2004 Accord 4 Cyl Won't Start

Hi everyone,

I have an 04 Accord that wont start. There have been two times the past month or so when it was like -20 degrees out and I had to jump it to start. The other day, its like 40 degrees, and it wont start. I’m thinking, well it must be the battery. So I buy a new battery and that doesn’t solve the issue either. I had the battery tested and its good–checked all the connections/grounds. All my dash lights/radio work. The wipers work, albeit a bit slow. Replaced the starter relay–still no luck. Any thoughts? Here’s a video of what it’s doing: https://streamable.com/yh1nr

Seems to be turning over fairly well, so the battery may be getting run down and could use a charge, but it’s not too weak to start the engine.

No spark, or no fuel? Test for no fuel: turn the key from Off to Run (not all the way to Start.) The fuel pump should run for a couple seconds. You may hear it. Do this Off - Run Off a few times. Each time more fuel and fuel pressure should be brought up to the engine. Then turn the key all the way to Start. What happens?

Hard to tell in the video, but do you have a check engine light illuminated? If so the code or codes are important.

This is just a feeling but I don’t notice any compression events in the way it is turning over…it seems to be turning over a little too easily, too smoothly. This is usually indicative of valve train timing chain/belt problems. But again this was just a thought when listening and watching the video. The engine didn’t vibrate in any way…almost akin to when you turn an engine over without the spark plugs…if this makes any sense to you.

If it was running prior then its more than likely something else, way to premature to go on that video and my “feeling” about it. Perhaps others might notice the same thing.

If there is a CEL it would be very good to know those codes.

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I concur with what @Honda_Blackbird stated. It sounds like the timing belt has broken and the camshafts of the engine aren’t turning. A compression test will prove that case.


There is a timing chain in this year Accord with the 4-cyl engine.

Remove the gas cap.

Listen down fill tube as someone turns the ignition to the on position.

You should hear the fuel pump run for a second or two and then shut off.

If you don’t hear anything, the problem might be with the PGM-FI main relay.


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Check your negative ground cable on the other end from the battery.

The engine is turning over fairly well, so that is probably not the problem.

That is all we have so far.

Did you watch the video?

Does anyone else think this is turning over in a “mushy” fashion. I know its probably not possible to tell…but I cannot shake that feeling I got when watching the video.

For the OP’s sake I hope my feeling is incorrect…I really do I’m sure that I am incorrect as they state the vehicle was running fine previously…

If I didn’t think it sounded mushy… I would have said to investigate or replace the PGM/Fi relay A la the “Resurrect your Honda” handbook clearly lists as one of the best ways to bring your Honda back from the dead.

OP here. Yeah it definitely sounds a bit off to me. Not like the normal start up. It was running absolutely fine. I drove it to work and when I went to leave for lunch–it wouldn’t start. It would crank for a second and then nothing. If I kept trying to start it—eventually it would do nothing/make no noise. I tapped my starter and now it is consistently making the noise in that video.

I just watched and listened to the video again and my feeling hasn’t left me. I do not hear the irregular sounding “turn over” meaning I dont hear any compression events. Its akin to turning the engine over with the spark plugs removed.

Now I honestly hope I am wrong because this is suggestive of a serious issue and that issue would be a broken timing chain. A vote against this would be that you just drove it and parked while it was running just fine…and then on the other hand the chain issue can happen at any moment…even during a turn over of the engine prior to starting.

So, I don’t know… its a serious thing that I am suggesting here so I truly hope I am incorrect, but my feeling hasn’t gone away after watching the video 3X.

One sure fire way to check is to remove the valve cover…and if this were my vehicle I would do so as that is no big deal in my world, but to suggest this to you is a bit more problematic…

I would much rather suggest something much less serious like the Main relay for the PGM/ Fi

I know that @Cougar concurs with my bleak feeling here… Anyone else?

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Missed it sorry.

If you hear a whirring noise from the starter motor with the key in “start” but it doesn’t sound like the engine is turning along with the starter motor (no compression events), ask an assistant to watch the crankshaft pulley to see if it is turning or not. If the crank pulley isn’t turning, your starter motor may have failed. It might be turning internally, but doesn’t poke out the gear to engage the flywheel for example. I had a newly purchased starter motor fail that way right out of the box one time. Another failure mode is the starter motor is ok , but the gears are stripped on the flywheel.

If you watch the video, the motor turns over, but sounds like no compression.

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A number of assistants have viewed the video, the crankshaft, belt and pulleys are turning. The engine sounds like there is no compression, valve/piston problem.

Another thing that can cause a no-compression sound is a flooded engine. Check for wet spark plug tips.

A flooded engine will have increased compression.

May be a semantics issue. The article above says the gasoline in a flooded engine coats the cylinder walls and that prevents the rings from fully sealing. My only direct experience is when I rebuilt my truck’s carb. On the first attempt the new power valve failed and leaked gasoline from the fuel bowl into the intake manifold. When I’d crank the engine after it sitting for 30 minutes (after a drive) it acted like it had reduced compression, higher than normal cranking rpm, taking very long cranking times to start. Maybe how it shows up depends on how much flooding has occurred. I had a severely flooded engine on my VW Rabbit one time, and didn’t notice increased cranking rpm. But it was so flooded it wouldn’t start at all.