Fuel problems with my 1988 honda accord

I been having occasional problems starting my 1988 honda accord. It also sometimes dies when im stopped for too long. The problem has gotten worse more recently. The engine will rev and struggle to start. After it dies out i often have to let it sit a while before im able to start it. As i am trying to start it im smelling gasoline.

I thought for sure it was the fuel pump so i had it replaced and is still giving me problems. Today i had to give up and come back to it later. It is fuel injected… anyone know what the problem might be?


You smelled gas and concluded that it was a bad fuel pump? This car has an electric fuel pump in the gas tank. It could hardly be a bad fuel pump.
Give up on trying to diagnose it for free, you can’t afford anymore of that.
Either take this 28 year old car to a mechanic or scrap it. Note, real mechanics are not usually found at lube shops, tire shops or any national chains. And don;t take a 28year old car to a dealer, find a local independent shop.
I didn’t hazard a guess about what your problem is because you have given us so little information that it would be just wild speculation.

Fuel pump relay. Also called pgm-fi relay.
It’s under the dash on the drivers side.
If you can solder, it can be opened up and re-solder the pc board.
I used to own an '88 LXi. Had the same issue.
In the mean time when it acts up give the under panel of the dash a sharp whack with the palm of your hand.
I once rescued a lady and her 2 kids in the parking lot of a grocery store that way.

A bad PGM/FI relay would prevent the fuel pump from operating.

Yet, the OP smells gasoline?


On the first start of the day it isn’t that unusual to notice a slight gasoline smell from the exhaust. I’m a frequent pedestrian and notice that often as other drivers start their car as I walk by. The engine computer has to enrich the mixture quite a bit , like 4-8 times more gas than a warm engine, to start a cold engine, and some of that extra gas comes out the tailpipe. If OP only notices the gas smell during cold starts, my guess is that is the explanation.

If the stubborn start problem isn’t caused by the guesses above, the relay, another guess is the fuel pressure is leaking down between starts due to a faulty fuel pump check valve or a leaking injector. If the rail fuel pressure isn’t at spec you’re very likely to have a stubborn start problem.

Still it would be wise as advised above – especially since this is a potential safety issue – to take this car to a pro for a check-up. With modern cars using the “I guess I’ll replace this, then I guess I’ll replace that” method, it is very easy to run out of money before you run out of guesses.

You refer to a gasoline smell. Does this mean a raw liquid gas smell or an overly rich smell from the tailpipe?
Any black smoke out the tailpipe? Failing fuel pressure regulator maybe?

Have you looked the fuel lines and injectors over under the hood to see if a line or injector seal is leaking?

I’m with oldtimer on this one

Too many more blasts with the shotgun, and OP will be broke

pay somebody to diagnose and repair it

It might just be cheaper and quicker in the long run

When was the fuel filter was replaced??

I missed the gasoline smell line.
That points to the ignition module (AKA ignitor), which is located in the distributor.
If possible test for spark when it’s acting up.
If the car has over 150-200k miles I’d just replace the distributor, which wears out about that mileage anyway.