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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi I have a 2000 insight I've been driving for two years with the IMA disabled. Its never given me any problems (other than ones I've created) but yesterday it tossed me a head-scratcher. The car was running fine when I drove it an hour home on the highway before Christmas, and its been sitting in moderate-cold weather since then for 4 days.

When I turn the key the starter spins the engine and all the belts turn but theres no combustion. I tried a few time and it won't even cough.
So no combustion, has to be fuel or spark, right? I check the easiest thing first by spraying ether into the intake. I try several times; no effect. (I was spraying it into the tube that connects the throttle to the air filter, so the air filter wouldn't block it.)
So if theres no ignition with starting fluid then it has to be spark, right? I pull one of the coils out and have someone else crank the car while I test the coil with an old spark plug. I tested two coils and both made sparks like normal.

Is there something that could be blocking the ether from getting into the cylinders? I checked the throttle valve and it opens just fine. I'm not sure how the ether could not burn if theres spark in the cylinder, unless the ether isn't actually getting into the cylinder.
 

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So no combustion, has to be fuel or spark, right?
Well, yes with most cars. Unfortunately there is another failure which occurs with these 20 year old cars - broken cams and broken cam dowel pins:(

It has happened several times to owners here. It is easy to check. Just remove the valve cover and have someone check that the cam is rotating. If so, then make sure the #1 cam sprocket line matches up with the head top when the crank index is at TDC on the compression stroke.
 
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Your troubleshooting is spot on. As Jime suggests, the next step is to verify the valves are opening. There's a remote chance the air filter is entirely clogged.
 

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Here a quick check, if it’s a 5 speed ,there a rubber grommet that disintegrates over time on top of the clutch pedal leaving a hole where the clutch switch button makes contact. I’ve seen this on several civics I’ve owned. Reach up on top of the pedal and check . If there’s a hole find a small bolt and nut and install and you will be back in business.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Well, yes with most cars. Unfortunately there is another failure which occurs with these 20 year old cars - broken cams and broken cam dowel pins:(

It has happened several times to owners here. It is easy to check. Just remove the valve cover and have someone check that the cam is rotating. If so, then make sure the #1 cam sprocket line matches up with the head top when the crank index is at TDC on the compression stroke.
I was worried someone would say this. I will got didn't have time today, but tomorrow I will have a look under there valve cover. I don't see ho the camshaft could have broken while it was sitting in the driveway, but its the next thing to check.

Here a quick check, if it’s a 5 speed ,there a rubber grommet that disintegrates over time on top of the clutch pedal leaving a hole where the clutch switch button makes contact. I’ve seen this on several civics I’ve owned. Reach up on top of the pedal and check . If there’s a hole find a small bolt and nut and install and you will be back in business.
Thanks for letting me know I will definitely check this first.
 

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I was worried someone would say this. I will got didn't have time today, but tomorrow I will have a look under there valve cover. I don't see ho the camshaft could have broken while it was sitting in the driveway, but its the next thing to check.
What happens with bearing "freezes" is that the bearing is very hot while the engine is running. When it shuts down and is stationary, it welds. Well sometimes anyway.

You can do a very quick check to see if the cam is turning by looking down the oil fill hole. If the cam is turning, you will see the rockers (for #3) moving the valves open&close. Doesn't check the dowel pin or timing.
 

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Here a quick check, if it’s a 5 speed ,there a rubber grommet that disintegrates over time on top of the clutch pedal leaving a hole where the clutch switch button makes contact. I’ve seen this on several civics I’ve owned. Reach up on top of the pedal and check . If there’s a hole find a small bolt and nut and install and you will be back in business.
excellent post...thank you, I will file that away...
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Here a quick check, if it’s a 5 speed ,there a rubber grommet that disintegrates over time on top of the clutch pedal leaving a hole where the clutch switch button makes contact. I’ve seen this on several civics I’ve owned. Reach up on top of the pedal and check . If there’s a hole find a small bolt and nut and install and you will be back in business.
I checked this and it doesn't seem to be the case. If the clutch switch wasn't being pressed, wouldn't the starter motor be disabled as if I wasn't pressing the clutch at all? If I try to start without pressing the clutch nothing happens.

I just took the valve cover of (and accidentally snapped the red plastic vent on it trying to yank off the hose... great) and the camshaft is in one piece and all the valves chooch as they're meant to do, as far as I can tell.
I am starting to run out of ideas.
I tried spraying ether down the intake again and still nothing.
 

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I checked this and it doesn't seem to be the case. If the clutch switch wasn't being pressed, wouldn't the starter motor be disabled as if I wasn't pressing the clutch at all? If I try to start without pressing the clutch nothing happens.
Yes, I think you are right, IMO.

Take the plugs out, turn the engine over and see if any liquids come out. Do a compression check while you are at it. Examine the plugs for wear.

Are the cam timing marks correct?

Sometimes you can "soak" a set of plugs with fuel while engaged in long starting attempts. You might pick up a cheap set of "dry" plugs and give that a try.

How many miles on the car? Been running well?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Yes, I think you are right, IMO.

Take the plugs out, turn the engine over and see if any liquids come out. Do a compression check while you are at it. Examine the plugs for wear.

Are the cam timing marks correct?

Sometimes you can "soak" a set of plugs with fuel while engaged in long starting attempts. You might pick up a cheap set of "dry" plugs and give that a try.

How many miles on the car? Been running well?
Timing seems to be correct.

What exactly is the cam dowel pin? Presumably not the dowel pins that align the head to the block, but those are the only dowel pins in the head I am aware of. Not getting much info googling "camshaft dowel pin."

I will pull the spark plugs and check they cylinders, and probably replace all the plugs because its an easy thing to do. I'm not sure how all the plugs could go bad at the same time, though.

the car is at 215K. I've had it for two years and only put on 15K. I've never had any engine problems with it, or problems starting. The only other time its broken down was when the AC clutch bearing seized because of a bad fix I did.
 

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Timing seems to be correct.

What exactly is the cam dowel pin? Presumably not the dowel pins that align the head to the block, but those are the only dowel pins in the head I am aware of. Not getting much info googling "camshaft dowel pin."
The cam sprocket is held on by a single bolt. There is a dowel pin between the sprocket and the cam face to index the cam. It sometimes shears, but if you are getting rotation and proper timing, then it should be ok.

I will pull the spark plugs and check they cylinders, and probably replace all the plugs because its an easy thing to do. I'm not sure how all the plugs could go bad at the same time, though.
I agree, it seems that plugs wouldn't be all bad. I was just pointing out that they may all be fouled by now. Look for a moist, shiny appearance. If they are dry, and have sharp edges, I'd just clean them. The proper ones are expensive.
 

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88855

This shows the correct cam timing with the #1 piston at TDC on the compression stroke.. #1 cylinder is the one closest to the sprocket. If the cam pin is sheared or partially sheared it will be off.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I took all the spark plugs out and it looks like they have some build up on them. The coil plumbus for cylinder 1 was a little dirty (the bolt holding the coil pack in was rusty as well, the others look clean.) But it doesn't look bad.

Here is spark plug #2. All three look like this.

88857


I think I'm going to get some el cheapo plugs from autozone. I'm not sure how to tell "the good ones" and the car cost $1000.

Theres no juice in the cylinders as far as I can tell, and they all seem to have compression after just holding my hand over the spark plug hole. There is some carbon build up on the piston faces but nothing terrible I think. Hard to get a picture but here's my best try:
88858

I think the picture is cylinder 1 but they all look similar.
 

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To me the plug looks damp enough to be shorted. Buy some cheap new plugs and don't use ether until you give them a chance. Even then, use sparingly or it will foul the plugs - assuming something else is wrong.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
To me the plug looks damp enough to be shorted. Buy some cheap new plugs and don't use ether until you give them a chance. Even then, use sparingly or it will foul the plugs - assuming something else is wrong.
Maybe I was too quick to spray starting fluid but the new $5 platinum plugs I got don't seem to have changed anything. I am not sure what to do at this point. Should I take apart the intake?
 

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????. Well, let's see. Ground "shell" of each and every plug/coil and make sure they all fire.

Cam position sensor at back of cam could have failed. Not sure how to test that. I think there is also a crank position sensor. Anyway a sensor could have failed. klr3cyl is the authority on this kind of stuff, so maybe he will check in:)
 
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Is the ima still in the car. I know its bypassed but i want see if hook it up will change anything.Do you hear anything when you first turn key on..lets work back to fuel.Unhook a fuel line and put a catch bucket under it,and have someone crank the key,lets see if fuel shoots out of line.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Is the ima still in the car. I know its bypassed but i want see if hook it up will change anything.Do you hear anything when you first turn key on..lets work back to fuel.Unhook a fuel line and put a catch bucket under it,and have someone crank the key,lets see if fuel shoots out of line.
I didn't do this exactly but I checked to make sure there was fuel in the line, cranked the car and then checked again. Gas came out both times. The battery is still in the car its just switched off and unplugged, has been for two years. Even if it wasn't getting fuel it should still be able to run on starting fluid. This is what I'm stuck on.
 
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