Engine Performance problem
1998 Honda Accord 6 cyl Front Wheel Drive Automatic 150000 miles
Always done scheduled maintenance. Sporadic problem getting engine to fire off. When it finally does it runs rough for about 20 seconds before smoothing out. Won't have the same problem for another 2 weeks or so. Local mechanic says diagnostics look good & can't get car to replicate the problem. No check engine lights are coming on. Exhaust smell is a little strong but mechanic doesn't think catalytic converter is the issue. Wife also says occassionally when she stops at a stop light the engine will start racing for a few seconds & then die. She says she has to turn off A/C & must pump the accelerator hard to get it to fire----runs rough for a few seconds then finally smooths out. Battery checks ok. Mechanic said to quit using gas containing ethanol. Have started using Shell fuel. Told mechanic to put a new fuel filter on. Mechanic says I would have to put a new fuel pump/strainer etc. On and would cost $ 400+. Says he doesn't think that's the problem and recommends that I take car to a Honda dealershp for their special diagnostics equipment.
Problem seems to indicate a fault with excessive fuel rather than fuel pump or clogged filter.
The eractic idling after difficult start up is due to excessive fuel in cylinders and it is burning rich which would emit a strong smell.
The engine surging at idling before stalling followed by difficult starting could be due to the fuel injectors providing excessive fuel and when it floods, it stalled and caused the difficult starting which requires the accelerator pedal to be depressed to allow more air to lean out the system.
As the problem is intermittent, it is not easy to pin point the cause and even if you send it to the dealer, you might not get any results unless the problem occurs then.
Do you have any issues with fuel consumption or engine performance?
When engine stalled, did the dash indicators lights showed?