Damage to the rotor within the distributor cap on your CRV most often happens from water, dirt or carbon buildups on its contacts. While the engine is running, the rotor receives high-voltage current from the ignition coil. As it rotates, the current passes through the rotor to the contacts inside of the distributor cap that lead to each of the spark plug wires. If the rotor fails to send the proper current through the wires for the spark plugs, your CRV’s engine won’t start or may start and run erratically. You can replace the distributor rotor on the Honda CRV right at home. It should take you 30 minutes or less.
Things You'll Need
- Socket wrench set
- Black electrical tape
- Correction fluid
- Phillips screwdriver
Lift and properly support the hood on your CRV. Locate the battery and look for a small minus symbol on the top of the battery case that indicates the negative post. Remove the black cable connected to the post with a socket wrench. Wrap the terminal on the cable with black electrical tape and position the cable away from the battery.
Follow the spark plug wires from the engine over to the distributor cap. You don’t have to remove the spark plug wires to do the repair. If you choose to remove the wires, use correction fluid to number each of the spark plug wires, then place the same number on the distributor cap next to the wire.
Remove the bottom screw from the distributor cap first with a Phillips screwdriver. Place the screw in your pocket, and then remove the top two screws from the cap.
Pull the distributor cap off vertically if you removed the spark plug wires. If not, lift the cap upward until it clears the rotor and pull it slightly to the right so that it’s out of the way. With the distributor cap removed, the rotor will now be in plain sight.
Remove the small screw from the side of the rotor with your Phillips screwdriver and pull the rotor off its shaft in an outward motion. Depending on where the rotor stopped, the screw could be in a few awkward positions. Do not under any circumstances try to turn the rotor by hand. Use a smaller screwdriver if you have to.
Install the new distributor rotor on your Honda CRV by reversing all of the removal steps.
Tips & Warnings
- Inspect the seal around the distributor cap for damage. If the seal looks damaged, replace it. Inspect the distributor cap as well for cracks and for carbon buildup on the contacts inside it. The distributor cap is a very inexpensive part, but letting noticed damage go will only cost you more in the end.
- "Chilton's Honda CR-V/Odyssey 1995-00 Repair Manual"; The Nichols/Chilton Editors; 2000
- "Honda Civic, Honda CR-V, Acura Integra: Honda Civic 1996-2000, Honda CR-V 1997-2001, Acura Integra, 1994-2000 Haynes Repair Manual"; Larry Warren; 2005
- "Auto Upkeep: Basic Car Care, Maintenance, and Repair"; Michael E. Gray, Linda E. Gray; 2007
- "Today's Technician: Auto Electricity and Electronics"; Barry Hollembeak, Jack Erjavec; 2000
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