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Old 07-15-2019, 08:20 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Bought a DX not knowing what I got into...

I have been searching and can't find the proper info that I seem to need to get the car to run properly.
I picked up a 99 DX that had an engine swap and didn't run. The previous owner had a mechanic buddy doing the work of changing a timing belt because the engine just died one day.

The engine is a D15B non VTech, the head is a P2A-10, and the ECM is a P2E-A12. The car had a D16Y7.

Upon tearing into the car, finally, I found that the timing tensioner hadn't been installed on the pivot peg or even tightened. I tightened the belt and it went almost all the way to the end of the tensioner slot. I timed it. It still wouldn't start, found that the coil was bad. I got it to start, but then it would die and just crank. I did this several times adjusting the ignition timing, and the cam timing by a tooth. With some digging and searching, I found out that the timing belt was too long (104 tooth) and got the proper one (103 tooth).

The car idled good after the new belt was installed, warmed up, and timed to the red mark. I revved it up a bit and everything was fine for a few minutes. Then I went to get on it and it died and wouldn't restart. I could get it to fire right back up by putting my hand over the throttle body for a split second.

After letting it sit overnight, it won't even start now, it just cranks and seems to try and pop every now and then. Thinking the cylinders were getting washed out and losing ring seal, I pulled the plugs and sprayed some WD-40 down the holes and put the plugs back in. It fired right up. It died when I hit the throttle, and it won't start again. I have had the timing light on it to monitor spark, and it has kept flashing.

I removed the throttle body and cleaned it and the IACV. While it was off, I pulled the fuel rail and cranked it to watch the fuel spray. They fired in sequence and sprayed evenly. They don't seem to be leaking, but they were still cold.

I am new to Honda's and any advice or guidance on the proper set-up would be greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance!
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Old 07-15-2019, 08:24 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Pictures of the engine and ECM
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Old 07-15-2019, 09:57 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Sounds like you've done a good job diagnosing things to get her running!

If it start on external fuel sources (WD-40) with no issues and seems to idle ok, use some flammable brake clean or something and attempt to rev the engine while shooting some squirts at the throttle body (keep your face away from the TB incase it backfires or something). If it likes to rev OK on external fuel, your not getting proper fueling to the injectors. Check fuel pressure getting to the rail.

If you are not getting fuel/fuel pressure to the rail, an easy check to see if it is going to be electrical or mechanical in nature is to pull the rear bench seat out, pull the pump cover and use an incandescent test light across the fuel pump connector pins. Turning the ignition key on, the ECM should attempt to turn the pump on for 2 seconds then turn off. This is pump prime signal.

During cranking and running, the test light should stay illuminated at all times.

If the light never stays lit in any one of those pump run conditions, the Main Relay could be faulty. They fail common enough that they are a good place to look if the car isn't receiving fuel pump signal. The fuel pump is directly controlled through the Main Relay, passively by the ECM being in control of the Main Relay. It's function and inputs/outputs are explained easily enough through schematics and/or service manual information. If you suspect fuel pump power/ground issues, buy/make sure you have a manual for that car so you have schematics available for diagnosis.

Other things to consider when looking at fuel system components on these cars:

-The firewall mounted filter: If it hasn't been changed in a while, just do it. It's also a great place to do a "preliminary inspection" of the fuel tank insides condition. If you empty the old fuel from it across a couple paper towels and all you have is rust colored fuel/chips of rust/crap coming out of it, head to the source:

-Remove the rear seat bench, the pump access cover, and just go ahead and pull the pump hanger/pump and inspect the tank. If it's full of rust, start looking at tank replacements. Ebay is your friend, one can be had for around 70 bucks.

-Stock fuel pumps for these cars are cheap, if you are in there might as well go ahead and replace it and the strainer.


I'm sure you'll have it figured out in no time!
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Old 07-16-2019, 08:41 AM   #4 (permalink)
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any cels at any time?
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Old 07-16-2019, 02:00 PM   #5 (permalink)
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No CEL at any time.
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Old 07-16-2019, 08:12 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Walked out this morning, and it fired up without an issue. Hit the throttle and it died, then it wouldn't start again. The engine is getting plenty of fuel! It still does when I open the throttle up. Could a bad distributor cause this?

So which can timing looks right?
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Old 07-17-2019, 05:35 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I had it happen once where the previous owner had rebuilt the dizzy and put the head back on 180* out he couldn't get it to run for shit. I had trouble actually pulled the motor stabbed another in it ran the same. Pulled the dizzy knocked the pin out of the head part that goes into the end of the cam filled it over 180* and the engine ran great. Sold the first engine to another friend he slapped a new dizzy on and it also ran great.
So if someone has been messing with it it might be worth your time to pull it and flip the head and see if it helps.
Mind you I was working on a B- Series. I believe the same can happen on the D
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Old 07-17-2019, 11:58 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by 79hilux90crx View Post
I had it happen once where the previous owner had rebuilt the dizzy and put the head back on 180* out he couldn't get it to run for shit. I had trouble actually pulled the motor stabbed another in it ran the same. Pulled the dizzy knocked the pin out of the head part that goes into the end of the cam filled it over 180* and the engine ran great. Sold the first engine to another friend he slapped a new dizzy on and it also ran great.
So if someone has been messing with it it might be worth your time to pull it and flip the head and see if it helps.
Mind you I was working on a B- Series. I believe the same can happen on the D
Lmao yes it can. I almost did this when going back together with my dist after rebuilding it, and I had to stop and think for a minute. There is nothing on the dist shaft that is indexed, so you need to make sure the tab offset on the drive head gets back in the same position.

With engine mechanically in proper time, turn to TDC #1 and look in the hole at the end of the cam with the dist removed. You will be able to tell which side of the cam the tab slot is more biased towards. Then turn the distributor shaft so that the dist rotor is pointing towards cap plug tower #1, then install the drive head in the matching cam slot offset position, press the pin in, and make sure when you get done that the rotor is still pointing at tower #1.

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Old 07-17-2019, 12:13 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Smokinrodder View Post
So which can timing looks right?
The cam is hard to tell through pictures. Basically those timing marks at 3 and 9 o' clock on the cam gear should line up flush with the head/valve cover sealing surface. You can usually do this by eye most of the time, but if you are ever in doubt and really want to make sure, I have done this in the past:

If the cover is on, I usually take a purposely dulled razor blade and stick it under the valve cover between the gasket and the head surface a TINY bit, don't go all the way through as it compromises the seal for gaskets that have been on for a while. You can use this as an extension of the head/valve cover sealing surface to bring the flat edge closer to the cam gear markings, giving you better visual confirmation.

If the cover is off, take that same razor blade and press it with your finger flat against the head/valve cover sealing surface and use it in the same way to reference cam alignment.

Again it's hard to tell from pictures on cam alignment, but I feel pic #2 is closest but they both appear to have issues. Again, pictures, hard to tell.
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Old 07-17-2019, 12:34 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Smokinrodder View Post
Walked out this morning, and it fired up without an issue. Hit the throttle and it died, then it wouldn't start again. The engine is getting plenty of fuel! It still does when I open the throttle up. Could a bad distributor cause this?
You need to check spark output AND injector pulse when the no-start is occurring.

To do this, use an incandescent test light.

For spark: Pull a plug wire, and with a friend cranking the car over for you, put the test light clip to chassis ground somewhere then hold the pointed end of the test light close to the opening of the spark plug wire. Spark with jump from the plug wire connector to the test light probe. You should be able to get spark to jump about an inch from the end of the plug wire to the test light probe. The spark should be hot bluish/white in color, not orange looking. If it is, pull the distributor cap and inspect for deteriorated/corroded cap tower ends, cap button and rotor wear. If these components a have a bunch of crap built up on them or are worn down severely, just replace cap and rotor as a set.

For injector pulse: All the injector connectors will have one wire color in common, usually yellow/black or similar. The wire color common between them is 12V injector supply. Use your test light with the clamp clipped on battery negative/chassis ground, and test 12V supply to each injector with key on engine off. You should find 12V to all of them. The ECU turns each injector on by providing them ground, those are the wires at the injectors that are the unique colors between them. On those wires, you want your test light clamp to battery +, then unplug an injector and touch the pin for the wire that contains the unique color. Have someone spin the engine over. You should see the bulb blink as the engine is spinning over.

See what you have on the above points when the car refuses to start, and we can continue diagnostics from there.
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Old 07-17-2019, 01:01 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I used a long blunt rod to find exact TDC, the crank timing is now correct. But it lines up to where all the marks are about half a tooth off on the cam.
I have spark consistently as I should. I am definitely getting gas and all four injector wires are triggering as they should. The cap and rotor look good, I inspected them when I changed the coil. I have brand new ZFR5F-11 NGK plugs in it, are these the correct ones for a D15B non VTEC?
I tore the throttle body off and cleaned it. I bypassed the coolant lines to the cold start while going back together, and turned that adjusting screw all the way in.
I did replace the fuel filter, it looked like it had lived there for quite some time.
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Old 07-17-2019, 01:05 PM   #12 (permalink)
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The cam marks don't line up with the belt when the marks are lined up with the head. It is half a tooth off, no matter how I do it.
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Old 07-17-2019, 03:30 PM   #13 (permalink)
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y8 and z6 are going to be off, a quick search would show you. its like 4* of timing
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Old 08-07-2019, 06:52 PM   #14 (permalink)
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y8 and z6 are going to be off, a quick search would show you. its like 4* of timing
yes, looks like an OBD1 timing gear.
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