90 Accord got flooded - won't start after 3 days. Help.

92000 miles. I came home the other day to find the car in a foot of water, three inches inside. It started, I drove it around. I turned it off and a bit later it started. It ran until I pulled into my
driveway, which is about a 40 degree angle down. The car ran another 30 seconds or so while I was bailing out water, and then died.
I had it towed out and placed on level ground but three days later it still won't start. It has rained each day though so it isn't getting dry. It cranks just fine, but it won't start.
I guess either wires/spark plugs are wet? Or water got in the fuel line? I can't figure why it worked fine until I pulled onto that slope.
Any advice greatly appreciated.
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Is the Check Engine Light on for two seconds after the ignition is turned on? If not, the ECU (engine/electronic computer/control unit) is suspect. With water this deep, one casualty is often the ECU. It is located in the passenger footwell, about a few inches above the floor... Perhaps upon driving onto the slope, water in it sloshed around further. An ECU test procedure for your Accord appears at http://media.honda.co.uk/car/owner/media/manuals/AccordManual/400/6-152.pdf
If the ECU seems okay, next check for spark and fuel per the directions at http://tegger.com/hondafaq/startproblems.html .

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On Mon, 05 Jun 2006 12:56:37 GMT, "Elle"

Thanks. I think the Check Engine light was coming on it normally does. There was a little water in the passenger side but the real water was in the driver side. That's the way the car was tilting in the spot.
I'm at work now so can't check the car but I will when I get home later. I'm not much good at car repair (I'm a software guy and this is hardware) but I can likely see if a sparkplug is firing.
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When ever the car is water flooded the ECU is protected by its conformal coating which is design for this purpose. It's the corrosion elsewhere that can fry the ECU.
A word of advice. Whenever the car is flooded, the access panel from parts should be removed and the parts dried quickly after being removed from water. Don't start the car. A large fan on the engine bay and on the car's interior should do the trick, but peel back those carpets.
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Burt wrote:

There are companies that specialize in rehabbing "drowned" cars to the extent that they do as you suggested over a period of days (depending on the severity of the dunking) and check engines, trannies, brake systems for water infiltration etc.
Time is of the essence here if damage was caused by salt water. If the vehicle was dunked in fresh water, time is not so important regarding the engine as I've seen cars revived after sitting for ten years. It's a messy process however...
JT
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Others in this group over the years have reported visible corrosion on the PCB. The coating must not be perfect.
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TeGGeR

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I haven't personally heard of an ECU (Honda or otherwise) that survived getting wet. My son's '89 (?) Accord he had in Washington state got about an inch of water in the floor during a flood and the ECU was severely damaged, although the engine still ran after a fashion. It drank gasoline like crazy and the "check engine" light stayed on. More commonly, flooded ECUs just fail completely. A replacement from a wrecking yard is the obvious solution; his was $75 although others can cost over $100 US.
FWIW, back when I worked in avionics a navigation system was brought in by an insurance adjuster because the pilot said it failed in heavy rain. I worked on it as he watched, and sure enough the first thing we saw inside was heavy water spotting, starting at the cooling fitting. But why was it dead? All the boards were coated with urethane. I found an open circuit board trace in the power supply. On very close examination (good light and magnifying glass) we could see there was a pinhole in the coating and where that hole in the coating was the trace underneath was gone. A piece of wire soldered across the gap and a swab of urethane made it as good as new... and it left me with a new respect for the corrosive power of the combination of water and DC.
Mike
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Honda's ECU's are comparable to the aviation technology. Many other automakers don't go to the extent that Honda does. The ones that do go bad from moisture are probably from users who didn't know where or how to remove the seat to get to the ECU quickly.
When my non-coated electronic equipments fell off a boat they were all quickly handled. They've cheated death and still running strong today.
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wrote

Like I said...

I dropped a cordless phone into a swimming pool once. Rescued it (once we figured out where it had gone), took it apart, left it in the sun, and it's fine now. Still using it.
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Time is definitely of the essence, since the electrolysis occurs like clockwork. I think an hour is okay, but overnight is definitely too long. If the car is found flooded in the morning, the outlook is grim indeed.
Mike
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On Thu, 8 Jun 2006 20:05:25 -0700, "Michael Pardee"

So are you saying that I just need to get an ECU from a junkyard and replace it in the Honda? I can screw in a lightbulb and even operate a screwdriver. According to a quick google search it's under the driver seat in a 1990 Accord. So, as someone wrote, I pull out the seat and replace the ECU?
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No. See here: http://www.iequus.com/assets/manuals/3173_ICCR_E_14JAN03.pdf Specifically page 15.

See above.
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Why doesn't he buy a Haynes or other service manual? They have -some- use.
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Jim Yanik
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<snip>

Yeah, you can wipe your ass with them.
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TeGGeR

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The link has no picture location. Try this for the 90-93 Accord location.
http://home.earthlink.net/~michaelpkeefe/images/ECM_TCM_Location.jpg
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wrote:

Yes, that's just what I seem to have. I can't get that big metal plate off; I need a deeper socket then I have. It seems to be held in with 10 mm nuts, maybe 11, but I can' t get a socket down enough to pull them off. The screw sticking out is too long. I'll get a better one tomorrow.
I did check with Honda, the ECU is $951. Yikes! But a local junkyard has one for $60. It probably won't work but maybe it will. Is it worth a gamble?
My plan is to get the plate off and dry everything out. It's finally stopped raining here (NYC) so I have a fighting chance.
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I bet the ECU is good. From what I've seen Honda ECU's are among the best and rarely have problems. So if yours is water damaged the junkyard replacement will probably solve your problem.
On Sat, 10 Jun 2006 20:37:34 -0400, dgk

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wrote:

I ripped the thing apart and there are two sealed boxes with wire harnesses attached. One says OKI Communications AT Control Unit (or something close to that), the other doesn't say much at all. The AT unit had two wire bundles, the other had three. I'll head for the junkyard and see what they have.
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dgk wrote:

---------------------------------------------
If you had disconnected the BATTERY right away, things might be different. The current will electrolyze all the parts that get wet, especially connectors and circuit boards.
I've seen the traces 'evaporate' off (original Mac) circuit boards that got wet with the power on. If the power had been turned off right away, they would not have needed 'patching'.
'Curly'
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dgk wrote:

You live on the side of pyramid with a great view of the Sphinx? :-D
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