Urgent - Car suddenly not start

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  #1  
Old 03-12-09, 03:48 PM
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Urgent - Car suddenly not start

Honda Accord 1990 LX, 4 Dr., AT, 194,810 miles. Battery 24 months out of 100 months warrenty. Alternator carbon brushes just replaced 3 months ago. Can suddenly stop running right after passing a traffic light. Engine cranks, but can't start. Tried jump and still can't start. It looks to me isn't battery or alternator issues since jump can't start engine. I noticed spark plugs have engine oil about 3 months back while I am checking them. I will check them again to wipe out engine oil. In the mean time, can anyone tell or suggest me what would the possible problems are and what I should look for to fix it. This is my primary commute car and I need it fix ASAP. Any suggestion is appreciated! Thanks!
 
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Old 03-12-09, 03:59 PM
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Front of the engine, ...There is a small plastic "PLUG" in the timing cover . Pop the plug out, and have an assistant crank the engine, while you look into the hole.

Does the Camshaft move????? If not, your timing belt has broken.
 
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Old 03-12-09, 04:53 PM
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I think Uncle has it. Hang onto your wallet, ain't gonna be cheap.
 
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Old 03-12-09, 05:19 PM
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Interference engine too, isn't it? Pray it's not a busted belt.
 
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Old 03-12-09, 05:53 PM
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Yep...according to GATES...interference engine.
 
  #6  
Old 03-12-09, 07:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Unclediezel View Post
Front of the engine, ...There is a small plastic "PLUG" in the timing cover . Pop the plug out, and have an assistant crank the engine, while you look into the hole.

Does the Camshaft move????? If not, your timing belt has broken.
Yes, it cranks and I do see alternator and power steering belts turn when engine cranks. Any other suggestions to check?
 
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Old 03-12-09, 07:40 PM
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the belt turning on the outside means the outside belt is good. it is the inside timing belt you need to see turn as you turn the crank the engine. pete
 
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Old 03-12-09, 08:06 PM
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Originally Posted by ct axle View Post
the belt turning on the outside means the outside belt is good. it is the inside timing belt you need to see turn as you turn the crank the engine. pete
Yes, I did see engine cranks by looking through TDC hold when engine tries to start. Doesn't that enough to proof timing belt is still good?
 
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Old 03-13-09, 04:43 AM
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If you're referring to the top dead center markings, that would be on the crankshaft. You're going to be concerned with whether the camshaft is turning. This is done either through the plug Uncle mentioned or sometimes you can look in the oil filler hole to see if the cam and/or rockers are moving. Also, does it spin over really fast when you turn the key, like "weeweeweeweeweewee"?

Can also remove the distributor cap to see if the rotor is turning since that is cam-driven.
 
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Old 03-13-09, 06:02 AM
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Quote:
"Can suddenly stop running right after passing a traffic light"

So the facts are
Did it quit and will not restart?
or
has it been quiting before and this time it wont start?
or
has it been quiting before and now it starts some of the time?
 
  #11  
Old 03-13-09, 09:59 AM
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Originally Posted by frankiee View Post
Quote:
"Can suddenly stop running right after passing a traffic light"

So the facts are
Did it quit and will not restart?
or
has it been quiting before and this time it wont start?
or
has it been quiting before and now it starts some of the time?
So the facts are
Did it quit and will not restart?
or
has it been quiting before and this time it wont start?
or
has it been quiting before and now it starts some of the time?[/QUOTE]

I meant "Car suddenly...". It never quit before. I drive just like it is running OK and like a good car. Suddenly right after passing traffic light, I can't accelerate car and feel engine stoped. I then pulled over on the side and tried to start again. The sound like the_tow_guy said "WeeWeeWeeWeeWeeWee" and like it want to start with strong battery, but it can't. I will look for a plastic cover to see whether I can't see crank turns when engine start later. Any other suggestions?
 
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Old 03-13-09, 01:54 PM
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Originally Posted by the_tow_guy View Post
If you're referring to the top dead center markings, that would be on the crankshaft. You're going to be concerned with whether the camshaft is turning. This is done either through the plug Uncle mentioned or sometimes you can look in the oil filler hole to see if the cam and/or rockers are moving. Also, does it spin over really fast when you turn the key, like "weeweeweeweeweewee"?

Can also remove the distributor cap to see if the rotor is turning since that is cam-driven.
I can't find the small plastic plug on timing cover. Where is it? I opened oil filter and saw rocker arm is moving while start engine. Does it mean timing belt is good? Although alternator and power steering belts are moving when crank, but they move slow. However, the crank sound like normal with strong battery. I checked with other car their belts move also slow (a little bit faster than mine) before engine start. Once engine starts belts move fast. Is it possible alternator belt is too tie that makes engine can't start?
 
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Old 03-13-09, 02:25 PM
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The tension on the alternator belt isn't causing your car to not start if you have enough battery power to turn it over.

The rockers which you see moving through the oil fill cap would indicate the timing belt is still moving the cam, which is good. It doesn't mean it doesn't need to be replaced. If it has skipped one of the drive notches that locates the belt in the cam/crankshaft drive, it could still be the problem. Do you know the last time the timing belt was replaced?

Also, are you sure you have gasoline in the car? Also is the fuel filter fairly new. If it was plugged that could be causing the problem although those normally won't shut the car off like that. It sounds like something in the ignition or the timing belt has skipped.

Once you get past the basics of this thing, I believe you'll need to get it to a shop to get it fixed. If the timing belt is overdue for service you need to get that taken care of whether it's the cause of your problem this time or not. The "interference engine" thing the guys are talking about is a critical issue. Should the belt fail altogether - it could ruin your engine.
 
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Old 03-13-09, 02:34 PM
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Everyone kinda jumped on the timing belt..but apparently its not that, at least not broken. Even a tooth or 2 off, wouldn't you still get an occasional chug or puff like its trying to start?

Whats the old rule...You need 3 things for an engine to run..spark (on time), fuel and air?

diyman...if you have the basic tools...can you remove a spark plug, ground the threads against the engine and crank it to see if you get a good spark? If thats not something you can do, then any advice you get is probably going to be too much as well.
 
  #15  
Old 03-13-09, 03:22 PM
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Yes, I can do that. I will also check whether fuel injector going to spread out gas while crank or not. However, one thing immediately comes to my mind. The chance to get all four plugs and/or injectors fail at the same time is very less. The engine should start as long as one is good, shouldn't it? One of my friends also mentioned it might be the ECU which didn't send signal to fuel injector. I will have a busy weekend.
 
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Old 03-13-09, 03:34 PM
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Exactly..if you get no spark at one, you are probably not getting any spark. I'm no mechanic but even on a car the age of yours, there are a lot of computer controls. If its not something obvious, it may take shop equipment to find the problem.
 
  #17  
Old 03-13-09, 03:41 PM
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would start by checking for spark if it does have spark you can do other test like injector pulse with a noid light and fuel pressure if you have a guage, you really cant see fuel spray on a port injected engine but if you have injector pulse typically the injectors will be working.
 
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Old 03-14-09, 06:14 AM
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One thing I don't think we've mentioned (having gotten sidetracked when we all figured it was timing belt): Check fuel pump for basic operation, i.e. that it at least runs. Very easy - remove fuel cap and listen very closely while someone turns the key "on", not "start" just to "on" position. You should hear the pump run for a couple of seconds. You could still have a pressure problem, but at least you would know it's getting power and running.

BTW, to echo what marbobj said, if you don't know how old the timing belt is, plan on getting it replaced soon. If it breaks, the repair cost will exceed the value of the car.
 
  #19  
Old 03-14-09, 06:46 AM
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im with tow guy/ make sure you got fuel pressure and spark first then go from there most of the time it will be 1 of the 2
 
  #20  
Old 03-14-09, 08:21 AM
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Gentlemen........We're talikng about Honda here. IF the timing belt is deemed intact (I 3rd or 4th the notion to change the belt anyhow ...........along with the water pump and all oil seals while they are exposed) I'd check for spark next......The elecronic ign components are all in the distributor.......and tose units had a pretty good failure rate. In fact, wasn't there a recall/technical service bulletin on them????

There is...........Just checked Mitchell..........Is this car ,by chance, a Canadian build????
 
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Old 03-14-09, 09:23 AM
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I'm also trying to remember anything I can about a main relay of some kind that Hondas have, but I'm coming up blank.
 
  #22  
Old 03-14-09, 11:39 AM
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Not sure if this is at all possible, but could it have thrown a rod? that happened to me once on the highway. That car joined the food chain for other cars. Good luck!
 
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Old 03-14-09, 02:19 PM
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Checked main relay based on instruction from web site and it looks good. Take spark plugs off and put back wire connection and touch tread with cylinder cover while someone crank to start. I don't see spark on all four plugs and smell some gas probably coming out from plug holes. It looks like the distributor's probably. What should I look for and how can I test which is the problem that didn't make plug to create spark?
 
  #24  
Old 03-14-09, 02:48 PM
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Did you put the plugs back??????

"BEG BORROW OR STEAL" a compression tester while the plugs are out.....You are looking for even readings on all four cylinders, I would be "Conservatively" comfortable with readings upward of 125. If they're all about even and all above 125, You may rule out "Engine Mechanical" failure and concentrate on the AIR_FUEL_FIRE principals. At bare minimum , stick your thumb in the hole while someone cranks the motor over......You should have a "HEALTHY" Puff, that pushes your finger away....
 
  #25  
Old 03-14-09, 03:41 PM
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With the timing belt discussed I believe I would think in terms of ignition. Take the easiest first.

Take off the distributor cap and check the rotor to make sure it's intact and turning when you crank the engine. With almost 200,000 miles it could have broken up or the distributor drive stripped out.

Then the distributor cap, then the pickup coil, then the primary coil, then the ignition module. I suspect it'll be one of those.

The primary coil, pickup coil, and ignition module can be checked by auto parts stores. The distributor cap and rotor can be checked by an average DIY'er.
 
  #26  
Old 03-14-09, 06:31 PM
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I get down to ignition coil and test it based on Haynes repair manual. However the number I had are a little different. manual says 0.6 to 0.8 ohms for primary resistance, I got 0.8 ohms which is ok. Secondary resistance 13K to 19.8K, I got 11K only. Repair manual also mentions the number is base on around 70 degrees F, my garage is around 60 degrees F. Regarding test Igniter/Ignition Control module (ICM), manual says check continuity between the yellow/green wire and the blue wire (from offset terminal) on the igniter. I can't find blue wire. Ther is light green wire. I checked and it has 8K compares to manual 1.1K to 3.3K. I called Kragen and Autozone. None of them checks these two modules. Any ideas?
 
  #27  
Old 03-14-09, 07:13 PM
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Was everything OK in the distributor cap?

In terms of the primary coil, it sounds like you're close enough there. Did you zero your Ohm meter before taking the readings?

Autozone told you they can't test an ignition module or just that particular one? What city are you in or close to?
 
  #28  
Old 03-14-09, 08:37 PM
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Originally Posted by marbobj View Post
Was everything OK in the distributor cap?

In terms of the primary coil, it sounds like you're close enough there. Did you zero your Ohm meter before taking the readings?

Autozone told you they can't test an ignition module or just that particular one? What city are you in or close to?
Yes, I zero Ohm meter before taking the readings. I am in Fremont, CA. They said they don't test. The distributor cap looks OK. There is no crake or carbon deposit. There are four pins (each connects to a spark plug). These pins are half cynlinder kind with the flat facing inward. The rotor is turning when try to start engine. What others should I look for defect?

Forgot to answer other questions. I own this car since new. Timing was change when it is 90K and it has 194,800 miles now. The suggested timing belt change is every 90K. The car was made in U.S. There is a recall for Iginition Control Module (ICM) and this car has it done in 1995.
 
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Old 03-15-09, 07:00 AM
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The Kraygen stores are partnered with O'Reilly's. The latter are local stores here in Iowa and do module testing. I don't know why there is a difference.

You said the test on the module as Haynes laid it out was a continuity test. Do they give an impedance test off the terminals of the module?

The other thing would be the pickup coil. An impedance test on those will often turn up a bad one. Everything considered it comes down to the pickup coil or the ignition module. This is if you are getting current to the injectors and coil.

I hate to say replace parts without some kind of test to point to their being bad.
 
  #30  
Old 03-15-09, 09:21 PM
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the most common items to fail is probably the ignition coil or module, if the ignition coil is mounted in the distributer have you checked for fire at the coil? just remove rotor and take a test light or jumper wire cliped to ground and hold it about 1/8 of an inch from coil tower to see if you have spark while cranking if you have spark you pretty much narrowed it down to a bad coil or bad rotor, a good coil shouldnt have much of a problem jumping a 1/2 inch gap.
if you dont have any spark at all i would supect the module.
 
  #31  
Old 03-15-09, 09:46 PM
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1991 Honda Accord Reliability - MSN Autos

I agree that the above post would be a good lead to go for.
The link above says that the 91's had a problem in that area
 
  #32  
Old 03-16-09, 04:28 AM
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I had a similar problem in one of my old cars, and I went through a lot of the checks you're going through. I finally asked a tech at the local dealership and he immediately said replace the crankshaft sensor. $25 later it was running great again.
 
  #33  
Old 03-16-09, 10:21 AM
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Thanks to all your replied. I finally found the problem is ignition coil. The car starts after change a new ignition coil.
 
  #34  
Old 03-16-09, 10:29 AM
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Good deal! Prob relatively cheap....now time for another timing belt replacement..
 
  #35  
Old 03-24-09, 05:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Gunguy45 View Post
Good deal! Prob relatively cheap....now time for another timing belt replacement..
Yes, changing timing belt is the next thing I am going to do. But I do have questions here. How can I align TDC for this car? Also, how many times TDC aligns for a complete timing belt turn?
 
  #36  
Old 03-25-09, 03:24 AM
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you might check autozones website if you dont have a manual they may have the timing belt replacement procedures
generally there is either timing marks on the sprocket itself or you use the timing indicator that is used to set ignition timing to find tdc its usually either on the front cover or may be on the flywheel at the rear of the engine on some hondas when you align it to 0 degree mark you are at tdc.
you really dont need to know how many times it will come up to tdc per complete belt revolution, but there will be 2 crankshaft revolutions to one camshaft revolution. so if your on tdc and your camshaft marks are 180 degrees from where they are supposed to be, turning the engine 1 complete revolution back to tdc should line up the cam and crank shaft marks to the correct position this is assuming the timing belt is still installed correctly.
as a general rule on interference engines is to set the crankshaft to about 10 degrees btdc prior to removing the belt this allows you to turn the camshaft with the belt removed and have enough clearance to avoid any valve to piston contact as none of the pistons will be at tdc, after aligning the camshaft you can then turn the crank 10 degrees to bring it up to tdc just prior to installing the belt.
 
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Old 03-25-09, 03:55 AM
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Get the crank and cam (cam's) marks lined up they are not wrong Pistons and cams can only line with mark Will not be 180 out or anything else if marks are aligned right.
 
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Old 03-25-09, 10:47 AM
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Thanks for all your replied! You probably also saw my other posting for Honda Accord. Yes, both cars' timing belt are due now and this is the first time I try to do it myself.
 
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