1990 Honda Accord Starting Problem

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Old 12-14-16, 11:29 AM
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1990 Honda Accord Starting Problem

1990 Honda Accord LX, 4Dr, At, 4 Cylinders, 2.2L, 272,296 miles. I changed to a new car battery 6 months ago. About 8 weeks after, car hard to start when engine is hot. I changed after market BECK/ARNLEY Main Relay (Fuel Injector Relay). Then, everything back to normal for about 2 weeks. Then, car needs to crank 2-3 times before it can be started. It gradually goes bad and hard to start doesn't matter engine is cold or hot (need to crank 4-6 times) for the next 2.5 months. Get Main Relay warranty replaced. The 1st week, car needs to crank 1-2 times to start engine. Then, it goes back to before warranty replaced situation and needs to crank many times (at least 5-7 times) before engine can be started. Sometimes, it can't be started. I checked spark plugs. All plugs create spark, but seem weak spark to me. Spark wire is 10K~15K ohm (spec is less than 25K ohm). Changed distributor cap, but not rotor (it looks good and just wire brushed to clean it). Car can be started after 2-5 cranks. Better than without changing distributor cap which almost can't be started. Spark plugs are old, but looks good (just wire brushed to clean). I changed back to my previous old plugs for just testing and car has the same issue, hard to start. This roots down to ignition coil and igniter (ICM, Ignition Control Modul). The ignition coil check against to spec. and looks OK. I tried to check ICM, but Haynes manual doesn't seem very clear. The wire color doesn't match to my car's wire and picture doesn't clear to which terminals to check. Anyone has any idea of how to check ICM? Any idea of what could be the real issue causing hard to start? I am not planning to keep this car long and don't want to throw money to replace old parts which still work.
 
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Old 12-14-16, 08:56 PM
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Take your pick

Starting Problems
 
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Old 12-15-16, 01:54 PM
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Thanks. I will take a look.
 
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Old 12-16-16, 04:17 PM
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Good site. By HOnda owners and for Honda specific problems. Esp for your year.
 
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Old 12-20-16, 05:00 PM
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Very useful information. I may found the problem of my car. The ignition coil has "rainbow" effect like it mentioned in this link and not big. Maybe that is why when I checked the primary and second coil. They all within spec. and car still can be started and it is just very hard to start. I used masking tape to temporary insulated and car can be started within 1-2 cranks. I ordered after market part from RockAuto and it is on its way. The same exactly part I bought from RockAuto 7 years ago is about $50 and it is only $15 now. Guess parts for old car also reflect to the worth of old car and make people who drives old car more affordable to fix. Otherwise, it won't be worth to fix old car.
 
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Old 12-21-16, 02:49 PM
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I'd just put new dizzy in. You pieceworking this and then something else goes bad. With HOndas of those years it's the big 3 - dizzy, main relay or ignition lock.
Btw, remove your fuse box. Fuse box should have one LARGE ground at its base. Water gets in there and it all corrodes. Clean and generously lube with dialectric grease. Never hurts to.
 
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Old 12-28-16, 10:59 AM
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1990 Honda Accord Starting Problem - Urgent

1990 Honda Accord LX, 4DR, AT, 272,591 miles. Just fixed ignition coil last weekend (see my other post with the same title last week) and today is the first drive after fixing it. Car can be started right away. While driving to work this morning, I observed whenever I turn on turn signal light to switch lane, the speedometer and engine RPM up and down when turn signal light is flashing. When I turn off signal light, everything looks back to normal. In addition, the dash clock dim all the time like low battery regardless whether I turn on the signal light or not. After arrived at work and engine is still running, I checked turn signal light from outside and it seems not as bright as normal. Turn off engine and tried to re-start engine, car can't be started and occasionally hear starter very low clicks (most of time starter no clicks). It looks like wire is shorted somewhere. Does anyone know where to check? I need the car to get home (21 miles) tonight.
 
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Old 12-28-16, 12:31 PM
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I merged your threads. No need to go thru all the asked questions again.

It's not a short. When you have a short in your home or your car.... the fuse blows.
It could be a loose or dirty connection at the starter.
 
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Old 12-28-16, 01:01 PM
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Can you jump start the car?
 
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Old 12-28-16, 07:12 PM
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Battery is 11.64V before engine starts and drop to 11.2V after engine starts. Just jump start and it starts right up. Took a chance to drive home and engine die about 3.4 miles away from home. Engine jerks, sputtering, and run rough many times before stop and die. CEL throws 15 code - Ignition Output Signal (Open or shorted ignition output signal circuit). Had AAA towed home and sitting in garage now. Jump start again and starts right up. I guess it is alternator didn't charge back to battery. I am not sure engine will run smoothly or not after fixing starting issue, but have to fix starting issue first. Why does CEL throw code 15? Does it mean more problems than just alternator?
 
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Old 01-01-17, 07:48 PM
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Reporting back fixing result so other people can benefit from it. After changing ignition coil, car can start immediately.
Questions below for alternator:
1. Took off original alternator and have it bench tested by two different autozone stores and it passed total of 6 tests (3 tests each). Put it back to car and still no output voltage to battery. Can anyone answer why?
2. Pulled an old alternator off from junk yard and installed it. Output voltage is 14.57V, but very high squeaking noise. If loose belt to no noise, output voltage is the same as battery voltage. Shaft looks good and quiet when turn. Put back the old alternator to test squeaking noise and it has squeaking noise, too. It wasn't before. Put back alternator from junk yard and still have noise. Loose pivot bolt until no noise and tie it up. Stop engine and re-start engine. Still have noise. Can anyone help?
 
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Old 01-01-17, 08:42 PM
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So you have bad alternator. Had. Though tested fine, empirically proven to be bad.
Noise from where? Did you try to pin point it? You sure it's not your AC clutch?
 
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Old 01-01-17, 08:57 PM
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Yes, it looks like I have bad alternator. Bench test fine, but is bad after installing in car. Noise is from alternator. As soon as I loose alternator belt tension, noise is gone.
 
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Old 01-02-17, 08:05 AM
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Ahh, I see. never trust bench testing, he he.
Something's not right with belt to pulleys alignment. Something is off kilter. Idler?
To be honest, alternator bearings always make a slight buzz.
Wish I knew how to check on belt alignment. The only thing I can think off is to use washers as shims on alternator mounting bolts to maybe re-align it?
You sure nothing is stuck or rust build up where alternator mounts?
I recall son's 95 Eclipse. They killed alternator by not driving bolt through at the right angle, what resulted in crooked set alternator and killed it.
Try this. Pull all alternator mounting bolts out and inspect for wear. Maybe go to Ace Hardware and get new bolts. Ace(Johnson's Supply) has very good automotive bolts. Or, you can use any grade 10 bolts.
 
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Old 01-02-17, 10:17 AM
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Thanks for your suggestions. I have installed it three times total (old and new) and very careful about mounting bolts. Those bolts are 12mm and 14mm. No obvious wear and look good. I am going to check it again today and see whether I can get noise away.
 
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Old 01-02-17, 10:47 AM
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One we had on Eclipse - it was a two bolt mount - was worn out and had almost like a lathed area in it. So entire alternator was sitting crooked. Plus, they didn't install it right, jammed at the angle.
Try removing alternator - you are already a great pro of this - then insert each bolt and see if it has play in threads. That might be it. Does not take much. I was great pro of 87 Taurus alternator install - had 3 bad ones outta da box same night. Fortunately, it was super easy to do, I got it down to 15 seconds.
If bolts wobble in the head or block - you may end using thread repair kit or re-thread completely and use thicker bolt.
 
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Old 01-02-17, 12:59 PM
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OK, problem solved. It is due to belt tension. It is not too tie. It is not tie enough. After put more tension on belt, problem solved. One strange thing is the voltage is around 12V after turn on hight beam lights, radio, wiper, and defrost. Manual says should be 13.5 - 14.5V even turn on all these. However, it turn off all these, it is ~14.5V steady. Had Oreilly checks and it is good alternator, but they didn't turn all these on to test.
 
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Old 01-02-17, 03:42 PM
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Go figure, aye, mate?
That's a used alternator, right?
Amazing, how simple solutions work.
 
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