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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After I got it started earlier today, I let it warm up and idle for a while, then I shut it off. Started it again. Shut it off. Started it again. Shut it off again. Seemed ok, so I went inside and took a nap.

Came back out to move the car up into the driveway to wash her, and she wouldn't start. So I guess it wasn't that ground wire, after all. The only other thing I did was clean the cap and rotor contacts (cap and rotor are only a few months old, but were pretty corroded already) and take out the magnetic pickup and hose the distributor out with electrical parts cleaner. So I tried doing that again. No luck.

There's a little bit of oil inside the distributor, but it's been like that for a while. Could this have fried the module (it's a hitachi dist. so the module is inside)? And it just happened to kinda work for half an hour earlier today?

I'm so fucking mad because today was my first Saturday off in a long time and I was hoping to devote it to something productive. Now there's barely enough daylight left to do anything, and even if there was, I don't feel like fucking with cars anymore right now :(
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Starter cranks. Starter cranks its little heart out. That's it, though. It doesn't catch.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
haven't checked the plugs... nobody around to crank the motor for me while i look
 

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SquishyPanda said:
Starter cranks. Starter cranks its little heart out. That's it, though. It doesn't catch.
It doesn't catch? Not catching means the bendix isnt connecting to the flywheel teeth. Are you sure that's what you meant?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
i mean it doesn't catch as in everything's turning, but there's no combustion happening. I know the starter is cranking the flywheel, because the distrib. rotor is somewhere different every time I open it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I'm 99% positive I'm getting fuel, because I can hear the fuel pump going, and it's carbureted, so there's no other mechanism stopping the fuel getting into the cylinders.

And it ran for a few minutes earlier, like nothing was ever wrong. Even a totally screwed carburetor will let the engine cough and sputter for a while. This "works fine - now it doesn't work at all - now it's fine again - nothing again" pattern sounds like it's got to be electrical.
 

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Oooooooo you have a hitachi ignitor/pickup, i give you a 95% chance that it's blown up.

Those things LOVE to self destruct, seriously, we've replaced them by the dozen in my shop.
They will fail part time too, which is the really fun part. We've had quite a few customer cars (subaru used that sensor/ignitor combo, all the 80's accords used it, lots of other 80's cars as well) come in dead, start in our shop, briefly fail, then start again and run great. If we catch it dead with no spark, pretty much the first thing we do is look to see if it's a Hitachi ignitor/sensor, and if it is tell the customer "It's usually this little $70(100?140? don't remmeber whether 70 was before or after markup) part, it fails constantly, and acts like this. That said, we can't be SURE it's the problem till we replace it, and as soon as we hook it up, it's not returnable. So, would you like to risk $whatever to find out?" They say yes, we put it in, presto problem solved.


Anyway....
Check for spark, if your not getting spark it's the sensor/ignitor that lives in the dist, it isn't too hard to replace, but you need to align it so that it's in the right spot, take note of the air gap between the little four point rotor and the little bar of metal that sticks out of the sensor.

And, do NOT lose the little roll pin that locks the four point rotor to the dist shaft, you'll go through hell trying to find a new one!
 
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I've already got a new pin :D I ripped the guts out of the only hitachi distributor I found in the junkyard (passed up a hundred TEC's) had a bitch of a time getting the 4-point doohickey out. Can't punch the pin all the way through from the top, because the flat spot in the shaft doesn't go all the way down. I ended up taking it to my store, and me and one of the asst. managers poked around in the tool aisle messing with every puller we had. Eventually we used a tube flaring tool because it was the only one with jaws small enough to grab the damn thing.

But that was fairly easy, because I took all that junk out. I'm not sure I would be able to put that distributor back together if I had to. I tried cutting a slot in a washer to put behind the doohickey so I could grab that with a puller, but there isn't enough room between the doohickey and the module even a washer.

Maybe I could drill out the pin? Like I said, I've got a new pin, and I can get a fistful more from work.

If I just swapped to a TEC distributor, everything would plug in the same, right?

And the likelihood that this hitachi module I "borrowed" from the junkyard actually works is pretty low, huh? The Civic I pulled it out of wasn't crunched, so maybe that's the reason it was in there in the first place :D Maybe I'll go throw it back over the fence.

Once again, bobnova, tons of help. Reacharound-- err rep for you :D
 

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It may work, it's worth trying.

To get the pin out, just use a screwdriver to pry the rotor up and off.
To get the pin back in, put the rotor on, then press the pin in as far as you can by hand, then take a hammer and small punch to knock it the rest of the way in.

Put the dist in a vice (gently, don't crack it or score the shaft :p) so you don't rip a hole in your hand trying to hold and pry at the same time.

It's worth trying the civic one, most people won't junk a car over a $150 fix.


EDIT:
Donno about dist. swapping (or what a TEC dist is or comes off, they don't blow up, so i don't have to mess with 'em :p), but any honda dist that drives the coil directly should work(assuming it fits in the head correctly mind you), though you may need to chop the connectors off and rewire them. The FI dist sends a signal to the computer, which triggers the ignitor, which fires the coil, so that won't work
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
the catalogs at work list both TEC and hitachi distributors for my car. In fact, for most hondas. I could buy a remanufactured one from work and keep a bucket of junkyard modules in the trunk on the off chance it blows up. Two screws and it pops off.

I'm afraid of putting any pressure on that module. I tried to pull the module out of the junkyard last week, and the screwdriver went right through the plastic housing. The doohickey didn't budge. Those little bastards are on tight. When we used the puller at work, the pin put a deep groove in the shaft when we pulled the doohickey off.
 

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I think there is a groove in the shaft to begin with, but if not don't worry about it.

There should be a couple screws that hold the module down, once they are out it should pop right off (assuming you already removed the dist rotor and the four point rotor)
Heavy on the should, these things can seize up over time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I think mine is siezed. The one I pulled out of the junkyard was definitely siezed. Maybe if I hit it with some PB Blaster or something.
 

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Did you find the screws? They've gotta be there somewhere, it may be that the entire centrifugal advance comes out and the screws are under it, it's been a while since i did one, my boss has done the last couple.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I think I know which ones you're talking about. The ones way on the side, right? You disconnect the vacuum advance, take out the screw in the center shaft, and the whole deal comes out. At least that's how I got the guts out of that civic.
 

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Something along those lines, yeah.

Grab an entire prelude dist and say hell with it?

Or, since it's already dead with a screwdriver hole through it, inspect carefully for any missed screws/clips/lockrings, then rip it out by the roots by any means necesary.
 
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