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Honda Accord (1994-1997) Maintenance and Repair



  • peterorionpeterorion Posts: 8
    edited December 2010
    Hey, you might find this helpful. There is a Master mechanic named "Eric the car guy" on you tube who owns an integra and has A++ videos regarding no starts for Hondas/Acuras. One is basic diagnostics for no starts and the other is regarding fuel pump issues which he says are rare. The good news is that he provides some cheaper alternatives to scrapping the car altogether. To get to the chase, he has a video about the "main relay" which is easily located and removed to expose a circuit board with soldered connections? which sometime crack? in adverse temps? He shows how to cheaply fix or one could replace it. I just googled the part which he suggests going with original Honda parts OEM? preferably and its showing up as appx a $70 dollar part with a doable do it yourself instruction. After waiting for two weeks for a trusted mechanic to tell me talk to him Monday I am ready to try this in his junkyard lot and drive it away!!!!!! Only thing I can afford is a positive frame of mind. Thanks for letting me know I'm not alone. Sending a message out into space can be somewhat hopeless. Bright Blessings.
  • Here is a link to an ignition system troubleshooter. More info can be found under "main relay fix/overview". Hope this helps:
  • There is also a TSB for battery testing procedures:
  • Corkscrew, I wanted to send my sincerest gratitude for trying to help me out. On a weekend no less!!!
  • jhrostjhrost Posts: 36
    I noticed a sound today which may be a normal one, but it's never attracted my attention in the past. Anyway, I'm curious as to what the explanation for it is. I have a 95 Accord LX 4 door manual transmission. When you turn the key clockwise to the position just before the start or ignition - the number II position (but don't actually start the car) the lights on the display all come on, and I hear kind of a hum, an electronical sort of sound, as if something were being energized. After a moment or two, the sound stops,and the battery light goes out, as well as the display lights for the open doors and trunk. The other display lights remain on. The fan was in the off position when I did this, so that wasn't what was making the noise.

    As I say, this may be normal and I've just never noticed it before, but if it is abnormal, I wonder if it might be diagnostic of some impending problem? In either case (normal or abnormal) I'd be curious as to what is causing the sound and would appreciate any explanation. Thanks.
  • That hum you hear is your fuel pump. lol totaly normal dont trip. have a good holiday
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    Yep; normal. My '96 LX 4-cylinder with an auto does it too - it is indeed the fuel pump. Other cars (not just this series of Accords) do this as well.
  • jhrostjhrost Posts: 36
    Thanks for those replies, explanations, & holiday wishes. :)
  • Much to my dismay the saga continues after 5 weeks and 2 shops. The most recent shop specializes in electrical diagnostics. Their suggestion which sounded more like a request was to replace the distributor. The problem i am having with that is it has a brand new distributor along with spark plugs and wires all of which are OEM. Additionally, my first mechanic supposedly replaced the ICM within the distributor noting they are notoriously problematic. To repost my enigma, the car starts and runs fine in 50 degree weather but cranks and wont start when it is colder than that. Thanks to corkscrew I am armed with a honda troubleshooting link that goes through more info than one could hope to find. My plea is: Is there anyone that can give me their thoughts regarding a TW sensor aka coolant sensor and could one be faulty enough to create a no spark condition when its cold? Also could the Main relay somehow prevent spark in any way? For history's sake both shops are treading down the same path, poopooing the possibility it may be something out of the ordinary. I was told they use the internet as well, maybe the same website? HELP
  • My sons car - lights flicker on and off- clicking noise but engine will not turn over - could this be a starter or ???
  • omarromarr Posts: 88
    I am giving you a couple of WAG's.

    See if you can eliminate the problem to electrical, fuel or mechanical.
    Buy some starting fluid from parts store, Walmart, etc.
    Find a place that you can introduce some of the fluid into the intake air flow,
    Spray some in and see if the engine fires a few times. If it does it is a fuel problem.
    Connect a timing light and see if it light up (flashes) as you try starting. If it does the distributer is probably okay. You can also pull a plug wire and with a plug held on a ground (metal, screw,etc on engine or frame) and see if there is a spark. A spark would also indicate the distributer is okay. Any wire is okay because you are not checking timing.
    Take a heat gun or hair dryer and warm any/all wire connectors, sensors one at a time to see if the problem is affected and the engine starts. this includes the key switch.
    I would think if you had a problem with a sensor there would be a check engine light on. Sensors can cause the problem. Example temperature sensors tell the ECM on how much fuel to supply.
    Reply for follow up.
  • omarromarr Posts: 88
    Try jumper cables to start or have battery checked at parts store.
    Check for bad battery, cables or loose connections.

    Most parts stores will check/charge battery at no cost
  • we replaced the battery about 2 months ago - purchased it from Les Schwab? Any other thoughts?
  • My message is attached to the cold no start msg and it doesn't start due to cold weather. I replaced the timing belt almost 2 years ago and the car has 90k miles - I think after reading your reply it may be the fuel pump as my son is always running the car almost on empty - what your thoughts on this?
  • This dash light is now red. in the past, it went to green after an oil change. not this time. What should I be lookign for to correct??
  • omarromarr Posts: 88
    Are you sure you are looking at a light.
    All the 94's I have seen have a mechanical type indicator that can be reset with pressing the end of your key in at the indicator.
    Whoever that was changing your oil must have been resetting it but not the last time.
  • tallman1tallman1 Posts: 1,874
    As omarr said, look for a slot in the dash near the "light". Insert your key, push, and it will reset to green. It's all mechanical.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,041
    I haven't mentioned it lately, but you members are a godsend. I'd love to know how much money has been saved by members, overall, by you folks posting all of the little tips & tricks, and "before you head for the service center..." ideas.

    Thanks to everyone who takes the time to help!


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  • So I finally have my 97 Accord back with a laundry list of new parts. If anything, it can be learning lesson for me and others. I also wanted to thank omarr for his great advice of troubleshooting with a heat gun/hairdryer and re thank corkscrew for his help as well.Unfortunately it was already in its second garage with time invested so it was left to them. To get to the chase here is what was done in order. First: a new distributor was installed. At first I was leery of this as the seller had pointed out that he had just installed a new one claiming it to be OEM. It turned out that there was a missing set screw which secures the rotor to the shaft within the cap. It was the first one they had seen like that =no set screw and pre drilled hole. So the rotor was just floating? I did ask 2 see and save all the replaced parts to verify this. I was told that it didn't feel as heavy either so I would guess this was a cheap knockoff. Second. ignition switch. In my one and only drive of this car I had a hard time getting the wheel out of lock position making it almost impossible to turn the key. I'm not sure if this was the main culprit of the no start but it was suggested that I replace it so I agreed. New keys etc it turns like new of course. Included with the switch came a new harness. This was a major bonus for me because I was just reading about some harness nightmares with the 97. I'm guessing Honda did this because of complaints. The old harness was split open and had signs of a modification for probably a car alarm. There was also a splice on an individual wire. Third: New coil, tech said that the original tested ok but was weak on 2 of 4 of the legs. It was already apart so I now have a so so backup if I ever need one. Lastly the ECU was from a junkyard. At this point it didn't surprise me but at least I know. So now I have a new problem. My wipers wont work on relay, no wiper fluid and I have to time turning them off so they are in the down position.? Switch or motor? Harness related?
  • jimdempsterjimdempster Posts: 34
    edited January 2011
    Based on the symptoms described, the cause of the engine stalling is caused by fatigue cracking on the soldered fuel main relay mounting tabs.

    This is a Honda ***DESIGN*** problem with the relay - this is one of the few defects in an otherwise very reliable vehicle. The heat produced by normal operation of the relay causes the metal mounting tabs to expand, however the Printed Circuit Board (PCB) is rigidly restrained, so the thermal expansion stress is transmitted through the solder joint. Eventually a high number of thermal cycles causes fatigue cracking in the solder joint (which it was not intended to resist).

    Over a number of years, the crack progresses all the way through the joint, however the car will continue to operate as long as the cracked joint can maintain electrical conductivity (such as when it is cool in the winter). When it gets hot however, the combination of normal relay heating added to ambient temperature will expand the main relay solder joint apart and the fuel pump will lose electrical power (and the engine will stall).

    The reason you may not have seen the crack when inspecting it visually is that the crack is finer than a human hair (you will need a 10X magnifying glass to see it - but it is there). The joint will test fine electrically when it is cold, but fail when it is hot. (If you have electrical ability and a schematic from the library, you can *manually* jumper the relay to perform the function the relay ought to performing. The stalled engine will start up and run normally - I operated for several months 'hot-wiring' the relay until I could get time to repair the relay - but I don't recommend this if you can just fix the relay).

    If you're cash-strapped (who isn't these days?) and have a little mechanical ability, you can repair the part yourself (or have a friend do it). You'll need some socket wrenches with extensions to move some electrical boxes out of the way under the dash so the relay can be removed. Pop off the cover on the relay and look at the solder joints under a magnifying glass - there will be an extremely fine crack in the solder joint. Just re-solder the joint to "reset" the solder joint back to factory initial condition (only the main relay tabs are affected, and usually only one joint has a fatigue crack) and reassemble. You will get the same amount of life out of the relay you got the first time (~50,000).

    Alternatively, take the car to the shop and have them replace the relay (~$70 plus labor - takes about 15 minutes if you've done it before). Your engine stalling will be a thing of the past (for the next 50,000 miles anyway - it will last as long as the first relay did).

    Honda is aware this is a problem: I've replaced 4 relays on my and my friend's Hondas - they must have replaced virtually ALL of them. Honda is reluctant to fix the problem. A simple "Z-shaped" stress-relief notch in the PCB (which is commonly done in the consumer electronics world) would reduce the stress below the point it would become a problem. Honda probably figures that 50,000 mile failures will be beyond any warranty problem, and scrapping inventory would be $$$, so the problem persists. The replacement relay you would purchase WILL possess the same exact design defect.

    This is a simple, quick fix for a known common problem on Hondas of this vintage.

    There is a remote possibility that the fuel pump has some weird problem whereby it doesn't produce enough fuel pressure, but this is unlikely. Harbor Freight Tools has a pressure gage ($9) to check the fuel pressure in the injector rack. If the fuel pump is weak, it will register a low pressure on the gage, but a fuel pump is expensive to replace (~$400+) but I've not seen this problem on Hondas. Could be a flaky electrical connection also, but it is *99% sure* it is the fuel main relay.

    Your low idle speed is likely a separate issue. Yes, a low fuel pump pressure could cause low idle speed, but if the pressure was THAT low you'd have problems accelerating away from a stop sign and the car would never operate smoothly.

    Check the basics: The idle speed is computer-controlled, so you would suspect junk in the idle circuit, or more likely, a vacuum leak or unplugged/improperly plugged/cracked vacuum line. Replace any and all suspect vacuum lines (look for cracked rubber). If that doesn't fix the problem, look for vacuum leaks in the manifold area. Check your spark plug gaps. Check for proper operation of the Positive Crankcase Valve (PCV) valve or replace (it's not expensive) and clean out the manifold ports. If all of these items are in good condition, you ought to get a good idle. If not, you have a more complex situation and will need some tools to diagnose - at least the problem will be repeatable and not intermittent or unpredictable (like the relay).
  • jchopyjchopy Posts: 1
    My 04 Pilot heater control is not working. When set to Lo I get AC (as expected) but anything above that is full heat. No in-between. Has anyone heard of this or know of a manual or docs that describe the heater control?
  • Just a suggestion, you may want to weed through this sight to reach a forum that might relate to your vintage/year of Honda/Make. I believe you are posting in the 1994-1997 Accord page. Out of curiosity, I was wondering if you also had a separate AC button as well? If so is that light engaging?
  • woodywwwoodyww Posts: 1,803
    A buddy of mine has a '97 Accord w/90K miles. Says it need new struts--it sure seems like it, it rides like a "log wagon"--& the local gas station quoted him $1600 for 4 new struts (!). That sounds insane to me. He also just bought 2 new Yoko. Avids for the fronts--I'm wondering if the worn struts could be wearing out the tires.

    Questions: What should struts cost installed, & what kind to get, & where? I saw someone here got Monroes. Or would OEM Honda struts be best, perhaps installed at a Honda dealer? TIA for any advice.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,826
    I would think for a car like that something like KYB struts would be fine. The price of parts and installation rather depends on how much you do---if you include struts + strut mounts + 4 wheel alignment + strut mounting fork, that could all get pricey.

    But roughly, ball park? Maybe $1000 -- $1200 bucks for quality parts and quality repairs. Maybe if you cut every corner, $750 to $800.

    Or you can do a down and dirty chain store version but they'll probably try to oversell you.

    And yes, weak struts can wear out tires, mostly definitely---it would be called "cupping" and once a tire exhibits cupping, it's toast.

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  • Most of that $1600 is in labor, not parts.
    You didn't describe the type of tire wear. While the struts could contribute to tire wear, it would more likely be the **'scalloped'** type of wear. If you have, however, wear on the **edges** of the tires, this is more likely due to alignment, and/or not rotating tires on schedule (every 5,000 mi). At 90k miles you should be looking at replacing suspension ball joints too.

    If you push down on the fender and the car bounces up more than 1.5 times, the shocks/struts are worn. I have 200k on my Accord and the original struts are still fine - just depends on your situation.
  • Going to try that, THANK YOU so much. My odometer only worked part of the time and was going to change the whole assembly. Both my cruise and speedometer worked just fine.
  • I have the same problem with my 96 Accord only it's my passenger side high beam not working. I changed out my whole head light assembly for both sides and still no high beam on passenger side and me drl don't work. Any ideas? PLEASE?
  • I bought this car almost a year ago for $2850, it had only 102K miles, leather interior was flawless, a couple of dings on the exterior, no big deal. After about a month, I noticed the brake pedal sometimes sunk to the floor, had the master cylinder replaced ($450), about 2 months later, the car overheated on the freeway, had to be towed as the cap came off the coolant reservoir and lost all the coolant, fried the radiator cap. Replaced radiator cap, and a week later car overheated again, towed home and took to shop where they replaced the radiator and cap ($200), car started running a little rough so took it to shop for major tune up ($200), no change in rough idle of car which is now worse. Was advised to get front and rear brakes and alignment done ($250) which I did. Temperature gauge stopped working and had temperature sensor replaced ($75), noticed that car would shake and idle rough at stoplights and temp gauge would raise toward HOT when doing so, noticed radiator fan was not coming on when engine got hot. Radiator fan tested fine by mechanic, so he replaced engine coolant switch and thermostat ($85). Started to notice somewhat loud noise when accelerating after shifting while driving, made the car sound like a junk bucket (to me). Lately, gas mileage has decreased noticeably, there is a loss of power, and sometimes while driving, the car feels like it's floating, for lack of a better term, as if it's not getting any gas for a second or two, only air. I know this sounds weird, but it's freaking me out! Also, over the last few days, when stopped at a light, I've felt the brake pedal sink, not all the way down, but alarmingly similar to when the master cylinder was failing. Tonite coming home from work, the car was really shaking when idling at a stoplight, and the dash lights dimmed briefly twice while at the stoplight. I know I probably need to replace the timing belt and water pump since I have no confirmation it's been done. This car now has 108,000 miles, only 6,000 more than it did when I bought it a year ago, and starting today, I am smelling something like burnt plastic while driving. Did I buy a lemon, is this car worth putting more money into, or should I cut my losses? I don't feel safe driving this car!
  • omarromarr Posts: 88
    I do not mean anything disrespectful, but it appears you are not able to do any of the repairs yourself. If you are going to own any older vehicle you must be able to do the repairs your self or have a willing friend to help.
    From what I read you have been taken to the cleaners a few times as they say.
    With a little time and about $150.00 dollars would have taken care of all your problems.

    I suggest you sell it to sell it to some one who can give it a good home.
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