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1992 Honda Accord won't start

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Old 11-04-2010, 03:59 PM   #1
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Default 1992 Honda Accord won't start

1992 Honda Accord with 240,000 miles.
Car won't start if in park or neutral.
Battery is strong. All internal lights work, radio works, headlights are strong.
Battery was new 6/2010. Car ran great yesterday. Drove it several times and parked it around 9pm.

When turning the key no sound happens - no clicking sound. There is some other sound - I'll call it a low pitched "hummmmmmmmmm."

Looking for your suggestions while my car is stuck in my driveway.
A few questions I have - how do you test a starter? How do you test an ignition switch? How do I know what else I should test?
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Old 11-04-2010, 06:27 PM   #2
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Default Re: 1992 Honda Accord won't start

Well, I first must tell you that it is entirely possible for a battery to run all of your accessories and still not be strong enough to handle starting your vehicle, however, I'm not sure this is a battery issue. The sound description you give is kinda hard to go off of, but it MIGHT be your starter spinning but not extending, in which place you'll probably just end up replacing your starter.

So, you always wanna go from what you know and move towards what you don't. What you know is that when you turn your key, the starter is not engaging and turning the engine. So, start there. Take a test light and clip it to the negative battery terminal or another good known ground. Now, touch the end to the "S" terminal of the starter and have someone turn the key to try to start the vehicle. Please be careful where you drape your test light cord as the starter may decide to engage and if your cord is hung by the belt, that can equal bad things. Now, if the light lights when the key is turned, then you know that the control circuit of the starting system is good and working. Now, at this point, you would verify that you have good clean connections at the positive and negative battery posts and at the starter cable at the starter, as well as a starter cable in good condition, and then verify the voltage present at the "S" terminal when cranking and probably replace the starter. Let us know where this gets you and we'll see where to go from there.
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Old 11-04-2010, 10:26 PM   #3
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Default Re: 1992 Honda Accord won't start

I woud test the starter by giving it a good whack with a hammer or tire iron. No need to whack it while turning the key. Just whack it, then get back in and turn the key. If it turns over fine after the whack, the starter is bad. A couple of years ago I had to whack mine every day, sometimes a few times a day, for about 2 weeks until I got a chance to replace it. The test is low-tech but pretty infallible. The low pitched hmmmmmmmmmm is likely the brushes sitting on a dead spot on the coils and humming while trying to move. Whacking it knocks it off of that spot and lets it get to turning. If it can turn even once it will likely keep turning and assuming everything else is in proper tune, the engine will start running. If that's the original starter on your car 240,000 miles is pretty remarkable for it to have lasted. Mine gave me about 160K miles.
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Old 11-04-2010, 11:07 PM   #4
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Default Re: 1992 Honda Accord won't start

Kinda sounds like a broken timing belt or a bad starter.

When you turn the key, are all of the belts turning?
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Old 11-06-2010, 01:54 PM   #5
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Default Re: 1992 Honda Accord won't start - Fixed!!!

Thanks for all the responses.

Two items.
1. Battery terminal was a little loose but couldn't tighten it any more. Bought a battery terminal "cap" from a parts store and tightened the cable real good. Still wouldn't start.

2. Took out the tire iron and hit it with a hammer. Car started immediately and has started 5 times straight since. I now keep a hammer and tire iron in my car!!! If it happens again I'll replace the starter.

Thanks again for your responses. I am not very good on the car stuff but I learned a good amount this time.

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Old 11-07-2010, 03:54 PM   #6
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Default Re: 1992 Honda Accord won't start

the hmmmmm is the fuel pump priming. If the starter isn't spinning, its usually electrical and has nothing to do with the motor or timing belt.
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Old 11-07-2010, 04:35 PM   #7
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Default Re: 1992 Honda Accord won't start

check your distributor (cap, rotor, ignition coil..etc.)
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