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Old 12-02-2015, 06:21 AM   #1
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Default 1997 Motor rebuilt now NO START! (Have used search)

Before I get any comments about the search button : I have used the search button to try and help me figure out what is going on with my car. I have read thread upon thread on the no start topic (on multiple forums as well) and have yet to come up with a solution to my issue.

Here's the story:
So I recently had my stock 97 miata motor rebuilt by a machine shop and now the thing wont start. I was there when they had everything buttoned up and started the car for the first time since finishing the work. The car started up and began to idle a bit rough. It stayed on and ran for a good few minutes when, all of the sudden, the car died. There was a CEL for crank position sensor that came up on the code reader. Turns out the sensor had been on loose and moved out of position. The mechanic tightened it up the sensor and the head of the bolt snapped off. They removed the radiator and a few other obstructing parts and removed the bolt and retapped the hole and put the sensor back on. Well that's where the headaches begin.

After having repaired and readjusted the crank position sensor the car would turn over but not fire. They got a new CPS and put it in to spec (proper air gap) but the car still would not fire. After having held on to the car for months and not being able to solve the issue I decided to take the car home and try to solve the issue myself because they were planning on throwing more parts at it or sending it to their "recommended shop" for inspection and repair (on my dime).

So far I have gone through these checks and have still not fixed the car:
-Verified all parts of the harness are plugged in and not loose
-Checked voltages and resistance according to The Enthusiasts Manual on: coil packs, plug wires, injectors, CPS, cam position sensor, MAF sensor, relays (both underhood and inside the car), temp sensor, main engine harness
-Removed the valve cover and verified cam position at TDC
-Charged the battery to full
-Cranked the engine to verify oil pressure
-Jumped the fuel pump in the diagnostic box to verify that the FP works (it does)
-The oil on the dipstick smells somewhat like fuel so I assume the injectors are spraying

I have yet to see if the spark plugs will spark if I have them out and ground them while turning the car over. I have not checked to see if the timing is set nor have I checked compression so those are on my list next.

The shop mentioned that maybe the ECU was fried by an aftermarket alarm that malfunctioned (although the car had no working alarm there looks to be wiring for and alarm). I am not sure how likely of a scenario that is, though.

Any insight in to the matte would be greatly appreciated. I will try to update this thread as I go off trying new solutions.

I am in south Orange County so if any of you know of someone that can help that's local I would be grateful for the reference. I am not opposed to having someone come over to help or taking the car (on a trailer) to have someone help me with this issue.

Thank you, MT!
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Old 12-02-2015, 07:00 AM   #2
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Pull the front covers off and verify the timing belt install
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Old 12-02-2015, 07:40 AM   #3
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Pull the front covers off and verify the timing belt install
When I had the valve cover off I turned the crank with a socket to align the position of the gears so I could count the teeth between them. I can verify that the cams are properly set and that the timing belt functions.
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Old 12-02-2015, 08:34 AM   #4
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When I had the valve cover off I turned the crank with a socket to align the position of the gears so I could count the teeth between them. I can verify that the cams are properly set and that the timing belt functions.
Picture of the VC off, with timing belt properly aligned. I want to be able to see the front cam loves on either side.
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Old 12-02-2015, 01:25 PM   #5
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Check to make sure that the CPS didn't take out a tooth on the timing wheel when it was loose. (Ask me how I know that can happen)
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Old 12-02-2015, 02:07 PM   #6
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Picture of the VC off, with timing belt properly aligned. I want to be able to see the front cam loves on either side.
So the first picture is from when I first took the cover off and snapped a pic. The following are from today. I had tried to crank start the car a few more times from the first pic to the most recent so the position of the marks moved but I threw the original in for reference.













Attached Thumbnails
1997 Motor rebuilt now NO START! (Have used search)-80-1117151018_b2758681d564e01645ec3e79f17246abdd478c6c.jpg   1997 Motor rebuilt now NO START! (Have used search)-80-1202151050c_6d823f12a67648eb5ceaecca332493e241ea2bfe.jpg   1997 Motor rebuilt now NO START! (Have used search)-80-1202151050d_51636ef07cc093fedec9c01e3ff216f0fa9d946e.jpg   1997 Motor rebuilt now NO START! (Have used search)-80-1202151050e_675a30dbe5167bee14e297691c925249354143cd.jpg   1997 Motor rebuilt now NO START! (Have used search)-80-1202151050g_57a954c38a4fa09890c13ac4f339765c698d5d74.jpg  

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Old 12-02-2015, 02:13 PM   #7
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Check to make sure that the CPS didn't take out a tooth on the timing wheel when it was loose. (Ask me how I know that can happen)
All of the teeth look to be there. I have not spun the crank to check clearance on all of the teeth but they look to be of similar length.
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Old 12-02-2015, 02:23 PM   #8
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Your exhaust cam is off I believe. There are only 18 nubs on the timing belt between the 2 makes on the cam gears. It should be 19 nubs on the belt.
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Old 12-02-2015, 03:16 PM   #9
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Could that cause a spontaneous no start issue?
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Old 12-04-2015, 01:42 PM   #10
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Not necessarily, but if you skipped a tooth on your cam gears, maybe you skipped a tooth on your crank gear too.
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Old 12-04-2015, 04:02 PM   #11
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Well I attempted to see if there was any spark by pulling a plug and holding over metal to see if it would arc and no dice. I had someone cranking the motor over several times and tried different spots to arc the plug (IE: block, heat shield, body, valve cover) as well as trying different plugs and wires from the 2 coil packs.

I am almost 100 percent sure that the injectors are operating but is there any easy way I can test this?
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Old 12-04-2015, 07:45 PM   #12
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Holding the plug over metal will show you nothing. Hold the threads of the plug on a known ground and watch for spark at the electrode in a darkened room.

Pull off the rest of the timing belt covers and check the entire timing belt install and take pictures.

When you re-do the bottom, make sure the timing wheel is not on backwards.
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Old 12-04-2015, 09:04 PM   #13
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Your exhaust cam is off I believe. There are only 18 nubs on the timing belt between the 2 makes on the cam gears. It should be 19 nubs on the belt.
This is your problem.
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Old 12-04-2015, 09:15 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by olderguy View Post
Holding the plug over metal will show you nothing. Hold the threads of the plug on a known ground and watch for spark at the electrode in a darkened room.

Pull off the rest of the timing belt covers and check the entire timing belt install and take pictures.

When you re-do the bottom, make sure the timing wheel is not on backwards.
I will try the sparkplug arc using your method. I did not know I was doing it wrong.

I will be removing the front cover stuff as soon as I can. I'll take pics and post here as I upload them.


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This is your problem.
Would this be the cause for a loss of start after the car was running before the crank position sensor failed? Maybe it might be the CPS?
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Old 12-06-2015, 01:33 PM   #15
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I hooked up a timing light to see if the plugs were receiving spark and sure enough the timing light did not trigger while I cranked the car. I performed that on all of the wires to no avail. I used both the alternator as a power source and another battery but the light did not once pulse.

I also checked the compression and the numbers were 185~.

Not sure where to start. I may just pony up and get the CPS which originally failed but was replaced.
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Old 12-06-2015, 03:44 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by deadohiosky1984 View Post
I will try the sparkplug arc using your method. I did not know I was doing it wrong.

I will be removing the front cover stuff as soon as I can. I'll take pics and post here as I upload them.




Would this be the cause for a loss of start after the car was running before the crank position sensor failed? Maybe it might be the CPS?
Ignore the damn CPS for now.What happened was your car started and somoe how most likely skipped a tooth or two. Now it won't run. Until you fix the timing belt, nothing else you are doing is useful.

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Originally Posted by deadohiosky1984 View Post
I hooked up a timing light to see if the plugs were receiving spark and sure enough the timing light did not trigger while I cranked the car. I performed that on all of the wires to no avail. I used both the alternator as a power source and another battery but the light did not once pulse.

I also checked the compression and the numbers were 185~.

Not sure where to start. I may just pony up and get the CPS which originally failed but was replaced.
Fix your timing belt correctly. That is what you should be doing.
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Old 12-07-2015, 02:05 PM   #17
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^^ This. You're off a tooth.
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Old 12-15-2015, 10:49 PM   #18
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I'll get to removing the front bits and verifying the proper timing. I will take pics when I get around to it. Busy busy time of the year
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Old 12-16-2015, 12:31 AM   #19
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If it was the cam being off a tooth it would still run and idle [ask me how I know this]. The car at the worst case scenario it would be back firing and farting. It sounds like it is a electrical issue as there is no spark. I would recheck the or replace the cps. Another possibility is the wires that go into the plug, the wire can be broke in two on the inside of the insulation from pulling on them and not show on the outside, I had that happen on the IAC plug once. But I would say that since it started once and then quit it has to be something to do with that CPS, as the car would atleast misfire if it was getting spark and the cam teeth were off several teeth.

Last edited by jmann; 12-16-2015 at 12:44 AM.
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Old 01-04-2016, 02:57 PM   #20
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Okay so things are finally winding down after the xmas and new year family and festivities time. I will begin to pull the front bits off of the motor and take pictures to be sure that the timing is set properly.

I will also get a new crank position sensor and see if by any stroke of luck that is the only issue preventing the car from starting.

Expect pics and updates here as I find the time to wrench.
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