fuel pump relay or ignition module

Old 09-18-05, 06:36 PM
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fuel pump relay or ignition module

girlfriends car isa 91 honda accord lx with 160k+ miles, 2.2 engine, 4dr. Has trouble starting frequently, usually after sitting in the sun all day long, or just when it hasn't been used in a while. when trying to start it, the starter engages fine, and turns the engine over, but it never runs. sometimes we can turn the key between off and on several times and then try to start it, and it will kick over and run. tonight it did the same thing, this time while she was trying to start it, I put my ear in the drivers rear wheel well and listened for the fuel pump to kick on when she put the key in the on position. after turning the key on and off several times I finally heard the fuel pump turn on, and that's when I told her to try starting it, and it worked. . . I had a garage look at it a month or so ago, and they said it was the ignition switch. However, I don't trust the garage (which is why I don't go there anymore, whenever troubleshooting is involved), because they told me my window motor was bad, even though I had told them I had already replaced it with a KNOWN GOOD MOTOR. . . 1/2 a day later I finally found a broken ground wire, no thanks to them. .

My chilton's manual suggests the fuel pump relay could be the cause as well. Is there anyway to determine whether it's the ignition switch or the pump relay.
Old 09-19-05, 03:48 PM
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not the switch

I don't know anything about the car in question BUT logically it is not your switch.

A bad switch is not going to allow you to crank and get spark, but not allow your fuel pump to run. Did you check for spark while cranking?

You could have bad wires, a bad pump or a bad realy. You decription about the hot day is a text-book example of bad relay, so start with it.
Old 09-19-05, 05:49 PM
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the main relay will cause precisely the symptoms you are describing. it is under the left side of the dash, above the fuse box - a haynes manual may help you locate it. when the car will not start, reach under there and tap it with a pocket knife or zippo and try again, this will confirm the problem and get you going. it's kind of pricey, but you should buy it only from a honda dealer, every other brand is junk.
Old 09-20-05, 08:57 AM
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I am having the exact same problem with our 91 Civic. It can start perfect like nothing wrong, or after sitting a while in the sun usually it will just crank crank crank with nothing. I am thinking the fuel pump relay too. Anyone know which one it is?
Old 09-22-05, 12:49 AM
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Yep, main relay has bad solder joints that are affected by heat as from the sun.

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