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93 cold starting problem


itsahonda

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If car sits for a day or so in cold weather it doesn't want to run right when I fire it up. When I finally get it started CheckEngine light comes on and stays on while car idles rough. Turn car off and restarting a few times and finally it will run w/o CheckEngine light but it barely hangs on to an idle and acts like it wants to die at any time.

 

Plugs and wires are not that old, but I did notice heavy corrosion on the coil wire at the distributor. I cleaned it out but it looks like the contact in there has been eaten up pretty bad by it. Could that wire and badly PH'd contact at the distributor be causing the starting problem and the CheckEngine to light?

 

Any other thoughts on what might be wrong?

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Code may help, but I would start by giving the throtle plate a good cleaning. You will also notice a hole in the inside of the throtle body, that port leads to you IACV. Cleaning the two may help solve your problem. Do not use carb. cleaner if you can, as you may run a risk of damaging your cat. Just go to your local parts store and get some throtle body/intake cleaner. Also, manually open the throtle with the car off and use a clean rag with cleaner to scrub the plate and the inside of the body where the plate rests when closed.

 

Again, that may help/solve your problem.

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Code may help, but I would start by giving the throtle plate a good cleaning. You will also notice a hole in the inside of the throtle body, that port leads to you IACV. Cleaning the two may help solve your problem. Do not use carb. cleaner if you can, as you may run a risk of damaging your cat. Just go to your local parts store and get some throtle body/intake cleaner. Also, manually open the throtle with the car off and use a clean rag with cleaner to scrub the plate and the inside of the body where the plate rests when closed.

 

Again, that may help/solve your problem.

Did you just say "may" help? Pulling the code will definitely help, with whatever it's throwing a code for.

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Pull the code and find out.

 

 

roger on pulling the code. Refresh my memory. I know it involves using leg wire between contact points under the dash on passenger side and then counting flashes but I have no idea what to touch to what. Is there a post that describes the process in detail?

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Code may help, but I would start by giving the throtle plate a good cleaning. You will also notice a hole in the inside of the throtle body, that port leads to you IACV. Cleaning the two may help solve your problem. Do not use carb. cleaner if you can, as you may run a risk of damaging your cat. Just go to your local parts store and get some throtle body/intake cleaner. Also, manually open the throtle with the car off and use a clean rag with cleaner to scrub the plate and the inside of the body where the plate rests when closed.

 

Again, that may help/solve your problem.

I always take mine off, buy a $5ish gasket and go to town! :thumbsup:

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I used a paperclip to jump the diagnostic plug and counted the CEL blinks. Looks like the ECU stored Code 43. It's either 42 or 43. Does that point to anything in particular or as my luck will likely have it, a whole bunch of possible problems?

 

The thing I want to keep stressing about this starting problem is that it ONLY happens when the car has sat for a number of hours in cold weather. Does not happen on warm days no matter how long the car has been sitting. If the symptoms ring any bells with anyone, please post. I appreciate it.

Edited by itsahonda
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Have you replaced the Main Relay yet?

 

 

No. I am the only owner and I have never replaced it. I hear it kick in under there every now and then during ingnition sequence but that's about it.

 

Aren't MFR problems warm/hot weather problems? Can it act up in cold weather, too?

 

Are the symptoms I described consistent with an MFR problem?

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I'm curious about the Ignitor on my car. Where is it located? The Coil sits seperately from everything else but the Ignitor is not visible. I assume it it inside the distributor? If so, is it inspectable/replaceable without having to take off too many intricate parts? Cold starting problem very frustrating now. Don't know how to proceed with it. Mechanic sharks are circling but I am determined to solve this myself.

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I'm curious about the Ignitor on my car. Where is it located? The Coil sits seperately from everything else but the Ignitor is not visible. I assume it it inside the distributor? If so, is it inspectable/replaceable without having to take off too many intricate parts? Cold starting problem very frustrating now. Don't know how to proceed with it. Mechanic sharks are circling but I am determined to solve this myself.

Your igniter has nothing to do with a malfunctioning fuel system. Replace the Main Relay, you'll be glad you did. The thing is probably 15 years old.

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Your igniter has nothing to do with a malfunctioning fuel system. Replace the Main Relay, you'll be glad you did. The thing is probably 15 years old.

 

That makes sense, but, since the parts counter at Honda won't take back electrical parts once sold, I want to make sure I was clear: The problem started in Fall/Winter 2007 and stopped when weather warmed up in Spring 2008. Now has started again in Fall of 2008. No problems at all during warm weather.

 

You thought is still Main Relay?

 

Thanks.

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That makes sense, but, since the parts counter at Honda won't take back electrical parts once sold, I want to make sure I was clear: The problem started in Fall/Winter 2007 and stopped when weather warmed up in Spring 2008. Now has started again in Fall of 2008. No problems at all during warm weather.

 

You thought is still Main Relay?

 

Thanks.

Typically they fail in the summer, when they heat up, expand, and the solders lose connection. I guess it *could* be possible that since it's colder, the parts contract and screw up the connections. Seriously, it's $70 or so, and gives you the added benefit of knowing it's been changed, and could very well solve your problem. I'm still going to say that the igniter has nothing to do with a malfunctioning fuel system.

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Typically they fail in the summer, when they heat up, expand, and the solders lose connection. I guess it *could* be possible that since it's colder, the parts contract and screw up the connections. Seriously, it's $70 or so, and gives you the added benefit of knowing it's been changed, and could very well solve your problem. I'm still going to say that the igniter has nothing to do with a malfunctioning fuel system.

 

 

Thanks for the good input Kastigir.

 

Last night I wrapped a pair of long-life HotHands® around the distributor housing and used a couple of pull ties to hold them close to that housing. This morning she started right up like it was summer again. The problem is related to spark and lack of it on some part once that part gets real cold. When I'm trying to start the car on a cold morning it reminds me of trying to start a fire with sticks and getting sparks but no ignition. That brings my thoughts back to the Ignitor. I'm going to start by putting a new Dist. Cap and Rotor Button and see if I can test the Ignitor. I can buy OEM Ignitor at parts store and return it if I don't need it. The Honda parts counter (where I would have to get the MFR) has no such flexibility.

 

The last time I did any DIY on distributor and stuff, cars had points and condensors and such. I am a bit nervous about messing with this system. Other than getting the wires mixed up, are there any obvious pitfalls in trying to delve into that distributor?

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I also have to remember that car idles very shakily, sometimes barely hanging on. Whatever part is causing the problem is a part that stays involved even after the engine is running. Can anyone help me out in understanding how these various parts work.

 

Main Fuel Relay - it kicks in at start of ignition sequence, but is it also continuously involved in the running of the car?

 

Ignitor - is is involved in startup, but is it also continuously involved in the running of the car? IOW, does it ignite once or keep on igniting?

 

Coil - it turns a some juice into a LOT of juice, but is is also continuously involved in the running of the car?

 

Rotor Button - crucial to running of car but can a bad one also cause cold start problem?

 

 

Again, the rough idle is a key factor. I just don't know how it fits in with the cold starting problem. This Accord has been the best car I have ever owned, but right now I am frustrated with it.

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Did you just say "may" help? Pulling the code will definitely help, with whatever it's throwing a code for.

 

YES, that is what I said. There are many times that the code does not solve the problem. Try diagnosing a 97 Civic with multiple codes, then like the deal they will send them to my shop. There is an electrical issue on those cars that have not even been able to pin piont. I wont tell them where it is. Instead the codes say replace everything under the moon, and there are times they have, when a simple 30 min. labor fix will clear all the codes. Codes are a useful tool, however basic mechanical diagonsis can me more effective. Thereby YES "may help."

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  • 2 weeks later...
OK, "itsahonda" What has fixed your problem? My 92 is doing the same thing. I did clean the throttle body out good and it started this morning but I don't know if it fixed my problem because it is still idling a little rough. Thanks for your reply.

 

 

Nothing has fixed it so far. I am just living with it. After trying to start the car 6 or 7 times, finally it will start and run with the CEL on. I let it warm up a bit like that and then cut it off and it restarts right away with no CEL. It still idles shakily but keeps running. It is still a Honda, after all.

 

As for fixing this, I have decided to not just throw parts at the problem. I still think the issue is in the distributor. One very cold night a couple of weeks ago, I rigged up a way to wrap a pair of Hot Hands (the hand warmers sold for hunting and skiing and stuff) around the distributor cap and a small part of the metal it is connected to. The next day, I took all of that off (still bitter cold outside) and she started right up. Now I need to try starting it one day and let it act up and then warm up that area manually and see what happens. When the car is ice cold, the first crank produces absolutely nothing that resembles igniting and trying to run. Each attempt after that the system tries to fire up a bit more until it eventually starts.

 

The Ignitor keeps coming to mind because that's what it feels like (the damn thing won't ignite) but I am not sure I have the expertise to DIY and replace that part. I definitely don't want to mess around and get the car out of time and end up doing some major damage to it.

 

Another poster says it sounds like the Main Relay is bad. I still think it is strange for that module to work perfectly in blazing hot weather and then act up in Winter, however, anything is possible. One other thing I need to do is figure out how to clear the codes to make sure the code I read by jumpering the dianostic plug is not some old code. I have had several timing belts put on, fuel filters, etc. so I guess there could be some old codes stored. I am going to find the fuse to pull to clear those codes and then see what code is stored when it acts up.

 

It's a starting problem that only appears in bitter cold weather. It's caused by a part that is already failing but is virtually dead when it is very cold. When the ignition process is trying to "catch" I keep thinking, SPARK! a simple spark somewhere in that system that cannot flow through some ice cold part is my trouble. Question is, what part, where?

 

Sorry for the long post. I have taken to simply talking about this starting trouble to keep my mind fresh about what I have already tried and noticed.

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Well thanks alot. My 92 accord acts like it wants to start but it won't. You can keep turning it over and it will finally start. Then you can turn it off right then or wait but it will always start right back. My check engine light has never came on though. Also it seems like the timing belt is broken when it does this. It acts like it wants to start but it doesn't. Sounds like its firing but it won't fire. If that makes sense. Maybe not getting fuel? Also it idles a little rough at all times. Runs great though. I am going to buy a brand new complete distributor off of ebay and try that. They are $129.00 with free shipping. Also when mine was doing this last week I took a torch and heated the metal part on the dist. and it fired up and ran fine. Still idled rough but did start. My car has 261,000 miles on it and if it lays down in the morning it has been a damn good one. I will let you know if the new dist. fixes it. Also thanks for your reply!

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Well thanks alot. My 92 accord acts like it wants to start but it won't. You can keep turning it over and it will finally start. Then you can turn it off right then or wait but it will always start right back. My check engine light has never came on though. Also it seems like the timing belt is broken when it does this. It acts like it wants to start but it doesn't. Sounds like its firing but it won't fire. If that makes sense. Maybe not getting fuel? Also it idles a little rough at all times. Runs great though. I am going to buy a brand new complete distributor off of ebay and try that. They are $129.00 with free shipping. Also when mine was doing this last week I took a torch and heated the metal part on the dist. and it fired up and ran fine. Still idled rough but did start. My car has 261,000 miles on it and if it lays down in the morning it has been a damn good one. I will let you know if the new dist. fixes it. Also thanks for your reply!

 

Sounds like its firing but won't fire. Yes, it makes sense. The problem part gets warmed up by the repeated attempts and eventually the engine fires. This is all related to not enough spark getting to or through that cold part when you first crank. If you could get in there and test the ignitor, that's probably what's getting weak. Repeated attempts at starting gradually warms that part some and eventually the engine fires. Keeping my distributor warmer at night by just a few degrees makes all the difference in starting the next morning. I will be installing a new cap and rotor this weekend and if that doesn't work, I will take it apart again and see if I can get to the ignitor. My Haynes book shows where it is, but I still think it will be tough to get to. I do know that taking the distributor apart that deeply is a good chance to throw the car out of time. My car has an external coil. It is easy to get to so I replaced it last Winter messing with this same cold start problem. It was a waste of money. This time, I'm starting with the cheapest parts and working up. The trouble is definitely in the distributor. I've done enough tests now wrapping a towel around it at night to block the coldest air and she fires right up on the bitter cold morn's.

 

$129 is pretty cheap for that whole distributor assembly if it includes the cap, rotor, ignitor and all the other guts. Is everything up to OEM standards with the one you are buying?

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Well I found one cheaper. The item number to the one I bought is 220323232339 This guy has more. He is the cheapest and has the highest positive feedback. And it comes with a 1 year guarantee. All for $100.95 shipped with insurance. I will get it on as soon as I get it and let you know if this fixes my problem. Also they are real easy to put on. The shaft is real short and is keyed so there is only 1 way it will go in. If you get it close to your other one as far as lined up it will start and you can adjust it to around 7 to 8 hundred rpms and it will be fine till you can get it timed exact with a light.

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Well I found one cheaper. The item number to the one I bought is 220323232339 This guy has more. He is the cheapest and has the highest positive feedback. And it comes with a 1 year guarantee. All for $100.95 shipped with insurance. I will get it on as soon as I get it and let you know if this fixes my problem. Also they are real easy to put on. The shaft is real short and is keyed so there is only 1 way it will go in. If you get it close to your other one as far as lined up it will start and you can adjust it to around 7 to 8 hundred rpms and it will be fine till you can get it timed exact with a light.

 

If that one is up to spec, that's a very good deal. Probably $300+ if Honda OEM. I think I see the connector for the coil which must be external for that design, same as mine is. That price is what the ignitor alone goes for. I read that one of the keys to putting that on properly is making sure the crankshaft is not turned while that is out. Since you will have that apart while working with it, you can look at the rotor to confirm it points in the same direction. As for turning the crankshaft by hand ot put it at TDC, I am not sure how to do it. Anyway, you will be saving a ton doing this yourself. I have found that mechanics love starting problems. You become a blank check when you come in with a mystery starting problem. Thanks for the auction #. I'm looking at it right now. I hope he still has those 2 left next week. Feedback looks good. He sells lots of distributors and states it is OE quality Japanese part. If I end up needing to buy that whole thing, I will look for this auction. Check that when you get it to confirm that the ignitor inside has silicone grease packed around the connector housing. That supposedly is essential for installing those. Sounds like you're on you way to not having to crank you car 10 times to get it started on frosty morning. I look forward to hearing how it works out. :thumbsup:

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