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98 ex
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327 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
My Crx wont start! It was running great and then I parked it due to winter and now it wont start!
Its a turbo A6/Z6 swap running on a chipped obd1 ecu. I am out of ideas with this thing and its driving me crazy.
It cranks strong and has spark confirmed with a spark tester. Fuel pump primes you can hear it and you can smell fuel sometimes.

I have tried another ECU, Another chip, Another distributor,Another main relay and fresh plugs.
I haven't ran a compression test. I don't see how i could have lost compression as it was running great when parked, 0 symptoms.

The only thing that seems off now is that the rpm gauge jumps up to 500 when i switch the key to the on position. It stays there while cranking and drops to 0 when off. I have never seen this. It makes me think grounds but all grounds are still tight and attached. All wiring for the motor swap was heat shrank and soldered.

Could this be a bad battery somehow? I'm running a PC680 that is fully charge at the moment but did sit connected to the car outside during cold winter for maybe 2 months.

Thank you for taking the time to read and make suggestions.
Any help is appreciated! I want to drive my car again!!!
 

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08 H-D Ultra Classic
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987 Posts
Double check all the grounds or triple whatever.
Check fuses both under the dash and under the hood?

Ignition cylinder issue? (My 90 Wago fried a portion of the harness behind the ignition cylinder I could only start and drive the car if the key was held into the run position replaced the ignition and a few wires ran fine)
 

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98 ex
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327 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
New ignition switch, cleaned and checked all engine grounds, tried a new battery, diff spark plug wires,cleaned spark plugs(smell of fuel), cant find any wiring issues. All fuses are checked and good.

I started pulling sensors to see if the rpm's will make drop 500 rpm's drop since I think this is the issue. Nothing changes but the CEL does illuminate with certain sensors unplugged which makes me think its not the ecu/chip.

Im at a loss. Im trying to figure out what ground has to deal with the tach/gauges. Looking like G701?? Not sure if that would keep the car from starting but at this point im checking anything and everything.

Any Ideas?? Thank you!
 

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Honda Civic
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100 Posts
I could only start and drive the car if the key was held into the run position
Brings back an old common problem way back in the late 70's-80's I had with a few Chryslers ( Valiant Charger here in Oz )
Ballast Resister, that white ceramic looking thing.
May not be so with Honda, but a clue for perhaps.
 

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5,880 Posts
Did the clutch switch get any corrosion on it while sitting?

The smallest bit of moisture while sitting can cause the most annoying problems
 

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Sloppy Jalopy
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1,034 Posts
did mice make a nest in the tail pipe?

remove sparkplugs if gas smell let the cylinders dry up might be flooded .
I still say stale gas .
 

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98 ex
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327 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Finally ran compression tests! Car doesnt start so all tests are cold.

Compression results dry
1-55
2-30
3-55
4-55
Wet Results
1-90
2-60
3-60
4-130

Im not sure what these results mean. Is my mechanical timing off or could it be a head gasket? Rings shot? Help!

I will check mechanical next time i have time to work on it.
 

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98 ex
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327 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
set up is a6 block, z6 head, y8 Head gasket, eagles and vitaras
 

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Honda Civic
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100 Posts
Compression results dry
1-55
2-30
3-55
4-55
Wet Results
1-90
2-60
3-60
4-130
Need 150 at least for a healthy combustion,
That No 4 on the dry n wet test is interesting.
130 would get a bit of a bark.

You say it's been sitting a while ?
Head gasket corrosion ?
 

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93 Civic HB SI
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398 Posts
Do you have schematics for the 88-91 CRX chassis and 92-95 Civic schematics for the OBD1 Z6 engine electronics? For the constant 500 rpm issue, you will definitely need them for a proper diagnosis. The 500 rpm thing is odd, but could definitely be both related or unrelated to the running condition based on the cause. In either case, I bet timing belt has slipped or mechanical timing is off. My reasons below:

The 500 rpm tach reading - Go key on and get the concern to happen. Then try fully unplugging the distributor and see if the tach drops to 0.

-If it DOES, that problem is most likely related to either:

1) a faulty ICM,
2) a faulty sensor(s) in the distributor telling the ECU to drive the ICM which ends up sending tach output signal RPM,
3) unwanted ICM driver signal from the ECU unrelated to distributor input sensor signals to the ECU

If unplugging the distributor drops the RPM to 0, reconnect it and try unplugging the ECU and see if it drops the RPM to 0. If it does, then an issue on input to the ECU or inside the ECU itself is causing it to drive the ICM at improper times.

-If it DOESN'T, you either have:

1) odd issues occurring on the tach output signal wire between the distributor and the cluster via harness issues or some other weird feedback issue,
2) the issue is in the cluster itself, or
3) the ICM is incorrectly outputting a tach signal with no accompanying logical input from the ECU

The tach drive motor controller electronics in the 90-91 clusters are similar in function to the 92-95 series clusters. The tach only gets its function signal exclusively from the ICM tach output lead.

The ICM is driven/signaled directly by the ECM via a single wire. The ECM shouldn't be driving the ICM key on engine off unless it is either:

1) receiving garbage input from the distributor rotation sensor circuits or
2) ECM itself is faulty for some reason.

In any case, the 500 rpm issue may be an overall indicator of a larger issue causing the no-start, but just know the ECU doesn't use that tach signal for RPM. It calculates RPM internally using the 3 rotation sensors in the distributor, so don't let the 500 RPM thing derail you. Move on, dig deeper and see if it "could" be related somehow in wiring, etc. but that other seemingly non-related issues could also be causing it. Bottom line, it will be wiring or hardware based.

From what you've said, you checked spark with a spark tester. You wouldn't happen to be getting spark emitted from the plug wires while key on engine off NOT trying to start the car do you? If you only get spark when trying to start the car, then you know the ECM isn't driving the ICM at unwanted times, and that the tach reading 500 rpm is caused by something that is not ECM/distributor output sensor related; either wiring, cluster or ICM tach output related.

Did you test spark output with a gap tester or a neon bulb type? Sometimes the neon bulbs will blink with low energy output from the coil, where the spark output is not good enough to ignite fuel/air mix. You need to make sure you have good hot bluish/white spark at each plug. Sometimes cap and rotor contacts can grow corrosion on them when sitting for long periods, might want to take a peek under the cap and look for crap.

You also say you smell fuel while cranking, so maybe/possibly the injectors are being pulsed (have you checked this?) and maybe fuel pressure is good (have you also checked this?).

If you are getting proper injector driver pulse at all 4 injectors from the ECM, you have good fuel pressure AND good spark output at plug wires during cranking, then it's down to timing/compression.

On your wet compression test, numbers on 1 and 4 are good enough to hit, so theoretically if you had air/fuel and spark on those two and everything was in-time correctly, it should at least run on those 2 cylinders.

Your compression numbers read like a mechanical out-of-time possibility, especially on the cold. Yes, #2 is lower than the rest, but all of them seem to be equally close to 55 PSI. Its hard to imagine a properly running engine at one point magically having low compression a couple months later for no reason at all.

I'm betting your timing belt has either slipped or deteriorated and lost a couple teeth, causing a jump. I've seen this before, where belt slips due to stretch or missing a few teeth, then cause the belt to run the cam/crank way out of time, not enough for engine damage but enough to definitely not run the engine, with appearances of odd compression numbers and what appear to be good injector pulse and spark. The low numbers dry could definitely be due to a combination of mechanical timing issues and cylinder fuel wash, having tried to crank the car a bunch in the quest to start it.

Checking pulse on injectors, ICM input, etc, a small incandescent test light is your friend :)

Hopefully this helps!
 

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98 ex
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327 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
1st of all I really appreciate these replies!

I was initially convinced the tach issue was causing/linked to the no start but now I am leaning towards mechanical timing and the tach issue is coincidental.

For the Tach issue.
I cannot get the 500 to drop, I'm starting to think its the tach itself.
I have disconnected the distributor, starter, alternator, ECU, main relay, and all sensors 1 by 1. Same thing with fuses. It never drops from 500 unless you turn the key off.

For the No start.
All sparkplugs were covered in fuel. Fouled. I'm certain the cylinders are fuel washed I have been trying to get her started for weeks.

Hopefully I can check Mechanical Timing after work. I looked at the belt yesterday and it seemed pretty tight.
I tested spark with a spark tester that goes between the plug and plug wire. It has a bulb. The bulb was flashing while cranking.

Thanks again for all the help!
 

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98 ex
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327 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Does anyone know what head this is?
Casting P08-6 9/2

I tried to check mechanical timing today and it seems way off but I don't have anything to compare it to. This "z6" head appears to have a y8 cam gear on it?? I was going to follow z6 timing procedure but the gear is not the same.

When I bought it I was told it was a Y8 head but after research i thought it was a z6.
Is it a jdm z6 head? It has vtec.

When I have the cam gear with top marking to the top the crank marking appears out of time but if this a y8 gear isnt it going to be off 8 degrees or something?

Plus I dont know how it slipped time in the first place. The belt seems in good shape and tight. No missing teeth that I could see.

Help!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thank you .


Dont both of those have the same closed off, 3 line style cam gears?

This is a 2 line gear that looks like a big rim with 5 spokes. Pretty sure from a y8

So with an a6 bottom end, z6ish head, and y8 cam gear how do i set mechanical timing?
I can line the block up using the marks on the crank pulley but then i dont know where the cam gear should be? Should I just line the 2 lines up with head and put the belt back on?
 
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