Car: 2004 Honda CRV-EX (the moonroof one)

Miles: 220k~

Issue: I had cylinder misfires before on this car and they were fixed with new sparkplugs and ignition coils.

Recently I've had more misfires and high engine temps. My starter died and I replaced it then things were ok.

Last week I had lots of trouble starting my car, got it started and it was driving ok then the engine kept sputtering and died. I opened it up to change the spark plugs and I discovered that the C4-Ignition Coil was melted and broken.

I replaced all the plugs and the coil and the car now just whirrs and doesn't turn over. Any solutions as to what I should do next to troubleshoot this? Do I need to reset the car's computer? Did it go into some kind of safe mode because of the issue?

EDIT: I had noticed high engine temps and I burped the radiator but I found out that the coolant in the reservoir was boiling which meant a bad radiator cap or thermometer. I have replaced both.


I performed a compression test and I got some great results...

C1-50-55 | C2-0 | C3-10-15 | C4-50-55

So where do I go from here, what could be the problem? Is it the gaskets?

  • 2
    Sounds like you may have multiple systems failing... can you include a pic of the fried coil? Also, was the coil assembly melted or was there also charring? Finally, you say it "whirrs" you mean that the starter is rolling the motor but not firing? Or that the starter just spins without moving the motor? Also, was it melted in one spot, or all over? Nov 15, 2017 at 23:54
  • @kyle_engineer imgur.com/a/hLIUj The coil only melted at one spot. The rubber end was still over the spark plug so I had to fish it out before I replaced it. Nov 16, 2017 at 18:18
  • 1
    This is to diagnose whether or not the starter is engaging. If it is not engaging, you will get a whirring sound like an electric drill. Just even continuous whir. If it is engaging, then there will be a rhythm or kind of a rolling pulse and the engine mass is rotated. Does that make sense? Nov 16, 2017 at 20:54
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    I'd seriously retest cylinder #2 ... While I've seen low pressures, I've never seen a cylinder with "zero" pressure. Even ones with a stuck valve can gain some pressure. Any which way, a zero reading is a dead cylinder. You'll have to pop the head at a minimum to see what's going on, because that's a serious issue. More than likely there'll be a problem with the head and or valves. Nov 20, 2017 at 15:55
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    And if those pressures are in PSI, those are really low. Are you sure you didn't skip some teeth on the timing belt and now have a trashed valvetrain? You might want to check your valve timing before you tear anything apart to see if this might not be your issue. If so, you're either looking at a new engine (new-ish, if you buy a JDM engine which are plentiful and cheap) or a complete head rebuild. Nov 20, 2017 at 17:39

4 Answers 4


This issue is, you have serious cylinder pressure (or should I say, non-pressure) issues. The pressure test results you give (as long as the test was done correctly), shows a massive drop in cylinder pressure from where they should be. I'm not entirely sure where the Honda engine should be, but I'd bet it should be somewhere in the 150-180psi arena and within 15% of each other.

To me this indicates one of two things have happened. Either the piston rings are completely shot (less likely) or you have severe leakage past the valves. If you've lost the cam belt or if the cam belt has slipped, this could be the cause. You'd need to check your timing to see if it's the belt.

In either of the above cases, this is going to require major surgery and/or possibly a new engine. Luckily you can get replacement JDM engines for these fairly cheap (at least in my area you can). Rebuilding either just the head or the entire engine will most likely cost more than a JDM replacement, so I'd highly suggest looking at that avenue before you make a decision on what to do.

  • Remember that the throttle must be open as the engine turns over for compression test results to be valid. Because all cylinders are low, I suspect the throttle was not held open. Jul 8, 2018 at 16:20
  • @David - You are suggesting cylinder #2 with 0psi is that low because the throttle was not held open? If the throttle was not held open for the test, the cylinders, while reading low, should still be very close across the board. This engine is (or was) in need of intensive care. Jul 8, 2018 at 16:55
  • You're right, @Paulster2: cylinder #2 is so low that pulling the head (at least) is necessary. I made the observation because if the test was made with the throttle open, then it's possible that only cylinder #2 has the issue. OTOH, given the car's age and mileage, the engine may well be toast in any event. Jul 8, 2018 at 17:15
  • Above, I should have written "...if the test was made with the throttle closed... Jul 8, 2018 at 17:48

A bad starter wouldn't cause misfires or high engine temps, and there aren't any "safe modes" that prevent starting.

  1. Test your battery, make sure it is healthy
  2. Inspect your belts, make sure they or one of your pulleys aren't seized
  3. Inspect your engine ground. If it's frayed, your starter may not be getting enough juice.
  4. Make sure you reconnected the correct ignition coil to the correct spark plug.
  5. Check all your fuses
  6. Find the cause of the melted ignition coil, they're not supposed to melt.
  • Updated answer with more info. I believe it was high engine temps that cracked the coil then caused the subsequent melt. Nov 15, 2017 at 22:37
  • I'm not sure I understand what you mean by #4, aren't all the coils the same? There shouldn't be a specific coil for each cylinder right? This image is how my engine set-up looks. i.ytimg.com/vi/uhRkyFusTHU/maxresdefault.jpg Nov 15, 2017 at 23:03
  • 1
    @Ovaryraptor - I believe he's stating you need to ensure you keep the same timing, as in ensure the correct coil fires the correct plug in the correct cylinder. Since your engine is a coil on design, I don't think this is a major worry. Nov 15, 2017 at 23:06
  • @Ovaryraptor As your picture and Paulster confirm, just ignore #4, it doesn't apply to your engine.
    – tlhIngan
    Nov 15, 2017 at 23:48
  • @Ovaryraptor If your engine bay really got hot enough to melt an ignition coil, check all your wires, hoses, connectors and plastic components for heat damage.
    – tlhIngan
    Nov 16, 2017 at 0:27

A motor failing to start is usually cause by one of 4 aspects failing:

  1. Insufficient Spark (Ignition),
  2. Insufficient Air,
  3. Insufficient Fuel,
  4. In correct timing (this has to be fairly messed up to result in NO start).

Since the problem you’ve run into have been ignition related, you’re probably gettin #1 above.

If you’re comfortable with it, you can do this spark test. But even before doing that, I’d make sure to check the fuses again.


Per this article there is the #1 fuse under the dash that is labeled “ignition coil”. So I’d at least check that one as far as the under dash fuses.

With the fuses under the hood, honestly I’d just quickly test all of them. Most of them don’t handle ignition, but I’d check anyway.

And yes, I’d check the all with a multimeter in continuity mode.

Also, As Glen pointed out, compression could be an issue, and I don't see any reason not to do a compression test and or a visual cylinder inspection.

Based on you compression test results, there’s something seriously wrong that doesn’t have to do with ignition. Per what Paulster2 notes, and per this article you should be getting 100+ psi on every cylinder. However, getting a reading of 0 PSI is catastrophically low! A blown head gasket alone wouldn’t (likely) cause 0 PSI. It’s worth noting that the article does recommend testing more or more cranks on every cylinder to avoid false/inaccurate readings.

In summary, I’d go with what Paulster2 recommends.

  • Should I be checking all the fuses, even the ones behind the dash with a multimeter? Also should I do a compression test? Nov 17, 2017 at 16:45
  • 1
    @Ovaryraptor Added update. Nov 17, 2017 at 17:24
  • 1
    Another reason for non-starting is lack of compression. If his car got hot enough to melt the ignition coil, then he could have blown a head gasket. I'd take each spark plug out and check for coolant in the cylinders and also compression test each cylinder.
    – Glen Yates
    Nov 17, 2017 at 19:27
  • @GlenYates For sure. That's why I asked for pics of the damaged coil plug. Since it only has a small melted part, then it's extremely unlikely that the melting was caused by heat from the head/block. That would be indirect heat which would create a more uniform melting, not a small concentrated hot spot like the image. Nov 17, 2017 at 23:24
  • 1
    @Ovaryraptor With those numbers, looks like your head gasket is blown and it will need to be replaced. But don't just replace it, you will have to remove the head and check both the head and the block for warpage. If the block is warped you will need a new engine, if the head is warped, you'll either need a new head or have the existing one machined.
    – Glen Yates
    Nov 20, 2017 at 16:51

going along with what others said, "boiling in the reservoir" will never be caused by a loose radiator cap or thermostat. It sounds then that you had already suffered a blown head gasket, and were getting exhaust gasses pumped into the coolant. This alone won't wreck an engine, but if it catastrophically fails it will seriously affect your compression readings. Times like this are when you need to ask yourself how much your car is worth and how much you want to spend. No matter the outcome, it's going to be at least a thousand dollars to fix it.

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