Our van won't start. I'm writing because English in not my husband's first language. We don't have a manual for this van (have been looking). We are not sure but think we might have trashed the engine as it wouldn't start (has always been a good starter) (it isn't the battery or starter) and when my husband looked we were out of oil (he had checked about a month ago and it was fine??) I had been worried about it though as it seemed to me it was sounding noisier for the last several months but he didn't notice the difference nor did another friend who had driven it before. We don't have a reliable mechanic who knows these and the only guy I trust locally has been too busy to look at it. Now it is stuck in the driveway and we are just wanting an idea of bad this might be and whether we have any options. For example if it IS toast can we have a 660 cc engine put in there without complications....and if so what else if anything would we have to replace????? (ours is an automatic transmission)
What husband has done so far:
Checked one spark plug (could see spark so think it's working although seemed dirty??) he believes gas is getting to the engine... Changed oil filter and oil (adding 1 litre of treatment) changed air filter.
sorry if these are stupid questions, I hate feeling this helpless but need an idea what kind of costs we're looking at. (and am still looking for the 550 cc engine manual.
thank you to anyone who can help
just thought of something else. The engine has always started well in the morning but has had the strange habit of not starting well after sitting for more than 1/2 hour. My husband being Japanese was able to read a little blurb on the visor that says something about different ways to start depending on how cold the engine is. I've never really bought that that was the issue as I don't remember these problems when we bought it 2 years ago.....so maybe there is a spark plug or something issue???? I just don't want to get this towed to our Mechanic (who is notorious for not having the time and vehicles sit in his lot while he works on the farm).
okay....anyway I thought this might be pertinent information.
Maybe a stuck/dirty/defective needle and seat assembly in the carburetor? That would allow too much fuel into the engine, flooding it. Was the spark plug wet with gas when pulled? My Mitsu had a flooding problem, and I fixed it by CAREFULLY disassembling the carb and cleaning it out real good with carb cleaner. If you attempt this, be extremely careful to not break any of the small o-rings or gaskets on the carb--they may not be available anymore. Does the engine sound "normal" when cranking (cranking speed, steady cranking, any backfiring from tailpipe or carb)? Is the spark you observe yellow/orange, or a nice bright blue?
Also, could be a timing belt issue. If the belt has jumped, or broken, the engine will not sound right when cranking it over.
From what you said I don't think the timing belt is broken. Thanks, this is giving us a direction to look.
But I guess I am still wondering if the extra noise I have been noticing in the last several months would have something to do with that or something else. That's why I got the engine oil treatment stuff to put in (our van has 123,000 kil on it, not that much I would have thought) as he had read that older vans start to sound noisy.
I am also wondering....since it seemed to have had no oil in it if there is a special way to start it now that the oil has been replaced but obviously not distributed through the engine the way it should be (or should we really be towing it to someone to fix (once we can find someone)???
hope I making myself clear....(I sure hope they are teaching everyone basic car repair/info in school these days don't like not understanding stuff----yeah! like I could repair my computer if it broke down..... ;-)
haha! oh I'm so sorry!!! that was a typo renchjeep (not renchheep!!)
No problem, my Jeep is a "heap" of something, but still fun! As far as engines getting noisier as they age, that may be true. But it depends on what kind of noises we are talking about. An exhaust leak from a bad exhaust manifold gasket will sound like a ticking type of noise, as well as the smell of exhaust and black deposits where the manifold attaches to the head, or at the point where the pipe meets the manifold.. Loose valve adjustment will cause a light ticking sound from the valve cover area at all engine speeds, louder at higher revs. A louder "knocking" sound from the oil pan area, especially at light throttle and light load, could be worn rod bearings. I am hoping that the engine did not run COMPLETELY out of oil. This can and will cause major engine damage. Do you have an oil pressure gauge, or just an oil light? If the light comes on at idle, you have crank and/or rod bearing damage. If a gauge, should read at least 15 psi at idle, and up to 60 psi (maybe more) at higher rpm's. As far as restarting after a low/no oil condition, I don't know of any way to prime the oil pump directly. What I would do is dis-able the ignition by grounding the coil wire (or disconnecting the coil primary wires) and cranking the engine for 10-15 seconds a time or 2. Make sure you check your valve or rocker arm adjustment! Loose adjustment can cause noises, driveability problems, and eventually engine damage. Wish I could hear it! That would give me a way better idea as to what may be going on.
Just curious, where are you located? Do you have a local mechanic? Not necesarrily a mini mechanic. Any halfway decent mechanic should be able to give you a better diagnosis/idea than I can over the computer. Based on what I understand, I would start with new plugs and spark plug wires, and maybe a distributor cap and rotor. (If these have not been replaced in a while, or ever, then it needs them anyway.) Then check your spark. Should be a nice blue or white color, not yellow or orange. If it is not a nice snappy blue spark, you may have a coil problem. Also, don't know if you have points or electronic ignition, but if it's a point system, the points may be worn/dirty/out of adjustment, or a faulty condensor. If electronic, may be a bad ignition module, ignitor, pickup, wiring issues, engine control module (computer), or a combination of the above. Let me know where you are in the diagnosis process.
A lot to think about thanks!!! About the noise I was also kind of wondering if I was developing a hole in the muffler.... And we've had the van for a few years with nothing going wrong and yeah, nothing replaced so I guess it is time for those things. Mechanics.....what can I say! I am on a small Island off B.C. and there are basically 4-5 mechanics available to me. The most trustworthy guy is always busy and well, he usually works on big fat vehicles and I don't think he really wants to work on my um...Tonka toy.....let's see then there is the alcoholic guy who I think from years of drinking has kind of a short fuse (when he replaced the fan belt on our MasterAce he didn't want to wait for me to get the right belt and said he had it but 1 1/2 years later we can hear it needs replacing again)....then there's the guy that many of us think he has an evil twin brother that takes over his life and makes him do weird things to your car and lie and oh (maybe he just has some kind of drug habit) and the last guy well, I would like to try him but he works with evil twin brother guy so that makes it kind of dicey....oh and there is a non licensed mechanic, a good person but well....when I met someone recently stopped in the middle of the road whose muffler had fallen off, that was this guy's work and apparently his mufflers often fall off. (o.k. after having said all these maligning things you know I can't say exactly where I live ;-) But you're right we have to make a choice ....eeny, meany, miney, mo......
Yeah, mechanics in general get a bad reputation caused by a few rotten apples! Same with lawyers, doctors, almost any profession. Even Catholic Priests! (I am not religous, mostly because of the politics of religion!) That really sucks for us honest mechanics! We try to bring the professoin UP, but some keep dragging us down. Anyway, where are you guys in your diagnosis? Not trying to rush you, and I hope I am not lagging behind at the same time.
sockeye, you mentioned that the engine has 123000k on it.suggest timing belt is way overdue for replacement.try removing inspection plugs and check for looseness and wear.let us know what you find.
Treefarmer, there are only 86,000 kil on the Honda. Renchheap, I'm going to go contact the mechanic on Monday and see if we can get the van down to him.
Just an update on the Honda, (after having had the van towed to his place April 16th he has finally - about a month and a half later) gotten around to looking at it.....he says we need an igniter, rotor and distributor cap along with spark plugs which he will provide. Luckily those parts are in Canada and we have ordered them. He said he didn't have a really good look at the timing belt to see how much wear there is but said that it seems to be working fine right now. It sounds like he doesn't really want to go there anyway as it will entail a lot more work as access seems cramped (this is a big guy working on as you know a tiny van). Anyway, that is the update for what seems to have been wrong with it.
Wow ..that's a long wait to have a mechanic look at it..hope it all works out
“The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read.”
― Mark Twain
Glad to find out that it is a "no spark" instead of a broken timing belt! Let us know how it turns out. In the meantime, you should be looking into someone to do a timing belt job in the not-too-distant future.