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Old 01-03-2011, 01:16 PM   #1
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Honda Help...Stalling Out!

About a couple of months ago, I was driving down the road, when suddenly, the needle dipped on my speedometer and the power went out in my car while I was driving. A second or two later, the power would spontaneously comeback, and the engine would suddenly re-engage.

As the days wore on, this problem occurred with more frequency & had progressively gotten worse. By then, it had gotten to the point where my car would just stall out completely, as I would sit on the shoulder, attempting to crank the ignition over for 20 minutes at a time. What would happen, is that I would turn the key, the engine would fire up; but then it would die a split second after letting off of the key.

By this point, I presumed that I had a fuel delivery problem, considering that my Honda Civic CX had the stock fuel filter, with 185,000 miles on it . So I went to my buddy's garage and had it replaced for free (i.e. he thankfully owed me a favor). In addition, I added a full bottle of Sea-foam to the tank to clean out the fuel injectors.

For a brief time, everything appeared to alright; but then the all above mentioned symptoms came back. From there, I took out my OBDII scanner, which found fault codes for "Cylinder 1 misfire, Cylinder 3 misfire" and of course, some code that only the dealership can interpret.

As a result of this, I decided to change all of the spark plugs, which appeared to be fouled, yet all of the plug were only a year old. Additionally, I'd even notice that the car appeared to be more symptomatic whenever my car was at a quarter tank, or after I had just filled up.

Once more, everything appeared fine before the same problem came back. So again, I took my car to my buddy's garage, whereas he suspected that I may have had a bad fuel pump, which was replaced at his cost & no charge for the labor.

Just as the car was being pulled out of the garage, I heard that all too familiar sound where the key was being turned, the engine would fire up; but would not engage just after letting off of the key. It was then that one of his mechanics asked if I was losing power while driving, and that's when he suggested that it was a bad distributor.

That was about two weeks ago; but by this time, I had already ran out of favors with my friend. So instead, I ordered a new distributor, which came complete with a new cap & rotar and installed it over the weekend. Within that very same night, the car stalled out just like it has been; but the only difference being now, is that all of the fault codes have disappeared gone with the new distributor.

In terms of cost for both parts & labor, I've been lucky; but I still don't have a car that's running properly. Could anyone else offer up any ideas as to what my be wrong, along with a possible fix for this problem. In other words, could it be something as silly as a loose negative battery cable, and old battery even, or just dirty fuel injectors. Thank You.

Sincerely,
-Dave
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Old 01-03-2011, 01:23 PM   #2
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Re: Honda Help...Stalling Out!

i'm new to honda, but my thoughts lead to possibly a bad igniter or ignition switch. what about spark wires? if you've got one year old fouled plugs, you've got other issues as well. did you have (wet) oil on the plugs?
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Old 01-03-2011, 02:41 PM   #3
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Re: Honda Help...Stalling Out!

What year is your vehicle?

Since the spedometer stopped working- I would also vote that the ignition switch is at fault. Jiggle the key the next time you get it running and see if it dies.
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Old 01-03-2011, 03:34 PM   #4
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Re: Honda Help...Stalling Out!

It's a 98 Honda Civic Cx. No, there was no oil on the plugs, just a bit of carbon build-up on all four plugs. As for jiggling the key, I turned the engine on & jiggle it left to right & then slightly up & down. From up & down, I did notice the the engine cut off & would not start again.

As a side note, I just got back from Advanced Auto, and they just checked out the battery, alternator, and the starter, plus something called a drain test. Everything came back normal.
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Old 01-03-2011, 08:20 PM   #5
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Re: Honda Help...Stalling Out!

I have your answer. Mine was doing exactly this problem. Stall randomly, start again after cooling down a bit.

Answer:
Main relay. Located under the drivers left side. Mine was grey, about 3" long, 1" deep and 1" tall. One harness going to it with several wires going to it. It is listed in the Haynes manual as the Main Relay.
This relay controls the injectors, fuel pump, ignition, and I think ECU switched power. (could be wrong on that last one)
Once you've found the one we are talking about (it is very close to the fuse box) put the key in. It will have three clicks. CLick one happens in key "on" position (just before start). This click is the fuel pump feed. It then leads to click two, fuel pump off after 2 or 3 seconds. Click three happens when you turn the key to start.

Anywho, this relay is replaceable. But, don't go out and buy a new one if you have a soldering iron.
Here's a link to it:
http://techauto.awardspace.com/mainrelay.html
Note: The relays picture may or may not be exactly what yours will look like.

Just add solider to all the joints inside the relay. It can be removed with a flat bladed screwdriver (be careful not to damage it). You don't have to desolider every joint. Just add solider to all the joints. Use good solider.

If this is not the problem, it can't hurt anything. My car was having the EXACT same issue. I found one or two joints that looked like a "cold solider" joint.

Your car is a 6th gen, but I'm sure it still has a similar relay. Check the haynes manual or ask other users.

Let me know if this worked! It was the "magic silver bullet" for me.
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Old 01-03-2011, 08:38 PM   #6
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Re: Honda Help...Stalling Out!

You know, you're right, that's one symptom that I forgot to mention. Hours after it has cooled down, it seems to turn over better and then it stalls out when it gets warm. As for solidering, that's a bit out of my technical ability, so I will just have to replace it. I may have to try that; but in the meantime, other suggestions are still welcomed.

P.S. So what would see it would cost to buy a new one?
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Old 01-03-2011, 10:07 PM   #7
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Re: Honda Help...Stalling Out!

If you are on the cheap testing side, go to a junkyard. However, realize that most vehicles in the yard with similar year/mileage are going to fail similarly.

http://www.hondaautomotiveparts.com/ has great oem parts. (majestic honda)
Put in your info, find your schematic, find the part, etc.

I'm checking advanceauto right now for you.
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Old 01-03-2011, 10:21 PM   #8
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Re: Honda Help...Stalling Out!

Advance doesn't seem to carry it. I'd say stealerishp maybe? They will likely call it a "Main Relay." In your model, it may also be separated into two relays, a "fuel pump relay," and an "ignition relay." I do not know if this is the case or not. I suspect it is the single relay unit like mine.

Probably better off finding a friend who can solider. They'd look it over and say, yeah, no problem. You don't need a vacuum solidering iron to do it.

My relay made the car stall for just a millisecond the first time, longer the second, the third, and fourth times. The fifth time, I had to roll to a stop. I cranked it for a few minutes, checked for clues under the hood, then cranked it again, and voila.
The next time it died, I had wised up to the waiting idea. I waited about five minutes and it started up.
Over time (this happened about 6 times before I found the fix) it got longer between start ups.
Each time it happened, the speedo would die with the motor and start again with the motor. The check engine light would come on, as would the oil and battery light.
I replaced all maintenance parts I had neglected prior. (which were very few)
I had a spare fuel pump from a parts car that I swapped in.
I had a spare ignition coil and ignitor I swapped in.
I tested the coil with two long leads and had plenty of spark jump.

After some web digging I came across an article similar to the one linked above.
I pulled the wrong relay at first and resolidered it. I then found the correct relay and sure enough, you could see faint lines in the underfilled solider joints. Ten minutes with an iron and good solider and it has never happened again. (it's been about 3 months)

Keep us up to date on your progress.
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Old 01-03-2011, 10:32 PM   #9
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Re: Honda Help...Stalling Out!

I think this is the unit from Majestic honda:
http://www.hondaautomotiveparts.com/...S+-+ELECTRICAL

Look at Illustration number 030H or 030I. I think mine said mitsuba and was not brown. If yours is brown, (and has 4 pins instead of 5) it will be the 030I one. Double check your numbers too.
Also I guessed on your transmission that you have an Auto. The manual might be different. Go through the steps on their website about your car info. The category was ACCESSORIES - ELECTRICAL.

They go for about $33 here, so plan on $66 or more at the stealership.
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Old 01-04-2011, 04:14 AM   #10
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Re: Honda Help...Stalling Out!

Argh, you people are killing me, it's solder without an 'i'.

Anyway, soldering can seem daunting and could be if you were working with brand new materials, but this looks like a very easy job. It would be a very good introduction to soldering for someone who is inexperienced.
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