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Old 12-30-2008, 04:52 AM   #1
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Icon6 1997 Accord won't start during freezing temps

My 1997 4cylinder Accord has a starting issue when the outside temps are below freezing. Once the outside temperature warms up to about 35 degrees it readily starts. I replaced the fuel filter, plugs, wires, rotor and distributor cap last spring thinking this may be the problem but I am still experiencing the no start when it is freezing outside this Winter. The engine cranks and I smell gas so I believe it has to be an ignition problem. Any ideas?
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Old 12-30-2008, 04:59 AM   #2
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Default Re: 1997 Accord won't start during freezing temps

How old is your battery and how many cold cranking amps (CCA) is it rated for?
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Old 12-30-2008, 05:36 AM   #3
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Default Re: 1997 Accord won't start during freezing temps

Quote:
Originally Posted by mabrewer011 View Post
My 1997 4cylinder Accord has a starting issue when the outside temps are below freezing. Once the outside temperature warms up to about 35 degrees it readily starts. I replaced the fuel filter, plugs, wires, rotor and distributor cap last spring thinking this may be the problem but I am still experiencing the no start when it is freezing outside this Winter. The engine cranks and I smell gas so I believe it has to be an ignition problem. Any ideas?
If the engine appears to be turning over (cranking) slowly, then GhostAccord's suggestion makes good sense. If the great majority of available Battery voltage is being sqandered by the starter, there would be insufficient voltage remaining to power the ECM, and other electronics required - thus the 'no start'.
If on the other hand, it appears to crank the same speed as warm weather; you could be a victim of a condition familiar to electronic techs.
A Thermal Intermittant failure. (component works when warm, doesn't work when cold or vissa/versa).
The injectors obviously are firing off, so we can eliminate things like crank angle sensors and such......
I'd suspect the Dictributor mounted Igniter Module. It can sometimes take a hit from errant (stray) arcing from defective dist caps and HV wiring.
It's something to consider.

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Old 01-15-2011, 11:22 AM   #4
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Default Re: 1997 Accord won't start during freezing temps

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Originally Posted by mabrewer011 View Post
My 1997 4cylinder Accord has a starting issue when the outside temps are below freezing. Once the outside temperature warms up to about 35 degrees it readily starts. I replaced the fuel filter, plugs, wires, rotor and distributor cap last spring thinking this may be the problem but I am still experiencing the no start when it is freezing outside this Winter. The engine cranks and I smell gas so I believe it has to be an ignition problem. Any ideas?
I have had same problem with my 97 Accord and have spent thousands of dollars over the years chasing a solution. No one has ever been able to fix it. What happens is that at precisely 32 degrees engine temperature the ignition stops working due to a problem at the ECU/ temperature sensor relationship. THere are no fault codes registered by the ECU. The moment the engine temp can be raised slightly the car can start normally. This happens when the car is towed into the shop where they change plugs, distributor, sensors, ECU, battery, starter motor (yeah that will soon fail if you keep trying to start the car with the pedal to the floor as recommended in most posts ). After the car warms up in the shop they can start it and declare it "fixed" !! This problem is so frustrating that you will be fooling around with it until warmer Spring weather fixes it.

I was able to determine that what does happen is that there is only one ignition pulse, this pulse is not recognized by the ECU and then the ignition stops and the car floods with additional cranking. This leaves you stranded until the sun comes out to warm the car over 32 degrees or car is towed into a warm shop. A replacement ECU did not fix my problem. You need to warm up the car to get started.

There is a cheap solution if you are handy and can deal with pulling the coil wire gently from the distributor cap. A seperate emergency ignition system is then plugged in to start the car and warm it up. THese only work on cars with a distributor, such as an older Accord.

Years ago I purchased an "emergency ignition system" made by KD which is a buzz box that will work on any car with a distributor. Pull the coil wire from the distributor, connect the buzz box and it supplies a constant stream of ignition sparks that will immediately start the car and enable it to run up to about 2500 RPM quite smoothly. After a few minutes of running you have raised the temperature a bit and can remove the box and operate the car normally. Antique cars from the early 1900's used untimed mechanical vibrator ignition just fine since they were low speed engines.

When I am stuck outside on a cold night I can now get going in a minute or two.
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Old 01-06-2014, 03:45 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by gotglasses View Post
I have had same problem with my 97 Accord and have spent thousands of dollars over the years chasing a solution. No one has ever been able to fix it. What happens is that at precisely 32 degrees engine temperature the ignition stops working due to a problem at the ECU/ temperature sensor relationship. THere are no fault codes registered by the ECU. The moment the engine temp can be raised slightly the car can start normally. This happens when the car is towed into the shop where they change plugs, distributor, sensors, ECU, battery, starter motor (yeah that will soon fail if you keep trying to start the car with the pedal to the floor as recommended in most posts ). After the car warms up in the shop they can start it and declare it "fixed" !! This problem is so frustrating that you will be fooling around with it until warmer Spring weather fixes it.

I was able to determine that what does happen is that there is only one ignition pulse, this pulse is not recognized by the ECU and then the ignition stops and the car floods with additional cranking. This leaves you stranded until the sun comes out to warm the car over 32 degrees or car is towed into a warm shop. A replacement ECU did not fix my problem. You need to warm up the car to get started.

There is a cheap solution if you are handy and can deal with pulling the coil wire gently from the distributor cap. A seperate emergency ignition system is then plugged in to start the car and warm it up. THese only work on cars with a distributor, such as an older Accord.

Years ago I purchased an "emergency ignition system" made by KD which is a buzz box that will work on any car with a distributor. Pull the coil wire from the distributor, connect the buzz box and it supplies a constant stream of ignition sparks that will immediately start the car and enable it to run up to about 2500 RPM quite smoothly. After a few minutes of running you have raised the temperature a bit and can remove the box and operate the car normally. Antique cars from the early 1900's used untimed mechanical vibrator ignition just fine since they were low speed engines.

When I am stuck outside on a cold night I can now get going in a minute or two.
I would like to price the emergency ignition system. Where can I find them? I looked online with no luck.
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Old 01-06-2014, 04:43 PM   #6
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Default Re: 1997 Accord won't start during freezing temps

kd tools, emergency ignition system 2632
Click the image to open in full size.
Click the image to open in full size.
*Stole both pics from 'teh inter webs'.*
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Old 01-08-2014, 06:57 PM   #7
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kd tools, emergency ignition system 2632

*Stole both pics from 'teh inter webs'.*
Thanks. They are impossible to find. Guess it's a discontinued product.
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Old 01-09-2014, 10:55 AM   #8
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Default Re: 1997 Accord won't start during freezing temps

I'm having exactly the same problem. Under roughly 32 the car won't start. I have replaced the battery and the Igntion Control Module with no success. Recently, I have been using a little spritz of either to fire up so at this point I think it's a. Which sensor(s) recognize that the car is in a freezing environment?
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Old 01-09-2014, 05:51 PM   #9
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Default Re: 1997 Accord won't start during freezing temps

I don't think it's a coincidence that water freezes at 32 degrees. I would suspect that water in the fuel is freezing which is causing fuel pressure issues. I would add some Isoheet to your fuel tank to help get rid of any moisture. Then to further test, fill you tank all the way up and see if it does it. Gasoline doesn't freeze.
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