Last post on Oct 24, 2013 at 9:51 PM
You are in the Honda Accord
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#1673 of 1859 Re: 1997 Honda Accord LX Dies Unexpectantly While Driving [osuskates]
Jan 03, 2011 (6:42 pm)
Based on the symptoms described, the cause of the engine stalling is caused by fatigue cracking on the soldered fuel main relay mounting tabs.
This is a Honda ***DESIGN*** problem with the relay - this is one of the few defects in an otherwise very reliable vehicle. The heat produced by normal operation of the relay causes the metal mounting tabs to expand, however the Printed Circuit Board (PCB) is rigidly restrained, so the thermal expansion stress is transmitted through the solder joint. Eventually a high number of thermal cycles causes fatigue cracking in the solder joint (which it was not intended to resist).
Over a number of years, the crack progresses all the way through the joint, however the car will continue to operate as long as the cracked joint can maintain electrical conductivity (such as when it is cool in the winter). When it gets hot however, the combination of normal relay heating added to ambient temperature will expand the main relay solder joint apart and the fuel pump will lose electrical power (and the engine will stall).
The reason you may not have seen the crack when inspecting it visually is that the crack is finer than a human hair (you will need a 10X magnifying glass to see it - but it is there). The joint will test fine electrically when it is cold, but fail when it is hot. (If you have electrical ability and a schematic from the library, you can *manually* jumper the relay to perform the function the relay ought to performing. The stalled engine will start up and run normally - I operated for several months 'hot-wiring' the relay until I could get time to repair the relay - but I don't recommend this if you can just fix the relay).
If you're cash-strapped (who isn't these days?) and have a little mechanical ability, you can repair the part yourself (or have a friend do it). You'll need some socket wrenches with extensions to move some electrical boxes out of the way under the dash so the relay can be removed. Pop off the cover on the relay and look at the solder joints under a magnifying glass - there will be an extremely fine crack in the solder joint. Just re-solder the joint to "reset" the solder joint back to factory initial condition (only the main relay tabs are affected, and usually only one joint has a fatigue crack) and reassemble. You will get the same amount of life out of the relay you got the first time (~50,000).
Alternatively, take the car to the shop and have them replace the relay (~$70 plus labor - takes about 15 minutes if you've done it before). Your engine stalling will be a thing of the past (for the next 50,000 miles anyway - it will last as long as the first relay did).
Honda is aware this is a problem: I've replaced 4 relays on my and my friend's Hondas - they must have replaced virtually ALL of them. Honda is reluctant to fix the problem. A simple "Z-shaped" stress-relief notch in the PCB (which is commonly done in the consumer electronics world) would reduce the stress below the point it would become a problem. Honda probably figures that 50,000 mile failures will be beyond any warranty problem, and scrapping inventory would be $$$, so the problem persists. The replacement relay you would purchase WILL possess the same exact design defect.
This is a simple, quick fix for a known common problem on Hondas of this vintage.
There is a remote possibility that the fuel pump has some weird problem whereby it doesn't produce enough fuel pressure, but this is unlikely. Harbor Freight Tools has a pressure gage ($9) to check the fuel pressure in the injector rack. If the fuel pump is weak, it will register a low pressure on the gage, but a fuel pump is expensive to replace (~$400+) but I've not seen this problem on Hondas. Could be a flaky electrical connection also, but it is *99% sure* it is the fuel main relay.
Your low idle speed is likely a separate issue. Yes, a low fuel pump pressure could cause low idle speed, but if the pressure was THAT low you'd have problems accelerating away from a stop sign and the car would never operate smoothly.
Check the basics: The idle speed is computer-controlled, so you would suspect junk in the idle circuit, or more likely, a vacuum leak or unplugged/improperly plugged/cracked vacuum line. Replace any and all suspect vacuum lines (look for cracked rubber). If that doesn't fix the problem, look for vacuum leaks in the manifold area. Check your spark plug gaps. Check for proper operation of the Positive Crankcase Valve (PCV) valve or replace (it's not expensive) and clean out the manifold ports. If all of these items are in good condition, you ought to get a good idle. If not, you have a more complex situation and will need some tools to diagnose - at least the problem will be repeatable and not intermittent or unpredictable (like the relay).
#1674 of 1859 Heater control problem
Jan 05, 2011 (5:37 pm)
My 04 Pilot heater control is not working. When set to Lo I get AC (as expected) but anything above that is full heat. No in-between. Has anyone heard of this or know of a manual or docs that describe the heater control?
#1675 of 1859 04 Pilot Heater Control
Jan 05, 2011 (6:09 pm)
Just a suggestion, you may want to weed through this sight to reach a forum that might relate to your vintage/year of Honda/Make. I believe you are posting in the 1994-1997 Accord page. Out of curiosity, I was wondering if you also had a separate AC button as well? If so is that light engaging?
#1676 of 1859 Questions re: new struts for '97 Accord
Jan 06, 2011 (12:53 pm)
A buddy of mine has a '97 Accord w/90K miles. Says it need new struts--it sure seems like it, it rides like a "log wagon"--& the local gas station quoted him $1600 for 4 new struts (!). That sounds insane to me. He also just bought 2 new Yoko. Avids for the fronts--I'm wondering if the worn struts could be wearing out the tires.
Questions: What should struts cost installed, & what kind to get, & where? I saw someone here got Monroes. Or would OEM Honda struts be best, perhaps installed at a Honda dealer? TIA for any advice.
#1677 of 1859 Re: Questions re: new struts for '97 Accord [woodyww]
by MrShift@Edmunds HOST
Jan 06, 2011 (5:30 pm)
I would think for a car like that something like KYB struts would be fine. The price of parts and installation rather depends on how much you do---if you include struts + strut mounts + 4 wheel alignment + strut mounting fork, that could all get pricey.
But roughly, ball park? Maybe $1000 -- $1200 bucks for quality parts and quality repairs. Maybe if you cut every corner, $750 to $800.
Or you can do a down and dirty chain store version but they'll probably try to oversell you.
And yes, weak struts can wear out tires, mostly definitely---it would be called "cupping" and once a tire exhibits cupping, it's toast.
#1678 of 1859 Re: Questions re: new struts for '97 Accord [woodyww]
Jan 10, 2011 (1:19 pm)
Most of that $1600 is in labor, not parts.
You didn't describe the type of tire wear. While the struts could contribute to tire wear, it would more likely be the **'scalloped'** type of wear. If you have, however, wear on the **edges** of the tires, this is more likely due to alignment, and/or not rotating tires on schedule (every 5,000 mi). At 90k miles you should be looking at replacing suspension ball joints too.
If you push down on the fender and the car bounces up more than 1.5 times, the shocks/struts are worn. I have 200k on my Accord and the original struts are still fine - just depends on your situation.
#1679 of 1859 Re: Speedometer [craigchats]
Jan 16, 2011 (2:06 am)
Going to try that, THANK YOU so much. My odometer only worked part of the time and was going to change the whole assembly. Both my cruise and speedometer worked just fine.
#1680 of 1859 Re: One of the high beams is not working [accordmq]
Jan 16, 2011 (2:15 am)
I have the same problem with my 96 Accord only it's my passenger side high beam not working. I changed out my whole head light assembly for both sides and still no high beam on passenger side and me drl don't work. Any ideas? PLEASE?
#1681 of 1859 95 Accord EX Sedan, 5 Speed - Numerous problems
Jan 19, 2011 (9:25 pm)
I bought this car almost a year ago for $2850, it had only 102K miles, leather interior was flawless, a couple of dings on the exterior, no big deal. After about a month, I noticed the brake pedal sometimes sunk to the floor, had the master cylinder replaced ($450), about 2 months later, the car overheated on the freeway, had to be towed as the cap came off the coolant reservoir and lost all the coolant, fried the radiator cap. Replaced radiator cap, and a week later car overheated again, towed home and took to shop where they replaced the radiator and cap ($200), car started running a little rough so took it to shop for major tune up ($200), no change in rough idle of car which is now worse. Was advised to get front and rear brakes and alignment done ($250) which I did. Temperature gauge stopped working and had temperature sensor replaced ($75), noticed that car would shake and idle rough at stoplights and temp gauge would raise toward HOT when doing so, noticed radiator fan was not coming on when engine got hot. Radiator fan tested fine by mechanic, so he replaced engine coolant switch and thermostat ($85). Started to notice somewhat loud noise when accelerating after shifting while driving, made the car sound like a junk bucket (to me). Lately, gas mileage has decreased noticeably, there is a loss of power, and sometimes while driving, the car feels like it's floating, for lack of a better term, as if it's not getting any gas for a second or two, only air. I know this sounds weird, but it's freaking me out! Also, over the last few days, when stopped at a light, I've felt the brake pedal sink, not all the way down, but alarmingly similar to when the master cylinder was failing. Tonite coming home from work, the car was really shaking when idling at a stoplight, and the dash lights dimmed briefly twice while at the stoplight. I know I probably need to replace the timing belt and water pump since I have no confirmation it's been done. This car now has 108,000 miles, only 6,000 more than it did when I bought it a year ago, and starting today, I am smelling something like burnt plastic while driving. Did I buy a lemon, is this car worth putting more money into, or should I cut my losses? I don't feel safe driving this car!
#1682 of 1859 Re: 95 Accord EX Sedan, 5 Speed - Numerous problems [leenygirl]
Jan 20, 2011 (2:27 am)
I do not mean anything disrespectful, but it appears you are not able to do any of the repairs yourself. If you are going to own any older vehicle you must be able to do the repairs your self or have a willing friend to help.
From what I read you have been taken to the cleaners a few times as they say.
With a little time and about $150.00 dollars would have taken care of all your problems.
I suggest you sell it to sell it to some one who can give it a good home.