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Honda fuel pump relays - a possible easy test/solution: give it a dope slap!

I heard this problem discussed on the Oct 23, 2010 show and wanted to tell people a solution that seems to work (at least it has twice for me): when my 1993 Civic acts like it doesn’t have gas (only in hot weather and usually when I have started it once or twice in quick succession), I have opened the front door and, while still cranking the engine, given the side of the dashboard a good, firm slap with my open hand. Both times, my car started immediately.

My theory was - and is - that the hot fuel pump relay sticks and just needs a little shock to move. Since it is in the dashboard, I figured a dope slap couldn’t hurt ;).

If it works for you great - it’s a lot cheaper than replacing the relay and it might get you out of a jam.

Also, my father did replace the relay in his Civic but still has the problem. I am dying to try the slap method to see if it works in his case…

You can buy a new relay for $25. Why risk getting stuck somewhere when the dope slap method stops working?

I have seen people handle issues like this is the same way before. When you ask why the side of the dash is caved in they say it is because their car sometimes requires more than one “dope slap” to get it to start.

This method is temporary, you should feel lucky you have been given some kind of advance warning that an issue is present instead of taking advantage of the warning.

A couple months ago I helped a family stuck in a parking lot with an old Accord by giving the dash a whack.

The problem with the relay (I’ve opened a couple up and fixed them) is a solder joint that crystallizes because part of the assembly inside gets pretty hot during operation.
Just pry open the case and re-solder.

I have the same problem with my Accord. However it does not do it only in hot weather. But always does it after a considerable amount of driving with stopping and starting again (5-6 times). (I am a delivery driver.) AT that point, when the problem comes, the car is always well heated. It does it in the winter, as well.
Do you guys think it might be the same problem - the fuel pump relay?

Does yours respond to the dashboard whack?
If your Accord is more than 5 years old it’s worth it to put a new one in.

Today I tried the dope slap for the first time and did not seem to work. Most of the time the car starts but after several trials and with a lot of stepping on the gas pedal. So I was like usual able to start it today when the problem occurred, but when I tried the slap it did not seem to help.
The Accord is 10 years old. When you say “worth put a new one” do you mean the relay (which I hope for) or the Accord?

Yes, I meant replace the relay.

With the drivers door open and the stereo off try listening for the fuel pump running for a few seconds each time you turn the key to the ‘run’ position, without cranking.
The sound will come from the rear wheel area (pump is in the gas tank).

Do you mean when the problem comes up or whenever?
Just turning the key on and off a few times? And what exactly should be listening for? Whether I hear the fuel pump running in the back - if it is then the problem is not the relay? Or I don’t think in the right direction?
Thank you very much.