1997 Honda Accord 4 cyl Front Wheel Drive Automatic 134980 miles
The car unexpectantly dies within ½ - 1 mile from my house after I start it up first thing in the morning and start driving down the road. The problem is random. It hasn’t done this since I replaced the ignition control module (ICM) on February 8th, but died twice today (February 21th). I have taken about 10 or more trips with the car during this period. Some times I have gone 1-2 days between driving the car. Once I get past the 1 mile mark, without stopping at a nearby grocery, corner store, etc. It runs fine and will run fine the rest of the day. I’ve never had it die after the initial first start of the day *and* within the 1st mile of operation or stopping at a close market/store.
Additionally, the car idles under 500 RPMs (usually around 400 RPMs). According to my Haynes manual, the idle speed should be between 650 and 750 rpms with IAC valve connected. Also, there is no check engine light before or after the car dies unexpectantly.
So, now I’m wondering what I should try next to resolve this unsafe issue. Others have reported their cars dying even after running for a long time, but mine so far has only died within the 1st mile after starting it up after sitting overnight *or* for a day or so.
What would people on this forum suggest I troubleshoot next or try replacing?
Car: 2.2 liter (4 cylinder) NON-VTEC engine. The faulty ignition starter switch has been replaced (in 2002) that was part of a Honda recall. Local Honda dealership has tested this part and confirmed it is working properly.
On January 27, 2010 I purchased a used 1997 Honda Accord LX that had about 128,400 miles on it. The car had no maintenance records with it, so I was purchasing it “blindly." When I was initially looking at the car, I started it up and let it run in the dealer lot for a few minutes and a couple of times it stalled while I was checking out the various functions of the car (A/C, door locks, radio, windows, etc.). The dealer chalked it up to the after market car alarm system installed and my extensive testing of the various peripherals. Due to the fact that the car wouldn’t start while the alarm system was engaged, I thought he was right and we just armed/de-armed the system to get the car to start up again. I took the car for a test drive had an independent Honda dealership do a full inspection of the car (worthless in the end) and everything checked out so I purchased the car - which was in excellent shape visually (inside and out).
Well about two days later the problem with the car not running smoothly started to crop up again. I left my house and drove about ¼ mile down the road to pick up some food before heading to a friend’s house and was in the store about 5 minutes and when I returned to my car, it started fine but stalled and it took me about 3-4 minutes and several tries to get it started and idling correctly. After this it ran fine, but I noticed while I was driving down the road, the tachometer jumped all around for a few seconds before “settling down" (this only happened once). The car ran fine the rest of the night.
The next day the same thing happened when I went to purchase some fuel injection cleaner (thinking this might be the problem) at the local auto parts store that is ¼ mile from my house. When I got out of the store, I couldn’t get the car started initially. It took several tries before I was able to get it running again.
The next instance of dying unexpectantly came on a rainy day right after I left my house. Within 1 mile of my house the car unexpectantly died while doing about 40 MPH. I couldn’t get the car restarted, so I had it towed to the dealer I bought it from. We were unable to reproduce the problem, so we expected the alarm system might be faulty causing the engine to cut off unexpectantly. So we disconnected it and I said I would monitor the problem and report back.
About 2 days later, it died after I turned into the parking lot of the grocery store down the street (about ¾ of a mile down the road). I was unable to get it to stay running each time after I got it started (about twice). I tried holding the RPMs at 2000, but after about 2-3 seconds of running, it would just die cold. I pushed it to the parking area, and called my mechanic and was going to have him listen to problem, and it started up just fine and ran fine.
After this I turned to the Internet and found several others who were having similar problems with their 1990 vintage Hondas. Many of the experienced Honda techs suggested the ICM module and external coil pack had gone bad (an apparently common problem with Honda Accords from this time period). So, on Feb 8th I replaced the ICM module (the old part was an original Hitachi ICM with the Japanese factory stamp on it) and put silicone heat transfer paste from Radio Shack on the module as well as the heat transfer plate.
The car has run great with no problems until this morning (February 21th) when it died twice within 1 mile from my house. Both times I was able to get the car to start right up unlike previous times when I had to wait 5+ minutes to get it to start again or try repeatedly for a few minutes. I even let the car warm up for a few minutes in the driveway of my house (this has never made a difference in the ongoing problem).
Well, I have more concrete evidence to report on my particular problem. It looks like it is weather (temperature specifically) related. I haven't had one single mysterious stall since April/May when the weather here in Florida warmed up (above 80 degrees). Yesterday morning, October 6th, the thermometer said 71 degrees and after I started driving it down the road it stalled again. Two stalls within the first mile on October 7th. I drove the car in the late afternoon on October 8th after the temperature had warmed up, and the car did not die at all.
I looked at the circuit board for the fuel main relay yesterday (October 8th) and did not see any cracked solder joints which can cause problems. Anyone have any ideas on what parts might be affected by the cold morning temperatures?
have the same problem?
Thursday, October 14th, 2010 AT 3:55 PM