Cranks, has spark, but no fuel pump priming

Tiny
JESSIE THOMSON
  • MEMBER
  • 1999 HONDA PRELUDE
  • 2.2L
  • 4 CYL
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 149,129 MILES
The back story on our vehicle: We purchased this 1999 Honda prelude 2 years ago, and this car had obviously been seriously neglected by whomever owned her before the man we bought it from (who literally didn't drive it or do anything with or to it other than the timing belt and selling it to us). We have replaced/done so many things to this beauty, and she's done us quite well over these 2 years. She goes and goes, and has had issues over the years, but, was decently solid until the other day.

My husband did an oil change on her, and she drove perfectly fine that day, and the next. Got him to work just fine, and home just fine. No issues whatsoever. A few hours later we went to leave somewhere, and the car wouldn't start. Just cranks and cranks. I was previously in a long-term relationship with a heavy-duty mechanic, so for a female my understanding of vehicles is greater than most, but is not by any means great or something to brag about. But, to me, it sounded as if the car wasn't getting gas (and I wasn't incorrect). Upon checking the gas gauge, the car was almost on E, so we walked down the road and got some gas, and put it in. Nothing changed. Still sounded as if it wasn't getting gas, so the immediate thought was fuel pump.

We have the Helms Service Manual for our vintage and have referenced it numerous times over our mechanical and electrical adventures with this baby. I stayed up and researched, (kinda my thing), and researched and printed out for my husband what he needed to do. He doesn't like to follow the processes very well, when he feels he knows what's wrong. But I got him to where we are now in the end, and I guess I'm looking for some confirmation or guidance, because I'm ready to pull my hair out and he's feeling exceptionally defeated right now.

• Checked for spark - She has spark. Good spark.
• Checked the Main Relay - it tested good, but upon reading a tonne of situations like ours, I am not convinced this isn't the issue
• Checked the grounds - G101 was actually soaked in oil, I'm assuming from rushed oil top ups as she burns oil like pretty much any Honda does, and spills down onto the thermostat housing where this ground sits. Hubs cleaned the ground, however did not sand the housing where the ground would be bolted back on, which I think is a rather silly thing to ignore but, whatever.
• Checked fuel pump and it literally has no power going to it, which tells me that it's the main relay or wiring. Considering there was no event that occurred to cause this no-start situation, nor was there any change in the wiring etc recently, only an oil change and our fuel pump was fine prior to now, I'm not convinced it's faulty. (I feel I should note as well, that when I have him turn the car to the "ON" position, I can hear mild hissing from the fuel pump, which goes away once the key is turned to "OFF" again. He cannot hear this, but I can hear it clearly.
• Another main relay (but not the same one, however this is one that I was told and read is compatible and interchangeable) was plugged in and nothing changed aside from the D4 light blinking when that relay is plugged in only. (I'm certain this relay isn't interchangeable at this point, thus, irrelevant and the D4 blinking isn't actually an issue)
• No CEL is on, or comes on whatsoever, and with either of the Main Relays plugged in (the original and the one we thought was interchangeable)
• When the incorrect PGM-FI Main Relay is plugged in the OBDII reader states that there is a link error and that it cannot connect
• Both relays click three times when the key is in the “ON” position as they should, however, the incorrect relay seems to click louder and harder on all 3 clicks than the original (to me at least)
• The original PGM-FI Main Relay seemed to have no solder issues or cracks in the solder on it, however the re-soldering trick was attempted, which didn’t go as planned and this original relay is trash now
• All fuses have been fine the entire time, and have been checked multiple times. A couple important ones have been changed just for the sake of trying, but nothing changed. This includes under the dash AND under the hood fuses.
• At one point yesterday, my husband had the spark plug wire out (just one) and was checking for spark with a spark plug that isn't installed in the car, and the car when being turned over, ALMOST started, but didn't. It caught though, which to that point, and since, had/has not happened at all.

Where do we go now? My thoughts are to check the ECM to see if there is power going to it, however we need a new PGM-FI Main Relay now, so. I don’t think I’m going out on a limb in thinking that we should start there and replace the relay and see what happens, no?

If nothing changes with the relay replaced with a new and proper one, I’m thinking the next step would be to test the wiring to the ECM for power going to the ECM. If there is nothing, what does this mean? The relay is bad? We have a short somewhere in the main wiring harness between the PGM-FI and the ECM? Or is there something I’m missing?

Help please!
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Saturday, November 2nd, 2019 AT 10:53 AM

8 Replies

Tiny
SCGRANTURISMO
  • EXPERT
Hello,

Okay, so let's see if battery voltage is making back to the fuel pump. In the diagrams down below I have included the Engine Performance Wiring Diagrams for your vehicle. I have highlighted the pertinent wires for you. I have also included the instructions for the removal and installation of the fuel pump for your vehicle as well. With a helper turning the ignition key to the "run" position, please take a voltage reading for us at pin 2 of the fuel pump electrical connector. You will need to use a Digital Multi-meter[DMM] to do this, so here is a link describing how to use one below.

https://www.2carpros.com/articles/how-to-use-a-voltmeter

Please go through these guides, take the reading, and get back to us with what you find out. This will let us know if the fuel pump is bad or we need to inspect the wires for the problem.

Thanks,
Alex
2CarPros
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Sunday, November 3rd, 2019 AT 1:33 AM
Tiny
JESSIE THOMSON
  • MEMBER
Great, thank you. We're printing these and heading out shortly to see what we come up with. We've replaced the main relay as of last night, but even with the correct one now the D4 light is flashing and quite literally every dash light is lit up.

The hubs tried to scan the car with the OBDII reader and it did it's process as usual but then suddenly went to the No Link situation I mentioned above, again. Just an update. Thank you!
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Sunday, November 3rd, 2019 AT 4:26 PM
Tiny
JESSIE THOMSON
  • MEMBER
Alright, so here's our update after performing the test you asked us to:

-Yesterday we obtained a new Main Relay and installed it to our car. She still just cranks and cranks, with no start. It is still not getting gas, unfortunately.
-With the installation of this new PGM-FI Main Relay, came almost every dash light, as well as the aformentioned blinking D4 light.
-The D4 light just continuously blinks until the key is cycled to the "OFF" position again.
-The other dash lights never seem to go out either, however none are blinking. The only abscence is the CEL light. This does not illuminate or ever come on which I found extremely weird given the situation (which again, leads me to believe this is a bad ECU situation)
-Tonight we completed the test asked of us, and unfortunately, there is zero power going to the fuel pump what so ever.

I do not believe we have a wiring problem at all, either. Like I said, the car has not been fiddled with in regards to wiring, and minus the oil change the day prior, was and has been driving completely fine until the no-start situation started. Even directly prior to the no-start situation, the car literally drove fine that morning for my husband to get to work (a 30ish minute drive to the next town from us), to a residence for a job (about a 30 minute drive to and again another 30ish minutes back to work), and again home from work (same distance, though, he had a couple of other stops to make prior to coming home I believe he said. It started, and drove completely fine. He parked, shut it off, came inside. We decided we needed a few groceries and such a few hours later, and he went to the car and it wouldn't start. Nothing happened at all in between, which again leads me to believe this is more ECU related than wiring, but I'm at a loss here.

Do these Preludes have a fuel cut off switch of some kind like older vehicles by chance? Or was the cut off switch abolished with the introduction of the PGM-FI relay, as it's included in the relay (so to speak)?

The only other thing I can think of that he hasn't checked would be the fuel injectors, and the wiring going to the ECU directly to see if the ECU is getting power itself. We tried to use the OBDII reader again after executing your test, and the same thing happens. The OBDII reader turns on, cycles (slowly, I might add) through it's first few "checks" and then I think it's the 4th or 5th thing that it checks, it tries to go back to check the 4th again, and comes up with "LINK ERROR!" Each time.

Thank you for your help thus far, please let me know what's next on the list for this process of elimination :( This is our everyday driver and right about now I have 6 days left where I can continue to use the car I am due to this issue before being forced to register and insure it, and have the Prelude either towed to a storage facility or scrapped which we soooo don't want to do at all. Anxiously awaiting your reply! :)
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Sunday, November 3rd, 2019 AT 11:28 PM
Tiny
SCGRANTURISMO
  • EXPERT
Hello again,

Well, you are in luck so to speak because when I was going to school to learn how to twist wrenches, I went to Butte Community College and took the Honda PACT program, so Honda was who gave me my training. Having said that, the term "PGMFI" is a Honda Acronym which stands for Programmed Fuel Injection. The fuel injectors, and in fact, any, component that is controlled electrically by the Power-train Control Module[PCM] or "computer" is controlled by the PCM providing ground or taking ground away from the electrical circuit that services that component. This would also include all of the fuel injectors. For right now though, can I get you guys to check Fuse 46 in the Under hood Fuse Box and Fuse 14 of the Under dash Fuse Panel for us. In the diagrams down below I have included the location, layout, and callout for the fuse box/panel in your vehicle. I have also highlighted the two fuses that need to checked for you as well. Here is a link below on how to check a fuse, if needed:

https://www.2carpros.com/articles/how-a-car-fuse-works

Please go through these guides and get back to us with what you find out.

Thanks,
Alex
2CarPros
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Monday, November 4th, 2019 AT 6:57 AM
Tiny
JESSIE THOMSON
  • MEMBER
Nice, that's pretty awesome about the Honda PACT program you got to be a part of! I wish! Alright, so, throughout this entire process we've checked and rechecked the fuses. Specifically fuses: 2, 4, 10, 14, 18, 23, 24, 32, 33, 41, 43 and 46 every time we did something new, or followed a process instructed to us here. This entire time, not a single fuse has been blown what so ever, but I will go check them again to verify with an up to date check for you.

This is what we did today, and where we're at now:

- We decided to use a different multimeter and test the fuel pump again, so this is the process we executed to do so:
Connected terminals 4 and 5 on the PGM-FI main relay connector (male) with a jumper wire, and proceeded to check for battery voltage between the fuel pumps wire harness connector and the ground using terminal 2 and ground to do so. It was not receiving any voltage.
- Our focus then went to the PGM-FI relay again, and the ECU. Next, we checked for an open in the ground line, by disconnecting the PGM-FI main relay 7 Pin connector, and checking for continuity between terminal 3 of the connector and body ground. There was continuity.
- Next we checked for an open or short in the wire or battery line by measuring the voltage between terminal 7 on the PGM-FI main relay connector and body ground. There was voltage.
- Following that we checked for an open or short in the ignition wire, by measuing the voltage between terminal 5 and body ground while the lude was in the "ON" position (not being cranked), There was battery voltage.
- Next we checked for an open or short in the STS line by turning the ignition to start (cranking) while Lude is in park and measuring the voltage between terminal 2 on the PGM-FI main relay connector, and body ground. There was voltage.
- Up next was to check for an open in the FLR line/wire, which we did by disconnecting the 32 Pin connector from the ECM and checking for continuity between terminal 1 of the 7 Pin PGM-FI main relay connector and terminal A16 of the ECM connector. There was continuity.
- Following that came checking for an open in the IGP1 and IGP2 line wires. We reconnected the 32 Pin connector to the ECM, and reconnected the PGM-FI main relay as well. With the ignition turned to "ON", we tested for voltage between terminals A11 and A10 of the ECM connector, as well as between terminal A24 and A10. There was no voltage readings for either of these.

. From there if you move forward, you repair an open in the wire between the ECM (A11, A24) and the PGM-FI main relay, and replace the relay itself. We've already replaced the PGM-FI relay last night with the exact one that was in it (RZ-0159) however, I have read that relay RZ-0132 is interchangeable with the RZ-0159, and we have one of those as well. As I stated before, with both the new relay (RZ-0159 exact replacement), and the RZ-0132, we have all dash lights lit up. I did make a mistake however, stating the the check engine light was not on, when in fact it is on, solid and not blinking. The D4 light blinks continuously until the cars ignition is switched off. Every dash light is on, and I'm talking e-brake, seatbelt, CEL, D4 (blinking), oil light, battery ect. The car still just cranks and cranks and is not getting gas.

We don't have a short detector, and have been investigating where to get one locally that won't break the bank. My question is, how is there somehow an open in the line between the PGM-FI and ECM suddenly, after nothing happening? All connections were inspected at the ECM connector and seemed to all be the same. My husband thought they all felt loose, but since they were in fact all feeling like that determined this must be normal?

How do we trace this supposed open in the wire between the PGM-FI main relay and ECM, exactly? Is the short detector absolutely necessary? Do we now rip our dash out? (Lol, I'm half kidding). This is still so strange and frustrating considering literally nothing happened to the car, at all. It was driven as usual, babied, not crashed, or hit, or anything other than parked and shut off, and now won't start. Blargh!

Praying you have some form of great wisdom to bestow upon me/us. Oh, and just to verify, the fuses you asked us to check are good. We even replaced them with brand new ones, just in case. I'm tempted to do this again, just because I'm OCD, but. They've been fine this entire time unfortunately. It's not a fuse being blown problem :(

Thank you again, for your help thus far. We are so very appreciative of you, and your time. Doing this in your spare time shows just what kind of human being you are, and I won't lie, it's restored hope and a bit of faith in humanity for us these past couple days. You are most definitely appreciated in the highest regard, from afar. :)
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Monday, November 4th, 2019 AT 9:32 PM
Tiny
SCGRANTURISMO
  • EXPERT
Hello again,

Okay, so no voltage at ECM pins A11 or A24 with black probe on pin A10 of ECM connector. I need you guys to check ground 120 on the right side of the engine. In the diagrams down below I have included the Power-train Management wiring diagrams as well as a guide on how to check grounds for you. Please go through these guides and get back to us with what you find out.

Thanks,
Alex
2CarPros
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Tuesday, November 5th, 2019 AT 11:39 AM
Tiny
JESSIE THOMSON
  • MEMBER
It seems to us that ground 120 is the same as G101, perhaps we're reading this incorrectly?

This was mentioned earlier in my posts, as it was quite oil soaked I'm sure from rushed oil top ups over time. This is what I stated in my original post:

" Checked the grounds - G101 was actually soaked in oil, I'm assuming from rushed oil top ups as she burns oil like pretty much any Honda does, and spills down onto the thermostat housing where this ground sits. Hubs cleaned the ground, however did not sand the housing where the ground would be bolted back on, which I think is a rather silly thing to ignore but, whatever."

He's out there now to recheck it, remove it and take a wire brush to the site to ensure it's clean and would have a good connection. He's good with that side of wiring, so if he tells me it's good, I believe it's good.

If the ground is fine, where do we go from here? :(
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Tuesday, November 5th, 2019 AT 3:48 PM
Tiny
SCGRANTURISMO
  • EXPERT
Hello,

Ground 101 is not the same as Ground 120. If you follow the black wire from pin A10 of the ECM connector in the diagrams I sent earlier, it leads to Ground 120. I have also included a partial Ground Distribution Wiring Diagrams in the diagrams down below. They show what components are grounded to Grounds 101 and 120. Please check Ground 120 on the right side of the engine, and get back to us with what you find out. We can go from there if needed.

Thanks,
Alex
2CarPros
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Tuesday, November 5th, 2019 AT 5:52 PM

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