91 honda ex hessitates

hello guys,
This car belongs to one of my friend (91 honda accord ex manual). The car has long standign problem. He kills distributors.
What i found out from the car: it hessitates when the idle is low. if
the idle is above 2000 then everythign works fine. you feel this at the acceleration (mostly from stops), and when it is hot. when it is cold, it is ok. A mechanic pinpoint the problem as ECU, but it did not change anything.
What does control the ignition, I believe something cuts of the ignition? did anybody experiece this kind of problem.
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By any chance does he not use geunine Honda distributor, ignition wire, and spark plug parts?
That /will/ shorten distributor lives.
It's amazing how often someone will report bad running problems with his/her Honda, and slapping in genuine Honda ignition wires (with plugs, etc.; don't be cheap) fixes it right up.

I would not go back to this mechanic for awhile. ECU's are rarely the problem. Your suspicion that it's ignition system related is far more sound.

I would start with a complete tuneup:
Genuine Honda parts for the ignition wires, spark plugs, distributor cap and rotor. Costs about $100 for the parts.
New air filter and fuel filter. Maybe $20 for the parts.
Check ignition timing. You need a timing light.
New, genuine Honda PCV valve. Another $20.
Buy a bottle of Chevron Techron injector etc. cleaner for $6. Dump into near empty gas tank. Fill. Start doing this maybe once a year.
Top off the cooling system. Purge of air (will take at least thirty minutes for fan to come on twice). Top off. All per the manual. www.autozone.com has a manual specific to this car, free online.
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Hello Elle,
I donot want to trow in parts. Which will cost minimum 500 for a 400 dollar car. What i did so far is, I swap the distributor with another car and it did not help. ps: the other car is ok wiht the current Autozone distributor (i know how cheap autozone parts are). I feel like some component aout to die or does not produce enough signal when the rpm is low.
how can i test the distributor? I have another honda which is autoatic but i hope it will not make huge differnce.I can put anything into that and
can you help me to test the problem part.
Thanks.
Elle wrote:

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Putting in new, genuine Honda wires, plugs, rotor and cap will cost about $90, tops, for the parts. www.slhonda.com 's online parts store has very good prices for genuine Honda parts, and that estimate is based on its numbers.
I am not trying to get you to throw away money. These ignition parts, if old and worn enough, typically cause running problems. In addition, they're due for replacement every few years, anyway. So you spend the $75 now, and eliminate these as the cause, or you spend it within a few years. I do list a few tests below.

You do mean you swapped the entire distributor assembly (cap, rotor, coil, igniter, and housing), right?

That's a good test you did. It does suggest the ignition wires and plugs could stand replacement. Your test eliminates the distributor coil from being a cause, which I otherwise would have strongly suspected.

The distributor and ignition parts that are replaceable, and how "testable" they are and whether they may cause running problems, are as follows:
May cause running, but not generally start, problems-- distributor cap (not testable; costs about $20) distributor rotor (not testable; costs about $7) ignition wires (testable/inspectable to some extent, $50 for all four) spark plugs (inspectable, costs about $8 for all four) distributor coil (testable to some extent, costs about $90) distributor housing (not really testable, but the wire harness, seals, etc. age, Costs about $250. People here generally end up replacing these at least once in an early 1990s Honda's life.) distributor etc. radio noise suppressor (testable, but it's not clear whether all 91 Civics have them. $6)
May cause start problems, but not generally running problems-- distributor igniter (testable; costs about $90)
For the ignition wires, with the car's hood up, run the car in the dark. Do you see any sparking coming from the wires? If so, replace them.
Then do a resistance check of each wire. They should not be more than about 15k ohms each.
I have used non-OEM wires in the past, and I think they are why my 91 Civic LX had coil problems. Reports here support this, too. If your friend's Civic does not have genuine Honda ( = OEM) wires, replace them.
I would still top off and properly purge the cooling system.
I would still at least inspect and clean with WD-40 or PB Blaster the PCV valve.
I would still spend $6 for a bottle of fuel injector cleaner and put it in the fuel tank, etc.
Any of these may solve the problem, at very low expense.

www.autozone.com has a free online manual for your 91 Honda Civic Ex that can help in general with repairs.
www.tegger.com/hondafaq has some pointers on running problems. IIRC, it says what I pretty much say above.

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wrote

thing to worry about. The rest of Elle's suggestions will either fix your problem or eliminate a lot of potential trouble spots that have to be eliminated anyway.
Mike
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

makes such an expensive misdiagnosis.
1. use injector cleaner to make sure they're clean. 2. make sure the timing is correct. 3. make sure the ignition system is in good order. 4. make sure the valve lash is correct. 5. make sure the thermostat is correct. 6. shop different brands of gasoline. on my car, chevron is _terrible_ for this problem.
check the ecu for stored codes. occasionally on high mileage vehicles, the t.p.s. does out and can cause symptoms as described - it gives an error code.
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a good tune up might be a good way of spending money on the car. I will update you about the problem.
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