Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

98 Civic ex stalls while driving

I bought my car and it was running perfect. It started out of the blue just shutting off while driving I figured it was something in the ignition so I changed the ignition switch ignition coil and ignition fuse. Car ran great until about a week ago. I noticed it started to shut off again and I couldn’t figure out why. This morning it started right up I drove to work no problems even stopped to get gas. I go out on my lunch break and start the car no problems until I drove off from work. I got maybe a minute up the road and it shut off I let it sit for about 5 minutes and it started right back up and drove back to work no problems. Well after work I started it up and no problems until I started driving home. A normal 5 minute drive turned into a 45 minute drive. I have stuck every available dollar I have into the car and can’t figure out why it’s doing this. Any information would be amazing. I honestly and lost at what it could be. I mean I have changed the ignition switch ignition coil plugs wires iac vavle and it still hasn’t fixed the car. Idk if it helps but it’s a d16y8 vtecm the top end was rebuilt about 2 months ago and Pistons and ring redone. I mean I’ve put way to much money into the car and would like to be able to get in it drive to work and not worry about if it’ll make it.

If it has been hot out, one thing that has been a problem is the main fuel relay. It gets hot and shuts the fuel pump down. They won’t admit there is a problem but fairly common I’m told. Mine was about $60 when I bought it some years ago. When it shuts down you can listen by the tank to see if you hear the pump running or not just when you turn the key on. It’ll normally go on for a few seconds and then stop until you turn it to start.


If the car is turning over but not starting, Bing’s suggestion makes sense.

But what is the car doing when it does not start? Turning over at its usual speed? Slowly? Not turning over at all?

I think the OP said it stalls while driving, so nothing to do with the starter. I guess the other thing would be to check for spark when it won’t start in case its a distributor problem but if you don’t hear the pump running . . .

1 Like

That makes sense - starter not involved.

It starts no problem. It just doesn’t stay running. I hear the fual pump when the key is in the on position but I have a aftermarket exhaust so it’s kinda hard to hear if it’s on when the car is started. I’ll definitely check out the main relay tho and hopefully that fixes it because I’m honestly sick of putting money into the car. I mean I have people left and right saying ecu but then they can’t tell me the difference between a d16y7 and a d16y8 so I don’t listen to anything they say

Hate to just throw parts at it but that’s what I did. The only other way is to put a fuel pressure gauge on it to see if it loses pressure when it stalls. I had one taped on my windshield for a while on my Buick.

I took the back seat out and the fual pump kick on no problems and I took the battery to my local AutoZone and replaced it car started up just fine and ran until I pushed the clutch and put it in first and went to take off car shut off again. My car is literally dam near brand new under the hood the oldest thing is the transmission and it’s only been in the car a year. I have no clue what else to do

Without knowing which is missing (spark or fuel pressure) I’m inclined to think the problem is in the main relay which was mentioned by Bing or there is a distributor fault.

Your car is (or was…) under a recall for the ignition switch so you could have gotten that for free at the Honda dealer unless the recall was already performed in the past.

This is the relay that can cause your problem.


Good advice above. That relay is a common complaint we hear here on that era of Civic. I think it is inexpensive enough that a common diy’er way to determine if that’s the problem is to just replace it.

I’ve replaced the relay and the car still shuts off while driving. I’ve replaced the relay and even took it to the shop and they can’t seem to figure out why it’s shutting off while driving

Then the problem might be with the crankshaft position sensor.,1998,civic,1.6l+l4,1315633,ignition,crankshaft+position+sensor,7196

If this sensor fails where it doesn’t send a signal the computer, the computer see’s no reason to operate the fuel and ignition systems, and the engine shuts off.


Keep in mind that an ignition switch glitch (all too common) will also randomly cause the engine to stall.
When the switch acts up it shuts off the fuel pump and the ECM.

Guess I steered him wrong. I think he already replaced the switch though so Tester’s might be the next thing to try.

Relay didn’t fix it? Time to bring in the big guns. If I had that problem I’d try to narrow it down to whether it is a spark or fuel problem, as it is almost certainly one or the other. It may take quite a few tests before you can narrow it down to one thing. I think what I’d do first – b/c it is easy to do – is set up two volt meters where I could see them as I was driving . One to monitor the power supply to the ignition module, and the other to monitor the power supply to the fuel pump. If either voltage drops precipitously just before the stall occurs, I’d have a pretty good clue.

This all assumes the engine runs fine otherwise, except for when it just all of a sudden and for no reason stalls. If you feel lucky, try driving the car with just a single key in the ignition, and see if that helps. Remove all the other keys from the key ring. If it helps, points to a problem with the ignition switch.

The first thing I would do, is to connect a fuel pressure tester to the test port, and monitor it as I drove around the block. When it stalls you should be able to tell if the pressure dropped. If it did not drop, then the problem is spark.


1 Like

I only have 1 key on that goes in the ignition. I have never been big on carrying multiple keys and having the extra waight hanging out from my ignition. I’ll have to try the fual pressure test I know it’s not a problem with spark. I just redone the distributor ignition coil spark plugs and wires

If you replaced both the ignition module and the tdc/ckp/cvp sensor as part of the new distributor, you are probably correct, not a spark problem. Absent a faulty new part among that mix, the only other thing in the ignition system that would likely cause this symptom is the battery power input. You might check the fuses for that circuit, make sure none are cracked. Fuses involved are 41, 42 (under hood) and 9 (under dash). There’s a couple of recalls on the ignition switch; those have been done already I presume.

You do realize that if the crankshaft sensor fails, the new distributor, ignition coil, spark plugs and wires aren’t going to function?