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Boo, my car wont start.

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Boo, my car wont start.

Postby CrAzYmAn456 » Sat Jul 02, 2005 7:15 am

Hey, I know alot of you here are way more savvy with car problems than me. Besides regularly checking the oil and tire pressure, I really have never done anything to any car (ever).

A few weeks ago I bought a Haynes repair manual, I gotta pick up some tools though cause... well, I dont have any :-P. But besides that...

So rewind to yesterday, I had (for the first time ever) some weird problems. Car starts, and from a dead stop there is this weird like... hesitation that happens. After I start going though, I didnt notice anything really (going to work). Coming home from work it was kinda the same thing, except I could have sworn my brakes went weird when I started I had to stomp it to the floor to get it out of park which panicked me, but after a few stomps it came back to life again. I drive the back way home just in case, let my dad know, he's like "probably fine now, any problems on the drive home?" no, so whatever.

Today I start my car up, seems fine. I back out, and the sputtery hesitation is worse than yesterday. "Crap" I think, I better get this looked at. But I have to get to work, and I made it yesterday, so I figure what the hell.

Okay, so now I'm on my way to work, and I still get the hesitant from stopped, but I'm going no problem. Now I'm doing 50 on 287 and it seems fine... uh oh... suddenly my check engine light goes on, I'm losing power... and it sounded to me like the automatic trans was downshifting as I was losing power... all my dummy lights come on and I'm coasting...

Great, I break down where there are no shoulders and a wicked large curb. Shit. So there is like an onramp, and before it splits there is like that V in paint, so i headed for that (getting out of the car when the tow truck got there, there was alot of room where I was, so I was lucky I made it there). Oh, and thank god for AAA.

Anyway, when I broke down, I sat for a second, and tried starting it again. My battery I think is fine because the starter was cranking fine, and it sounded almost like it is going to start, but... nope, not gonna turn over. I call AAA, work, and wait. Try starting it again... nope, same thing. Try starting it when I get towed home... nope.

I'm not a mechanic, I dont know what the heck could be wrong. I am hoping its something simple like a badly clogged fuel filter (the haynes manual says every 30k or 48mos, Ive had the car 2 years and I bet it was never changed by the last owner so who knows how long its been).

What are your guys thoughts?

Thanks for any input and I'll answer whatever questions I can about the car.

Oh, and its a 1990 Honda Accord EX 4dr (Auto).
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Re: Boo, my car wont start.

Postby betenoire » Sat Jul 02, 2005 7:48 am

Don't know much about hondas. Shot in the dark.

The first symptom sounds like a vaccum problem. Could be a lot of other things but this one is cheap and you can do it yourself. Replace all the vaccum lines including the line to the vac assist for the brakes. The vac assist line was my first thought when you mentioned the brake problem.

Beyond this your probably going to need to take it to someone given your self-described skill set.

Good luck.
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RE: Boo, my car wont start.

Postby Crystallas » Sat Jul 02, 2005 7:48 am

could be a few things. Thats why you need to diagnose the problems.

You really should keep a maintenance log for whatever car you buy. Things like when you change parts and the type of lubes that you use. Of course if you are car savy, you allready have a good mentality of what you've done to it and when.

Your lucky that its a 90 honda, because these cars are so easy to work on, even the dumbest of children can master a rebuild.

It can be as simple as a spark plug. Change them if you havent in a while. Check the battery too(most big name auto shops will test them for free.) Make sure all of your hoses are firm and connected well. Oh, and this is where it sucks to own that car... is that you have a distributor/crank position sensor that will cost a huge fraction of the cars value to replace(3rd party and used dis/CPS are good too) and if it hasnt been done, then from my experience with A/D/B motors is that this common with over 150,000 miles or being 16 years old. You could be right with the filter, check it, they can cause some pain, aswell as O2 sensors. Your fuel filter could be clogged too, easy fix with a few steps.
Basically you need the appropriate tune-up for your millage.

Now if the problem is bigger, and you dont know how to work on the car, then your screwed if you want to do it yourself. This takes experience and all you gotta do is get a car buddy over with some beers and kick it for a saturday.

Also your transmission will downshift if you lose power... you shouldnt be punching your gas to get it to shift back, thats why it seemed odd to you.
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Re: Boo, my car wont start.

Postby betenoire » Sat Jul 02, 2005 7:51 am

^^^^ He knows way more than I do here. Listen up :)
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Re: Boo, my car wont start.

Postby The_Ghost » Sat Jul 02, 2005 10:12 am

^^^^ He knows way more than I do here. Listen up :)


actually , you sound like you hit it right on the spot , vacuum leak would cause his power problem , vacuum leak could also cause your brake problem , and now the leak may have got bad enough , that you can't get fuel to your cylinders
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Re: Boo, my car wont start.

Postby Bluenite1 » Sat Jul 02, 2005 12:50 pm

Hey man there is a automotive thread!
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Re: Boo, my car wont start.

Postby CrAzYmAn456 » Sat Jul 02, 2005 5:16 pm

Sorry, I didnt know. I surf the forum mostly logged out, thats why i bearly stop in the podium anymore :-P

I'm at work so I'll post more later. Thanks guys!
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Re: Boo, my car wont start.

Postby ranger_xlt » Mon Jul 04, 2005 7:53 pm

Oh, and its a 1990 Honda Accord EX 4dr (Auto).


I know they are excellent cars, but that one is 15 years old. They don't last forever. Your's is of that vintage where I wouldn't even venture to start guessing. Did the timing belt break, is it a fuel filter or some other electronic gadget, good luck with it though.
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Re: Boo, my car wont start.

Postby CrAzYmAn456 » Fri Jul 08, 2005 4:59 am

Alrighty, the mechanic said first he thought just the ignitor might be bad but now he said the whole distributor is basically shot, and that I need a new one. I was quoted a price of just over $400. Hell no.

I'm gonna probably pick one up from ebay for $100-ish (I checked, newly reconditioned ones go for this price) and do it myself.


Now, this could be one of many problems and it may not be worth keeping the car, but I cant really buy a new car, so I think I'm gonna deal with it for now.
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Re: Boo, my car wont start.

Postby Crystallas » Fri Jul 08, 2005 8:13 am

Oh, and this is where it sucks to own that car... is that you have a distributor/crank position sensor that will cost a huge fraction of the cars value to replace(3rd party and used dis/CPS are good too) and if it hasnt been done, then from my experience with A/D/B motors is that this common with over 150,000 miles or being 16 years old.

Im sorry to hear that, but I warned you. Good plan by checking ebay, check junkers too.
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Re: Boo, my car wont start.

Postby Skarp » Sat Jul 30, 2005 3:07 am

well a rebuilt distributor from Advance Auto parts will cost you $228.88. That should give you some Idea how much one will cost
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Re: Boo, my car wont start.

Postby Lt1 » Sat Aug 13, 2005 3:31 am

I am a dude... I feel your pain.... but nothing short of rolling up your sleeves and diving into the world of trouble-shooting will resolve this issue. That, and many years of wrenching experienc. Sounds like you did the right thing... (consulting a professional), solefully from your lack of training and a tight time schedule, unless you can ride your bike to work, in the mean time. With the service manual you have, you should be able to replace your own distributor, if indeed it has one.
Everyone above, has mentioned very valid points of concern, and reflects normal periodic maintainence, however, I would caution you against replacing parts simply because you you feel that they are the cause of your most recent break down, (with exception to the fuel filter-- it needs a new one anyway). Vaccum lines can be visually inspected and with the help of a vaccum gauge, you should be able to determine if the manifold vac. is within the normal range for the year and milege.
The best advise I could give, is become famililar with your service manual and its OK to stop by garages and dealers and car shops, to ask good questions about a problem or project you are ramping up to fix.

Good luck,
Lt1

EDIT: As mentioned earlier... don't buy a distributor on ebay, Autozone or advance auto or any good parts store will give you a perfect match for your year and model car... plus it'll be brand new.
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