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I'm new....just a couple of thankyous


kaptnjack

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I just bought my first honda and it needed a lot of troubleshooting for various issues.

 

 

A friend is in very bad financial shape after losing his job, going bankrupt, getting divorced and over two years of less than satisfactory employment. He has lost everything and living in a backroom of an old house with no phone, PC or heat.

 

His car was almost repo'd after 20 lates. I took it away from him and gave him my primary driver in the mean time. I detailed the Camry and after three weeks of exhaustivly marketing an overpriced but nice car.. I was able to sell it on saturday for enough to pay off the loan....within $13.

 

Now he is without transportation (except my car). He has no credit or money and a suck temp job. I had decided to try to give the guy a leg up within my modest means. I have known him 25 years...hes a decent guy that has simply lost control of his life.

 

I have a crazy ability to fix things...always have. I like fooling with cars, electronics and building things. If I could find a reasonably decent (very cheap) ride...I felt like I could get it looking good enough and running good enough to get him wheels to travel to work and the store for a few months while eliminating a debt of $426 per month.

 

Sunday morning, I hopped on craigslist and found a 91 accord listed for $300 with a bad tranny 231,000 miles and other issues. It was local...turns out to be located 9 miles down the road from my house. ...on the same highway...crazy.

 

I go look...its really nasty, cloth interior and carpet are stained with a gallon of milkshake and who knows what else but, free from tears, cracks etc and all the knobs and buttons etc are there. A little rust at each rear quarter, new all over paint but the top surfaces are UV burnt beyond recovery. Cracked windshield. New battery, new alternator, new tires, brakes, rotors. The owner said the trans went out and he had spent a lot of money in previous repairs...he was burnt out and bought a new car. Been sitting two months. It doesnt start.

 

I hooked some cables to it...fooled around with it about five minutes and she finally fired up. While I let it run to see if it would over heat...I checked all the electricals and everything worked as new with the exceptions I will list below.

 

I wanted to try to drive it but the guy warned me of the trans problem only having second gear. He said it needed an internal trans sensor something....he was told. He said to not drive it on the road...just around the complex but, I hit the highway anyway. It spun up...no smoke, ran down the road and stopped straight...changed all gears etc....still running cool.

 

I offered $250 and he agreed.

 

I came back later and got it...ran down the road 9 miles to my house at 65 mph...no problem.

 

I decide that I would first see how many mechanical issues I could resolve before spending any time on cosmetics/cleaning etc. After a serious shakedown, a list of problems were made.

 

Would not idle....idle speed to low. Google revealed a process of disconnecting the IAC, setting idle speed, clearing backup memory, reconnect IAC...took a couple tries to get it right but...presto...perfect idle at all speeds and conditions.

 

Rear tailight holding water.....remove tailight, drill a little weep hole and force air through lens to clear all water and dry lens. Remove gasket seal and clean it....reinstall using new sealer around gasket. Install new wiper blades, troubleshoot and replace a flasher and a couple bulbs....all lights are working properly.

 

At this time...car is runs and drives great and trans is shifting normally. I go to the carwash and degrease the engine and blow the car off.

 

All of a sudden after the wash down....the tranny issue...lost all gears but third I think..."S" light blinks then solid. Google revealed TCM issues and process of pulling backup fuse to reset. I did but, I had recurring problems. Actually all kinds of little issues popped up. Check engine light, blinking "S", speedo intermittent and eventually quit working all together, Tranny erratic etc. I kept foolin with it....tried several things, re-adjusted throttle cable, checked all connections, grounds etc.

 

Adjusting the cable seemed to fix the check engine condition determined to be throttle position issue. the speedo and trans issue seemed to be linked somehow so I searched around the net and found comments about the speed sensor VSS. I found it and checked the connection...cleaned the connector with solvent and emery paper, tweaked the contacts with a pick and reconnected...cleared the backup.

 

After 6 drives and 50 miles....its running and driving perfectly. Speedo resolved, shifting/trans resolved. Blinking "S" resolved. Check engine resolved. I realize any of these issues may return at any time....this could only be temporary but I think there is something to the connector issue at the VSS when trans/"S" are at issue. I read many accounts where peeps had replaced various sensors (VSS), TCM etc., and still had the "S" issues....check those connectors!

 

Ok...its running great. 0-100mph....on the floor...fast...no problem. Emergency stop...no problem. Temps are cool...no problem. Idles perfect. No leaks.

 

Now...lets clean it up.....

 

9 hours, two cans of upholstery/carpet cleaner, bottle of Orangeglow, various brushes, a dozen towels and three rolls of paper towels...the interior looks really good and all there.

 

6 hours, a bottle of NuFinish, a little armourall, sponges, toothbrush and a buffer/polisher...exterior and jams are nice...except the the top surfaces which are shot.

 

UPDATE: Today I jacked it up and rotated the tires, the hubcaps had lost all their finish and now looked white. I cleaned and sanded and then painted them with hammered silver Fusion paint...turned out nice.

 

Sitting in the garage ready to be handed over to my friend this weekend....and get my Bonneville SSE back. I got to tell ya though.....my first experience with a honda and it's a nice frikken car. Well built with quality materials and surprising comfort, room, stability, economy, ride and perfomance. I might need to find me another one.

 

I still have a couple issues if anyone can offer advice.

 

The interior driver's door handle is working but flops around and the plastic trim is broken in three pieces...still functions but I would like to fix that....any tricks after I find a salvage yard piece?

 

Also...the radio. It is low on the priority list but, it is not working right. I havent pulled it yet. It comes on, lights up, tunes channels, locks stereo, operates the antenna but no sound. Sometimes when I shut the drivers door the speaker in that one door will activate but its gawdawfully distorted and crackling then cuts out and in and out etc. I checked all the faders and only get output out of the one speaker...sometimes....and it sounds like hell opening up. Is this a known problem/failure with this am/fm/cassete deck? Any suggestions? where do I start troubleshooting?

 

UPDATE: I am trying to pull the Center High Brake light housing out to clean and detail that area. I had to pull the rear speakers. They are shot and missing the rubber surrounds on both so have to be replaced. However...there still seems that there is no signal going to them. Even with damaged cones and missing surrounds...with a signal, the voice coils should be firing. So....whether there is an issue with the radio deck itself or not...the speakers have to be swapped. Any suggestions on a bone yard swap?

 

Light on the passenger vanity mirror doesnt work...bulb is fine. wire doesnt apper broken but does stress when visor is pulled down.

 

AC doesent cool but heater works fine...I am not concerned with this now.

 

Going down the road...car pulls/tugs a little to the right. Right front tire is showing a little excessive wear on the inside tread. Can I do a simple adjustment in my garage that might help this without the expense of a professional alignment? What do I crank on to pull the right tire in a little?

 

UPDATE: Turns out both tires showed a little inside wear. I rotated front to rear today, I'll see how it feels. Needed it anyway.

 

 

 

Ok....this turned out to be a long first post.

 

The main point is that I wanted to share my experiences to the benefit of all and to thank everyone here for their input/posts. Without this medium...I could not have achieved my goal of a decent ride for a friend in need....it was fun too.

 

I hope I can be of some help too ...one day.

 

Kaptnjack

Edited by kaptnjack
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The door handle is hinged in the front and screwed in the middle. It holds the handle steady, so if it was broken in three places as you desicribed, it could also be broken behind (where the plastic "holds" the door). If the screw is not tight or the plastic cannot hold the handle properly, it will "swim" around as you described.

 

Tip: be careful not to break the pieces on the backside, try a few practice installs in the bone yard before taking it home.

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The door handle is hinged in the front and screwed in the middle. It holds the handle steady, so if it was broken in three places as you desicribed, it could also be broken behind (where the plastic "holds" the door). If the screw is not tight or the plastic cannot hold the handle properly, it will "swim" around as you described.

 

Tip: be careful not to break the pieces on the backside, try a few practice installs in the bone yard before taking it home.

oh hey look, it's the other Accord member :) gotta cliffnotes that stuff, im too busy right now to read it all.

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The door handle is hinged in the front and screwed in the middle. It holds the handle steady, so if it was broken in three places as you desicribed, it could also be broken behind (where the plastic "holds" the door). If the screw is not tight or the plastic cannot hold the handle properly, it will "swim" around as you described.

 

Tip: be careful not to break the pieces on the backside, try a few practice installs in the bone yard before taking it home.

 

 

thanks for the tip....I appreciate it and will take your advice.

 

It looks like the plastic trim may hold a pivot, hinge or cam associated with the chrome lever/handle. Two of the breaks are at the hinge location causing the flopping action you describe.

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Those speakers sound like the OEM Originals, they often fall apart right where you described. That part is usually rubber, but on the OEMs its paper. Your radio may have had it, determining this for certain is a labour intesive process that I watched my father do over and over when I was young. Sad part is that the repairs rarely last, something else breaks soon thereafter. If you feel like investing in a new radio, pick out a nice looking OEM one in the bone yard. Same advise for the speakers, except avoid the OEM; they're junk unless they come out of an Acura but then they will likely not fit.

 

The Center High Brake light is bolted below the housing, the bolts can be accessed from the trunk. Should be 10mm, maybe 12.

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wow man. youre an awesome friend. i know exactly how your buddy feels, Ive gone through some of the same sh!t. mostly due to helping friends out at the price of my credit.

 

swap out the speakers and the headunit. if it still doesnt work, check all fuses and then replace all of the speaker wire.

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pick out a nice looking OEM one in the bone yard. Same advise for the speakers, except avoid the OEM; they're junk unless they come out of an Acura but then they will likely not fit.

 

Do you have any info on what boneyard model OEM decks will refit the 1991 Accord? Any Honda/Acura?

 

The Center High Brake light is bolted below the housing, the bolts can be accessed from the trunk. Should be 10mm, maybe 12.

 

Yeah...two nuts from under the trunk deck. But...that wouldnt let the center brake housing come out. I had to remove the left and right pillar covers, left and right rear seat bolsters, the deck bulkhead cover and then the entire deck cover just to get to the damn brake light. I got it though...I will re-assemble tomorrow.

Edited by kaptnjack
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Any single DIN Honda/Acura will work, remember to keep the plug as it may differ from 1991 Accord's plug. Some Acura Legends come with a double DIN headunit, avoid those.

 

I think a unit from a Civic 1992 or newer may present some problems, I will let someone contribute their personal knowledge at this point, I am only sure 1991 and older Civics will fit.

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I just had the same radio problem...while the head unit was out but plugged in I would gain and lose the speaker output by flexing the plug. It was not the plug or pins, I took the radio apart and resoldered all the places where the pins connected to the circuit board (got the idea from reading about how to fix the main relay). works absolutely perfect now and took about a half hour to do. while the rear board is out also clean the 16 or so pins that push through the 2 connectors on the rear plate.

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Updates....

 

On the radio issues...it was determined all the speakers were shot....I tried a test speaker and it worked fine...I installed a set of $20 roadmasters in the rear and now have tunes.

 

I had gone through everything on the Accord and fully detailed it. It looks good. I put over 300 miles on it. The first 50 miles were troubleshooting followed by the tweaks posted originally. I put another 250 miles on it running around town and a couple hops down the interstate to really shake it out. The Accord ran and performed perfectly in all traffic conditions without incident...never threw a code, flashed/blinked any lights, failed to shift...anything. It ran out very nicely.

 

I called my friend Saturday and told him to come by and pick up the Accord....he has been driving my Bonneville for a month.

 

Sunday after church he showed up...we watched the game and had lunch. About 3:30pm we went to the garage. I walked him through all the things I had done and what needed yet to be done. I explained the "S" issue and what I had done to resolve that issue. I showed him how to reset the memory fuse in case he had future problems but assured him...after 250 miles of hard use....no issues arose.

 

It started right up and he backed it out of the garage to reveal a trans leak....a little puddle on the floor....that’s new. Pulled it back in and saw that the hose clamp appeared loose and leaking at the inlet to the radiator. It was impossible to really get to...I might have got a turn on it but really needed to remove the fan shield to tighten it properly. I sent him on his way, told him to be watching for leaks and check the fluid regularly, call me if there is a problem and promised to fix any thing that showed up the following weekend. This was Sunday.

 

He called me today (Monday) after work...frantic. The car was barely running...he had to do the reset procedure twice on the way home and 5 times on Monday to and from work....all the lights on the dash are blinking including the battery, Trans will not shift, engine will not idle and dying at red lights....stranding him in afternoon traffic.....WOW!

 

This is surreal....the car was perfect with me and I tried really hard to get it to fail for four days and 250 miles. I would have never offered it to him if I had even a suspicion that something was wrong.

 

 

 

All I can do is ….I offered him to bring it back to me tomorrow and swap cars again….I’ll start over and see what I find.

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Updates....

 

On the radio issues...it was determined all the speakers were shot....I tried a test speaker and it worked fine...I installed a set of $20 roadmasters in the rear and now have tunes.

 

I had gone through everything on the Accord and fully detailed it. It looks good. I put over 300 miles on it. The first 50 miles were troubleshooting followed by the tweaks posted originally. I put another 250 miles on it running around town and a couple hops down the interstate to really shake it out. The Accord ran and performed perfectly in all traffic conditions without incident...never threw a code, flashed/blinked any lights, failed to shift...anything. It ran out very nicely.

 

I called my friend Saturday and told him to come by and pick up the Accord....he has been driving my Bonneville for a month.

 

Sunday after church he showed up...we watched the game and had lunch. About 3:30pm we went to the garage. I walked him through all the things I had done and what needed yet to be done. I explained the "S" issue and what I had done to resolve that issue. I showed him how to reset the memory fuse in case he had future problems but assured him...after 250 miles of hard use....no issues arose.

 

It started right up and he backed it out of the garage to reveal a trans leak....a little puddle on the floor....that's new. Pulled it back in and saw that the hose clamp appeared loose and leaking at the inlet to the radiator. It was impossible to really get to...I might have got a turn on it but really needed to remove the fan shield to tighten it properly. I sent him on his way, told him to be watching for leaks and check the fluid regularly, call me if there is a problem and promised to fix any thing that showed up the following weekend. This was Sunday.

 

He called me today (Monday) after work...frantic. The car was barely running...he had to do the reset procedure twice on the way home and 5 times on Monday to and from work....all the lights on the dash are blinking including the battery, Trans will not shift, engine will not idle and dying at red lights....stranding him in afternoon traffic.....WOW!

 

This is surreal....the car was perfect with me and I tried really hard to get it to fail for four days and 250 miles. I would have never offered it to him if I had even a suspicion that something was wrong.

 

 

 

All I can do is ….I offered him to bring it back to me tomorrow and swap cars again….I'll start over and see what I find.

 

 

Well....the accord showed up today. Took a little test drive and yep......no speedo, check engine light intermittent and blinking "S".

 

I ried several memory resets and within a half mile....the blinking "S" came back everythime the convertor locked. Sevaral tries...same thing. I was about convinced the dang VSS had finally failed but I had to try the connector again.

 

I took the VSS connector loose again and using emory cloth cleaned and tweaked the contacts again. I added a smudge of Dielectric grease inside the connector. Straightened out all the lead wires to and from the connector...made sure everything was tight...and then reset the memory again.

 

Again....everything started working, speedo etc...no "S" blinks. Several hard test drives, some backroads, several stop and goes, 20 cruise miles etc. All symptoms gone again and at the time the accord pulled out and based on reports after the 30 mile trip home....no recurring problems, failures or indicators.

 

We'll see.......

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how many pins is that vss connector? If it is not too many you may want to look into cutting off a replacement from the junkyard and replacing the connector. Seems like the original harness might have a loose connector or the fitting is loose and it won't stay snugly connected in it's socket.

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