88 Honda Accord high idle problem

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Hi.  I picked up aan 88 Honda Accord LX with just 58k miles on it.  It
generally looks and runs great.

About a few weeks after I got it, it started to idle high when cold.  When I
started it up, it would run around 1.5-2k rpm in park and about 1.3-1.75 in
neutral or drive.  Generally after it warmed up, it would drop down to .75-1k
rpm and act normally.  It was and still is manageable.

I tried removing the air filter housing and got in there with a can of carb
spray and sprayed in and around the carb.  It did really seem to help for
about 3 weeks.  It mostly behaved normally for that time.

It has now returned to its former behavior, though not quite as bad.  It
rarely get as high as 2k rpm.   More like 1.5-1.75.  It does seem to take
longer, however, for the idle to settle down to normal….longer drives and
longer time.  I’ve tried revving the engine to 8k rpm for a minute or so and
that seems to help a little bit, but not much.  It just seems like it needs
to warm up.  If I drive it a short distance, park it and then start it again,
sometimes it will then idle normally.

I’m planning on spraying it out again, maybe using 2 cans this time.  Is this
something I need to be worried about and get it checked out by a mechanic
right away?  Can it be symptomatic of a more serious problem?  I’ve been
doing a lot of research and I love to figure things out for myself and it
would be a fun little project to be able to fix it on my own.

Any suggestions?  Should I be looking at another possibility other than the
carb?  How tough is it to pull out the old carb and put in a rebuilt one?
Should I get a new one or rebuilt if I decide to go that route?

Thank you in advance!

Steve, L.A.


Re: 88 Honda Accord high idle problem


Steve-88-Honda-Accord wrote:
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Just for kicks, try filling the coolant reservoir to the MAX mark and
see if your problem goes away. On the fuel-injected engines, the
computer messes up the timing / mixture if there's AIR in the top of the
rad instead of coolant. Couldn't hurt for yours either.

'Curly'

Re: 88 Honda Accord high idle problem


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Thank you.  I was going to make a separate post about this, but the cooling
system seems to be acting strangely.   When I bought the car, the owner told
me that a new radiator had been put in, and visually it does appear to be
pretty new.  Since then, on two occasions, the car has overheated and the
cooling system had dumped all the coolant, though there is no apparent leak.
On refilling the radiator, nothing leaks out.  However, it would suddenly
dump all the coolant.  Then after refilling, it would be fine.  It has been
fine for a while now, maybe almost two months.  There is sometimes the smell
of coolant about the engine, though no visible signs of a leak in the engine
compartment or on the ground.  Puzzler.

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Re: 88 Honda Accord high idle problem



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I wonder if the previous owner had an overheat problem,perhaps after having
blown a head gasket? That would explain the coolant "dumps":Leaking
combustion gasses pressurizing the coolant and forcing it out the expansion
tank.
What started it was probably a bad thermostat.(use OEM Honda TS only.)

Maybe that's why he sold it;he didn't want to spring for a headgasket
replacement,especially if the head warped.

--
Jim Yanik
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Re: 88 Honda Accord high idle problem


Jim Yanik wrote:

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Thanks.  Seems like a good hypothesis.  If it is a head gasket, how much anm
I looking at to fix it?  What are the consequences of driving around with a
blown head gasket?  I can probably do the thermostat myself.

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Re: 88 Honda Accord high idle problem



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I don't know.Others here might know.
It would depend on if the head is warped or not.

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Losing all your coolant. warping your cylinder head.
possibly damaging your radiator from overpressure.

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yes,it's not hard. Use a Honda TS,not any aftermarket brand.

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Re: 88 Honda Accord high idle problem


Steve-88-Honda-Accord wrote:
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    SNIP

    There are about forty different circuts on that carburator. If you are
handy and LUCKY, you may be able to find the choke pull-off and choke
speed cam and see if they are sticky or stuck. There are also float
level problems with that car from junk in the float bowl.
    Good luck!      bob

Re: 88 Honda Accord high idle problem


N.E.Ohio Bob wrote:
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Sounds like more than I can do.  Overall the behavior of the vehicle suggests
something is sticky, gummed up.  Hoping it's as simple as cleaning it.  Have
tried the gas additive but does not seem to really help.  Thank you.

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Re: 88 Honda Accord high idle problem



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If you're telling us the car idles at 1,500-1,750 rpm when dead-cold,
that's normal.

If you're now saying it just takes too long to step off fast-idle, then
either your choke is sticking closed, or your thermostat is too old.

How is your heater output? Seems to take a long time to get decently hot?


<snip>

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Don't change the carb. At this point, that's using a sledgehammer to kill a
fly. Check out the other stuff first.


--
Tegger

The Unofficial Honda/Acura FAQ
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Re: 88 Honda Accord high idle problem


Tegger wrote:
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It does not step off fast-idle.  It takes at least 10 minutest for it to calm
down.st

Choke sticking is something that cleaning can take care of?  Spraying it out
with carb cleaner?

Heater output is not good...weak and takes a while to come up.  I had
attributed this to a bad heater coil, but perhaps you are suggesting both
problems are linked to a bad thermostat.  By the way ambient temperature does
not seem to be a factor...hot day, cold day...seems to behave almost the same.


  I was going to make a separate post about this, but the cooling system
seems to be acting strangely.   When I bought the car, the owner told me that
a new radiator had been put in, and visually it does appear to be pretty new.
Since then, on two occasions, the car has overheated and the cooling system
had dumped all the coolant, though there is no apparent leak.  On refilling
the radiator, nothing leaks out.  However, it would suddenly dump all the
coolant.  Then after refilling, it would be fine.  It has been fine for a
while now, maybe almost two months.  There is sometimes the smell of coolant
about the engine, though no visible signs of a leak in the engine compartment
or on the ground.  Puzzler.

Thank you.

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Re: 88 Honda Accord high idle problem



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Does it gradually lose revs as it warms up? Or does it stay way up there
then all of a sudden drop down to normal hot idle?


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There is a LOT to choke control. Some of it is dependent on coolant
temperature, most is not.

With all the checks and adjustments, I would strongly suggest you invest in
a Helm manual. Either directly from www.helminc.com or from eBay.



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Your interior heater operates by stealing heated coolant from the engine
and routing it through the passenger compartment. If the thermostat is
stuck open, the engine will run way cool, Your heater will be weak and the
choke will try to stay partly-closed.




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There's a LOT to a cooling system too.  The rad is just the heat exchanger.



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When it "dumps" the coolant, does it do so by spewing it through the
overflow bottle? You may want to get a pressure check to confirm you don't
have a blown head gasket.


--
Tegger

The Unofficial Honda/Acura FAQ
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Re: 88 Honda Accord high idle problem




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And if the thermostat tends to stick SHUT, you'll get the overheating
symptoms you're seeing.

You need to check or replace the following:
1) Thermostat (with OEM!)
2) Head gasket integrity


--
Tegger

The Unofficial Honda/Acura FAQ
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Re: 88 Honda Accord high idle problem


Tegger wrote:

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It's tough to tell since it happens as I am driving, but it seems like it is
gradual.


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Great. All I have is a Haynes manual and it is not very detailed.  The Helm
will be more detailed?


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If I am not mistaken replacing the thermostat is not a difficult job and not
expensive for the part.  Am I right about that?


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Yes it would apprear it is through the overflow bottle,, since it is full.
But there is no sign of the cap coming off or any holes it the bottle.

Thank you!!

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Re: 88 Honda Accord high idle problem



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This important. Check carefully. If it's gradual, then your choke is OK.


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Oh, yes. Worth every penny, and more.



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Yes. Use an OEM thermostat only. It's about $30.


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Try replacng the rad cap. The pressure seal spring may just be weak. Use
an OEM cap, too. That's also about $30.

You should replace the rad cap every few years as a matter of course.
It's a "consumable". Every time you boil the coolant, you risk severe
engine damage.


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Tegger

The Unofficial Honda/Acura FAQ
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Re: 88 Honda Accord high idle problem


UPDATE

Well today the car started to rev up to 2k and beyond.  Later in the day as I
was on my way to get gas (the tank was near empty), I had it in neutral at a
stop light with the engine idling at about 2 K and it just cut off.  It would
not restart.  Pushed it to the side of the road and went to the gas station
across the street, hoping it was just out of gas.  Put in a gallon, still
would not start.  Put in another gallon, it did start but in Park or Neutral
revs up to 2.5k and about 1.5 k in drive.

Well, I'll be taking it in to my mechanic tomorrow.  Any preditctions on what
he will tell me the problem is?  Any way I can help him narrow it down to the
most likely culprit and hopefully save myself some money?   Thanks for all
the replies here.  You guys have been very helpful.  Peace!

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Re: 88 Honda Accord high idle problem


Steve-88-Honda-Accord wrote:
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Don't bother replacing the carburetor unless it's physically worn out.
Instead, go to your Honda dealer and ask for a "top clean kit."  This kit
was developed some time ago by a Honda tech looking for a faster way to
overhaul Honda's carburetors.  The kit includes everything you need
including detailed instructions though new floats must be purchased
separately (and you might want to get those too just to be on the safe
side).  With a "top clean kit" the carburetor is overhauled on the car by
removing the air horn.  It's fairly straight forward to do especially by an
experienced tech.

Eric

Re: 88 Honda Accord high idle problem


Eric wrote:

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Thank you.  That sounds like a great option if Itseems like cleaning the card
is the way to go.  Any ideasa how much it costs and how long of an operation
iot is?

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Re: 88 Honda Accord high idle problem


"Steve-88-Honda-Accord wrote:
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I haven't priced these kits in years.  I really don't know what Honda is
asking for them now.  You could call around to one of your local dealers and
you could also check http://www.hondaautomotiveparts.com however you may
have to give them a call since I haven't been able to find the kit when
searching through their part listings.  How long does it take?  An
experienced tech should be able to get it done in about an hour give or take
a bit.  If it's your first time, give yourself a few hours time in a well
ventilated garage with a fan on for fresh air.

Eric

Re: 88 Honda Accord high idle problem



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Sounds like it's operation is totally normal if it's cold.
Even cold in the summer will usually run the choke for a
short while. The normal fast idle setting is usually about 2500
on those engines. You are trying to fix what ain't broke, unless
it does that when hot.. Doesn't seem to be the case.  8k rpm
when cold? Ouch... When a carb choke starts to warm up,
you tap the throttle lightly if you want it to drop down quicker.
No need to goose it to 8k... If it's not warm enough, it's not going
to drop down by racing it.. You can't really force it too much.. But
once it's ready, just a light tap will do..
MK



Re: 88 Honda Accord high idle problem


UPDATE

Well today the car started to rev up to 2k and beyond.  Later in the day as I
was on my way to get gas (the tank was near empty), I had it in neutral at a
stop light with the engine idling at about 2 K and it just cut off.  It would
not restart.  Pushed it to the side of the road and went to the gas station
across the street, hoping it was just out of gas.  Put in a gallon, still
would not start.  Put in another gallon, it did start but in Park or Neutral
revs up to 2.5k and about 1.5 k in drive.

Well, I'll be taking it in to my mechanic tomorrow.  Any preditctions on what
he will tell me the problem is?  Any way I can help him narrow it down to the
most likely culprit and hopefully save myself some money?   Thanks for all
the replies here.  You guys have been very helpful.  Peace!

--
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