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2001 Honda Accord will not start - sometimes

edited August 2012 in Repair and Maintenance
All,
Any help would be appreciated.

I have a 2001 Accord coupe with 148K on it. This car is very well maintained as we perform all services and oil changes on time. During the past 2 months, the car has not wanted to start 5 times. When this started happening the car would crank quickly, strong battery, and would fire after the fourth or fifth attempt. The last 2 times the car would not start. I came back later and it cranked right up. Yesterday I drove the car in the early morning and parked it all day. When I came back around 4 it would not start. I cranked it repeatedly about 6 - 8 times, not joy... So I came back this morning and it cranked right up. The car drives very smoothly with good power and no missing ignition. We had this in the shop last week and they found nothing wrong but cleaned the throttle body and replaced the plugs.

We can't use this car now for anything other than local trips to the store until the issue is resolved. My wife thinks it has something to do with sitting in the warm sun, although we live in Maine and it doesn't get hot like down south. Looks like that is the only trend we can see at present.

Ideas would be greatly appreciated....

Many thanks,
Mark
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Comments

  • edited August 2012
    You're describing the classic problem with the main fuel pump relay being effected by the temperature inside the vehicle.

    The main fuel pump relay is located under the dash above the drivers left knee. Over time the solder joints in the relay crack. Then when the interior of the vehicle reaches a certain temperature be it hot or cold, the solder joints in the relay open up to where the fuel pump gets no voltage. So the engine cranks but won't start. Once the interior of the vehicle reaches the perfect temperature where the solder joints reconnect, the engine starts with no problem.

    Tester
  • Many Hondas of this era are under a Recall for faulty ignition switches and this can cause problems such as the one your car is having.
    A quick look shows yours is under a switch Recall but not for that reason. This has more to do with the interlock than an electrical breakdown.

    However, just because your car is not under a Recall for failed switch contacts does not mean the switch is fine. Many non-covered cars suffer the same problems as the covered ones but politics being what it is, the car makers often succeed in keeping the damage to a minimum as far as numbers go.

    Just something for consideration anyway.
  • edited August 2012
    Thanks everyone for the pointer on the pump relay. Too bad the local repair shop didn't know about this. From the image on the website this looks like a user replaceable part assuming I can find it and reach it.

    Many thanks for the advice. Now on to my squeaky leaf springs on my Tacoma pickup.. :}
  • TESTER HIT THIS SQUARELY ON THE HEAD.....EXTREMELY COMMON ISSUE.....

    When you go to start the car next ..PAY ATTENTION....when you turn the key to the "run" position...you SHOULD see all your dash lights illuminate AND hear your fuel pump prime up...YES you CAN hear it.... If all these items took place.....it will run.... If they did NOT...im sure it will not start.....and if you knew where your main relay was...you could tap on it.....and i bet the lights would light up...and the pump would prime....

    The contacts inside the main relay get burnt....or eroded over time and dont make the proper electrical connections to enable the car to start and run.....This is Massively common on this vehicle... You can actually repair the relay....by cleaning the contact points inside of it....but most people just swap it out...

    Tester nailed it....this is the VERY FIRST thing I would try

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