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93 Honda Accord Died after refueling

My 93 Honda Accord died yesterday after filling up the tank. I was driving about 30 miles an hour, and only made it 4 blocks from the gas station. When I filled up, I didn’t “top it off”, but I did notice that it needed a lot of gas- about 13 gallons. I don’t remember if I fully tightened the cap or not. I was in drive when it died, even though I had my foot on the gas pedal. When it died, the battery and oil light went on; it wouldn’t restart, and smelled pretty foul. The engine wasn’t over heating- just no power.

Over the past few weeks when the car is in park, the RPM will surge, but it doesn’t happen when it is in gear. Other than that and the car stalling on the road, there haven’t been any problems with it.

I had it towed to a local repair shop that I trust. They looked at the gas to see if it was contaminated, but it came out clean. They said the car started right up, and they didn’t find anything wrong with it.

I am happy to have a working car, but scared to have it die again in rush hour on my way to work. Any idea of what happened, or what I could do in the future?


First, the cap. That won;t cause an engine to stall, so it’s a non-issue.
The battery and oil lights will normally go on when the engine stalls. Again, nothing to worry about.

Your engine has a device called an Idle Air Control Valve that, if malfunctioning, could cause both surging and stalling. I’d ask for that to be checked, perhaps cleaned, and because of the age of the car and the fact that a failing fuel pump can also cause these symptoms, also have the fuel pump checked out. I’d probably check the vacuum lines for signs of a leak too, again because of the car’s age.

Post back with the results. We do care.

Or the infamous Honda fuel pump relay.

Relay generally prevents the car from hot-starting. It does not usually stall the car once it’s already running.

@shadowfax - I disagree. My 94 Previa died on the New York State Thruway on Christmas Eve. It would start right up after a few minutes and run for a little while then die. I had it brought to the Toyota dealer and, after a fuel pump relay was replaced, it was all good.

@bloody_knuckles That’s a Toyota. Honda main relays from that era tend to die such that they won’t kick over again when you restart the car after the relay has gotten hot, but once they’re kicked over, they’ll stay kicked over till you turn the car off.

shadowfax that is true usually, but I’m just saying.