Honda 1997 won't start/starts for mechanic

civic
honda

#1

Parked my Honda Civic (1997 stick shift) in driveway at a slight forward downward slant. Two days later it wouldn’t start: dash lights come on, get high pitched noises from engine but no start. Tried for 2 days, same results. Ambient temp is in 60’s. Had routine service 2 weeks ago and it was running fine.

Tow truck driver tried it, got same results. Had it towed a mile to mechanic (front end elevated while towing). Mechanic called to say it started on first try for him but seemed to be running rough. He checked it over and now has come up with 2 or 3 things it may be but isn’t really sure.

Mechanic Is going to replace the ECP (?) to start with but is going to be going at it one part at a time.

Any ideas on what this might be so we’re not throwing $$ at it? Thanks for any thoughts.


#2

“High pitched noises from the engine but no start.” Can you be more descriptive? Was it like a metallic zzzzinnnngggg sound? Because a sound like that means the starter gear isn’t engaging the flywheel properly, either because the flywheel ring has some broken teeth or something is wrong with the starter.
Or is it more of a non-metallic whistling sound?


#3

Offhand, I agree with jesmed about a possible starter problem and your needing to be more descriptive.

However, it sounds like you’re preparing to go on a one part at a time spending spree based on a shotgun approach and that is not advisable at all.
Methodogy like that quite often leads to a ton of money spent with no resolution of the problem and then realization at the end that it was something simple all along.


#4

The noise was not metallic or whistling. More like it was trying to crank over but not getting gas or ?
The mechanic replaced the Coolant Temp Sensor and it’s been running fine (about 4 trips so far).
Agree that I don’t want to be replacing parts without having an idea about what’s going on but haven’t a clue as to what it might be.
Hopefully it’s a dead issue??? If not, I’ll be back for suggestions.


#5

Not sure but I don’t think a bad coolant temp sensor can prevent the engine from starting, so I don’t think the problem has been solved. You may just have to wait until it happens for your mechanic so he can diagnose. There are so many possible causes for a no-start condition that it’s useless to speculate here.


#6

Again, I agree with jesmed that the coolant sensor will not prevent an engine from starting and also think the problem has not been solved.

Your description leads me to think the starter motor is cranking the engine fine; it’s just not firing up.
Several possibilities could be the main relay or the electrical part of the ignition switch as both have been known problems and are related electrically speaking.

This era of Honda is under a Recall for the switch but you would have to contact Honda with your VIN to determine if the car is covered or not. If so, it would be a freebie.
Recalls involve politics and many cars not covered by a Recall suffer the same failures as those which are covered.


#7

OK4450 is correct about the ignition switch recall. Take his advice and see if your car qualifies:

http://www.honda.com/newsandviews/article.aspx?id=2002052353859


#8

First, Google Honda recalls, got to the Honda Owners website. you can put in your VIN to see if there are any recalls needed, and it will tell you if any were already done. The coolant temp sensor can cause a no start issue. They failed a lot on the generation before yours, the sensor was updated, and I think your car uses the same one. But they, like anything else, can still fail. This sensor is a variable resistor that tells the PCM what the coolant temp is. A common failure was the sensor would give a cold reading, like -30 degrees, even if the coolant was hot. The PCM would run very rich, like a cold start condition, and it won’t start. The sensor never goes out of its parameters, so no check engine light. So your technician might have nailed it.