1990 Honda Civic Car Stalled Twice While Driving

  • 1 POST
  • 1990 HONDA CIVIC

Engine Mechanical problem
1990 Honda Civic 4 cyl Front Wheel Drive Manual

Hello. I have a 1990 Honda Civic as my daily driver. Nothing more but it does a great job for what I need it for.

Anyway, yesterday. I was driving down the road at 50 mph. Everything was going smooth and all of a sudden out of no where, the Check Engine Light popped up and no longer than 1 full second after it showed up on the dash, the car stalled on me. All the accessories lights lit up on the dash or most of them from what I can remember. But when the engine stalled, the radio, lights and all that still worked and was playing.

So then, cruising to a stop. I try to start the car. It cranks and cranks and cranks but will not start. Ok. Let it sit for about 15 seconds and then turn the key and it fired right up. So I decided to head back home instead of continuing the other way. Taking it on the freeway, I was doing about 65 mph and it did it to me again. Same exact description as what happened before. EXACTLY! This was about 20 minutes after the first incident. So after that, exited and tried to start it. Wouldn't start the first time but let it sit 20 seconds and then it started. Drove it home and it made it. Keep in mind that the Check Engine Light only came up right before it stalled and once it starts back up, it does not come up. It is off.

So today, I go to check under the hood. I found out that the Distributor Cap was loose possible causing a miss. One out of the three bolts that holds it was really loose. You could still hand tighten it if you wanted too. Not sure how that happened but tightened it back up and made sure everything was secure. Did that, checked the basics like all fluids and made sure the battery was connected securely and after all that, I decided to take it around the block. Drove it for an hour and no Check Engine Light and no stalling occured.

Since I first got the car until now (including when it stalled a couple days ago), you can hear the buzzing noise for the fuel pump, you hear a click when having the key into the ignition and that click occures once the noise for the fuel pump goes away (hope you understand me there). And. Welll. The fuel filter was replaced about five months ago and the car has worked perfectly fine except for a couple days ago when it was stalling. Did that twice.

After tightening the Distributor cap, being sure it does have gas and doing all that, the car is doing great now. I would have taken the car to go get the code diagnosed but when it was stalling. It only came on for one second before it stalled. Then, it went off and did not come on again.

I hope I have given you as much information as you need! That's as much as I can describe it for you. Drove it around for an hour today and it worked great (no loss of power, idles perfectly, drives great, no CEL on, no stalling, nor anything leaking).

So with everything I described, what do you think caused my stalling and CEL to come on right before it did? Just a recap. Stalled with CEL on. Came to a stop and would not fire up. Let it sit for 20 seconds and then it would.

Anything you can provide? The main relay was replaced about a year ago so I don't know if that causes a problem with this. Any sensors. Or do you think the loose Distributor Cap may have been the problem? Hope you understood this whole message and can provide me with an answer. Look forward to hearing from you.

1990 Honda Civic. 5 Speed Manual. First time the car has had CEL on or any kinds of problem. It is always up to date atleast until I get rid of it. Gunna be giving it a tune-up here soon as well as a car wash so hopefully I can receive an answer and check it out. Thanks.


Do you
have the same problem?
Monday, January 19th, 2009 AT 2:21 AM

1 Reply

  • 42,277 POSTS

Hi Mike,

When CEL shows, it would be recorded in the ECM and you should retrieve the DTC for an understandning of the problem.

Without the codes, we can only guess. Since you have given a good account of the problem, I can think of 2 possibilities.
1. Faulty main relay, remove it to check for cold solders on the circuit board, a known defect.
2. Faulty ECM

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Friday, January 23rd, 2009 AT 10:58 AM

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