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Discussion Starter #1
Hey folks - first post, glad to be here :) Not a CR-V owner YET, but I hope to be one soon. I've had three '87 Accords in the past an love my Hondas :D

So a relative has a '98 or '99 CR-V that's *apparently* recently taken to killing distributors. From what I've been told, a mouse got in under the dash and chewed some wires, and after those were repaired/replaced, the distributor kacked (at this point, I have no idea what that means, exactly, or how it was determined that the distro was actually dead - so far, the only actual mechanic that's looked at it is my half-brother, who's a Porsche nut, so he's probably handicapped when it comes to riceburners).

They've apparently replaced the distro a couple times now with used units, both of which have also died... whether immediately or after a period of time, I don't know yet, either; trying to get details out of the bro is an exercise in futility (if it didn't come from Weissach, after all, it's no better than a tin can). They've now bought a new distro but haven't installed it yet for fear of killing it as well.

Aaaaaaanyway... they've offered to sell it to me for $1000 (thing is in amazing shape, the previous owner babied it with better-than-scheduled maintenance), but I wanted to see if anyone here had any suggestions of where to look for the source of this distro hunger it has... or if it's even possible for something else in the wiring to be doing this kind of damage. I'm pretty technically adept; I did most of the under-the-hood work on my Accords and even did a complete rebuild on my first car, a 1980 Mazda GLC... from everything I know, it SHOULDN'T be possible for this to be happening the way they think it is... but maybe there's something specific to these models that I'm not aware of and should be looking into??

The car is about a three-hour drive from home, so I'll be looking to put the new distro in and drive it home if I end up buying it... just worried that it might not make it, the way it's been going!

Thanks all!
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Wow, 50 reads and no love? :(

Anyway, I'm told that this machine would go about 1000km before the used distros gave out... specifically, "It runs like a charm for around 1000 km. THEN it starts to lurch as if you have dirty gas in the vehicle and then it just stops!"

Figure first thing, I'll try one of the used ones in it again... something is suggesting to me that a poorly-latching connector could be working itself loose in about that period of time. I don't know what diagnostic steps have already been taken.

Is there any way to test the functionality of these units, standalone, off the vehicle?
 

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you can take the ignitor to a parts store to have them checked. or just google search how to check ignitor on a 1999 crv.(it wont matter what year there all the same style 96-01)maybe you can check those. have you changed your fuel filter by the way?? and how is the distributor cap AND rotor under the cap?? and r u sure you dont have a bad power to ground problem still maybe in the harness??and have you changed you plugs yet also?? and also r u sure its the distributor and not a main relay just getting to hot and shutting down ? just a idea sounds like a fuel thing aswell. and i would try to buy a new one anyways just to elimanate it??
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the suggestions... I haven't done ANY diagnostics on the vehicle yet myself, I'm just going from what's been told to me so far (although those are all things I would check, too). As I say, SOME (don't know how much) diagnostics/work have already been done by my half brother, who granted is a Porsche mechanic who tears down and rebuilds his 928 blindfolded just for fun... but I don't if he knows anything BUT Porsche... and for as much as I know him, I don't know how much effort I would have trusted him to put into it.

I figure if it'll make 1000km, that's more than enough to get it home, where I can put more time into it. I'll definitely look up the ignitor test procedure and try that first, though... again, I really don't understand how a car would actually "kill the distributor", so I'm sure there's something else going on.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Well, picked the CR-V up this weekend... installed the new dizzy they had... fought for a bit with the proper plug wire sequence (since the Haynes manual seemed somewhat contradictory, or at least confusing), but finally got it going smoothly.

Now I've got the following info from my brother about what he's figured out before:

the part that is dying is a sealed Hall sensor.
they have 3 wires,
one should be shielded,
one should be +5V source,
and the last the signal wire
if the +5V gets a jump in power to +12V it will fry the component
If the +5v is pulled to ground, then it would either fry a transistor inside the brain, or there would be a resistor that would pop
if the signal wire got boosted to +12V it is unlikely that it would have any effect on the brain, other than the brain not knowing what to do.
My suggestion for fixing it, would be to replace all +5V leads to the distributor.... But good luck finding a wiring diagram for it.
From what I can find in the Haynes book (page 12-71), there are three sensors - TDC, CKP and CYP - and all them have only two wires connecting back to the PCM. The other unit is the ICM, which has four wires. Forgetting for a moment that it seems silly to have anything operating at 5V in a car system in the first place, the only one that seems to fit this description is the ICM itself; the test procedures I found the sensors on Autozone, say to test them by measuring their resistance, which to me would indicate a coil, not a Hall device (which based at least on the ones I've worked with in the past, tend to be either ON or OFF).

Anyway, wondering if this makes any sense to anyone, or if there's some better documentation of what lines (if any) are actually carrying +5V. I don't mind running new wires if I need to, but I'd rather not have to run ALL of them...

Are there any more good sources of tech info for this thing (schematics and such), besides Haynes and Autozone?

All that aside... this things runs really smooth. Or the engine does, anyway... I think one tire may have a flat spot, and/or it needs some suspension work, from the shake it has. At the very least, it's going to need an alignment, and probably some new tires. But on the whole, it's in great condition. ODO reads 419,000km, although I'm told that's on the high side because the original owner was handicapped and ran undersized tires (205/60R15) so it would ride a bit lower.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Bump bump!

Well, I ended up buying the CR-V, putting in the new distributor they had... it ran great until just a week ago (and probably good 5-6,000km), when the described symptoms exhibited. So, I guess that means I have a fried dizzy... or at least one fried sensor or module in it, which from my understanding are not individually replaceable.

So a couple questions:

One, does anyone have any further thoughts on this phenomenon? Could it actually be a fault in the ECU that's sending a spike out that's killing the sensor? A wiring fault seems unlikely, since the entire harness was already replaced.

One.5, if it is the ECU, is there any downside to just swapping it for another? I know some newer vehicles, things like immobilizers won't work properly if that's done, but this car doesn't seem to be that "involved".

And two, are there any other Hondas that these parts are interchangeable with? Like, can I use the dizzy or computer from a '98 Civic or something? Or does it HAVE to be another CR-V (which seem in more limited supply at the auto wreckers)?

Thanks, all!
 

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Anybody able to find a solution to the CRV's distributor appetite?

I have the same exact situation and it looks like mine has started to eat at it's second distributor rapidly and I am really stumped.

It was progressively getting worse and one day no spark. So I picked up distributor from the salvage yard, put it in and it fired right up. It ran very good for 2 days.

Now it started again and this time it has gone progressively worse much faster than the original one.

The original distributor took about 4 weeks to die. At first the engine only hesitated and bogged down when warm. In the mornings it always ran fine. In the afternoon after 30 minutes of driving the hesitation and stalling kicked in, even at idle.

At first I thought it was fuel delivery so I changed the fuel filter. Same symptoms, so then I put in a bottle of concentrated fuel injector cleaner, same symtoms.

I was afraid of the burnt exhaust valve issue, last one done was exactly 30k miles ago. I pulled the cover, tried to slip in the 0.08 feeler gauge, it was tight. I readjusted to the high side to give it extra room. Put cover back, same symtoms when warmed up. I have read the burnt valve symptom shows up cold or hot and stalls on cold starts. I do not have cold start stalls. Nor do I have Check Engine light flashing or codes for misfires.

Then found this forum and someone pointed at the ignitor failing when warm, so that is where I began looking at the electrical side. Low and behold, my original distributor dies this past Tuesday. I crank and smell fuel. Trip to the salvage yard and picked up the second distributor.

2nd distributor installed, but I had to re-use my old cap as the only one in the salvage yard had a broken #4 terminal. The engine started right up and ran good warm and cold. I was a happy camper, thinking I had resolved it. 2 days later the same symptoms came back, however it felt slightly different, the duration of the hesitations were longer instead of intermittent. Furthermore, the hesitations came in more frequently and constantly, but would not stall out like the first distributor. I am afraid this second one is slowly dying too!

Since I had re-used the cap, I bought a new cap to rule it out in case there was a short in it. Same symptoms. Yesterday the check engine light came on. Now I have to find an OBD2 reader to retrieve the code.

This morning I found this thread hoping there was a documented solution to the CRV distributor eating problem.

Going out to pick up an OBD2 code reader and spark plugs.
Let's see what happens, I seriously doubt it is the spark plugs, but they are cheap and it is due for replacement anyways.


Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Well, someone PM'd me wondering if I'd found a solution to this - figured I'd reply in the public thread for future benefit.

We did get it going - well, my mechanic did, and it's one of those things I feel stupid for not sorting out myself.

He tested the voltage at the distributor while cranking and found it low on the ignitor source input, and so started tracing the circuit back... and eventually discovered a poor connection on the downstream side of the ignition fuse (fuse #9, if memory serves). Not sure if it was a bad connection of the wire to the fuse socket, or just that the fuse socket itself was loose and/or dirty/corroded, but he said he cleaned the contacts, squeezed them back in a bit, and bent the tip of the fuse blade itself a bit to ensure better contact... and it fired right up. Using the original ECU and the distributor I had put in it new. It's been running flawlessly ever since.

So... the conclusion (if you can call it that) is that it's very possible the distributor was never the problem, but that swapping it was just coincidental with intermittent contact on the fuse. Given that the previous owners went through two or three used dizzies, that seems highly unlikely, but that's all I've got, since like I say, we've got some 6,000km on this one now, whereas the previous owners barely got 1,000km on the first new one, and a few hundred on each of the used ones they tried, before having issues.

Hope that helps, Juan003... try checking the circuit all the way out from the Ignition fuse for a bad connection.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Hey Juan... the thing with the failures on my V was that they were always very sudden - running fine one minute, then a couple surges, couple clunks, and... nothing. Yours sounds much more gradual.

Have you gone through the various diagnostic procedures to test the sensors and wiring? I found a great one that details testing them, but can't find the link at the moment... you could try Autozone: http://www.autozone.com/autozone/re.../Ignition-Control-Module/_/P-0900c1528026a755
 

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Soundy, excellent advice!

I pulled the fuse, the blade end had some yellowy residue on it. Aluminum corrosion??

Anyways, I scraped the blades clean and shiny and it started up fine. Drove for 30 minutes and still fine, no stutter or hesitation. (I also changed the spark plugs as the engine was cold and easy to work on, I doubt it was the plugs, but they were due anyways)

I grabbed the new code reader and pulled the codes, misfire on #1 2 and 3 and also got code for random misfire. 4 codes were stored. I cleared it.

I will drive again it later this afternoon when it is hotter outside and see how it goes. But so far so good as the 2nd distributor had given me hesitation and stumbling right off the line yesterday 90% of the time hot or cold, yet will not stall out.

Thank you very much for your assistance in pointing out you had an electrical problem by the fuse side and that fixed it for you!

I guess the first dizzy going out was just a coincidence that threw me in a loop!
 

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The hesitation misfires have came back to haunt my 2001 V !

I thought I had nipped it in the bud as they went way for almost 3 years. Here is the recap of happened the first time in 2012:

1. Random misfires only when it got warm after 30 minutes of driving. Never when it was cold. CEL came on, random misfire code plus misfire on 1, 2, and 3.

2. Changed the obvious:
A. Spark Plugs
B. Fuel filter by the firewall
C. Fuse for the ignition circuit under dash
D. New rotor and cap
E. New distributors and coils
(the coils would eventually short out and die)

3. Performed valve lash adjustment, 005 intake, 008 exhaust. Both on the loose end where the feeler gauge barely dragged. Still having misfires.

3. After having my V eat 4 recycled junkyard distributors in a matter of a month and half, I picked up another used distributor from a private party this time. This one came with spark plug wires. I had it ready to go in my trunk, ready for whenever the V had finished up with the current distributor and burped out the dead coil, etc. One day I felt it come back again, and it misfired so badly that I limped it to a nearby parking lot to change it out.

BAM, no more misfires for almost 3 years. Maybe it was a bad spark plug wire all this time? Something inside would break or short out when hot? Well, if it ain't broke, don't touch it. Ran perfectly good after that.

Almost 3 years later, this past week it all came back again, BUT the CEL has never came on. I plugged in the reader just in case, NO codes stored.

I immediately picked up a set of premium NGK spark plug wires. Still no go. Random misfires hot or cold now, but no Check Engine light like last time. I do notice that it gets really bad misfires when the AC is on.

I wonder if my Alternator is putting out low output, will it trigger a misfire? Especially with AC on and Fans blowing 100%.

I just did a valve adjustment last night to no avail. On the exhaust side, 2 and 3 were still on the loose end of 008. #4 was slightly tighter than #1, but both were not super tight and highly compressed.

My V still misfires. Turning off the AC helps it a little, But I notice it constantly around 1800 rpm and 2200 rpm and especially at idle with AC on.

I fear a burnt valve. But from most postings, a burnt valve usually comes with CEL misfire codes. I don't have any despite misfires all week long and getting worse.

I am now digging up my stash to see if I have any leftover distributors from my last endevour 3 years ago. I remember keeping a few of them in the trunk just in case. Instead of beer, I had a 6 pack of distributors in the trunk.

Any assistance or pointers would be welcomed and greatly appreciated!

Thanks in advance !!


J
 

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The NGK 4291 ZFR6F-11 V-Power Plugs seem to work the best in the Gen 1 CRVs. If that is what you are using, disregard. If you are using Bosch spark plugs, that could be your problem.
Since you have been changing distributors and are having the same problems, it probably is not the problem, although its bearing could be going bad since it is a used distributor.
Usually misfires are caused by the cap, rotor, spark plug wires,spark plugs, ignition coil, igniter, or the distributor itself.

A warning about the ignition coils in a Gen 1 Honda.
If you even turn the engine over with the starter and the distributor cap is off, or a spark plug wire is off and not grounded, there is a good chance that you will cause a flashover inside the coil and short it out.
Some folks check for spark by removing a spark plug wire while the engine is running. Doing so can short out the ignition coil if that wire was not grounded at any give time.
Here is a link that may help:
http://easyautodiagnostics.com/honda/2.2L-2.3L/honda-ignition-system-tests-1
When you get it solved, please post back with the solution.

Buffalo4

Ps: Since you had luck in changing distributors, perhaps the problem is in the low voltage connector that is right next to the distributor. You have to disconnect and reconnect that connector when you remove the distributor, so, perhaps the wires are partially broken or the connection metal contacts are corroded.
 
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