How to Troubleshoot a Honda CRV With No Spark

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The Honda CRV uses a distributor cap and rotor assembly to supply power to the spark plugs to ignite fuel. An engine needs three things to run: fuel, spark, and compression. For fuel, this means a proper air-to-fuel mixture. For the CRV, this is 14.7 parts air to 1 part gasoline. Compression refers to the compression inside the engine cylinders. If there is a leak in the engine block where air can escape, then there will be a loss of compression. Spark refers to the electrical spark generated by the distributor system. When you aren't getting spark on your CRV, you'll need to troubleshoot the problem.

Things You'll Need

  • Long screwdriver
  • Spark plug socket
  • Socket wrench
  • Socket extension
  • Remove the spark plug wires by pulling them up out of the top of the engine. You may need to wiggle them from side to side a bit, but they should pull straight up out of the top of the engine.

  • Remove the spark plugs. Attach the spark plug socket to the extension and lower it into each spark plug well. Grab the top of the spark plug and turn the socket and plug counterclockwise with a socket wrench.

  • Pull each spark plug out of its spark plug well along with the spark plug socket.

  • Pull the spark plug out of the spark plug socket and insert the plug into the open end of the spark plug wire with the electrode on the spark plug facing out. Do this for all of the spark plugs. Insert each plug into its respective plug wire with the electrode facing outward.

  • Crank the engine and have an assistant check for a solid blue arc between the electrodes on the spark plugs. If there is a solid blue arc on every plug, then you have no spark issues. If there is no spark, then remove the spark plugs from the spark plug wires.

  • Insert a long screwdriver into the open end of the spark plug. Lay the screwdriver down next to a metal screw on the engine. Crank the engine again and have an assistant check for spark. If there is a spark, the spark plugs are bad. If there is no spark, then pull the spark plug wires off the end of the distributor. They should pull right off the distributor.

  • Place the metal part of the screwdriver next to the electrodes on the distributor. Crank the engine again. If there is no spark, then the problem is with the distributor. If there is spark, but there was no spark during the plug wire check, then the problem may be the spark plug wires. The spark plugs themselves---unless there is corrosion or visible damage to the electrodes, or the plugs have over 30,000 miles---are likely not the issue.

References

  • Honda Civic 1996-2000, CR-V 1997-2001, Acura Integra 1994-2000 Repair Manual; Larry Warren, Alan Ahlstrand, John H. Haynes; 2005
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