Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

2000 Acura Integra Cranks But Won't Start

My 2000 Integra with 180,000 miles that never gave me a moment of trouble, stalled at a stop sign and hasn’t started since.

The info:

  1. Engine cranks
  2. Check Engine light comes on and then goes off after a few seconds (assume no error code)
  3. Removing a spark plug shows spark
  4. All fuses ok
  5. Fuel pump relay ok
  6. Removed fuel filter, turned on ignition (not trying to crank), fuel is coming through. There isn’t much pressure, the fuel comes out like a water fountain. I assume the fuel pump is ok.

My thinking is that I either don’t have spark or I don’t have fuel. The spark looks ok. The fuel pump is moving fuel, I don’t know if the pump can fail in a way that moves fuel but at too low a pressure. Is there another device, in the fuel delivery system, between the pump and the cylinder that I can check?

Any suggestion would be appreciated.


  • Bill

It sounds like the fuel pump isn’t developing enough fuel pressure if the fuel comes out like a water fountain. The fuel pressure is measured at the fuel filter with the pressure gauge tee’d into the fuel line. The fuel pressure should be 36-43 PSI. At that pressure the fuel should shoot out of the fuel line.


Good morning Tester -

Thanks for the comment. I wasn’t sure how much pressure to expect during the few seconds of pumping when the ignition is first turned on. I’ll replace the pump and post results.


  • Bill

I too was thinking this was a fuel pressure issue. However, I would not just go replacing the pump. There’s no need to guess since, as Tester noted, you can put a fuel pressure gauge on it. You don’t need to to that at the fuel filter - there should be a test port (schrader valve-type) on the fuel rail. Make sure it is the fuel pressure before you go on with replacing pump.

You’d hate to go to all of that trouble & $$ to find out its really something else - such as injectors that aren’t firing or something.

If you check the fuel pressure, and it is low, and you replace the pump, also replace the filter if you haven’t already.

There is no Schrader valve on the fuel rail. That’s why the fuel pressure is measured at the fuel filter.


Ahhhh…thanks. That seems odd. So in that kind of instance is it a lot more trouble to check the pressure? Or only a little more trouble?

If you have this basic fuel pressure test kit it’s not much trouble to tee into the fuel line.


Actually, if the engine isn’t running when the fuel pressure is tested, it’s going to be unregulated fuel pressure because there’s no vacuum being applied to the fuel pressure regulator. So the unregulated fuel pressure will be 40-47 PSI.


You stated that you had spark getting to the plugs so it sounds like the ignition system is working ok. I suggest you spray a small amount of starter fluid into the intake and see if that gets the engine to fire. If it does then there is something wrong with the fuel delivery system. The fuel pump may be weak, the injectors aren’t opening, something like that. If that trick doesn’t work then you may have a timing belt problem and need to check the compression.

Hi All -

I agree that guessing is not a very smart way to troubleshoot but the pressure tester is more expensive than the pump so I put in a new pump. No change.

Cougar - You suggested using starting fluid but I don’t know where to apply it.


  • Bill

Remove the air filter cover and spray the starting fluid up the intake.

Do ALL of your dash lights light up when you turn your key on? These vehicles are prone to distributor failure (even when having a spark) and or more commonly the main relay often fails. The main supplies power to the fuel pump and equally important to the distributor WHILE cranking…many x some part of the system doesnt have power while the key is in the crank position. See if you have all of your dash lights and try to find the main relay…I am certain Honda Accords and civics have them…90% sure you do too…

Hi all -

I dropped dead because my daughter got married and I needed to do other things.

I tried the starting fluid but it didn’t make any difference. The engine cranks but absolutely no sign of ignition.

Today I took Cougar’s advice and checked the timing belt. The service manual shows the “UP” arrows on the two top belt pullies in the same position. My engine has the pullies rotated more than 90 degrees away from each other.

This is the original belt so I plan on replacing it. It looks awfully tight around the belt so I guess I need to checkout mechanics in Albuquerque on the Car Talk web page.

Thanks for all your comments.

  • Bill

Since the starter fluid trick didn’t work it does sound like the timing belt has slipped. Hopefully you have a non-interference engine if that is case. You may also want to replace the fuel filter if that hasn’t been changed in a long time.

Hi Cougar -

Thanks for the advice. I replaced the fuel filter when I first checked to see if fuel was coming through.

I am going to get a quote to for the timing belt but I also have the original clutch and a small oil leak. When I see how much it’s all going to cost I may be donating the car to my local NPR station.

Enjoy the holiday weekend!

  • Bill

If you have an interference engine the bill will be pretty steep alright.