Honda starting problem

my 99 accord has me and my mechanics baffled. starting about 4 years ago, it has an intermittent starting problem. it cranks and I have power to the radio etc, but it won’t start. when I have it towed, it starts right up at the repair shop. the problem occurs whether its hot/cold/wet or dry.there seems to be no pattern, it was roughly 1 year between incidents, but recently that has dropped to about every 3 months. over time, the mechanics have replaced an ignition key, a fuel pump relay,and the distributor. they claim that the fuel pump always works at the shop. any ideas? thanks, teebee

There is a main fuel relay under the dash that causes this problem. It’s usually overlooked by most mechanics. It’s not very expensive and it’s a simple plug-in to replace. The relay has a very intermittent way of failing.

Also check battery voltage. I had one Honda that had an intermitent shorted cell. It would crank fine but would not start at certain termperatures

You have replaced the “usual suspects” (ignition switch, PGM-FI Relay, and distributor). Some people have found that the Crankshaft Sensor (full name: crankshaft position/top dead center sensor (CKP/TDC)), or its wiring, can cause intermittent starts and stalls.

thanks for your replies. yesterday I had a new wrinkle. I heard a humming sound. I looked under the hood to see it it was a belt, but it did not seem to be it. later while driving, my radio began to work intermittenly and the abs light seemed to be glowing faintly. after stopping and restarting, the humming was gone and the radio worked fine and the abs light was off. I never experienced this before. could this be a related to my intermiitent starting problem, or is this a new problem ? teebee

An electric motor can hum. There are electric motors under the hood: fan motors; idle air control valve (iacv) motor; and the alternator. Have your mechanic to listen to the engine with a section of garden hose (or, mechanic’s stethoscope).
I suspect the alternator may be going. When your mechanic checks it, have him to raise the engine rpm to 2,000+, as he checks. When my alternator brushes wore way down, the ABS light came on.

Have your mechanic check the alternator a.s.a.p.
From your description, I believe that the alternator is failing, and that fluctuating voltage output is causing the electrical problems that you noted. Additionally, the humming noise that you heard may be coming from the alternator.

Unless you act quickly, the next step may be that your battery will need to be replaced and you may wind up being stranded when the alternator finally stops functioning.


You beat me to it by 25 seconds!

thanks for the prompt replies. maybe all my problems are the result of my alternator slowing going bad. I will get it to the shop on monday. thanks again, teebee