Honda Accord/Civic/Prelude 1973-1983 Repair Guide

Electronic Ignition

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All 1980-83 vehicles are equipped with a magnetic pulse type electronic ignition system. This system eliminates the points and condenser, it requires no periodic maintenance.

The electronic ignition system uses a magnetic pulse/igniter distributor and a conventional ignition coil. The distributor cap, rotor, advance mechanism (vacuum and centrifugal) and secondary ignition wires are also of standard design. The distributor contains the stator, reluctor and pulse generator (pick-up coil) and igniter assembly.

During operation, the teeth of the reluctor align with the stator, a signal is generated by the pulse generator (pick-up coil) and sent to the igniter (module). The module, upon receiving the signal, opens the primary of the ignition coil. As the primary magnetic field collapses, a high voltage surge is developed in the secondary windings of the coil. This high voltage surge travels from the coil to the distributor cap and rotor through the secondary ignition wires to the spark plugs.

The electronic ignition system on your Honda requires special handling. Unlike conventional ignition systems, it is very sensitive to abrupt changes in voltage or voltage applied in the wrong direction electrically. Observe the precautions listed below to prevent expensive system damage!

  1. Always disconnect the battery cables before doing repair work on the electronic ignition system.
  2.  
  3. Always double check the markings on the battery and the routing of the cables before making connections, especially if the battery has been removed and might have been reinstalled in the opposite position. Hooking the battery connections up backwards will cause current to flow through the electronic ignition system in an improper way and may immediately damage it. Be careful, also when jumping the vehicle's battery with another for the same reasons.
  4.  
  5. Do not allow the wires connected to the pulse generator to touch other ignition wiring connections.
  6.  
  7. Abnormal voltage pulses may damage the system. Therefore, be sure to disconnect the battery before doing any work on the vehicle that is of an electrical nature. This includes charging the battery and replacing small bulbs.
  8.  
  9. Connect any electrical tachometer to the negative (-) terminal of the ignition coil -not to any other connection!
  10.  
  11. Always double check any connection (you are making) involving the ignition system before reconnecting the battery and putting the system into operation.
  12.  
  13. When cranking the engine for compression testing or similar purposes, disconnect the coil wire at the distributor.
  14.  

RELUCTOR GAP ADJUSTMENT



See Figures 1, 2, 3 and 4

  1. Remove the distributor cap and the rotor.
  2.  
  3. Turn the crankshaft to align the reluctor points with the stator ends.
  4.  



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Fig. Fig. 1: Removing the coil wire from the distributor cap



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Fig. Fig. 2: Removing the distributor cap hold-down screw



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Fig. Fig. 3: Removing the distributor cap (remove the 2 hold-down screws)



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Fig. Fig. 4: Removing the distributor rotor (rotor lifts off)

  1. Using a non-metallic feeler gauge, check the air reluctor-to-stator air gaps; they must be equal.
  2.  
  3. To adjust, loosen the stator-to-distributor screws, adjust the stator-to-reluctor air gaps and tighten the screws.
  4.  
  5. Recheck the air gaps.
  6.  

PARTS REPLACEMENT



Retailers often offer Tune-Up kits consisting of a pick-up coil, igniter unit (if used), reluctor, rotor and distributor cap.

Reluctor

See Figure 5

  1. Disconnect the negative battery terminal.
  2.  
  3. Remove the distributor cap and the rotor.
  4.  



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Fig. Fig. 5: Removing the reluctor from the distributor assembly

  1. Using two medium pry bars, pry the reluctor from the distributor shaft; be careful not to damage the reluctor or stator.
  2.  

When installing the reluctor, be sure the manufacturer's number is facing upward.

  1. To install, push the reluctor onto the distributor shaft. When installing the reluctor roll pin, be sure to position the pin gap facing away from the distributor shaft.
  2.  

Pickup Coil
  1. Refer to the Reluctor Removal & Installation procedures in this section and remove the reluctor.
  2.  
  3. Disconnect the electrical connector from the pickup coil.
  4.  
  5. Remove the pickup coil-to-distributor screws and pull the pickup coil from the distributor.
  6.  
  7. To install, use a new pickup coil (if necessary) and reverse the removal procedures.
  8.  

Igniter Unit

See Figures 6 and 7

On the Accord (1983), Prelude (1983), Toyo Denso introduced an igniter unit which is installed on the side of the distributor housing.

  1. Disconnect the negative battery terminal.
  2.  
  3. Remove the igniter cover-to-distributor screws and the cover.
  4.  
  5. Pull the igniter unit from the distributor.
  6.  



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Fig. Fig. 6: Removing the igniter unit from the distributor-Toyo Denso model



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Fig. Fig. 7: Removing the igniter unit cover from the distributor

  1. If necessary, perform the Igniter Unit Troubleshooting procedures in this section.
  2.  
  3. Using silicone grease, apply it to the connector housing.
  4.  
  5. To install, reverse the removal procedures.
  6.  

Rotor
  1. Remove the distributor cap.
  2.  
  3. Pull the rotor from the distributor shaft.
  4.  
  5. Inspect the rotor burns and damage; if necessary, replace it. It may be necessary to lightly file the tip.
  6.  
  7. To install, apply a light coat of silicone grease to the rotor tip, align the rotor with the distributor shaft and push it into place and reverse the removal procedures.
  8.  

TROUBLESHOOTING



See Figure 8

Use a quality electrical multimeter - a tester which will measure voltage and resistance precisely.

  1. To verify that the electronic ignition system is malfunctioning, first carefully pull the coil wire out of the coil. Then, hold the wire so that the metal parts of the coil tower and wire are 1 / 4 inches apart. Have someone crank the engine with the ignition switch so the ignition will be turned ON . If there is spark, the electronic ignition system is working, proceed with routine checks for spark at the plugs and inspection of the ignition wires, cap and rotor to be certain the rest of the ignition system is operable. If there is a large, fat spark, reconnect the coil high tension wire securely; if there is no spark or if the spark is weak, proceed with the tests below.
  2.  



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Fig. Fig. 8: Toyo Denso type distributor assembly-measure the voltage at each of the terminals on the left side-the igniter unit continunity is measured between the same two terminals

  1. With the ignition switch still ON , switch the multimeter into the 12V range. Connect the ground (black) lead of the meter to a good, clean ground that is not covered with paint. Connect the positive lead to the positive (+) terminal of the coil. The voltage should be approximately 12V - the same as the battery. If not, look for problems in the wiring connector at the coil or somewhere in the wiring between the ignition switch and the coil.
  2.  
  3. On 1973-83 models, disconnect the coil high tension lead, this time at the distributor end. Ground the high tension lead securely. Connect the voltmeter across the (+) and (-) connectors of the coil, with the black or negative lead at the (-) connector. Set the meter on a scale that will read less than 5V precisely. Have someone crank the engine with the key; the reading must be 1-3V. If the reading is within the specified range, check the coil primary and secondary resistance as in Step 4. Otherwise, proceed with Step 5.
  4.  
  5. On all models, turn the ignition switch OFF . Set your meter to read resistance (Ohms). Choose a scale that will measure the resistance specified effectively. Make sure the coil is at approximately 70°F (21°C). On all models, connect the two meter probes to the two primary (small) terminals of the coil. On 1973-83 models, these are the two small connectors that use nuts to retain the coil wires. Read the resistance; it must be 1.0-1.3- (1980), 1.06-1.24- (1981-83). Now read the secondary resistance. Connect the meter probes between the (+) primary terminal and the large, secondary connector - the coil tower on all models 1973-83. This resistance must be 7,400-11,000- on models (1973-83). If any test is failed, replace the coil. If all tests were passed, check the spark plug wire resistance by disconnecting each wire at both ends and connecting a probe from the meter to either end of the wire. Resistance must be no more than 25,000-. Otherwise, the wire must be replaced. Remember to check the coil-to-distributor wire as well as the individual plug wires. Check the wires one at a time to avoid mixing up the firing order.
  6.  
  7. Note the locations for the blue and black/yellow connectors. Disconnect the lead wires from the igniter unit. Turn the ignition switch ON . Measure voltage between the blue wire and a good, clean ground. Do the same for the black/yellow wire. In both cases, battery voltage MUST be present at both connectors. Otherwise, trace the wiring back through the ignition switch to find the problem. Turn the ignition switch OFF . Now, measure the resistance in the igniter with the meter set to the R x 100 scale. Connect the positive probe onto the black/yellow distributor terminal and the negative onto the blue distributor terminal. There must be continuity. Now, reverse the probes so that the positive probe is on the blue terminal and the negative probe is on the black/yellow. There must be NO continuity with the probes in this position. If the continuity test is failed either way, replace the igniter. Proceed with Step 6.
  8.  
  9. Connect the ohmmeter probes between the blue wire and green wire distributor terminals. Pick-up coil resistance must be approximately 750-. Otherwise, replace the pick-up coil.
  10.  

DIAGNOSIS AND TESTING



Igniter Unit Test

See Figures 9 and 10

1983 ACCORD AND PRELUDE (WITH HITACHI TYPE)
  1. Disconnect lead wires from igniter unit.
  2.  
  3. Using a voltmeter, check the voltage between blue wire and body ground, then, black/yellow wire to body ground, with ignition switch ON . There should be battery voltage.
  4.  



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Fig. Fig. 9: View of the igniter unit lead wires-Hitachi



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Fig. Fig. 10: View of the igniter unit terminals-Hitachi

  1. If no voltage, check wiring to igniter unit.
  2.  
  3. Using a ohmmeter, set the scale on the R x 100 position, disconnect the lead wires and check the continuity.
  4.  
  5. Place the positive (red) probe on the black/yellow wire terminal and negative (black) probe on the blue wire terminal; no continuity should be read on ohmmeter.
  6.  
  7. Place the positive (red) probe on the blue wire terminal and negative (black) probe on the black/yellow wire terminal; continuity should be read on the ohmmeter.
  8.  
  9. If ohmmeter readings are not as specified in Steps 5 and 6, replace igniter unit.
  10.  

1983 ACCORD AND PRELUDE (WITH TOYO DENSO TYPE)

See Figures 11 and 12

  1. Disconnect lead wires from igniter unit.
  2.  
  3. Using a voltmeter, check the voltage between the blue wire and ground, then, the black/yellow wire to ground, with the ignition switch ON ; there should be battery voltage.
  4.  



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Fig. Fig. 11: View of the igniter unit lead wires-Toyo Denso



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Fig. Fig. 12: View of the igniter unit terminals-Toyo Denso

  1. If no voltage, check wiring to igniter unit.
  2.  
  3. Using an ohmmeter, set the scale on the R x 100 position, disconnect the lead wires and check the continuity between the igniter unit terminals.
  4.  
  5. Place probes of meter to black/yellow wire terminal and blue wire terminal. No continuity should be read on ohmmeter.
  6.  
  7. Reverse the meter probes. Continuity should be read on ohmmeter.
  8.  

Polarity may change with different meters. Determine polarity of your ohmmeter before conducting this test.

  1. If ohmmeter readings are not as specified in Steps 2 and 3, replace igniter unit.
  2.  

 
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