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My 04 urban legend Honda has a problem starting i can't fix

guys - last December I found the best used car every guy dreams of: an 04 Honda Civic Lx 1.7L 4 banger - with get this: 11K miles. Owned by a college professor in Bethesda who commuted to the University (AU) by bus. She never drove it, except on weekends for errands, dinner in the burbs, and the occasional booty-call in the country. She sold the car as she was returning home - and they use right-drive cars in Cyprus. I had the car inspected at the Honda dealer where she bought it. The interior, both under the hood and the cabin were flawless - looked and smelled like show room. No dirt/grime. The exterior was filty. I asked her: when was the last time you washed the car? “Never” was the response, always in the garage. Why I asked, and her reply was: “I am an Economist - why spend money if you have to wash it again and again?”. Interesting. Regardless - the car was in impeccable mechanical condition, car fax perfect… I bought the car. Ran a bit rough, but ran. A month into daily driving, our “little blue donkey” as we call the car died - would not start. Owner back home in cyprus, no doubt commuting by donkey. Took it to a good mechanic who knows old Hondas. The fuel lines were clogged, pluggs black and corroded, gunk in fuel tank. $400 bucks later - I replaced all the plugs with high end HK OEM plugs from Japan, flushed all the lines, changed air filter, new batery. Apparently no fuel filter in this car - other than in the inaccessible fuel tank. That was Dec/January. Now, its starting to have issues starting. The mechanic is stumped. The car cranks, plenty of electrical charge, good vacume… but the car feels like its trying to crank a cold mack truck in Maine. It finally cranks; and once going, the motor is smooth, runs fine. If I leave it unused for a few days - it wont start. Crank slowly, but wont start. The mechanic “Doc” swears the car is not fuel starved - runs perfect he sais… he does not think it is the coil - he checked the current. We are all scratching our heads, among other parts… HELP!

Could you edit that message, create a few paragraphs. One issue per paragraph, to make it much easier to read.

It sounds like you have twp problems that may not be related. The first is the difficulty starting if unused for a few days, the second is the difficulty cranking.

As to the fisrt, the fuel may be draining back into the gas tank when the car sits. This would suggest that (a) the check valve is allowing drainback and (2) there’s a minute path for air to enter the fuel lines at the engine end. Without the ability for air to enter, the fuel would stay in the line just as soda in a straw stays in when you cap the top with your finger and lift the straw. Lab people use a “pipette” in this way. With all the gunk that was in the fuel system, it would not surprise me if the check valve was gunked open and an injector was being prevented prevented from closing due to gunk. And you are correct, the fuel filter is in the tank. It’s allegedly self cleaning.

Assuming that you’ve tested the battery and charging system (?), then the difficult branking could only be a weak starter motor or binding. Have there been any other symptoms that indicate the engine might have been run dry of oil?

Here’s where I’d start. The next time the car has sat for a few days, I’d first “test” the drainback theory by trying putting the key in “on” three or four times for four seconds each before putting it in “start”. If the line is draining, that should refill the line and the engine should start fine. If this works, and since the fuel system was so gunked up, I’d change all four injectors.

For the difficulty cranking, I’d simply have the battery and charging system checked out. If one is weak, correcting it may solve the problem. If not, you’re into areas that may get costly to fix and you may want to live with the problem.

Post back with your results. I’m interested.