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Old 06-10-2011, 10:58 AM   #1
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VX electrical issues -- no spark

Hi, my long livin' VX is probably on its last legs. Inspection woes aside, it now won't start. It cranks over but the mechanic where the car conveniently died says it has no spark and that it's probably the distributor(?) His English is not so good: he said the 'coil' and pointed at the part where the spark plug wires come out of. I want your opinions on whether this is the likely culprit. He seems like a nice guy--he helped me push the car when I tried to bump start it (which failed repeatedly).

Some other considerations: couple years ago the dome light started working intermittently, then stopped working altogether. Very recently the left turn signal sometimes doesn't work (probably about 10% of the time it won't work). An intermittently working turn signal (and formerly dome light) seems to me might represent a big underlying electrical problem. I'm just afraid it might not be worth fixing.
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Originally Posted by Ford Man View Post
Coughing hesitation could also be caused from condensation forming inside the distributor cap from drastic swings in temperature and humidity levels. WD-40 sprayed to the inside of the distributor cap is said to resolve moisture problems inside the cap.
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Originally Posted by kamesama980 View Post
My trick did the same thing. any time there was moisture condensation out it would run fine at idle and up to slight loads but anything over about 10% load (by opening the throttle or less throttle at higher revs) and it'd miss like crazy and fall on it's face. one day I was fiddling with it under those conditions and grabbed the distributor to adjust timing for whatever reason and zap zap zap. new plugs, wires, and cap and no more problems since.
Might WD-40 and changing out those wires solve the problem? A new distributor is quoted at $150 so maybe I should try the WD-40 and wires before betting a new or used distributor.

http://www.gassavers.org/showthread.php?t=13320
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Old 06-10-2011, 05:53 PM   #2
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Re: VX electrical issues -- no spark

My former '95 VX had an intermittent starting problem at 200,000 miles. Sometimes it would just click and the starter wouldn't move. I also noticed the tachometer would sometimes jump around. I bought a new starter thinking it was the problem. No dice. I finally determined it was a corroded ground wire from the chassis to the transmission or engine block (can't recall which) on the passenger side. Your problem sounds like it's the igniter. A wrecked 1985 CRX that I bought for parts in 1989 (for my CRX HF) had a great running engine that I started once every 3 weeks for a year. After a year, it would turn over but not start. My old 1986 CRX HF died as I was pulling into my driveway and had the same symptom. It would crank but not start. It was a bad igniter.
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Old 06-11-2011, 11:06 AM   #3
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Re: VX electrical issues -- no spark

All those small electrical problems are unrelated. Fix things as they need to be fixed. The coil is in the cap on the VX. The coils don't usually go bad, but it isn't out of the question.
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Old 06-11-2011, 07:33 PM   #4
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Re: VX electrical issues -- no spark

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Originally Posted by hondaguy72 View Post
All those small electrical problems are unrelated. Fix things as they need to be fixed. The coil is in the cap on the VX. The coils don't usually go bad, but it isn't out of the question.
So what do you recommend? I have no money and I'm not sure how long it is going to take to find a used distributor. Is there an alternative to replacing the distributor? Are you saying I just need a new cap?
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Old 06-11-2011, 10:23 PM   #5
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Re: VX electrical issues -- no spark

Repeated bump starting is hard on the electrical system, btw. It probably caused the main relay under the dash to fail. It can be fixed pretty easily with a soldering iron. Does the fuel pump prime when the key is turned to the RUN position?

Main relay vid
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=viIZ8k60awY

BTW, don't solder like the dude shows. Make sure the iron is very hot before attempting to solder as prolonged heat on the board will cook the components rather than just re-soldering the connection.
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Old 06-12-2011, 05:35 AM   #6
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Re: VX electrical issues -- no spark

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Originally Posted by hondaguy72 View Post
Repeated bump starting is hard on the electrical system, btw.
How does that work? The only thing I can think of is the EOC, not the bump start, draining the battery until you bump start and then having to charge the battery again.
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Old 06-13-2011, 07:19 PM   #7
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Re: VX electrical issues -- no spark

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How does that work? The only thing I can think of is the EOC, not the bump start, draining the battery until you bump start and then having to charge the battery again.
I'm curious too. I turn my car off way too much. I turn it off all the time for the smallest of savings, because I don't mind and it's easy to do. But maybe I should cool it so I don't toast the new used dizzy coil I just paid $100 for (with labor).
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Old 06-13-2011, 07:23 PM   #8
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Re: VX electrical issues -- no spark

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Repeated bump starting is hard on the electrical system, btw.
I've bump started my cars for the last 22 years ('86 CRX HF, '95 Civic VX, and current '95 Civic DX) without any electrical, clutch, battery, ignition or other issues.
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Old 06-13-2011, 08:15 PM   #9
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Re: VX electrical issues -- no spark

Rephrase, repeated bump starting of a car with a dead battery is hard on the electrical system. Check out the battery charging threads. It's the #1 cause of alternator failure, to run a car that has no or low charge. Less system voltage is going to put more current through the main relay. You always want to have a battery in the car with good standing voltage.

It is not hard on a car to bump start it if the battery is in good shape. This, however, was not the case with the stated vehicle.

I'm happy to back my claims.

The coil or the main relay was overstressed enough times due to the low battery charge that one of those electrical components failed.

Please, just check the main relay for failure.
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Old 06-14-2011, 05:49 AM   #10
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Re: VX electrical issues -- no spark

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Originally Posted by hondaguy72 View Post
Rephrase, repeated bump starting of a car with a dead battery is hard on the electrical system.
That makes sense.
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