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My rattling, stalling '83 Civic 1500...


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I am sorry to butt in on your forum here, but I'm getting frustrated and am hoping my problem is obvious and therefore easy enough to identify. I recently bought an '83 Civic (1500) and although it seemed to be in proper working condition when I bought it, it broke down a short week and a half later. The engine is most likely not the problem since the car only has 64,000 miles on it (!) and was apparently serviced regularly. So here's where the problems started. I noticed that it struggled going up a semi- long, but not very steep hill on a freeway I use. At some point it would just give up and drop down to about 40 m.p.h. until I was heading downhill again. I had a family member look at it (bad idea, right?) and he noticed the distributor's cap and rotor could use replacing. He did so, but then that night it started overheating immediately and rattled a little. When I woke up the next morning the car was shaking, rattling, and stalling. Upon examining the distributor again we noticed the main magnet that fires the timing (sorry about not knowing the proper wording) was cracked. That was replaced and the timing properly adjusted, but the car still barely works. It will occasionally start up, but unless you are constantly accelerating (and braking to be able to move the car a few feet) it stalls. It still shakes violently though so I have stopped turning the car on. I was told that it's possible that the broken magnet started a chain reaction that screwed up other parts and that the shaking also may have damaged a cotter/codder pin. I know near nothing about cars but do any of the symptoms I described sound like they are at all related to the pin? I am a little fed up with replacing parts that obviously are not the problem, or in any way related since the car still doesn't operate properly. Can anyone offer any suggestions? I don't want to have to junk the car but I don't want to put a whole lot more money into this most likely temporary vehicle. Any advice anyone could offer would be much appreciated. Thanks!

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