Honda Civic/CRX/del Sol 1984-1995 Repair Guide

Description and Operation


All 1984-87 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 conventional 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 unit. Upon receiving the signal, the igniter opens the primary circuit 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.


Always disconnect the battery cables before doing repair work on the electronic ignition system.
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 up the battery connections backwards will cause current to flow through the electronic ignition system in an improper way and may immediately damage it. Be careful when jumping the vehicle's battery for the same reasons.
Do not allow the wires connected to the pulse generator to touch other ignition wiring connections.
Abnormal voltage pulses may damage the system. Therefore, be sure to disconnect the battery before doing any work on the vehicle that involves the electrical system. This includes charging the battery and replacing small bulbs.
Connect any electrical tachometer to the negative (-) terminal of the ignition coil-not to any other connection.
Always double check any connection (you are making) involving the ignition system before reconnecting the battery and putting the system into operation.
When cranking the engine for compression testing or similar purposes, disconnect the coil wire at the distributor.