How to Fix the Ignition Wiring in Your '96 Honda Civic
Fixing the ignition wiring in a 1996 Honda Civic can be an intimidating task for a DIY mechanic. However, with some basic tools and knowledge, it is possible to troubleshoot and repair common ignition wiring issues. In this guide, I will walk through the steps to diagnose and fix the most common ignition wiring problems on a '96 Civic.
Inspecting the Ignition Wiring
The first step is to inspect the existing ignition wiring for any visible damage.
Locate the ignition wiring harness, which runs from the ignition cylinder near the steering column to the distributor at the rear of the engine.
Carefully inspect the full length of the harness for any damaged or frayed wiring. Damaged insulation can allow wires to short circuit and cause ignition issues.
Use a test light or multimeter to check for continuity through each wire in the ignition harness. There should be continuity with no excessive resistance on all wires.
Inspect where the harness connects to the distributor, coil, and ignition cylinder. Ensure the connectors are fully engaged and not damaged or corroded.
If any visible damage is found, the damaged wiring section will need to be repaired or replaced.
Testing the Ignition System Components
If the ignition wiring checks out, the next step is to test the key components it connects:
Test that the ignition coil is receiving 12V when the key is turned to the "On" position. Most ignition issues stem from a bad coil.
Verify the distributor cap and rotor are not cracked, damaged, or excessively worn. Replace if needed.
Ensure the distributor pickup coil is producing a magnetic pulse signal. Consult the factory service manual for testing procedures.
Check the ignition control module for proper operation. This tests the ignition timing control.
Inspect and test the crank position sensor. This syncronizes ignition timing.
Replacing any faulty components should resolve ignition problems in most cases. But further wiring diagnosis may still be needed.
Diagnosing and Repairing Specific Ignition Wiring Issues
Here are some common '96 Civic ignition wiring issues and how to fix them:
No spark on any cylinder:
- Likely a bad ignition coil or faulty wiring to the coil. Check wiring and connectors, test coil resistance. Replace coil if needed.
Weak or intermittent spark:
- Check wire continuity and insulin resistance on the low-tension wires from coil to distributor cap. Repair or replace any faulty wiring.
Misfiring on specific cylinders:
- Could be a bad spark plug wire or distributor cap contacts for that cylinder. Inspect cap and rotor for wear or carbon tracks. Replace spark plug wires and cap/rotor if needed.
Engine cranks but wont start:
- Starter cranks but fuel and spark are missing. Check for a bad crank/cam sensor or inspect ignition switch wiring for opens.
Rough idle, stalling:
- May be a shorted ignition control module or faulty crank/cam sensor input. Consult Honda service manual for testing procedures.
By methodically inspecting the ignition system wiring and components, the faulty parts causing ignition failure can be isolated. With some wiring repairs or replacements, the Civic ignition should be restored. Be sure to consult the factory service manual for detailed testing procedures.
Fixing ignition wiring issues in a 1996 Honda Civic involves:
Thoroughly inspecting wiring harness for damage.
Testing ignition components - coil, distributor, sensors.
Diagnosing issues based on symptoms and testing wiring continuity.
Replacing damaged wiring sections, bad coil, cap, rotor as needed.
With basic tools and wiring knowledge, the DIY mechanic can troubleshoot and repair common Civic ignition wiring faults. Pay close attention to wire routing and connectors during repair, consulting the manual for harness schematics.