1991 honda civiv Help!

civic
honda

#1

I have a 1991 manual Honda Civic. It normally runs great but today it had some problems. I am driving downhill and suddenly the battery and oil light both turn on at the same time. As I start into a turn I realize that I have lost power steering and power brakes. I pulled over after a few hundred yards when I got the chance and turned the car off. After 30 seconds I turned it back on and it sounded different. Almost as if the car was kind of sputtering but when I revved the engine I could tell the sounds were different and they didnt seem connected. I turned it off again and popped the hood, after a very UN thorough 5 minute inspection I turned it back on. The sounds was gone, it started up fine and it run completely fine the entire ways home which was about 10 minutes of driving.



Am I in the clear? is it just getting old? or should I take it in and can this be serious?


#2

It sounds like you lost electric power for some reason. It may have been a ignition lock, battery cable, ground wire etc. It may have been a one time event or it may be the beginning of more.

I would check and clean/tighten both ends of each battery cable and hope that was all there was. Hopefully someone smarter than me (and there are a lot of them) will be able to offer some more specific ideas.

If it happens again I would start seriously looking for an answer.  (Note if you have a lot of keys and other things on your key ring, you may have damaged the ignition switch.) 

The other observed noises etc. can be explained by a power issue as well.

Good Luck and drive carefully.


#3

It’s possible for there to have been a momentary electrical power loss which shut off the engine; but, I think the engine lost, either, fuel or spark.
The fuel filter is fairly easy to change. It is right there in the engine compartment. Next, check electrical connections to the battery, to metal (ground wires). Since the problem is intermittent, it is hard to find the cause. It could be the ignition switch (not the key part, but the wire part), in the distributor, or the PGM-FI relay (which controls electrical power to fuel pump and the fuel injectors).

I’ve asked before, on this Cartalk Board, if there are any mechanics or shops, who use a tool specifically designed for intermittent problems like yours, called What Quit First?. It’s connected to your car’s electric fuel pump power circuit, fuel injector circuit, ignition (spark), and left on until the problem happens again. It, then, shows which of those quit first (hence, its name) and caused the engine shutdown. Knowing this, the search area, for the culprit, is much reduced. The use of the tool, What Quit First?, could save some customers enough in the cost of wrongly replaced parts, to pay for itself ($400) the first time it’s used. Here is the tool What Quit First? http://www.lenehanresearch.com/what_quits_first.htm