Honda Civic/Del Sol 1996-2000

Diagnosis and Testing

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Prior to diagnosis or testing procedures, visually inspect the components of the ignition and engine control systems. Check for the following:



Discharged battery or low alternator output
 
Damaged, corroded, or loose electrical connections
 
Damaged or worn electrical insulation
 
Poor spark plug connections
 
Ignition module multi-connector condition
 
Blown fuses
 
Damaged or corroded ignition wires
 
Excessively worn, defective, or damaged spark plugs
 
Excessively worn or damaged distributor cap or rotor
 

Check the spark plug wires and boots for signs of poor insulation that could cause shorting or crossfiring. Make sure the battery is fully charged and that all accessories are off during diagnosis and testing. Make sure the idle speed is properly adjusted and within specification. Check all of the fuel injector electrical connections..

SECONDARY SPARK TEST




WARNING
When testing the ignition system for a high-energy spark, make sure the test equipment is sufficiently grounded. Failure to do so may cause severe and expensive internal component damage. When testing for an ignition, spark make sure the area is free of any flammable materials. Do not hold or place hands or fingers near the test equipment when checking for a high voltage spark.

Checking for a high-energy spark is easily performed using a spark tester (available at most automotive parts stores). Three types of spark testers are commonly available.



The Neon Bulb type: This tool connects to the spark plug wire and flashes with each ignition pulse. This is easy to use as it lights up with each ignition pulse
 
The Air Gap type: This tester is adjusted according to the spark plug gap specification for the engine. It is very useful because the gap can be adjusted to check the strength of the electrical spark and the color of the spark can be verified
 
The Spark Plug simulator: This looks like a spark plug, and has a grounding alligator style clip on the side. This checker is easy to use, and the spark color can be monitored
 

The last two types of testers mentioned allow the user to not only detect the presence of spark, but also the intensity (orange/yellow is weak, blue is strong). To use these testers proceed as follows:

  1. Disconnect a spark plug wire from the spark plug end.
  2.  
  3. Connect the plug wire to the spark tester and ground the tester to an appropriate location on the engine.
  4.  
  5. Crank the engine and check for spark at the tester.
  6.  
  7. If spark exists at the tester, the ignition system is functioning properly.
  8.  
  9. If all of the spark tests for all of the spark plug wires indicate irregular or weak spark:
    1. Refer to the coil test.
    2.  
    3. Carefully inspect the distributor cap and rotor for damage, corrosion or excessive wear.
    4.  
    5. Inspect and test the ignition wires. Check the resistance of each spark plug wire. If the wires are within specification, it will be necessary to diagnose the individual components of the ignition system.
    6.  

  10.  
  11. If one or more, but not all of the tests indicate irregular, or weak spark;
    1. Inspect and test the ignition wire. Check the resistance of each spark plug wire. If the wire is within specification, it will be necessary to diagnose the individual components of the ignition system.
    2.  
    3. Carefully inspect the distributor cap and rotor for an internal short, damage, corrosion or excessive wear.
    4.  

  12.  
  13. If spark does not exist:
    1. Remove the distributor cap, disconnect all of the electrical connectors at the distributor, and ensure that the rotor is turning when the engine is cranked.
    2.  
    3. Carefully inspect the distributor cap and rotor for damage, corrosion or excessive wear.
    4.  
    5. Inspect and test the ignition wires. Check the resistance of each spark plug wire. If the wire is within specification, it will be necessary to diagnose the individual components of the ignition system.
    6.  

  14.  

CYLINDER DROP TEST




WARNING
When performing a cylinder drop make sure the cylinder's high-tension lead for the cylinder being checked is sufficiently grounded. Failure to do so may cause severe and expensive internal component damage.

A cylinder drop test can be performed when an engine misfire is present. This test helps determine which cylinder is not contributing to the engine's power. The easiest way to perform this test is to remove and ground the plug wires one at a time for each cylinder with the engine running. A cylinder drop test can be performed when an engine misfire is present

  1. Place the automatic transaxle in P , and the manual transaxle in neutral and engage the emergency brake. Then start the engine and allow the engine to reach a warm idle.
  2.  
  3. Using a spark plug wire-removing tool, preferably, the pliers type, carefully remove and ground the ignition wire from one of the cylinders.
  4.  


WARNING
Make sure not to touch any part of the car that is metal. The secondary voltage from the ignition system is a high-energy spark with enough voltage to significantly cause a painful electrical shock.

  1. The engine will sputter, run worse, and possibly nearly stall. If this happens reinstall the plug wire and move to the next cylinder. If the engine runs no differently, or the difference is minimal, shut the engine off and inspect the spark plug wire, spark plug, and if necessary, perform component diagnostics as outlined. Perform this test on all cylinders to verify which cylinders seem low on power.
  2.  

 
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