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1993 Honda Accord--Can't Start When HOT!

moobthoj1moobthoj1 Posts: 8
edited March 2014 in Honda
I have a 1993 Honda Accord SE, 4-door with automatic transmission and with about 75,000 miles on it. Whenever the engine is hot after driving for a while, I can't start it once I turned off the engine. It cranks but it won't start. I have to wait for at least 5-10 minutes before I can start the car again. I went to several Honda dealers concerning this matter, but none of them could give me a straight answer. They all said it could be due to a number of things, which will take several hours of electrical diagnostic check-ups, and was going to cost me alot of money. I've heard from friends that it could be due to the distributor, intake manifold, or main relay. Any body out there that have the same problems? Any ideas out there that might help me solve this problem?


  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 58,454
    See if it will start hot with a jump from another car. If it starts right up, get a new battery.

    How old is your battery? More than 3 years? It's time then probably.

    If that test doesn't work try looking into ignition failure. The suggestion of a bad intake manifold is a wild goose chase and not good information, and I have no idea what "main relay" is being talked about. Relay for ????? Fuel pump?

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  • lngtonge18lngtonge18 Posts: 2,228
    My mom's 92 Accord EX went through the same problem. It is a very common problem on Hondas of this vintage. It is one of two things, a bad igniter (Honda's term for ignition coil) or a bad ignition relay. The most likely cause is the igniter. They tend to quit working when they get hot, but will work normally after they cool down, thus the magical ability to restart after letting the car sit for a little while. The igniter is not that expensive, maybe $45-90 and can be easily changed yourself. The relay is only $15. There is a slim possibility you have a distributor problem. Honda recalled 92 Accord EXs for a bad distributor bearing that would freeze up and cause the car to stall and not restart. This affected my mom's car as well, but it came on suddenly and once the car stalled, it refused to restart no matter how long it sat. So I would say your best bet at fixing the problem is replacing the igniter. Good luck, and if you do get it fixed let us know what fixed it as you are one of many that have come in here with the same problem.
  • 2k1trd2k1trd Posts: 301
    Replace the main relay.
  • I have the same exact car with 107K miles on it, and I'm currently experience the EXACT same problems! I've replaced the distributor cap/rotor and plug wires but no luck so far.

    2K1trd, do you mean the main fuel relay or ignition relay as Intonge18 had suggested? Auburn63 (a Honda tech?) in Honda Accords Problems 2 suggested that it is the main fuel relay. BTW, are you in the one in forum too?

    Can I test or check for myself if those things mentioned igniter/igniter relay/main fuel relay are bad w/o having to take it to the shop?

    Thanks in advance!
  • lngtonge18lngtonge18 Posts: 2,228
    I wanted to correct my statement from earlier. I think the relay that went bad was the fuel relay not the ignition relay (which I don't think there is one called this). There isn't much you can do to test these parts yourself. You could just start replacing parts on a trial basis. If you do that, than start with the cheap relay first. If it fixes it, you just saved a shop visit and a lot of money. If it doesn't, then you know it must be the igniter and you only wasted $15 (not really wasted because that relay is a major cause of problems on the 90-93 Accords and it will burn out sooner or later).
  • Thanks for the insight. I'm certain it's the "main fuel relay." I've inquired about this on the Honda-Acura board and have gotten the same, where can I get one for cheaper than dealer price? =)
  • Yes, I agree that it's most likely the main fuel relay.

    You can get factory Honda parts from the following two sites:


    I've ordered from the first, no experience with the 2nd.

    --- Bror Jace
  • Thanks, everyone...for all your inputs. The "main relay" I mentioned is the one that controls ignition starting. That piece costs about $55.00 from the dealer. I'll check into the main fuel relay and ignitor also, to see if they might be the problem with this NO-START thing. About the battery, it couldn't be it bec. it's only 2 years old.
  • 2k1trd2k1trd Posts: 301
    Just go to the dealer and ask for a main relay for your vehicle and your problems will gone.Ive replaced many or these and can remember the dealer telling me they can't keep em in stock!
  • What exactly does the main relay look like and where EXACTLY is it located? I've been told it's next to the cruise control module and right above the fuse box inside of a rectangular box with one connection pointing towards the front? Does it say on the module main relay? One thing I've got going for me at this pt. is if the problem is actually the main relay is that the weather is gettin cooler so it shouldn't such a problem while it's cool? I'm gonna try and do a spark test to make sure I'm getting sparks to eliminate the igniter possibility. BTW, my phreakin Honda dealer is charging $65 for the relay. I can get it for half of that on the net, but I'm worried about returns/warranty issues.
  • lngtonge18lngtonge18 Posts: 2,228
    I wouldn't worry about returns/warranty issues with ordering online, because a relay is not covered under any kind of warranty and you cannot return them whether you buy it online or from the dealer, just like any other electrical component.

    I'm a bit confused now. Is there a relay that controls the ignition and another one that controls the fuel pump? Maybe I was right after all calling the malfunctioning relay the "ignition" relay. I thought I heard it called that, but than everyone in here kept mentioning the fuel pump relay so I figured I was wrong. So what does the "main" relay control?
  • I suffered for seven years with this problem (90 Accord). It was solved once and for all when the main relay was replaced. Up until then, the dealer had replaced ignitions, distributors, batteries and whatever else you care to consider. One trip and $95 at the independent shop solved the problem. This was in 1998, and they told me that they had know about the problem since about 1993. Try to picture this in a part of the country where it is still over 100 degrees at the end of September. Nothing quite like sitting in a car for up to an hour in 110 degree heat waiting to see if it will start.
  • Hey, guys...I just replaced the "main relay" on my 93 Accord. It costed me $54.99 for the part from the dealer and $20.00 labor from a friend who I know works at the local Honda dealer. I don't know if this will cure the NO-START, so only time will tell. I'll let you guys know if this little piece of gadget eliminates the Honda problem.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 58,454
    We'll be waiting impatiently for your report!

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  • Hey, guys...after changing the "main relay" two weeks ago, I have not had any NO-START problems thus far. I think I may have fixed the problem. But only time will really tell. As of now, it's OKAY!
  • Can you tell me where exactly the Main Relay is located, what does it look like? Is it inside that big rectangular gray cover/box just above the fuse box to the left of the brake pedal facing towards the front of the car?
  • I am so happy for you!!! Believe me, you are home free now. I have no doubt about it. I don't know if anyone can imagine the frustration unless they have experienced it, and I just don't know why Honda still claims to know nothing of this rather common problem.
  • I don't know exactly where it might be located on other model years but on my '93 Accord , the main relay is located under the left side of the dash panel...exactly behind the coin box holder. It is about 3.5" long, rectangular shape, gray color, and it has a plug-in only on one side. The easiest way is to go to a local Honda dealer and ask for it. They'll know what it is...perhaps even show you exactly where it is located. I hope this will help.

    Urchin34....yes, definitely...this problem can be so fustrating sometimes. The car died in almost every possible bad places for me. But for now, it does look like I'm home free.
  • I share the same sentiments regarding this faulty Main Relay. I've been calling around to several Honda dealerships, and they seem to know exactly what I'm talking about concerning the start problems and the bad relay. Hopefully by the end of this week, $50 will finally fix the problem and kill the frustration of sittin in the hot while the inside car cools down =) Although, cooler weather will prevail here soon also.


    Thanks for the directions =) I guess I need to unscrew then pry that the cover open to get to the inside where the relay actually resides? Hopefully, the dealer will have some suggestions; but thanks again!
  • I forgot to mention, that sometimes you can get the car to start by hitting underneath the left side of the dash. Look at it this way, though, at least in December-January, the car will usually start without any problem.
This discussion has been closed.