Intermittent Honda Starting Problem

I have a 2004 Honda that has an intermittent starting problem. On occasion, the car will not start. When it occurs, turning the key to the start position allows it to turn over once or twice as if the battery was on its last legs. We towed it to the mechanic. It would not start when they got it but it fired right up the next morning. They checked the alternator and battery and both checked out ok. They held on to it one more day and it still fired right up. I suggested checking the ground, the starter cricuit, the relay and the starter itself. The mechanic said everything checked out and then shrugged his sholders his shoulders and blamed it on evil spirits. It worked fine for two weeks and the problem reoccurred this morning.

Lighting incense and setting off firecrackers to scare away the evil spirits also had no effect. Ideas, anyone?

Replace the relay, and see if it does it again. OR, when it does it again, pull the relay and, put a jumper on the across the connectors that go to the starter to see if it will turn over. If it doesn’t, the starter is failing.

One small piece of advise, don’t tell a mechanic what to check, just tell him what is happening. Some will get offended.

The experienced Honda guys here have often suggested a “main relay” located under the dash that can become intermittant. But the symptoms are different. Apparently that relay contains a contact set through which the fuel pump circuit travels, and when it becomes intermittant the engine turns over but fails to fire.

This “as if the battery was on its last legs” symptom would make me want to search for something directly in the circuit path for the starter motor itself. Perhaps the contacts in the solenoid assembly that enable the starter motor circuit, or even the motor itself. It sounds to me like some connection (contacts) are fried and are intermittantly creating a high resistance connection. Resistance “drops” voltage, so when that happens the motor itself would be seeing reduced voltage, causing it to act as if the battery were almost dead. I think your suggestions to check the grounds and starter circuit were spot-on, but since those are good I’d go with the starter assembly. I suspect that’s where your evil spirits reside.