87 Accord Starts only on second try

For months my 87 Accord Lxi had a starting amusement. If I missed on the first start try then it often acted as if the battery were very low. Turn the key off and then try again and it would start normally, i.e.
kick right in.
Now nearly every start attempt, the first turn of the key produces nothing. Zero. as if the battery were disconnected or the transmission was in gear. Turn the key off Try again It fires right up normally. Sometimes I have to turn the key off more than once.
All suggestions appreciated.
CR
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Solenoid goes "click",no crank?

If it's not making the solenoid click,then it's probably a worn-out ignition switch.
If it clicks,then worn starter solenoid contacts? That happened to my 94 Integra. Some Honda starters can have the solenoid replaced,others have to have the whole starter assy replaced. (or the solenoid "rebuilt")
see http://www.nationsautoelectric.com/Nippondenso.html
--
Jim Yanik
jyanik
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I've had that happen with a bad battery - a cracked connection inside the battery. The current of trying to start it the first time, even though low because of the bad connection, would often be low enough to slightly weld the connection. After a moment it reached the critical point where more current would flow and improve the connection, and everything would be more or less okay until the next time the battery sat. Note that this behavior is the opposite of a bad connection at the post, where it gets worse with current flow because of oxidation.
I started seeing this happen around 1980, at the time the first side post batteries came out. It was a notorious failure mode for the early side posts and gave them a bad reputation, but I think whatever "advancement" in design came about then affected all conventional car batteries. Since then, maybe half the battery failures I've seen have been from internal intermittents.
Anyway, try this test: when you expect the engine to misbehave, leave the driver's door open so the dome light is on. Watch the dome light when you turn on the headlights. If the light dims badly and then returns to normal in a few seconds or even a minute, that's the battery. If it doesn't dim much but the starter behavior is as bad as it has been, suspect the starter instead - particularly the solenoid.
Mike
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Thanks for all the advise. I tried the light test and didn't notice any dimming.
I did notice this: If I turn on they key to activate accessories but not the starter then off and then start, it fires up right away, no dead symptom.
It seem that if power is drawn a connection is made so this seems to favor Mike's battery broken connection idea, I think.
I checked my records and in Jan 2005 I replaced the Neutral Safety Switch, the ignition switch, the battery and the starter in that order. Then I had what seemed like starter problems again in August 2005 and it turned out to be the torque converter. Which is to say that my present problem is most likely the battery or starter. Wouldn't you agree? I did buy the 60 month battery, but I'll check the connections first.
Thanks for the responses. Cliff
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Check your ignition switch again. My fathers car does the same exact thing and I traced it down to a faulty igntion switch about two years ago and it just started acting up again. If you have accessory power and there is no dimming of your headlights your battery connection are probably ok. Take a look at them and try to wiggle them by hand. If it starts every time on the second try and not the first I would look at your ignition switch before your starter.
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Others gave some good ideas. If the lights don't dim while starting, something is making a bad connection. Can be the switch, but it can also be the small lead that goes to the starter solenoid if it's loose, or crudded up. All it is, is a flag terminal connector of sorts. If they get spread apart, it can cause it to fit too loose. If it's not the switch or the connection, you probably need a new solenoid, or replace the contacts in the one you have. The mitsuma starters don't seem to have parts available, so if it's one of those, you'll have to get a new starter, or rob a solenoid off a good one. The ND starters you can get new contacts online. Another quirk is it's possible your ring gear is getting flaky, or off center due to broke welds to the torque converter, flywheel, etc.. That will cause it to run slightly off center, and cause a slow start speed whenever it gets to that point. On the other teeth, it will work as normal usually. My 89 accord has this problem , but not too bad yet.. I recently had my solenoid contacts flake out, and I had to buy a whole rebuilt starter. Mine is a mitsuma... :/ Mitsumas are round looking . I think the ND starters have a slightly boxy look, but I'm not sure. They look different than the mitsuma. MK
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Here's the final on my problem: It turned out to be the starter. as I should have guessed all along.
Two years ago I replaced the starter. Eight months later I'm having starter failure-like symptoms. It turns out to be the torque converter. In the process of discovery the starter was removed several times. In the end, the solenoid case was cracked and the small terminal for the small wire wobbled, but it worked.
So, this time I bought a new starter and installed it myself. I forgot to check if the small terminal wobble is by design. Got the starter in and struggling a little to get that rubber cap over the postive battery cable nut and I hear a crack. Maybe the solenoid case is supposed to be cracked...Naaa. I glommed on a little epoxy. and hope for the best. The small wire terminal wobbles. The Accord starts every time so far, though it makes a different screeching sound once the engine fires. I don't like the sound of it. You know, when you keep the starter engaged too long. I wonder if one can get the starter seated improperly. But, if it turns over OK what could be off?
Anyway, Thanks to everyone for all the help and encouragement. These Accord really are pretty amazing. They got it right in the late 80s. Just wish there was some way to jack up the suspension a little. It's not the best ride in my rural area.
Cliff
On Feb 10, 2:41 pm, snipped-for-privacy@wt.net wrote:

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That sound is not good. It will get worse. It's probably the starter gear itself extending out a tad too far.. "just guessing". If you had a starter that didn't do that, I would use it, and slap the good solenoid onto it. Mine did basically the same thing. And I'm glad I kept my old starter. I'm thinking about putting it back on, with the new solenoid.. But I got another car, and am not driving the accord any more. I've already dumped the insurance on it.. But I need to be able to sell it, and will probably swap the starters to get a bit longer life/less trouble for the new owner. It really needs a new torque converter to be totally right, but I'm not going to bother with that. MK
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