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Honda civic

Honda civic 1

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Troubleshooting technique

Let’s take a look at Honda’s “conventional” ignition system:

Honda civic 2

Why did I write “normal”: this logic of the location of the switch inside the ignition coil has become familiar (the red squares on the screen are the switches inside the ignition coil), and few people remember that in the late 90s of the last century the layout of the switch, ignition coil and of other elements of the ignition system was completely different, more complex – inside the distributor there was a switch that set the disk, an angular impulse sensor, and an ignition coil. Such a distributor was called “complex”, which is the true truth..

Here is a car dragged on a rope to the gates of our car service. 16-18 years for a Honda car not old age, the car looked peppy and well-groomed.

Honda civic 3

But it did not start. As the owner of the car said: “She stopped working abruptly, as she chopped off”.

How to start the test – as you know, to start the engine, you must provide:
– intake of fuel-air mixture into the engine cylinders (which should be ignited under certain conditions)
– the presence of sparks on spark plugs (at some point)
– rotation of the engine crankshaft (at a certain speed)

Having made sure that the first and third points are fulfilled, I proceeded to check the ignition system (there were such suspicions, since the experience of diagnostics and repair of such cars showed that it was the ignition system that could fail in the first place – the electronics are not eternal, especially , in our Russian conditions).

The test began with the presence of a spark: “There is no spark.” I go, as they say, “in a spark”: “Where does it come from? From the ignition coil.” We look at the ignition coil. The appearance is normal. I take a spark gap, with which you can reliably determine the performance of the ignition system, and check the presence of sparks on high-voltage wires.

There is no spark. Then I go back to the ignition coil, remove the cover of the distributor and again check directly on the coil. No spark.

Good. It is now clear that the fault hid somewhere deeper. So, we think: “Where does the spark begin? What is needed for its appearance? What guides the spark?”. Control block? That’s right, but this is a bit later in this logic. First, the control unit must understand at what point it should work and issue a command to the switch. With what does he do it? Using the signal from the sensor.

Honda civic 4

To do this, take an oscilloscope, connect and watch: the signals pass, which means we exclude the sensors from suspicion, they are working. Now check that the control unit issues to the switch. Also, there are pulses in order and they are correct, the duration and shape correspond to the standard (rectangular pulses, meander).

Honda civic 5

What is happening at the moment: by means of an exception, it was found out that the sensor is working, the circuits from the sensor to the control unit and from it to the distributor are working, the spark plugs are working, the high-voltage wire is working. Conclusion – the cause of the malfunction is either in the ignition coil or in the switch.

To test the ignition coil, I use a device called: “Rectangular pulse generator with a powerful output transistor“. About him already told:” With this device, you can check speedometers, tachometers and other terminal devices that have a “rectangular output, the so-called” meander “at the output. Works as an emulator of these sensors. A powerful transistor allows you to check ignition coils with or without a built-in transistor” – see here

Below in the photo is this device. He did this and other devices for the sole purpose of improving the quality of the car diagnostics and reducing the time for diagnostics – “Devices for car diagnostics” – part 1, part 2

Honda civic 6

Honda civic 7

Allows you to check the ignition coil and make sure that it is working.

What is left? The switch remains – and this conclusion turns out to be the only correct one: after replacing the switch, the engine started, the fault is fixed.

In the photo below, the new switch (it is not “native”, but from the manufacturer Hugo, but nothing works fine):

As you can see, when troubleshooting, you should not rush from side to side – any malfunction has logic, and if you consistently go and check the entire logical chain, then any malfunction will be found and eliminated.

Video about the work done:

Who wants to better understand the design of ignition systems, I can recommend articles by V.Postolovsky “Individual ignition systems” – part 1 part 2


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