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Old 12-07-2010, 10:44 AM   #1
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Default 1992 Honda Accord Cranks, but won't Start!

1992 Honda Accord cranks, but will NOT start. Here is what I have done.

1. Verify that there is good blue spark on all 4 plugs/wires.
2. Verify the rotor and cap are clean of any carbon and installed properly
3. Changed the fuel filter.
4. Removed injectors and cleaned with parts/carb cleaner.
5. Verify that the fuel pump is working. I hear it EVERY time the key turns on.
6. Main relay was changed 7/11/08

The problem that I'm having started right after I drove the car home from work. Also, this is my daily driver for the last 2 years+. I parked the car and went out an hour later to try to fire it up and got nothing but crank, crank, crank.

I proceeded to start my diagnostics. Checking for spark and checking rotor/distributor. I looked over at the fuel filter and it looked very old. I went and grabbed a new purolator filter from Advanced Auto.

After changing the filter, the car started up. It was in fact a very hard start and acted like it was flooded. After it was running fine again, I drove it around for like 20 minutes and parked it again thinking that everything was fine. I came out the next day and tried to start it again and just get crank, crank, crank again.

When the car was sitting, I added some dry gas. I then went on to pull all of the injectors and soak/clean them with carb/parts cleaner and a toothbrush. After doing this, again the car started very hard, but I got it running. It did kinda act like it was flooded and required me to mash the pedal to the floor like I did the first time it fired up when I changed the filter. I let the car run for 10 minutes. Stopped it and it fired RIGHT back up very smoothly. I drove it around for approx 10 minutes and brought it back to the garage to let it sit outside in the cold. After about 30 minutes of waiting I went out to fire it up. It started up, but was a slightly hard start. I drove it to the gas station and put another 8-10 gallons of gas into the tank just in case. I parked it last night. Came outside to fire it up this morning and have the SAME EXACT ISSUE! Crank, Crank, Crank, but no fire! Period!

Any help would be considered a blessing at this point. I don't want to scrap the car because its my daily driver to work and can't use my wife's car. I have 3 kids that need to get carted to school.

Thank you very much for looking at my post.
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Old 12-07-2010, 03:37 PM   #2
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Default Re: 1992 Honda Accord Cranks, but won't Start!

Could this possibly be the fuel pressure regulator? Maybe the Coolant Temperature Sensor?
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Old 12-07-2010, 06:13 PM   #3
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Default Re: 1992 Honda Accord Cranks, but won't Start!

are you sure that your fuel pump is not failing on you? or the filter on the pump mite me clog up..have you cleaned the filter inside the fuel injectors(rili tiny ones)? its that small end where the fuel enters from the fuel rail...my accord used to have that problem every time i get gas at the gas station.
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Old 12-07-2010, 07:30 PM   #4
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Default Re: 1992 Honda Accord Cranks, but won't Start!

Putting the pedal to the floor doesn't work all the time?

I wonder if the ignitor in the distributor is going bad. I have a spare distributor if you want to try it. Put down a deposit and I will ship it to you. If it doesn't work, just ship it back minus the shipping charges.
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Old 12-07-2010, 09:37 PM   #5
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Default Re: 1992 Honda Accord Cranks, but won't Start!

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Putting the pedal to the floor doesn't work all the time?

I wonder if the ignitor in the distributor is going bad. I have a spare distributor if you want to try it. Put down a deposit and I will ship it to you. If it doesn't work, just ship it back minus the shipping charges.
When really cold weather sets in a failing ignitor can definitely cause cold starting problems. One trick to zero in on it is to wrap up the distributor cap and body with a towel or small blanket the evening before while the motor still has a some heat in it. Remove the rag before trying to start car the next morning. If it starts right up, the ignitor is very likely failing. Keeping that bitter cold from getting to it raises the temperature of it just enough for it to spark.

A good ignitor can ignite fairly easily in very low temps. A weak one cannot, although repeated attempts at starting will gradually warm it enough that the car will finally start. It's no fun taking 8 tries to get your car started on a 20 morning, though.
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Old 12-08-2010, 07:08 AM   #6
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Default Re: 1992 Honda Accord Cranks, but won't Start!

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Originally Posted by stunin92_accord View Post
are you sure that your fuel pump is not failing on you? or the filter on the pump mite me clog up..have you cleaned the filter inside the fuel injectors(rili tiny ones)? its that small end where the fuel enters from the fuel rail...my accord used to have that problem every time i get gas at the gas station.
Well, I think that I can eliminate the fuel pump. Again it started last night, but this time I did NOT crack any fuel lines or relieve any pressure on the system. I just had it in a warm garage while I changed the Coolant Temp Sensor.

After changing it, the car had a hard start, but it did start and ran just fine. I drove it again for like 20 minutes.
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Old 12-08-2010, 07:09 AM   #7
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Default Re: 1992 Honda Accord Cranks, but won't Start!

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Originally Posted by AndyD View Post
Putting the pedal to the floor doesn't work all the time?

I wonder if the ignitor in the distributor is going bad. I have a spare distributor if you want to try it. Put down a deposit and I will ship it to you. If it doesn't work, just ship it back minus the shipping charges.
I tried this again this morning after changing to a brand new 1000 cold crank battery and it cranks like crazy, but won't turn over (fire). Didn't even indicate a hunch that it wanted to even think about turning over and firing.
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Old 12-08-2010, 07:19 AM   #8
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Default Re: 1992 Honda Accord Cranks, but won't Start!

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Originally Posted by brakedrum View Post
When really cold weather sets in a failing ignitor can definitely cause cold starting problems. One trick to zero in on it is to wrap up the distributor cap and body with a towel or small blanket the evening before while the motor still has a some heat in it. Remove the rag before trying to start car the next morning. If it starts right up, the ignitor is very likely failing. Keeping that bitter cold from getting to it raises the temperature of it just enough for it to spark.

A good ignitor can ignite fairly easily in very low temps. A weak one cannot, although repeated attempts at starting will gradually warm it enough that the car will finally start. It's no fun taking 8 tries to get your car started on a 20 morning, though.
I like the idea, but do you think the rag will really hold the temps overnight to keep it warm enough to fire in the morning when the wind chills are like 10-15 degrees? When the ignitor is cold would it still have a good blue spark on the plugs when testing it in the cold outside weather?

Thank you for your responses everyone so far!
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Old 12-08-2010, 08:20 AM   #9
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Default Re: 1992 Honda Accord Cranks, but won't Start!

Quote:
Originally Posted by AndyD View Post
Putting the pedal to the floor doesn't work all the time?

I wonder if the ignitor in the distributor is going bad. I have a spare distributor if you want to try it. Put down a deposit and I will ship it to you. If it doesn't work, just ship it back minus the shipping charges.
Thank you for the offer sir, I wouldn't want to take your spare distributor, but will go buy a new ignitor to check/test the theory. I'm just stumped as to why I would get nice blue spark even when the car is outside in the cold prior to being started.

Generally, I would like to buy genuine Honda parts, but if I did go to Auto Zone or Advance Auto what would be the BEST ignitor to buy?

Thank you....
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Old 12-08-2010, 02:13 PM   #10
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Default Re: 1992 Honda Accord Cranks, but won't Start!

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Originally Posted by 85turbottype View Post
I like the idea, but do you think the rag will really hold the temps overnight to keep it warm enough to fire in the morning when the wind chills are like 10-15 degrees? When the ignitor is cold would it still have a good blue spark on the plugs when testing it in the cold outside weather?

Thank you for your responses everyone so far!


It worked for me 3 years ago. I used the only black towel we had in the closet and stuffed it down in there and wrapped it around that distributor while engine was still warm, and closed the hood. Took it off the next morning in bitter, brutal temps hit the key and the engine started up after turning over about 3 times. You only need to hold a little heat in there to make all the difference. I got the idea from my dad way back when he used to put a blanket on carbureted engines to keep the condensor warm. Today that thing is called an ignitor or ignition module.
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Old 12-08-2010, 06:29 PM   #11
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Default Re: 1992 Honda Accord Cranks, but won't Start!

Remembered another thing. One night the temperature was under 10 when I was having the cold starting problems. That night I put a couple of packs of Hot Hands (purchased at WalMart) on the distributor before wrapping the towel around it. The FITV was working overtime when I started the Honda the following morning but it did start without trouble. I replaced the distributor about a week later and didn't have the cold start problem anymore.
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Old 12-09-2010, 06:20 AM   #12
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Default Re: 1992 Honda Accord Cranks, but won't Start!

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Remembered another thing. One night the temperature was under 10 when I was having the cold starting problems. That night I put a couple of packs of Hot Hands (purchased at WalMart) on the distributor before wrapping the towel around it. The FITV was working overtime when I started the Honda the following morning but it did start without trouble. I replaced the distributor about a week later and didn't have the cold start problem anymore.
Last night I did verify that there is good blue spark outside in the cold prior to doing any work. However, it didn't seem to be as healthy of a spark as it could be I think.

We took off the fuel pressure regulator and cleaned it a bit. Got some minor gunk out of it.

2nd we blew the air hose back through the return line and that is definitely clear. Gurgle, gurgle the tank went and then back flow promptly came out of the line from the pressure.

We removed the fuel line as well at the rail, turned the key forward and got a nice healthy shot of fuel into the collection can.

The car did start after all of this again. We were not in a heated garage this time. I did everything outside to make sure that the cold/warm issue was not a factor in this.

Also, we did the ether test. Took all of the plugs out, sprayed a shot in each chamber and it wanted to fire. This was prior to any fuel work and right after testing the spark outside in 20 temps.

Today I'm going to get new plugs (NGK's) and possibly cap, rotor, ignition module and just change them all to eliminate any of those from the list of possibilities.

Is there any recommendation on the cap/rotor? Advance, Auto Zone, Napa, or only genuine Honda?
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Old 12-09-2010, 06:46 AM   #13
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Default Re: 1992 Honda Accord Cranks, but won't Start!

Another quick question so that I can eliminate it as an option. What is the correct ohm rating on the coil pack itself? Do I test 1-2 and 3-4?

Thanks again!
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Old 12-09-2010, 07:38 AM   #14
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Default Re: 1992 Honda Accord Cranks, but won't Start!

I'm assuming you have the external coil pack. If so, quoting from Haynes manual:

Touch the probes to Terminal A and B and look for 0.6 - 0.8 Ohms

Touch the probes to Terminal A and Secondary Terminal (round coil tower) and look for 14.0K - 22.0K Ohms

Touch the probes to Terminal B and D and look for 2.1K - 2.3k Ohms.

Assuming the notched part of coil plug is pointing upwards the terminal letters would be:

Notch
A-C
B-D
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Old 12-09-2010, 08:01 AM   #15
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Default Re: 1992 Honda Accord Cranks, but won't Start!

If you have the cap, rotor and any cover off of the distributor, you can also check the ignitor but the terminals are shielded so you have to remove the unit from distributor housing to get to them, especially the one on the side of the ignitor. I did the towel test on my ignitor and confirmed that keeping it only a tiny but warmer than it would otherwise get prevented the struggle to start on bone-chilling cold mornings. Undoubtedly if I would have taken it out of the distributor and checked the ohms, it would have been out of spec which made it unable to deliver below a certain temperature.
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Old 12-09-2010, 08:47 AM   #16
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Default Re: 1992 Honda Accord Cranks, but won't Start!

Excellent, I will test the ohms tonight and will be switching out all of the items mentioned above. Thanks for all of your help so far.

I will re-post with the outcome.
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Old 12-09-2010, 09:54 AM   #17
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Default Re: 1992 Honda Accord Cranks, but won't Start!

You're welcome.

It would be tempting to use the probes to punch into the shielding on those ignitor wires for testing but there is a huge amount very hot current that flows through them so puncturing them is inadvisable to maintain their integrity. Definitely must take the ignitor out to test it properly.

Your issue might come down to simply the extreme cold. There are places in the world that cars have to be left running at night or started several times during the night to have any chance of getting them running in the morning. You described some temps in this thread that are VERY cold.
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Old 12-09-2010, 10:11 AM   #18
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Default Re: 1992 Honda Accord Cranks, but won't Start!

Today it is 27 out and sunny. All other cars of my nature have no issues it this weather and all last winter even in the coldest months I had no real issues starting the car unless it was deathly cold and then my remote start wouldn't work, but turning the key to make it crank a little longer was fine!
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Old 12-09-2010, 07:24 PM   #19
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Default Re: 1992 Honda Accord Cranks, but won't Start!

I've owned my Accord since new. My Ignition Module lasted about 160,000 miles, and you're right, there were a lot of brutally cold Winters included in those miles, but I was always able to get her started. Winter of 2006 is when the problem surfaced and I trial and errored my way to finding that the ignitor could no longer ignite in very cold temps after sitting overnight The output from the ignitor gradually increases with repeated attempts at starting, so after you try it a bunch of times, the car likely starts up. I suspect just a few degrees of temperature makes all the difference with the operation of the ignitor.
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Old 12-10-2010, 06:20 AM   #20
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Default Re: 1992 Honda Accord Cranks, but won't Start!

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I've owned my Accord since new. My Ignition Module lasted about 160,000 miles, and you're right, there were a lot of brutally cold Winters included in those miles, but I was always able to get her started. Winter of 2006 is when the problem surfaced and I trial and errored my way to finding that the ignitor could no longer ignite in very cold temps after sitting overnight The output from the ignitor gradually increases with repeated attempts at starting, so after you try it a bunch of times, the car likely starts up. I suspect just a few degrees of temperature makes all the difference with the operation of the ignitor.
Your 100% correct sir! Even though I was getting a decent blue spark, it was not enough for the cold start!

I changed the ICM, plugs, cap, and rotor last night. The second I turned the key, BAM! She fired right up with no issues!!

Thank you everyone for your replies and I can't believe after all of the headaches that I had with this it just turned out to be the damn ICM/spark!

EDIT: As well this morning after sitting for 8 hours in 20 temps she fired up with my remote start even!
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Old 12-10-2010, 11:54 AM   #21
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Default Re: 1992 Honda Accord Cranks, but won't Start!

Good for you. Yeah a quick turn of the key and an Accord should commence "according." I wish Honda made the Ignitor easier to get to. A nice little module that just plugs into a slot on the side would be good. Anyway, regardless of the headaches, the feeling of accomplishment in nailing the problem without getting nailed by a shop is great.
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Old 12-28-2010, 07:58 AM   #22
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Default Re: 1992 Honda Accord, but won't Start on cold mornings!

My issue may not be related but i need some help. I have a 1992 Honda Accord 2 dr / EX standard. I live in Miami, Florida and have had the car for about 2 years now and it has run like a champ. i have had an issue with it the last two winters down here when ever it goes below 50 degrees (which doesn't happen very often down her) the car won't start. and by that i mean the dash board lights come on the radio comes on, dome light head light. but when i turn the ignition not a peep. like the signal is not being sent from the ignition. as soon as it warms up it starts like nothing was wrong i just don't know where the disconnect is happening with the cold weather. i have replaced the battery, the ECU, plugs and wires. i am considering replacing the ignition coil next. but wonted some options before i spend another $70 dollars to replace a part that won't fix the issue. again cold weather won't turn over period nothing dead engine. when it warms back up it starts like a champ. any suggestions?
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