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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm a new member looking for advice on a car I picked up.
It's a 93 Civic CX hatchback.
In the past somebody built it into a Minime I guess. Trans is an S20 with a short throw shifter, engine block is a D16Y8, cylinder head & intake are a P08-3 which is a D16Z6. ECU is a P28. It has Tokico lowering struts and springs, billet rear LCAs, AEM adjustable cam gear, DC Sports header, ARP head stud kit, a cold air intake, etc.

Two or three owners ago this work was done. A friend of mine bought the car as is.
He used it for a work car for a few years and parked it when he got a new car that was more family friendly. He wanted to keep it for a fun-day and backup car but literally never actually touched it again for three years. It ran and drove perfectly until it was parked.
Fast forward to this year, his wife told him to do something with it or get rid of it. He put her off a while and finally I bought it from him for scrap basically.

Here's my problem. I put a new battery in it, bled the clutch, got it rolling.
When I try to start it there is a problem I can't track down.

Motor turns over with the starter and sounds normal for a couple rotations (Good compression) and even pops in the exhaust like it wants to start.

Then it spins a couple rotations with no compression. You can hear by the engine speed that it has no compression.

Then it spins a couple rotations with full compression.
Then a couple rotations with no compression.
This continues as long as you want to hold the key in start.

I'm familiar with the symptoms of a slipped belt & bent valves, and this isn't that. For one thing it happens on all cylinders. For another it will get good compression eventually.

The cam timing (timing belt) is lined up correctly on the timing marks. There are no missing teeth on the belt and the belt is tight. I do not see any sign the timing belt is jumped or out of time.

I pulled the plugs and did a compression test on the motor. While turning the motor over it makes compression when it sounds like it is under compression. Then during the couple rotations it sounds like it isn't making compression, the gauge doesn't move. But if you keep cranking the motor over eventually the cylinders make 135 PSI. This happens in each of the cylinders. Basically it takes twice as long to compression test because it only makes compression half the time it spins.

I thought at first it was sticky valves from sitting so I pulled the plugs and put diesel down the cylinders and let it sit a week. No improvement.
I pulled off the cam cover and physically watched the valves and none appeared sticking.

I removed the VTEC actuator solenoid thinking maybe the VTEC was sticking and that didn't do anything different but it is getting oil through the VTEC system.

I removed the VTEC lash adjuster bridge with the four VTEC lash adjusters. They were free and not sticking.

I removed the rocker arm stands and rockers. I checked all the VTEC pins and they are all free moving, none of them are stuck.

All of the valves can be pushed down by hand and they spring up without any signs of sticking.

I removed the camshaft and the lobes look fine.

At this point I am totally stumped except maybe next step is remove the head and see if anything looks odd in the cylinders...but whatever it is, the problem affects all four cylinders the same.

Any ideas?
 
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