Honda CR-V Owners Club Forums banner

1 - 20 of 30 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,
My 1997 CRV dies randomly when I am driving. I haven't been able to find what is triggering it. It will just shut down, not sputter or slowly die. The tachometer will drop to zero and if turns off. I thought it might be the ignition switch because I have read it's a common issue with these cars, but after changing it there is still a problem. I thought maybe something with the distributor, but I thought that it would run rough if my distributor is giving out. Maybe I am wrong though. When it shuts off, it sometimes turns back on in a few seconds and sometimes it takes quite a while. I have also had it turn on after shutting down and then I drive like 5 feet and it shuts off again and I have to wait again for it to start. I really am stumped here and don't want to start changing a bunch of stuff while guessing at it. I am hoping that someone can help me with this. I appreciate it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,200 Posts
What is the base idle when the engine is warmed up in Park or Drive? Was anything done before this happened? After the engine shuts off, then you start it right does the engine starts easily? Have you cleaned the IAC before? I agree with you in regards about the distributor. If its the problem it would run rough , but anything is possible. Let me know.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,797 Posts
Check out posts on the main relay.
Don't forget to check your battery connections and grounding straps (2 main ones) also.
A weak battery or bad connections can cause many 'strange' problems.
Have you ever changed your fuel filter?
If the igniter in the distributor goes bad, it can suddenly die, esp after the engine is warmed up and may or may not cause those symptoms. http://easyautodiagnostics.com/honda/2.2L-2.3L/honda-ignition-system-tests-1

I would bet on the main relay.
Buffalo4
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
What is the base idle when the engine is warmed up in Park or Drive? Was anything done before this happened? After the engine shuts off, then you start it right does the engine starts easily? Have you cleaned the IAC before? I agree with you in regards about the distributor. If its the problem it would run rough , but anything is possible. Let me know.
Once warmed up, it usually runs a smooth idle around 750. Nothing has been done recently. When it decides to start back up it turns on fine like if nothing happened. I have not cleaned the IAC.

Check out posts on the main relay.
Don't forget to check your battery connections and grounding straps (2 main ones) also.
A weak battery or bad connections can cause many 'strange' problems.
Have you ever changed your fuel filter?
If the igniter in the distributor goes bad, it can suddenly die, esp after the engine is warmed up and may or may not cause those symptoms.

I would bet on the main relay.
Buffalo4
I have read about the main relay a little and will look more into it. I am actually planning to change my battery ground and engine ground cable. Don't know if these have anything to do with this, but thought it might be a cheap guess compared to other parts. I have not changed my fuel filter, but when I have had issues with the fuel filter on other vehicles, my symptoms are different. I thought about the igniter in the distributor. Is there an easy way to test it?

Thanks for the quick replies. It's much appreciated.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Ok, so I replaced my battery ground cable and the engine to chassis ground cable. The battery was of course disconnected for a little while and when I got it together it was all working fine for about 2 days and then it happened again. I noticed that when I do work and disconnect the battery, it will work for about 2 days fine and then go back to stalling out. Now I have a new observation that has me baffled. When it shuts off while driving, I realized it is not fully shutting down. The tachometer drops to zero, but the speedometer continues to read the speed. If I leave it in drive and let it coast it is sort of on. I can't rev the engine, but it's like it wants to and can't. None of the dash lights come on (as when the key is in the run position but the car is not on) now if I disengage the transmission and put it in neutral, then it finally is completely off and the dash lights finally come on. I read some of the main relay symptoms, but they don't sound completely like what is happening. I am stuck here and it keeps leaving me stranded while driving. Please help.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,797 Posts
The tach goes to zero because the engine is not receiving any spark, would be my guess.
So, it may well be the igniter or another ignition part or some other electrical part.

I think the main relay is fairly inexpensive. Here is one with free shipping for under $20.00.
http://www.am-autoparts.com/Honda/CRV/electrical-auto-parts/AM-3215211250/909768.html?gclid=CPbcxv_wmsoCFQ2QaQodqasOCA
The main relay will shut off the fuel pump.
The igniter will shut off the spark.
When it won't run, check the spark, as soon as you can.
When it won't run, pull out a spark plug and see if it is wet with fuel. If it is, it indicates that the spark is not present.
If it is dry, then it indicates that it is not getting fuel.

If you haven't changed the fuel filter, it is due anyways. Aftermarket ones seem to work just fine. http://www.ebay.com/itm/Fuel-Filter-MANN-MF-1009-/191591813160?fits=Year:1997|Make:Honda|Model:CR-V&hash=item2c9bc31028:g:EhYAAOSwu4BVm-0b&vxp=mtr
Double check any part numbers to make sure they are proper for your vehicle.

So, with the tach quitting and the speedometer still working, it does seem to point to an ignition problem, overall.

Buffalo4

PS: The above two parts are just under $30.00 total.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
I think the main relay is fairly inexpensive. Here is one with free shipping for under $20
The main relay will shut off the fuel pump.
The igniter will shut off the spark.
When it won't run, check the spark, as soon as you can.
When it won't run, pull out a spark plug and see if it is wet with fuel. If it is, it indicates that the spark is not present.
If it is dry, then it indicates that it is not getting fuel.

Buffalo4

Ok so I was actually checking the spark right after I wrote the question above cause it didn't start for me right now. I have no spark coming to any of my plugs. My fuel pump is turning on though when I put the switch to run and don't crank it. Plus I start slowly smelling fuel as a I continue to crank (most likely from it being injected but not ignited). So would this rule out the main relay? Is it definitely showing signs that it's the distributor, mainly the igniter? Should I change the igniter only or just go ahead and change out the distributor?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,797 Posts
OK on the new info.
The main relay controls the power to the fuel pump and it appears to be working.
No spark is usually a failing ignition coil (can be tested with an accurate multi-meter) or the igniter (fairly hard to properly diagnose). Here is a link:
http://easyautodiagnostics.com/honda/2.2L-2.3L/honda-ignition-system-tests-1
Now I would guess it is the igniter (also known as an ICM or Ignition Control Module), since it happens suddenly and completely.
Usually a failing ignition coil will cause hard starting and some misfires while running. An igniter is usually either working well or not working at all and they usually stop working once they get hotter.
An igniter is basically electronic points.
Again, aftermarket parts will 'probably' suffice.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Ignition-Control-Module-For-Acura-EL-Integra-Honda-Accord-Civic-CR-V-CRX-Prelude-/191753880361?fits=Year:1997|Make:Honda|Model:CR-V&hash=item2ca56c0329:g:KhYAAOSwfZ1WY8~P&vxp=mtr
Is it any good? I have no idea.

As far as changing the distributor goes, a failing distributor 'usually' causes some misfires and idle problems, and they are very expensive.

Buffalo4
PS: Don't forget the fuel filter. It most likely is NOT your present problem, but it is very likely due to be changed. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,797 Posts
One other thing to check is the low voltage connector external to the distributor to make sure it has a good clean connection. Many times just unplugging and replugging a connector gets rid of some oxide on the connection points.
I guess you could also check the fuse that supplies the power to the ignition system as perhaps it contact points are oxidized or not making a good connection.

I doubt if either one of the above is the problem, but it only takes a little time and no money to do them.
Buffalo4
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
One other thing to check is the low voltage connector external to the distributor to make sure it has a good clean connection. Many times just unplugging and replugging a connector gets rid of some oxide on the connection points.
I guess you could also check the fuse that supplies the power to the ignition system as perhaps it contact points are oxidized or not making a good connection.

I doubt if either one of the above is the problem, but it only takes a little time and no money to do them.
Buffalo4
I am going to change out the distributor. This way I have everything inside of it new including the ignitor. I was going to swap out individual pieces, but I have already had to replace a part in the distributor before and feel like it's time to just swap it out. Hopefully this will solve it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,797 Posts
Sounds like a plan. Don't forget to set the timing advance properly. Do some reading on how to exchange distributors properly.
Overall that should take care of your problem as it really sounds like a failing igniter , ICM.
Please post back with the results, which I think will be very positive. :D
If you decide to put in new spark plugs later, use the NGK copper V-power spark plugs, (NGK 2262 ZFR5F-11 V-Power Plug) , I believe.
A new fuel filter should be kept in mind. :)

Buffalo4
PS: If you replaced a part inside the distributor, that should be mentioned when posting a problem, as should previous problems that 'may' be related for better responses.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,200 Posts
I am going to change out the distributor. This way I have everything inside of it new including the ignitor. I was going to swap out individual pieces, but I have already had to replace a part in the distributor before and feel like it's time to just swap it out. Hopefully this will solve it.
It looks like you are on the right track. Keep the old distributor that came out the engine. Be sure you discharge yourself first & your body does not have static electricity before touching the new distributor. What brand of distributor did you get? Be sure its a good quality distributor. I have seen many cheap ones that fails prematurely. Let us know.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Hi everyone, sorry I took a week to write back. I ended up changing the distributor over the weekend, but then I left town for a day and didn't get to test out the car. Now after 5 days of using it, I believe it is resolved. I have not had it stop on me at all and it was happening daily before. When I replaced the distributor it was running a little hesitant, but I figured it was the timing. I got my timing light out and hooked it up and sure enough it was off by quite a bit. I got it dialed in and it's running pretty nice now. I do plan to change my fuel filter since I don't know when it's been done last. I also will be checking my valve clearances soon. Hopefully that and a basic tune up will have it running like new. The part I referred to that I had changed in the distributor was the ignition coil. I forgot that was what I replaced. This was about 6+ months ago. It didn't want to start and I diagnosed it at that. I changed it and it ran fine all along until the recent issues that I just resolved. I do have one question though. When everyone is saying to check the igniter, are they referring to the ignition coil in the distributor or another piece. Might sound like a dumb question, but I got confused on this. Below is a picture of the ignition coil which is what I had previously replaced. If that is the same part, then I might have been able to get it replaced under warranty, or it may have been working fine and been something else wrong inside the distributor. Honestly, I don't care right now, because my distributor needed to be replaced. The seals were bad and slowly leaking oil when I checked it, and it was just on it's way out. By the grace of God and thanks to everyone here, I finally solved my issue and hopefully will be driving trouble-free for a while.

Honda Ignition Coil.jpg
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
105 Posts
Hi. Super you solved your problem... the igniter is in the distributor next to the ignition coil.
I cant get my phone to upload a picture but search google "igniter cr-v 1997" and you have a picture of the part
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
105 Posts
yes ! :) But tif your car runs fine for now dont think about it.... but the igniter can course a lot of trouble if it dont work properly
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,797 Posts
Good picture.

The igniter (Ignition Control Module or ICM for short) takes the place of the old mechanical points used in the older distributors, and does a MUCH better job of it.
Usually the igniter works well, or not at all, esp when hot. It is one of the main components that allows a much longer spark plug life.
A failing ignition coil usually causes intermittent hard starting and misfires under load. When the igniter fails, the car dies. Normally, but there are always exceptions.
Don't worry about it and enjoy your well running vehicle.
Buffalo4
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
Yes, I am definitely enjoying a well running vehicle. I am so glad because I didn't want my wife driving it. She gets a little panicky and I was afraid she wouldn't maneuver correctly in traffic if it shut off. It did it to her and she almost stayed sideways in the road trying to quickly get over to the side. So definitely glad it's working.

I have another question to see if you guys can help. If not, I will open a new thread. I want to do my valve adjustment, but it seems that the acorn bolts that hold the valve cover are spinning in place. None of the screws will back out. I left it as is for now, because I didn't want to run the risk of not being able to tighten the valve cover back down. Any idea how I can do this. Do I need force them out and replace them, or is this a common thing that has an easy remedy. Any help is again appreciated. Thanks.
 
1 - 20 of 30 Posts
Top