Lost power steering / dash lights on 99 accord

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Good afternoon all.  I did a search of the archives, and read through
Teggers FAQ, but wasn't able to find any details for this specific issue.
Thanks for your time.

My wife has a '99 Honda Accord sedan, 4-cylinder 5 speed with 115K miles.
About once every few months for a year or more, she has complained that it
"loses power."  This has now escalated to three times in a week, and is a
pretty significant issue for us - if we can't figure it out we're going to
have to sell the car for safety reasons.  Unfortunately I haven't
experienced this yet as it's not my daily driver, so some of the details
that she offers aren't exactly complete and I recognize that.  Nonetheless,
here are the symptoms, and I'm hoping these ring a bell with someone.

Yesterday when making a left turn into a parking lot at about 20MPH, she
states the steering wheel "locked up" while making the turn, and she nearly
ran into a telephone pole.  Sounds to me based on her explanation that she
lost power steering as she said it was incredibly difficult to turn.  She
said that when it happened, all the lights on the dash came on, but the
radio was still on and the engine was still running.  She stopped/restarted
the car, problem resolved.  I'm not 100% sure why the power steering would
be affected if the engine was still running, but my job is in IT not fixing
Hondas unfortunately.  :-)

When this has happened in the past it was just the dash-lights turning on
and a loss of power briefly so this wasn't an urgent of a problem.  It's
only happened before while sitting at an intersection stopped (dash lights
turn on/car may or may not stop running) or driving straight (loss of power,
dash lights on), so in the past she just restarted the car and off she went.
I didn't know about the loss of power steering until recently.  Besides this
little hiccup, the car is flawless (and paid for), so we'd love to resolve
it if possible.  If it's relevant, we live in NC and the weather has been
VERY hot as of late, but previous problems have been throughout the year.

I had the alternator checked this morning at an Advance Auto for grins, it
tested out fine.  Any other ideas regarding things to check/repairs/tests?

Much appreciated.

- Mike

Re: Lost power steering / dash lights on 99 accord

Thats a weird one, have not run across this before.

First things first, have you had the steering system inspected?  Leaks,
components worn out, damage, etc?  

Also, is the P/S fluid at the right level?  Have you ever had it changed?

Does the P/S pump make any funny noises?  

What kind of shape is the drive belt in?  Is there a squeal or noise that
occurs when the problem happens?

Start there.  Let us know what you find.

Terry in Winnipeg

Mike wrote:
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Re: Lost power steering / dash lights on 99 accord

Thanks for the reply.

No, I haven't had it inspected yet, but my garage floor is clean as a
whistle in regards to any obvious/heavy leaks.  I will check the lines
tonight as best I can and the fluid level.  Power steering fluid has
probably been changed once in the life of the car - I know that sucks - and
we are the original owners.  To be honest (please educate me), I'm not sure
why low fluid would cause all the dash lights to come on, though I
understand why it's a problem overall with the system and might cause issues
while turning.

No noises from the pump that I'm aware of, but I just started driving the
car regularly today.  I'll be paying close attention over the weekend.

I also had the timing belt / drive belts / waterpump / etc. changed at 90 or
95K, but I will take a better look today.  They definitely don't squeal, and
during my uneducated cursory review of the belts while the hood was up this
morning - well, they looked OK to me.  No cracks/bad seams/etc.

I have an appointment next week with my independent mechanic (lots of folks
here at my office use them for Hondas, generally very reliable), but
verbally he indicated the difficulty of diagnosing the problem without a
repro which is quite understandable.  That's part of the reason for my post
is to hit a large audience - that and the fact that I'd rather do it myself
if it's not too much of a PITA.

Thanks again!

- Mike

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Re: Lost power steering / dash lights on 99 accord

On 8/31/07 2:24 PM, in article 46d86b01$0$16517$ snipped-for-privacy@roadrunner.com,

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This sounds like the old ignition switch problem (there was a recall for
it), except for your assertion that the engine keeps running.

If all the dash lights came on and the power steering stopped working, I
find it really hard to believe the engine was still running, especially
since the fix has been to restart the engine.  Maybe you ought to quiz her
some more and see if "loses power" doesn't really mean the engine died.

If it is a failing ignition switch, replacing it is fairly simple and might
even be free if yours was one of the ones recalled.

Re: Lost power steering / dash lights on 99 accord

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Thank you for the reply.

Yes, I asked her the same question about a dozen times, including right
before I posted the initial thread - which was part of my comment about
details not being complete.  It sure seemed to me like symptoms of the
engine dying.  I've wondered if the previous issues at stoplights were just
idle issues, and if other times on the road she just popped the clutch and
got it running again.  Everytime it ever happened before she was sitting
still or going straight, so would have never noticed the power steering
gone.  Still hard to say as I haven't had it happen to me yet.

I remember the ignition thing now - I just called the dealer where I bought
the car, and I had that switch replaced under the recall back in 2002.  They
said they would test it again (somehow heat the ignition switch???) to see
if there is still a problem and will replace it for free under the recall.
I have that appointment now on Tuesday AM.  Between that and Terry's
suggestions, hopefully we can narrow it down.


- Mike

Re: Lost power steering / dash lights on 99 accord

the OP mentioned this is a 5spd.  I suppose it is concievable that if the
engine did die and lost all power, if the clutch was in when this happened,
and then she released the clutch while the car is still moving, the car could

very theoretical....  :)


Mike wrote:
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Re: Lost power steering / dash lights on 99 accord - Update

I checked the car this weekend, and found no leaks, no funny noises, correct
fluid levels, and a good belt.  The problem did not reproduce over the
weekend (figures).

I took it into the dealer this morning, and they replaced the ignition
switch under warranty.  Their paperwork was...um...questionable, as they
showed me coming in for the warranty work back in 2002, but never actually
showed the part being replaced.  According to the service guy (I didn't talk
to the tech), they saw some "burn marks" on the old ignition.  Having never
actually held an ignition switch in my hand, I'm not sure if that is
legitimate and expected for any switch with 110K miles, or if it was an
actual problem that explains my issues.

If the problem resurfaces I'll be sure and update the group, and if anyone
can tell me if "burn marks" are in-and-of-themselves bad, it would be much

Thanks all.

- Mike

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Re: Lost power steering / dash lights on 99 accord - Update

The switches fail due to arcing between the contacts in the switch.  Seeing
burn marks is enough evidence to replace the switch.

On 9/4/07 10:57 AM, in article 46dd806f$ snipped-for-privacy@news.microsoft.com, "Mike"

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Re: Lost power steering / dash lights on 99 accord - Update


Thanks for the help folks, most appreciated.  I raise a glass in your

- Mike

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Re: Lost power steering / dash lights on 99 accord - Update

I am having the same problem in my 99 Honda Accord LX. Did you pay for
the ignition switch?



Re: Lost power steering / dash lights on 99 accord - Update

No I did not have to pay, and our is the same car (99 Accord LX Sedan
5speed).  They had a recall or TSB (Technical Service Bulletin) for this
issue quite awhile back.  It should still be covered and the dealer should
be aware.

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