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Honda Accord Random Stalling/Dying

I have an early '90s Honda Accord that runs great almost all the time. Once every few months, it inadvertently dies. It’s happened on the freeway, on normal city streets, and sitting in the parking lot. The car will begin running rough, and the tachometer jumps around from zero up to 4 or 5 thousand before finally conking out. It has happened at least 10 times, and each time I pull over, put the car in park, turn the key to the off position and wait a few minutes. Sometimes the car will crank but not come on, so I wait some more. It has never taken more than 10 minutes to come on again, and then it will work like a dream for another 1 - 3 months.

I took the car to a mechanic who told me they could run diagnostics but it likely wouldn’t happen at the right time, and I’d just be out a $100. (Went a long way to earning my trust!). I’d like to take the vehicle on a road trip for the holidays, but I’m concerned about it’s reliability. What can I do to get this taken care of?

The problem might be with the distributor module. This component provides information to the computer on the RPM’s of the engine. But it also provides a signal to the tachometer on the dash. If the tach is acting erratic, one must assume that the distributor module is also sending these same signals to the computer. And if that’s happening, the engine will shut down.


1st: replace distributor cap (coil feed runs internally through the cap), if this doesn’t fix it replace distributor. Common issue on these cars.
Could also be crankshaft position sensor but my money’s on the distributor.
Sometimes it’s worth the diagnostic check, but neither of these will leave a code.

You could piece-meal the repair; but, replacing the whole distributor could save all that. The re-manufactured distributor come with a warranty. The piece-meal doesn’t. Here it is:,144333/vehicleId,1762301/initialAction,partProductDetail/store,1140/partType,00030/shopping/partProductDetail.htm