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1990 CRX DX wont start and no crank

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1990 CRX DX wont start and no crank

Postby TonyCPA » Tue Jul 06, 2021 1:39 am

Hey gusy..Im new to the CRX world. I just purch a 1990 CRX a few months ago. Everything works and made a long drive back home. After a few days, the car died on me. When I put in the key and turn there is not crank.

Here are the things I checked:
1. Starter - I took out and got it tested at Autozone, it passed.
2. Battery - tested low so I just purch a new one.
3. Starter Relay - I dont have an odometer to test for continuity so I just went ahead and purch a new one.
4. Main Relay - I dont have an odometer to test for continuity so I just went ahead and purch a new one.

After all this trial & error, my car still wont start. I can hear the gas pump kick in and the light flash, but when I turn the key, nothing. Like there's no spark or something.

Any help/ideas would gladly appreciate it. Thanks so much!
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Re: 1990 CRX DX wont start and no crank

Postby BrakeExpert » Tue Jul 06, 2021 12:46 pm

Does the dash dim at all, any lights? you may want a multimeter to check resistance and for voltage. Recheck the wires to the starter and the actual ground wire, any place for corrosion (including the ground wire/bolt on the thermostat casing). If this is all bad, could be the ignition switch. The relay should go click, hum for two seconds, and click again (the hum stops.) this is sending power to the fuel pump. After this, power goes to the signal wire for the starter. Recheck the 12mm nut at the starter motor to ensure its connected right. Also look around like the casing and ground strap for massive amounts of dirt or oil that could impede power.
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Re: 1990 CRX DX wont start and no crank

Postby TonyCPA » Tue Jul 06, 2021 1:57 pm

Thanks BrakeExpert...yes the dash dims w/ all the lights. I do have a multimeter but I am not too familiar w/ it. I picked one up at Autozone just recently. Ok I will check the ignition switch and wires. I'll keep you posted.
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Re: 1990 CRX DX wont start and no crank

Postby joelidge » Tue Jul 06, 2021 3:51 pm

There really isn't much to the starting system of a CRX. There are two fuses under the hood (31 and 32), the ignition switch, the clutch safety switch and the clutch safety switch relay. That is it, the output of the clutch relay goes to the starter. The clutch relay is a small black relay located next to the hood release lever below the main relay.

The most common problem with this system is the original clutch switch was triggered via a rubber stopper on the clutch pedal. This will rot away and just leave a hole. This will prevent the clutch switch from triggering. The same thing happens to the brake lights and the lights will remain on even without the pedal depressed.

So, look under the dash, find the clutch switch and see if the stopper is still there. If it's gone, you can use a penny and superglue as a temporary fix. I am pretty sure you can still get the actual replacement part and Honda has changed the design from rubber to HDPE plastic.
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Re: 1990 CRX DX wont start and no crank

Postby TonyCPA » Wed Jul 07, 2021 1:15 am

Thanks @Joelidge..much appreciate your feedback. Ok that gave me more ideas and places to look. With a kid and work, don't really have time to work on the CRX till Weekends. But I'll try to update as I go. I added a pic of my Rex. Hope to get it running soon.
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Re: 1990 CRX DX wont start and no crank

Postby Baker » Wed Jul 07, 2021 6:20 am

TonyCPA wrote:3. Starter Relay - I dont have an odometer to test for continuity so I just went ahead and purch a new one.
4. Main Relay - I dont have an odometer to test for continuity so I just went ahead and purch a new one.


This is questionable...
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Re: 1990 CRX DX wont start and no crank

Postby BrakeExpert » Fri Jul 09, 2021 11:43 pm

My CRX died last week actually. Went to crank and heard a click, dash lights died. Could repeat after a minute. The starter motor, off the car, passed a test at autozone. When I reinstalled it, same problem. My point is if it tests well on a bench, then its either a signal problem to the starter, or a lack of current, ie poor grounds. I had mad corrosion on my ground wire (very green) and a crappy aftermarket positive terminal head I had to clean and will eventually replace. After all that, car fired up. Don't forget your ground from the transmission to the frame to the body, and if theres like a crapton of dirt or sludge/oil/grease on it as its not a terribly large wire on the CRX compared to the next generation Civic.
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Re: 1990 CRX DX wont start and no crank

Postby haluska » Wed Jul 14, 2021 1:14 pm

Check your driver side foot well for pieces of blue plastic. There is a pad on the clutch pedal that crumbles over time and will disallow the car from starting as the car does not have the clutch interlock switch pressed.
"It's not so much what we have in this life that matters. It's what we do with what we have." - Mr. Rogers
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Re: 1990 CRX DX wont start and no crank

Postby BrakeExpert » Wed Jul 14, 2021 10:43 pm

^ This is true and a common issue of any 20+ year old honda with a manual transmission (also the brake pedal light switch).

If you can't get a plug at the dealership (they are soft plastic and around 3$), you can use two pennies and duct tape. Or unplug the switch and jump it with a paperclip for the time being.
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