The following is going to be most long winded, but I feel necessary to chronicle the issues I have encountered, along with the attempts at solutions.
18 months ago.
Friend of mine acquired a very nice one owner high mileage 92 Integra 5-speed. While the car was sitting, the ECU was stolen out of it. In this act of jackassery, the thieves cut the ECU harness plugs instead of simply unplugging. Bastards!
12 months ago.
Buddy finally gets around to messing with the car, acquires a set of of OBD-1 ECU plugs, an ECU (abeit Automatic) and repairs the car. It seems to have made a full recovery. A few weeks of daily driving, building some nice parts for it, and he decides that this whole “import thing” isn’t for him. I trade him my 535is for the DA.
10 months ago – first sign of problems
We are out on a test driving, enjoying the music being created by a bitching new custom 2.5” SS header back exhaust when after a good highway pull, the car looses all power. Barely keeps running. Headlights dim. Lights on the instrument panel start dimming in and out, seat belt computer starts beeping madly, etc. Normal crazy Integra electrical stuff, eh!?!
8 months ago – very big, yet unrelated problem.
This electrical problem reoccurred a few times, but was intermittent at best. The few times it happened, an ECU reset seemed to make it go away. I have autocrossed the car a few times, and now take it to a track weekend. Forth lap on the track on my second day, #4 rod decides to see what the world is like on the outside of the block.
…Long winter of harvesting parts…
Last month – current.
A little bit of background first so you can get an idea of what’s now under the hood. - I have built a B20/VTEC for the car. Stock sensors all swapped over on the B20 bottom end. All OE Honda bearings, rings, gaskets, etc. B16 head. Brand new Distributor, wires, plugs, etc of course. Hytech-like Tri-Y header – currently open header until I get the car running / part the mofo out(i.e. clogged cat is not the issue), P73 ITR intake manifold, with a B16 TB on there for now. MAP on the TB, but I’m using the stock firewall one right now – maybe I’ll extend the harness and use the TB one at some point.
After getting the motor to fire on the first attempt (thank you baby Jesus), I encounter the same electrical problem. Lighting on the instrument panel goes crazy. Beeping seat belt computer. Motor looses power and idle, finally dies no matter how much throttle is fed to it. But what was once very intermittent is now all the time. Sometimes it will run 5 seconds, sometimes 30 seconds.
Below, I’m going to list everything I have thought it might be and traced, troubleshoot, etc.
I originally started the new motor up with an CEL error – code 7 (TPS). I was expecting this as I had broken my original on engine removal, and the spare was untested. I installed new TPS, and now encounter no CEL’s.
Thought I might have an ICU problem. Removed the ICU, checked for the potentially bad components. No problems at all, very clean. Swapped in a spare ICU for shits and giggles with no effect.
I have an extra ECU, a socketed P28. I have swapped it in as well. It has no effect on the problem.
Swapped spare Main Relays with no effect.
At this point, I pulled out my toner (fox and hound) and decided to re-check my friend’s electrical prowess. As some of you may know, Honda in their infinite wisdom decided to place the same colored wire on the same plug in several instances on the ECU connections. Bastards! Well success! (or so I thought at the moment) I discovered that the ground for the brake light switch and the ground for the MAP sensor were mixed up (they are the same green/something on the same plug, there are three wires like this on the same plug). I thought I had hit the jackpot, that this was going fix everything. Alas, it was not to be – same issue being encountered.
I decide to give my ground cable a looksie – it looks a little corroded. I search around the house, and grab the heaviest guage wire I’ve got (something pathetic, 8-10g) and make up a decent attempt at a temporary ground cable. Partial success!!! In the cockpit, the instrument panel lights don’t blink or go crazy, the clock is lit solidly, the seat belt computer is quiet. BUT THE MOTOR STILL WON’T RUN MORE THAN 30 SECONDS.
Additionally now, with no other changes, after the second or third time re-firing, I’ve now got a very noticeable miss in the engine. Could just be I’m starting to fowl the plugs out after so many restarts.
…So guys, I’m writing this because I’m stumped. I’ve got a few more ideas below or things that I’d like to rule out or whatnot that I’m going to write, but I’d love to hear some educated guess/ideas/etc.
- Alternator - Could I be lacking enough voltage to run the ignition system? This is actually my best idea right now. It is the original I believe.
- Distributor/Coil/Igniter – It’s all brand new. Could be a dud, but I had this problem before.
- Fuel Pump/Injectors/Clogged Fuel Filter – Fuel delivery issue? I don’t think this is it, but who knows?
- The Wiring Harness – I pulled a complete un-cut harness from another OBD-1 DA in the junkyard. If worse comes to worst, I could try installing a whole new harness to rule out this major potential issue. But man, is that a heck of a job. I’m honestly not sure if I wouldn’t part the car out first.
Any ideas would greatly be appreciated guys!!!