Intermittent problem on 88 Civic

I bought it new. She'll be 17 years old next month with 315,000 km! The problem started one morning - engine cold - when she would turn over just fine but would not start. Towed to a garage, they changed the
distributor cap and rotor, the plugs and cables, and the air filter. It ran fine for a few days. Then, out on the highway - engine warm - it started sputtering, choking, but it never died. Pulled over to the side, killed it, but it started back up on the next try and ran fine for a few days. Same thing happened yesterday but this time, it didn't restart. Tried for an hour before giving up. It was towed for the second time in its life. At the garage, it started on the third try, with an ignition tester between a plug and its cable. It ran fine for the hour long drive back home. Humidity/rain doesn't seem to be a factor.
I know she'll leave me for the great scrapyard in the sky someday, but I'm just not ready to let go yet. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks,
Andr
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Stop being a cheap bastard and get a new car!
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"Andr Boisvert" < snipped-for-privacy@sympatico.ca> wrote in message
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Google for " honda main relay";they get bad solder joints,and the fuel pump does not always run,and the car starts,but does not have enough fuel pressure to keep running.There are a few websites with instructions how to find the MainRelay and how to resolder it.(easy task) A new relay will cost at least $50 USD.
This is a VERY common Honda/Acura problem.
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Jim Yanik
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Jim Great post. Jason
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Shall do. I'm very happy with the idea that it might that simple. Thank you for taking the time, Jim.
Andr

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My '88 HB is the same vintage (225,000 kms), when my main relay failed, the car wouldn't start only when it was warm (or hot of course). In fact, it started to act up one fall and I drove the entire winter without a problem, come the spring when things warmed up, the car would crank forever without firing. So I bought a new relay. So, when you say it won't start when it's cold, I'm thinking it *might* not be the relay, if I'm wrong, I'm sure someone will verify this. In any event, let 'us' know the outcome.
Mike / Toronto
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snipped-for-privacy@sympatico.ca (F1 FAN) wrote in wrote:

I imagine that eventually,any cracked solder joints could become bad enough to fail even when 'cold'. And 'cold' may only mean here that his motor had sat all night,not that the outside temp was "cold".
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It's been over 3 weeks since I changed my main relay and I haven't had a single problem. Because the part was 17 years old, I decided to replace it instead of resoldering it. $68 CAD. Not bad. Unfortunately, a cracking sound that was coming from the front end got exponentially worse in frequency and amplitude. I brought it in to my garage; 3 ball joints and a tie rod. "With the amount of rust you've got under there...", said my mechanic, with a not-worth-it-time-to-get-a-new-car look.
Ahhh...Crap. I really liked that car.
Many thanks again, Jim. I'm still blown away by the idea of troubleshooting a car problem on the internet.
Andr Montral
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it
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troubleshooting
Good post. It's particularly helpful as I contemplate my 14-year-old Civic (bought new, like yours). Fortunately only about half its life has been spent in really snowy long winters. It has 274k kilometers ( = ~ 170k miles) on it. So using your numbers and Canadian locale, I figure she's good for at least three more years. The only major repair/maintenance is the timing belt, for which I happen to already have the new belt and tensioner. So I am calculating whether to actually replace these when they're due in summer, 2007... Guess I'll see how everything else looks.
At least the Honda Fit/Jazz should be available by then!
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I'm in a similar spot: I have a 1990 Accord LX with a host of problems. About 200,000 miles, though I don't know the exact amount because the speed sensor (or its wiring) went out a few months back, and I haven't had time to look at it yet. (I only recently reclaimed the car from my stepdaughter.) Windshield's cracked. All four tires are shot. Rust around rear wheels has penetrated far enough that the trunk leaks. There's some body damage, including the front passenger light cluster.
And I suspect bad suspension wear (ball joints and/or tie rods); it has a nasty shimmy at highway speeds. Could just be the tires, but I'm not optimistic.
However, I'd like to be able to trade this car in about six months from now, and if I don't keep it running I won't be able to. I have to decide if it's worth doing the things that absolutely need to be done now (windshield, tires, lights, speed sensor), with junkyard parts where applicable, just to keep it on the road for a little longer.
On the plus side, the engine still runs well (despite being overdue for a tuneup, among other things) and the interior is in good shape. It'd be a pretty nice car for running local errands if the most urgent things were fixed.
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Besides the main relay, if the fuel filter hasn't been changed recently this would be a good time for that. In any event, the symptoms sound like a fuel delivery problem and the main relay and fuel filter are at the top of that list. The part that sounds more like the relay than the filter is the failure to start in the morning.
Mike
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