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Fluttering Honda Accord


I have a problem with my '95 Honda Accord EX. The symptoms are as follows: fluttering RPMs, with loss of acceleration (and sounding like a go-kart). The idle sputters, and when the engine is turned off, smoke came from out under the hood. Bear in mind, though, that I drove it twice since this problem occurred, and had it towed to a mechanic.

Before I took it to the mechanic, my father and I pulled the spark plug wires one at a time, and only on one cylinder did the engine NOT bog down. So we switched spark plugs with another cylinder, and to no avail, the same cylinder as before did not yield a change in the engine’s condition. So we figured it’s not the spark plug. Furthermore, the mechanic said the compression test was fine.

A link below is how the car sounds. Note the sound of the exhaust at the end.


The mechanic has provided a diagnosis saying that the distributor needs to be replaced (oil had leaked internally) and that this also caused the timing belt to jump a few teeth.

Does this sound right?



“…we switched spark plugs with another cylinder, and to no avail…”.
But, did you switch the spark plug WIRE?
[The mechanic said:] “…the timing belt has jumped a few teeth…”!
Your mechanic, not the same language, is speaking, to me. If the timing has jumped “a few teeth”, ALL (many) of the valves could/would be bent. In such an event, the engine should not be run, even!

No, I did not change the wire, just the plugs.

The mechanic said the engine internally was okay. According to him, the distributor caused the engine to misfire, and that sent the timing belt to be off a little. The engine does run, though.

If the timing belt is off a few degrees, or teeth, that is a major engine flaw. That would indicate that the timing belt had slipped. You should be absolutely certain that the timing belt has no more than 100,000 miles on it. You must KNOW, not GUESS.
Maybe, the mechanic meant that the ignition timing is off. Well, he can use a timing light, jumper the service check connector (two pin connector), and adjust the timing by turning the distributor.
A defective distributor can cause misfire. Replace with a re-manufactured distributor (about $175). Don’t use a junker.
A defective PGM-FI (aka “Main relay”), about $60, can also cause stalling, and difficult starts.
The third suspect is the ignition switch (about $60).

The timing belt was replaced less than 100k miles ago. I checked the previous owner’s information.

The mechanic mentioned nothing about the ignition timing or anything. By the way, there is no CEL on.

I got the car back at my house now (towed), so I will be replacing the distributor first, then towing it somewhere for the timing belt. The problem was really with difficult starts. It would run, but just very rough.

Thanks. :slight_smile: