark, then igniter or coil (both parts of the
    distributor) are prime candidates. Each part costs about
    $90. Installation is about another $90. See
    http://www.tegger.com/hondafaq/faq.html#startrun for other
    strong candidates.

    If you're handy, most of the problems listed at the above
    site are not difficult DIY repairs.

    Please consider giving the age of the spark plugs, ignition
    wires, distributor cap, and rotor. Also, are all these parts
    Elle, Dec 20, 2005
  3. shah.hk

    CivicGuy Guest

    The mechanic I paid $60 to diagnose the problem told me that its
    distributor problem and it will cost $525+Tax to repair.
    Can I just change the igniter or coil separately? You mentioned that
    each would cost $90. So even with changing both, It wouldn't cost more
    then $300.

    I feel, I am getting ripped here
    any help :(

    CivicGuy, Dec 22, 2005
  4. shah.hk

    Elle Guest

    First, ask the mechanic exactly what he's going to install.
    In particular, you want to know if you're getting

    -- a new distributor housing
    -- a new coil
    -- a new igniter

    I agree that $300 is a good approximation IF only the
    igniter and coil were being changed. The guy should be
    willing to take into account the diagnosis charge, as well.
    So you'd pay like $240 more for JUST a new igniter and coil,
    tops. Or that's what seems reasonable to me, as far as
    charges go. That's not bad.

    HOWEVER, and it's a big one, it is not IMO completely out of
    line for a shop to find a bad igniter but also notice, on
    this really, pretty old Honda, that the distributor housing
    O-ring is old, there's some indications the housing bearing
    is going bad, the wire harness is looking beat, etc. Plus,
    often the rotor set screw female side starts getting strip.
    On a car this age, if the shop only replaces the igniter, a
    comeback is a pretty good possibility. For example, a bad
    igniter can have detrimental effects on the coil (or it's
    the other way around). So a whole new housing, plus new
    igniter and coil are, in my estimation, a good idea for a
    car this age. Your car will run like a champ with it,
    assuming ignition wires, plugs, cap and rotor are in good

    I thought I got taken for a ride in spring 2003 back when a
    shop installed a new housing (because of rotor set screw
    problems). Cost me $472 JUST for a new housing, cap, and
    rotor. They reused the old coil and old igniter. I was back
    a week later with the real problem: A failed coil. I was
    miffed at the time.

    In hindsight, knowing the distributor wire harness was
    pretty beat, and I think oil was leaking down the
    distributor yada shaft, and the bearing might have had not
    much more life, I think it was a good investment. It wasn't
    handled well, but then they don't have time to explain all
    these details to consumers, especially since most consumers
    don't have a clue about electro-mechanical yada anything.

    They were pricey, as well. Point being, that, given the
    price you quote, your mechanic may be being more reasonable.

    My 91 Civic had 138k miles on it in spring 2003. It's been
    almost three years, and the car has not seen a shop since,
    though I'm watching it myself closely these days. I actually
    installed--myself--a new igniter back in 2003, 'cause the
    guys at the shop were saying I should, given the bad coil. I
    just didn't want them doing it. :)

    Take a look at www.slhonda.com 's parts site to see the
    exploded view of the distributor and what are probably the
    best prices for genuine Honda parts that you can get. Maybe
    consider printing out the drawing and labeling the parts,
    then taking it to the mechanic and having him tell you what
    he's going to replace.

    Make sure he's using genuine honda (= OEM) parts. Non-OEM
    distributors distributors tend to have short lives.

    Updates are welcome.
    No, not yet. Let us know what he's going to replace.
    Elle, Dec 22, 2005
  5. shah.hk

    Elle Guest

    One other thing: I just checked the two online OEM Honda
    parts sites that I use a lot, and both quote a much lower
    price for your 92 Civic's distributor compared to a 91
    Civic's distributor.

    For a 92 Civic LX, www.slhonda.com wants only $271 + maybe
    $10 shipping for I'm pretty sure the distributor housing,
    coil, and igniter. All OEM. The housing by itself goes for
    $97 for a 92 Civic.

    A 91 Civic's housing is about $280(!) at the same site, as
    well as the other site I use.

    I don't know why the 91 and 92 have such big price
    differences, but use the prices at the site above to help
    your decision-making. That $500+ charge now certainly looks
    like a ripoff, any way it's cut.
    Elle, Dec 22, 2005
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