Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

1994 Acura Legend won't start

My husband has a '94 Acura Legend with 123K miles on it. Recently, we have had intermittent problems starting it. It “acts” like it wants to start - turns over - but then dies. I date myself when I say it sounds like cars did when you had to use a manual choke to get them to start. B/c we can’t duplicate it-happened once in July - but has happened more frequently recently - even happened at our mechanics - the mechanic can’t fix it. What now?

Has anyone replaced the main fuel pump relay? This is a common cause of starting problems in older Honda vehicles, and your Acura, like mine, is a Honda underneath.

The relay is under the dashboard, and often fails in high temperatures, such as when you park the car outdoors on a sunny day and the interior gets hot. But there are also times when the relay fails at completely random intervals, and there is no rhyme or reason.

The relay directs electric power to the fuel pump, or not, depending on whether it’s working. When there is no power to the fuel pump through a bad relay, the fuel pump won’t run, and will not provide fuel to the engine.

No fuel, no start.

My husband now says that I didn’t describe the situation accurately (so why isn’t he writing you might ask?..). It does start very briefly - but then dies. I guess it would be more accurate to say that the engine dies (over and over and over). So, it does start - and then it dies. It does this (on the days when we have problems with it) repeatedly, whether he floors it - or whether he lightly gives it gas. Would the relay still explain this problem? Thanks for your help.

It could be many things. The relay is a possibility. Has a mechanic checked the fuel pressure? If the fuel pump is not providing enough fuel to the engine it will not keep running.

It could also be a temperature sensor problem. If the computer does not get an accurate signal from the sensor, and does not know that the engine is cold, it will not enrich the mixture and the engine will have a hard time starting, at least when it’s cold. Is it also hard to start when the engine is warm?

I’m assuming the car runs and drives alright most of the time. Is this correct?

Try this: Turn the key to ON and wait 5 seconds before turning to START. Does that make any difference?

McP is, as usual, giving you good advice on this. This sounds like a typical fuel delivery or metering problem. The ignition system seems to be working. It The ECU also seems to know the position of the crank, so you can skip things like the crank speed sensor and crank position sensor.

I’d check everything fuel delivery first…the relay, pump, and regulator. If that doesn’t pan out you may be looking at a bad sensor. Perhaps start with the temp sensor. The one that feeds the ECU and tells it to run rich, the engine is cold.