How To Troubleshoot A No Start (1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 2.0L Honda CR-V)

Testing a ‘no start’ problem can seem hard (if not impossible). Well, I can tell you from personal experience that troubleshooting a no start condition on the 2.0L Honda CR-V is pretty easy.

In this tutorial, I'm gonna' present a way of troubleshooting a no start on the 2.0L distributor equipped Honda CR-V. Yes, there's a method to the madness!

You'll able to diagnose the: ignition system, the fuel pump, and the timing belt. To see if these components are behind the no start problem.

Here are the contents of this article at a quick glance:

  1. Difference Between A No Start And A No Crank Condition.
  2. No Start Condition Basics.
  3. What Tools Do I Need?
  4. TEST 1: Testing For Spark And Fuel Injector Pulses.
  5. TEST 2: Testing The Fuel Pump's Pressure.
  6. TEST 3: Making Sure The Engine Has Good Compression.
  7. TEST 4: Checking The Timing Belt.
  8. No Start Troubleshooting Summary.
  9. Where To Buy An HEI Spark Tester And A Fuel Pressure Gauge.
  10. More 2.0L Honda CR-V Tutorials.

En Español You can find this tutorial in Spanish here: Cómo Probar Un Arranca Pero No Prende (1997-2001 2.0L Honda CR-V) (at: autotecnico-online.com).

Difference Between A No Start And A No Crank Condition

It's important to know what the difference between a ‘no start’ and a ‘no crank’ condition is.

Since this tutorial focuses only on testing an ‘engine cranks but does no start’ problem, I'm gonna' explain the difference between both types of problems.

When the engine cranks but does not start: Your Honda CR-V's starter motor is cranking the engine but the engine is not starting.

When the engine does not crank: Your Honda CR-V's engine does not turn over when you turn the key to crank and start the engine. This is usually due to a bad starter motor, bad ignition switch, bad neutral safety switch, or the engine is locked up.

If the engine in your 2.0L Honda CR-V does not crank, I suggest that you start off by testing the starter motor. The following tutorial (although for a 1.6L Honda Civic) will help: How To Test The Starter Motor (Honda 1.5L, 1.6L) (at: troubleshootmyvehicle.com.

No Start Condition Basics

What makes testing a no start condition easy is the fact the one of three things is usually missing and keeping the engine from starting.

To be a bit more specific, your Honda CR-V's engine is not starting because either: spark is missing or fuel is missing or there's no engine compression.

So, this means that we have to perform 3 basic tests to get to the bottom of the no start problem. We need to:

Test the ignition system: We need to make sure that each cylinder is getting spark. This simply involves testing each spark plug wire with a spark tester.

Test the fuel system: We need to make sure gasoline is reaching the cylinders. This involves two tests: a Noid light test and a fuel pump test.

Test the engine compression: We need to make sure that each cylinder has a normal compression value.

In the following pages you'll find a basic testing guide so that you can find out what's behind your 2.0L Honda CR-V's no start problem.

What Tools Do I Need?

To find out what's behind your Honda CR-V's not start problem, you're gonna' need a few specialized tools.

Here's a basic list of what you'll need:

  1. Spark tester.
  2. Noid light set.
  3. Fuel pressure tester.
  4. Engine compression tester.

I'm gonna' suggest that the spark tester that you use be an HEI Spark Tester. This tester is the most accurate tester on the market and isn't expensive. You can find out more about it (and where to buy it) here: HEI Spark Tester. Or you can take a look at this section: Where To Buy An HEI Spark Tester And A Fuel Pressure Gauge.


You'll notice that I didn't include a scan tool in the list. This is because, although having one comes in handy, you don't really need one to test a ‘cranks but does not start’ condition.

As you can see, none of these tools will break the bank. Most of these you can borrow from your local national chain auto parts store (after leaving a small deposit).

Let's turn the page and get testing...