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1991 Honda CRX Si: Nothing happens when I try to start the engine

Home Forums Stay Dirty Lounge Service and Repair Questions Answered Here 1991 Honda CRX Si: Nothing happens when I try to start the engine

This topic contains 3 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by Egidiou Lee Egidiou 1 year ago.

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  • #894414
    Egidiou Lee

    I’ve had my 91 CRX stored in the garage, starting & running the engine for about 15 minutes once a month (I’ve been doing this for the past year). Just today I got the car to start up and drove it to my local gas station for a fill up. I turned off the engine and filled up with gas. When I tried to start the engine, I got no response at all. The ignition/dash lights would light up, but when I press in the clutch and turn the key, there’s just nothing, no electrical response, no sound at all.

    I’m trying to go through the process of elimination of what the problem could be.

    I have checked the following:

    Car Battery — has adequate amount of charge (12 volts)
    Fuse Box under the hood (Fuse type 50A specifically for the Ignition appears to be OK, not blown or damaged)

    The only way I could get the car to start was to have the car ignition turned on, and have someone give the car a push to get it rolling, whereby I would pop the clutch to get the engine started. Once the car gets started, it runs normally. I drove it back home, turned off the engine and had the same problem when trying to start up the engine. There is zero electrical response (i.e. no clicking noise, no electrical current humming, etc.) when I turn the key over to start the engine.

    BTW, about 5 years ago, I removed the main relay and re-soldered all the original soldered contact points, because the car would not start up again once the engine got warmed up. When I turned the engine off and then tried to start it up again the starter would crank, but the engine would not start. Once I re-soldered the contact points on the main relay and re-installed it, this particular problem went away.

    I noticed that since there is no electrical feed going to the starter, is there a starter switch or feed relay that might have gone out that is preventing any electricity from the battery going to the starter motor?

    Also, in order to start the car, the clutch pedal has to be pressed all the way down. I’m wondering if there’s some contact/relay point possibly disconnected to the clutch pedal that is causing the zero response when I turn the key to start. I have no idea, but perhaps someone who reads this does.

    Based on reading my description above, would anybody have suggestion as to where or what I should focus on to trouble shoot the problem? Thanks for any helpful responses.

Viewing 3 replies - 1 through 3 (of 3 total)
  • Author
  • #894419

    Have an assistant turn the key while you listen to the starter relay. If the relay clicks, look downstream. If not, test the relay, then look upstream.


    I had a 1989 CRX with the same issue. It turned out to be the ignition switch. In my case if I turned the key off and on, trying to start every time then eventually it would start. Later I found out that keeping some torque/twist on the key would make proper contact and the car would start. I ended up opening the ignition key and cleaning the contacts, I think I also bent a bit the copper surfaces and that seems to have fixed the problem. I cannot remember if I could hear or if I could NOT hear the fuel pump when I turned the key and it would not or would start. I want to say that I did NOT hear the fuel pump when the car would not start and then I would hear the pump when the car would start. Sorry for not remembering well it was more than 15 years ago and I sold the car about ten years ago. But do try to listen for the fuel pump humming when you turn the ignition to on but before you crank the ignition. When you turn the key on (but before you crank the engine) you normally hear the fuel pump humming for a few seconds and then it stops. It may give you some further clue as to what the cause is. From what I remember, after the fact, I read about many others having the same ignition switch issue on CRXs of that era. Perhaps you can search CRX and ignition switch for more clues…

    Egidiou Lee

    I solved my problem, which was a simple fix: Clutch pad for Clutch Pedal Switch A had broken off (due to age) and got replaced (see attached pic diagram).

    My first instinct was that it had nothing to do with any kind of ignition or relay switch issues, because when I turned the ignition key there was absolutely zero noise of any kind coming from under the dash or hood. This told me that there was some kind of actual physical/mechanical issues, not electrical.

    For anyone interested, the CRX models (as well other Honda models) like the one I have, have three of the plastic pedal stops that are located on the brake and clutch pedals.

    1. There is one pedal stop for the brake, in which the pedal stop pad (at rest) puts pressure on the brake switch (a spring-loaded button appendage) to keep the brake light from turning on. When the brake is pressed, the pedal stop pad is released which allows the brake switch to turn on the brake light. As you can imagine, when the brake is naturally at rest, and the brake pedal stop breaks off (due to old age, which is a common thing for older Honda models), this will release the brake pedal switch, which will turn on the brake lights. In my case, I had my car cover on when this unfortunate event took place, so there was no way of telling that my battery had completely gotten drained and died. I replaced the pad about 7 years ago when the incident took place, along with the Clutch Pedal Switch B (see attached diagram). Unfortunately, I did not replace Clutch Pedal Switch A (which I should have), due to laziness (and not being able to locate it), so it ultimately came back to bite me.

    2. There are two clutch pedal stops for the clutch (see the attached diagram). In my case, the clutch pedal stop pad for the Clutch Pedal A had broken off (see the red arrow in the attached pic showing where the pad location is). The Clutch Pedal A switch functions in an opposite manner to that of the Brake Pedal Switch pad. On the brake pedal switch, at rest the brake pedal pad keeps pressure on the brake pedal switch so as it keep the brake lights from turning on. Whereas on the Clutch Pedal Switch A, you need to press the clutch pedal in order to engage the [spring-loaded] switch toggle to start the engine.

    So, in my case the clutch pedal pad got broken off (due to brittleness due to temp changes and aging), so even if I would press the clutch pedal in, there was a missing amount of gap space (needed to be filled by the clutch pedal stop pad) to make contact with the Clutch Pedal Switch A. Because the Clutch Pedal Switch A is higher up the pedal assembly, you cannot see where the clutch pedal pad’s location hole is. However, you can actually see a little bit of the Clutch Pedal Switch A (the spring-loaded button) assembly (with or without a small hand-held mirror). Once you have gotten sight of the switch tip, you can naturally orient yourself to the spot where the clutch pedal stop would be located, directly opposite the switch tip. You’ll have to feel with your fingers for the hole where the pedal stop would need to be inserted.

    All told, there are three of the pedal stops that needed to be replaced for my ’91 CRX. The Brake Pedal Switch and the Clutch Pedal Switch B are pretty easy to access, because they are located on the lower assembly of the pedals and can easily be seen. The trickier one is trying to locate the Clutch Pedal Switch A, which is higher up the pedal assembly, but with a small hand-held mirror, you will be able to see the switch assembly and the [spring-loaded] tip. From there, you will just have to feel with your fingers where the hole is located on the clutch pedal frame that is directly across from the switch tip.

    Hope this info helps anyone with similar issues I’ve had.

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