How To Test for a Broken Timing Belt
(Honda 2.2L, 2.3L)

How to Check for a Broken Timing Belt (Honda 2.2L, 2.3L)

A broken timing belt will keep your Honda Accord (or Odyssey or Prelude or Isuzu Oasis) from starting. You Honda will Crank but not Start.

Testing for a broken timing belt can done in several different ways, and in this article I'm going to present to you the two most effective (and easiest) tests that I have used over the years to find out if the timing belt has broken or not. You can either do TIMING BELT TEST 1 or TIMING BELT TEST 2, either of the two will help you to verify the integrity of the timing belt.

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

  1. Symptoms of a Broken Timing Belt.
  2. TEST 1: Check Rotation of Distributor Rotor.
  3. TEST 2: Check That the Camshaft Turns.
  4. Timing Belt is OK, But My Honda Still Doesn't Start.
  5. Related Test Articles.

Symptoms of a Broken Timing Belt

The most obvious symptom that the timing belt broke on your Honda Accord (or Odyssey or Prelude) is that it won't start. It'll crank, but no start. Here are a couple of others:

  1. The Ignition System will not create and deliver spark to the spark plugs, since the distributor rotor will not turn.
  2. The fuel injection computer will not pulse (activate) the fuel injectors (if your Honda has the crank sensors in the distributor).
  3. If you were to do and engine compression test, none of the engine cylinders would produce a compression reading on the Compression Tester.
  4. When you crank the engine... the engine cranks faster than normal. This is due to the fact that the engine has no compression.

Alright, let's jump into the first test in the next subheading...

TEST 1: Check Rotation of Distributor Rotor

Checking the Distributor Rotor while Cranking the Engine -Testing for a Broken Timing Belt (Honda 2.2L, 2.3L)

For this test to be effective, the battery has to be fully charged, or charged enough to crank your Honda Accord (or Odyssey or Prelude). This test, in my opinion, is the easier of the two.

You are also gonna' need a helper to crank the engine for you, and since you'll be working around a cranking engine... be careful, be alert and take all necessary safety precautions.

OK, this is what you need to do:

  1. 1

    Remove the distributor cap but do not remove the distributor's rotor.

  2. 2

    Disconnect the distributor's electrical connectors.

    This is super important because the ignition coil must be disabled. The ignition coil must not spark during the test or you run the risk of damaging it, so by disconnecting the distributor's connectors, you effectively disable the ignition coil.

  3. 3

    Now, when you're ready, have a helper crank the car or mini-van while you observe the distributor's rotor.

  4. 4

    What will happen is one of two things:

    1.) The distributor rotor will turn as the engine cranks in steady circular motion or...

    2.) The distributor rotor will NOT turn as your helper cranks the engine.

CASE 1: If the distributor rotor turned. This is a clear indication that the timing belt on your Honda is not broken.

Now, you're here doing these tests because your Honda Cranks but Does Not Start, right? Well, to further help you in troubleshooting the reason your Honda does not start, I recommend looking at the other ‘How To Test’ articles I've written and you can find the links, in the next page, under the heading Related Articles.

CASE 2: If the distributor DID NOT rotor turn: This indicates that the timing belt is broken and not turning the Cam gear, which in turn is not turning the distributor rotor.

Honda Vehicles:

  • Accord 2.2L, 2.3L
    • 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002
  • Odyssey (EX LX) 2.2L
    • 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998
  • Prelude 2.2L
    • 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996

Acura Vehicles:

  • CL 2.2L
    • 1997, 1998, 1999

Isuzu Vehicles:

  • Oasis 2.2L
    • 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999