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Old 11-25-2009, 11:26 PM   #1
ninefour
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Icon6 '94 Accord Won't Start

Hey guys!

I've been lurking around the forum for a while and finally decided to get an acct. I've got a problem with it that's hard to pin down, and I'd really appreciate any thoughts and ideas you guys might have! Here's the scoop:

I have a 1994 Honda Accord EX w/F22B1 engine, 5spd. manual. I bought the car in late April of this year w/ about 194k miles on it. Right now it has about 197k. I believe I am the 4th owner. From what I can tell, previous owners have 'upgraded' the following:

- Spectre CAI/RAI
- Header-back exhaust with normal-looking but loud-obnoxious-sounding muffler, no cat (WTF?)
- "performance" clutch
- Sony Xplod head unit, but stock speakers
- Radio antenna disappearded

Otherwise pretty normal-lookin'.

Since I bought it, I've changed the oil to synthetic (Mobil 1, not sure if it's worth it but i figured it's easier on the old engine? ), changed the master brake cylinder along with a caliper (bleed screw sheared off), and replaced some broken wheel bolts in the back. Until lately, the car has started and driven great, and shifted ok. A few times over the summer I'd get the odd check engine light, but never got around to checking it.

About a month ago, the car started acting up. A few times, it would refuse to start after a bit of driving (say, after going to the store). It would crank fine, but refuse to catch. Each time it would eventually start, after giving it about 10 minutes (to cool down?). Then, it got worse. Not only would it not start when warm, but two times it actually died while driving slow in second gear (gas pedal would be unresponsive, and RPM would dip to idle for a few seconds, then choke out). I would pull the car over, give it some time, and it would eventually start. All this time it would still start fine when cold, idle fine (~15-1600RPM cold, ~750RPM warm), and otherwise act normal.

Around this time, a mechanic friend of mine took a look at it, and ended up replacing the main relay before I got it back. It seemed like everything was fixed! Not for long, though. The same problem came back, and got worse. CE light started to come on once in a while. It would only start when ice cold, after not running for a long time. Now it doesn't feel like starting at all...HALP!!*

I've looked online all over the place, trying to figure out probable causes and how to diagnose it. Here's what I've come up with:

- I checked the engine codes and come back with a code 43, indicating a fuel/sensor problem (I only look at the CE light, right? the ABS blinks a few times as well on the check)

- Dash light check before starting the car: seems like pump doesn't hiss, but CE light goes off when it should, all the time. I think it used to hiss when starting before, but I only notice when I listen for it, and I've only started listening for it lately....

- Research of probable causes often points to master relay, but it was just replaced so that seems to rule it out. I can check for continuity and any malfunction if you guys think it can still be an issue, though.

- If not the relay, I'm thinking...fuel pump? Some sort of sensor (O2)? ECM gone funky?

* Today, after it refused to start for anything, I bought some engine start spray and hit up the air intake with some. It started up! Could be a coinkidink, but might support the fuel problem theory?


If you read through all this, you're awesome! Any help and ideas would be very, very much appreciated. I'm on a very limited budget and have few tools; extra bonus points, a freshly-baked cookie, and two tickets to the internets to anyone who helps me fix this MacGuyver style, using household items such as a paperclip and rubberband :D

THANKS!!!!!!!!

...and happy Thanksgiving

Last edited by ninefour; 11-25-2009 at 11:29 PM. Reason: F22B1 not B2, has VTEC. Also, willing to trade advice for web design help if interested!
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Old 11-26-2009, 02:28 AM   #2
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Default Re: '94 Accord Won't Start

Welcome and happy thanksgiving. When it tries to crank does it bog down, like its having a hard time turning over?

My initial thought on this is a weak battery, failling alternator, or bad connection therein. That could produce all of the symptoms your seeing but i've never actually experienced all those symptoms at once like you have.
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Old 11-26-2009, 08:20 AM   #3
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Default Re: '94 Accord Won't Start

Hey accord2nrz,

Thanks for the reply!

The car seems to crank fine and fast, doesn't bog down at all. Seems like it'll happily crank all day. I haven't checked the spark plugs b/c they were replaced earlier this year, but I checked the battery when this all started happening and I think it's fine, charge-wise.

Also, car started both yesterday and this morning after ~5 rotations on the first try, but I think that's 'cause I started using the spray and the engine seems to catch when it pulls that flammable crap in. Fuel problem?

I'd love to hear more of your thoughts on the subject :D
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Old 11-26-2009, 08:51 AM   #4
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Default Re: '94 Accord Won't Start

happy thanksgiving post!

first things you would want to check because it will not start is.
#1 fuel
#2 compression
#3 spark
those three things combined lets the car run. without 1 of the 3 nothing will happen but turn over.

check for fuel pressure to see if the fuel pump is working or not

use a compression tester to check for pressure in the cylinders

have someone crank the car over while you have one of the plug wires pulled and grounded to see if you have spark. also check cap/rotor and condition of wires when your at it.

I also have a 94 accord. it would turn over fine but will not start. i just kept turning it over and press the gas pedal. and hope for something. and well after I did it for 5 minutes it finally started.
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Old 11-29-2009, 10:32 AM   #5
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Default Re: '94 Accord Won't Start

Quote:
Originally Posted by racingcrx View Post
I also have a 94 accord. it would turn over fine but will not start. i just kept turning it over and press the gas pedal. and hope for something. and well after I did it for 5 minutes it finally started.
Did that only happen once, or was it a recurring problem? If so, what did you end up doing? My problem started like that too...

UPDATE: At this point I've pretty much narrowed it down to fuel. I can hear the pump running when the car runs, but when the car's warmed up and you turn it off and do a CE Light check, the light goes on and off but with no hissing from the pump. Then the car starts and chokes almost instantly, then just cranks after that. Now I have to narrow the problem down more. Most times the car will start after that with some engine starter, meaning (??) it's not getting fuel to start, but once it cranks over ~5 times it catches on the starting fluid and also starts drawing fuel? Any ideas?

I'm gonna do some tests on the master relay (even though it was replaced) and check for power at the pump as well. I read somewhere that vibration from the running car could close a loose contact. The question is, would the car keep running in that situation (with the pump only sometimes working)? Does the running of the engine naturally draw enough fuel in?

Thanks again for all the advice :D
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Old 11-29-2009, 11:56 AM   #6
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Default Re: '94 Accord Won't Start

Wow. Great descriptive thread. Most people need help but they fail to include any details. Most can't even write English. lol

Anyway, my first instinct was the main relay. I know you mentioned it was replaced, but was it replaced with a known-working one?

How old are the distributor cap and rotor? Spark pugs? Fuel filter? If you don't know, I would use this opportunity to change them. They probably need to be replaced anyway. That will also allow you to rule them out.

Check your fuses, too. Replace the one for your fuel pump.
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Old 11-29-2009, 04:01 PM   #7
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Default Re: '94 Accord Won't Start

Quote:
Originally Posted by AndyD View Post
Wow. Great descriptive thread. Most people need help but they fail to include any details. Most can't even write English. lol
Yeah, that seems to be the trend I figured if I want some help, the least I can do to start is be as helpful and descriptive as possible!

Quote:
Originally Posted by AndyD View Post
Anyway, my first instinct was the main relay. I know you mentioned it was replaced, but was it replaced with a known-working one?
It was replaced by my mechanic acquaintance with a new one. He mentioned that the first replacement MR he put in was apparently defective out-of-the-box, but he put in another new one right after that and the car worked great for about a week. I'll do some continuity tests on the relay itself (just in case) as soon as I can get my hands on some extra wire....

Quote:
Originally Posted by AndyD View Post
How old are the distributor cap and rotor? Spark pugs? Fuel filter? If you don't know, I would use this opportunity to change them. They probably need to be replaced anyway. That will also allow you to rule them out.
Good call! The spark plugs and wires have been changed earlier this year, so they're good as far as I know. The distributor cap looks decent, haven't opened it up yet though. The fuel filter's definitely on my suspect list and you're right, should be replaced either way 'cause it looks original and the car has 197k. It sounds like a pain to replace 'cause of it's location, but I found a really good tutorial and will pick up a new filter tomorrow.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AndyD View Post
Check your fuses, too. Replace the one for your fuel pump.
I visually inspected the fuse and it looked good...I guess I'll switch it out on your recommendation anyway, but how realistic is the case that the fuse is faulty but looks good? Not sarcasm, I'm curious if that's actually plausible.



UPDATE: I messed with the car some more today, pulled the back seat down and the spare tire cover up to reveal the fuel pump access hatch. First turn of the key and the pump whirred; went outside and unscrewed the cap and there was pressure released. Awesome! Put the cap back and tried the key again, no sound. Tried it a few more times with no result... Started the car and it choked. So I whipped out the tester and got to work.

I'm getting consistent battery voltage at the green/white wire on the main relay connector. I'm supposed to with the key 'ON', but I get it off as well. Not sure if that's relevant. When things AREN'T working properly, I'm not getting any voltage through to the black/yellow wire. Also, the Haynes manual is confused about the wires, which doesn't help. Anyway, over by the fuel pump I'm getting consistent voltage on the red/green wire (which is normal, I think), but no voltage on the black/yellow when it doesn't work.

I had fun jumping stuff and determined that the fuel pump works great (jumped from the battery straight to the black/yellow wire at the pump and it works, also jumped the green/white to the black/yellow at the master relay connector and it works). So the good news is I probably won't have to take half the car apart and replace the pump. That still leaves questions though...

Did the master relay go bad again? (will check tomorrow). If so, what could cause that? There's no way the solder could go bad on a new relay from heat/time if it's only been 2 weeks.

What else is causing the brains of the car to forget to order the fuel pump on? If it's not the wires and not the relay, is it a sensor? What sensor??

Again, car starts good when the pump turns on on start, doesn't start when the pump doesn't run. When the car runs, it runs good... After messing with everything today it seems to be a lot more reliable (maybe I pushed some wires around and got a better connection somewhere?) but only time will tell.


And thanks again for the advice :D I'm young and this is my first car so I'm learning most of this as I go. It's great to pick the brains of some of you guys that have been workin' on Hondas for years. THANKS
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Old 11-29-2009, 06:19 PM   #8
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Default Re: '94 Accord Won't Start

After reading all of this, 1. replace the fuel pump - have fun it is a PITA to get off. When you take it off plug the lines with your fingers and bang it on the side of it then see what the fuel looks like when it comes out. If it is balck or dark you may have fixed your problem. Most people dont replace the fuel filter because they are such a PITA to do. But with you stating when it warms up it doesnt run right tells me you are going to need a new fuel pump. Easy fix - under the rear seat cushion. Expensive part though...
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Old 11-29-2009, 06:34 PM   #9
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Default Re: '94 Accord Won't Start

This link may help:

http://techauto.awardspace.com/ignition.html
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