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Honda enigma

I have a 1998 Honda Accord EX with a 2.3L 4Cyl.V-Tech engine. Some months ago after I took a 100 mi. trip, the next morning the car sounded funny when I turned it over and would’nt start. It sounded and acted like the timing belt broke. Three good mechanics thought it was the timing belt. When we took it apart to change the belt the belt was fine. All the timing marks are where they should be but the car has zero compression on all 4 clyinders! All 4 are zero! how can that be. Everything is turning, and the marks are where they belong, what is up with this thing? HELP! Frenchy

Sounds like the same RESULT of the belt going. The camshaft isn’t turning and is currently sitting with some valves open, letting all the compression out.

The cam is turning as is the distributor, and all the marks are where they belong. If the cam was’nt turning some cyl. would have compression. no? all 4 have zero. understand all 4 have zero. three good mechanics can not figure out whats wrong. AGAIN- THE CAMSHAFT IS TURNING.

Broken cam or crank shaft - turning on the outside, but not so much on the inside?

camshaft is not broken it’s turning the distributor rotor at the marks. that wouldn’t account for all 4 cyl. having ZERO COMPRESSION ON ALL FOUR!

Ok and how about the crank?

Look if you’re just going to get cranky at everyone who tries to help then GO FIND ANOTHER BOARD TO YELL AT PEOPLE ON!

I’m not yelling at u. there’s nothing wrong with the crankshaft, and nothing wrong with the cam. If either were broken, the motor would not turn over, like it does, understand, the belt, camshaft, crankshaft and rotor are turning and all the marks are where they belong.

The only thing that could cause 0 compression in all 4 cylinders is blown rings, destroyed valves, a bad head gasket, or a big gaping hole in the engine. I’m assuming you’d have noticed the latter. I find it highly unlikely that rings in all 4 cylinders would decide to die at the exact same time. It is also unlikely that the valves are destroyed since you generally have to break a timing belt under load to have any chance of doing that in all 4 at the same time. It is similarly unlikely that the head gasket managed to blow so completely that all 4 cylinders were effected, although this is probably the most probable scenario given what you have told us.

I therefore must suspect the compression test. If the gauge is busted, it could read 0 no matter how much pressure you put on it. I would have another compression test run using a known-good gauge (test it on an engine that you know is working fine. If it reads 0 there, you know to junk the gauge).

Assuming you still have 0 compression in all 4 cylinders, I don’t see any option (save possibly borescoping the cylinders which may or may not tell you something) other than taking the engine apart to see what’s going on.

Since you’re certain that the crank and the valves are properly timed relative to one another, I guess your only choice now is to pull the head and see what’s going on.

Personally, I don’t see any way you could suddenly lose all compression in all four cylinders unless the timing belt jumped its cogs. But, assuming the cylinders have, the head needs to come off.

Sorry in advance for the fragmented post…
No compression across all 4 = something major is wrong, or your gauge is broken.

Have you drained your oil and run it through a strainer to check for metal? This really isn’t going to save you much in terms of time because it appears that you have a catestrophic failure of some kind. You’ve done what you can to observe everything from the outside (Checked cam & Timing marks).
Pull the head or drop the oil pan, and see what you can see. Really not a whole lot to lose here at this point.

Other improbable thoughts
I’m not 100% sure but which side is the distributor on the car? If it’s on the near side to the gear your cam can still be broken.
Also (Doubtful as I don’t think that this is very possible) but your Vtec solenoid could be screwed leaving your cam between states… but at that point I still think that the vtec lobes would still acting on the valvetrain.

Using ALL CAPS is the internet equivalent of shouting.

I would think you can eliminate the rings. Even cylinders with bad rings have SOME compression.

Yeah, I know. Really, none of the scenarios that I talked about make sense except for a broken gauge. An engine with 0 compression in every cylinder probably has visible damage on the outside. . .like the holes where the rifle bullets went in.

it is unlikely but a broken crankshaft could cause your symptoms. You can only see the nose of the crankshaft.
Pull the spark plugs and stick a long screwdriver down in the hole and turn the engine over by hand. If nothing pushes the screwdriver up,your crank is broken.

Did you pull the head, did you find anything?

If the cam and crank are out of sync with the pistons then the outlet valves can be open on every compression stroke instead of every exhaust stroke, and you will have no compression. You belt has slipped.

if all the valve stems warped, froze nnd ruptured the cam lobes…

Not possible. The only scenerio I can envision wherein the cam and crank would appear in synch and all cylinders provide zero compression would be if the cam sprocket were stripped free of the camshaft, disabling all the valves. I believe this is a DOHC 16V engine, so I’d need to think about this. It would need to be both cams stripped.

At this point where you are not getting any compression, you should inject compressed air into each spark plug hole and see where the air is going. Connect the compression gauge spark plug hose (take out the one way valve in the spark plug fitting) to an air compressor hose. While listening to where the air is going, turn the engine over by wrench and see if the air outlet changes. I suspect you are going to get an outlet that is anomalous, i.e. cooling system, crankcase, whatever. If the air flow is constant through the intake or exhaust, there are valve or valve timing problems.

Keep us appraised of the progress on this diagnosis.

Could the Problem possibly be caused by the V-Tech mechanism? Just a WAG but doesn’t the Cam have two profiles and some how whatever switches them over is broken.