Firing on 3 cylinders

Hi everyone,
I'm getting a new car next week which my sister has owned for the last 6 months, a 1992 Honda accord LXi which despite its age (300000+ ks) has been
running very well until now. The problem it has now, is it's only firing on 3 cylinders, and I have to drive it 250 miles home before I can get it to a garage to be fixed, is that going to do any more damage to it? or just gonna be a pain in the ass to drive? Any advice would be appreciated.
Cheers,
Ben
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Your catalytic converter will overheat.
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youre probably going to need a whole new engine and to get the car hauled to a garage. i wouldn't attempt to drive it because the engine will probably blow on the way. it has lost compression in a cylinder which is bad news.
-jeff

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Take it to a closer shop to be repaired.
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Ben_M wrote:

Question #1: Is there compression in the cylinder?
Question #2: Is the spark plug good?
Question #3: Is the plug wire good?
These can be found out easily.
If all are good, then I suggest disconnecting the injector wires to the offending cylinder and immediately getting it to the nearest shop or person where more info can be found. Preferably, by tow truck.
At 186,000+ miles, it may still have some life left in it, assuming your sister changed the oil on time regularly. I say this because I have a sister, and she ruined a perfectly good honda by not changing the oil when she should have.. ;)
Marco
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Ben_M wrote:

for the sake of a few bucks, you can replace the plugs and probably fix the problem. then the drive home won't be an issue. otherwise, disconnect the injector on the plug that's missing and drive it like that so you don't damage the cat.
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jim beam wrote:

Ok, thanks a lot for all your replys, but I probably should have mentioned I know nothing about cars. :-P I'm a bit concerned by some of your comments because my sister is still driving the car to work and back every day. :P Is it pretty much likely to be a write off? Thanks for all your replys.
Ben
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Ben_M wrote:

no good?? :P I've been talking to her and she says it's still running smoothly but just with 25% less power obviously, oh and if you run the revs too low it doesn't handle that at all, which I'm guessing is to be expected with only 3 cylinders. What do you think? Is it likely to be worth repairing? I'm willing to throw $1000 at it.

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Ben_M wrote:

no good?? :P I've been talking to her and she says it's still running smoothly but just with 25% less power obviously, oh and if you run the revs too low it doesn't handle that at all, which I'm guessing is to be expected with only 3 cylinders.

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Ben_M via CarKB.com wrote:

this no good?? :P I've been talking to her and she says it's still running smoothly but just with 25% less power obviously, oh and if you run the revs too low it doesn't handle that at all, which I'm guessing is to be expected with only 3 cylinders.

Well,
No-one can have any thoughts without some history on the car to help.
Has the oil been changed in the past 6 months?
Can you take it to a shop and get a quote on repairs? Remember my 3 questions earlier? The answers will speak volumes on what needs to be done.
If it is a spark plug, then be prepared to spend $2.00 to fix it.
If it is a plug wire, then empty your wallet to the tune of $20.00.
If there is no compression, then you may be spending close to $1000.00 if you can't repair the cylinder head yourself. Caveat: If there is no compression, and the cylinder head is fine, then you may need to replace the engine.
Double caveat: If the damage is due to oil starvation, replace the engine.
More info needed. Have a mechanic look at your car asap.
Marco
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Marco wrote:

Ok thanks for all your help, you guys are awesome. I think given my complete ignorance in cars, my best bet is to get her to take it to a local mechanic and hope they give her a courtesy car. :-/ lol
Thanks a lot guys.
Ben
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"Ben_M via CarKB.com" wrote:

and...
some people might be better off taking the bus... if she wants a 3 cylinder car then she should get a geo metro. the car may have a simple problem or it may be more complex. driving it around in its current state is like pouring lime juice into an open wound, it can only make it worse.
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The catalyst is probably okay if it has just been driven around town. If the dead cylinder is actually pumping unburned fuel mixture into the exhaust, high speed driving may melt the catalyst. I've seen both undamaged catalyst with seriously rich mixture and melted catalyst for no obvious reason, so it could go either way. Similarly, if the cylinder is dead because the valves aren't operating or the injector isn't squirting, it should be safe from that standpoint.
The big concern is why the cylinder is dead in the first place. In the larger view it suggests a lack of maintenance, which is always problematic. But in the smaller view if the problem is a dead injector or bad plug/wire or distributor cap it is ready for more years of service.
If you truly have to drive it 250 miles to find out, I second Jim Beam's recommendation - unplug the injector and drive it. How do you know which injector? Start at one end and give each one a try. The engine won't idle on two cylinders, so when you find the one that doesn't make it any worse than it already is you've found the one.
Mike
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