New timing belt, Still won’t start

My Honda Civic LX (2003) cut off going down the road about a week ago. My dad took it all apart and replaced the timing belt, has everything aligned to the marks and getting spark. Tried starting it and nothing. Before I spend $70 on a crankshaft sensor or any other fixes I’m trying to see if there’s something we’ve done wrong or something we can try. He’s checked to make sure it’s not rotated 180 degrees off. We’re stumped and nothing we can find online is seeming to give any helpful answers. If there’s anything else I can add let me know, it’s my first car and I’m still learning, dads busy with it now.

Did you check if any valves are bent?



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Yes and they’re fine

Fuel? Try a burst of starter fluid at the intake to the air filter. If it fires up for a moment, there is a fuel delivery problem.

Do you hear the fuel pump run for a couple seconds each time you turn the key from Off to Run (not all the way to Start)?

Is it out of gas?

There’s a full tank in it, and he did the starter fluid too. Yes we can hear the fuel pump. It doesn’t start at all, just cranks.

The battery is good too, so we’ve ruled that out.

Have you checked spark at plug?

He just disconnected the throttle body sensor and tried to start it that way to check the timing, still won’t start but it did make a sort of pop sound, he said “almost” and that means the timing is off by a tooth or two. The frustrating part is putting it all together and taking it back apart every time we try to start.

Yeah the spark is good

How were the valves checked? This has an interference engine and this did not happen at idle but at speed going down the road.

You need spark, compression, fuel pressure, and pulsing fuel injectors to run plus some semblance of timing. Does the starter motor seem to crank the engine over pretty easily?

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Do a compression test

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He says we don’t have a tester, he’s got to borrow one from my cousin to do that. Unless there’s a way to do it without one?

IF your dad is a good mechanic changing a timing belt is fairly easy. IF he left no wires unplugged, it should start. As you think nothing else is wrong. Bent valves should result in faster then normal cranking. Which you might hear. But you drive it, not your dad. And you say it cranks normally.

Bent valves will have dramatically increased valve lash.
Wiggle the rocker arms of closed valves (cam lobes pointed away).
A bent valve’s rocker will have noticeably more free play.
No tools needed for this other than to remove the valve cover.

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Hi Kaitlyn:
Nothing in your post says that the timing belt was indeed broken. We’re all inferring that it was. Can you confirm that when your father took it apart that the belt was actually broken.

If it wasn’t, then the diagnosis becomes a little different.


This is a good indicator if there was valve damage and/or the belt was put on correctly. It could be 180 degrees off.

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AZ has compression testers. Unless you’re in Cali.

Well, there’s this:

There are other reasons for a car to stall. This wouldn’t be the first time someone replaced a part because they assumed it was the problem. :wink:

But I’m leaning toward a snapped t-belt and bent valves. Every great once in awhile you’ll break a belt on a Civic and not bend valves, but when that happens you should fix the car and drive it straight to Vegas because you just beat some very long odds. :wink: