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!999 Honda Accord No Start

This is a continuation of a previous post, but time has passed and work has been done, and possibilities eliminated, so I thought a new post was in order.

1999 Honda Accord, about 200k miles, no start, the problem is spark. What I’m trying to figure out is why I don’t have enough spark. I’ll upload a video soon, but right now I’ll just have to describe it: When cranking I get a few bursts of orange spark but then the spark stops. I can keep cranking for 2, 3, 4 seconds, but I won’t get more spark. Tested at the coil, as well. There’s a longer burst of initial spark there, but ends the same.

No check engine light (with key on, obvs. can’t do it with engine running).

Brand new distributor in the car.

Key Immobilizer light is not on. (I’ve read the immobilizer can get flaky. Appears to be working normally on this car.)

Ignition switch has been tested and is working normally. (Another potential issue on Hondas of this vintage.)

Battery has been fully charged.

I haven’t tested the starter motor, maybe I should look at that? It seems to be getting slower. (Been working on this car awhile; cranking it a lot.) [Ok, just checked an Eric the Car Guy video - “if the engine cranks at all, it isn’t the starter.” ]

Oh Mikey…still no sparky? I recall requesting a new distributor…AND coil…did you replace both?

I dont normally suggest two parts at once and we cover way more than two parts between the distributor and the new coil…but this is in the interest of getting you running…quicker.

Wish I was there…only then could I produce the ONE part that failed…but trying to condense 27yrs of experience into any post is difficult.

Be honest…did you buy a new coil as well? If not…go get one.


You mentioned that the battery is well charged. Does this mean that you must keep this car on a charger to get enough power to try another attempt at starting it. Then you must leave it sit charging before you attempt any more tries at starting it.

If so, then get a new battery. The battery may have the correct voltage when you first hit the key, but after a few rotations of the engine, the battery is lower than the needed voltage…hence the weakened spark.


@“Honda Blackbird” Yep, whole new distributor, which on this model has the coil inside. So all that should be fine.

@Yosemite I could go get the battery tested…the battery is less than a year old, but it did sit for awhile out of charge…I had a leak (fuse in the wrong place, turned out) fixed it, and re-charged the battery.

I’d have that battery load tested.


Ok, had it load tested, and its good.

The signal to spark comes from the computer. You will need a wiring diagram or a Factory service manual or a subscription to All Data or equivalent to get what you need. You could have a bad wire between the distributor and the PCM or rarely, a bad driver in the PCM.

Another possibility is a bad wire or connection between the camshaft position sensor inside the distributor and the PCM.

Visually inspect the wiring. It is rare for the issue to be in the wire harness itself, and if it is, you should see damage to the sheath or conduit. Most often it is at the ends of the wires where they attach to the connector.

If there is no visible damage to the harness, unplug the PCM and plug it back in. Maybe there is a little corrosion on one of the pins and the unplugging and plugging will abrade it off.

BTW, your new computer did come with a new cap and rotor didn’t it?

@keith New dist. came with a cap and rotor, yes.

I inspected the wiring best I could, looks good.

I have a factory service manual - path to distributor is fairly straightforward. Battery - fuse - fuse - ignition switch - fuse - ignition coil.

Here’s the video of the spark off my coil.

Should also (re)mention - Did an ecu swap on this car. Pulled an ecu out of a salvage yard. After the swap the car ran for a little bit - drove it not half a mile. Then the car died and I’ve been trying to get it restarted since.

The clip on your spark tester has to be grounded. Maybe it was but it didn’t look like it was in the video.

The path you describe is not complete. From the coil it goes to ground through a wire to a power transistor in the PCM. This is what triggers the collapse of the magnetic field around the primary windings of the coil.

The transistor is gated on (triggered) by a signal from the CPU that uses inputs from the cam position sensor to time the trigger.

@keith Forgot to mention that - it was grounded, had a jumper cable running from it to the neg battery terminal.

Found the camshaft sensor. Researching how to test it.

Ok…two magnetic sensors, way down on either side of the crankshaft underneath the timing belt cover…woohoo. Not going to be able to get that done tonight…raining out and not enough light left. Will update y’all with what I find when I find it.

If the vehicle has the V6 engine, the problem might be with the crankshaft position sensor.


4 cyl, but appears to have a similar sensor. This one.

Well, if crank sensor has failed where the computer isn’t getting a signal from it, the computer see’s no reason to operate the ignition and fuel systems because the computer doesn’t think the engine is rotating or turning over.


Hows about the Crank position sensor…under the t belt cover ? When they fail…no spark.

ALSO… You need to look up the ECU serial numbers as well as the year of your particular vehicle…Make SURE THE ECU PINOUTS are what they are supposed to be. All the diagnostics in the world wont save you if the ecu is not alligned with the pinouts you have in your harness and where they go.


@“Mike Wretzel” I got to thinking after that it must have been grounded somehow, you weren’t doing the sparky dance.

If it was the crank sensor that was bad. I doubt that he;s get spark on the first revolution and then no spark.


@“Honda Blackbird” ECU serial’s match up, both paa-L61’s.