Mysterious Engine Dying in '99 Accord

'99 Accord LX 4 dr. 5 spd 172,000 miles
In last month or so, while driving on a level road, in 3rd or 4th gear, RPM's around 2000-2500, the engine just suddenly died. It would
start right up after the incident. Today was worse, it did it 3 times within about 4 miles.
I hope the distributor cap and rotor is the culprit. I replaced both today, but have not driven the car yet. Last distributor cap and rotor were installed at 69,000 miles. NGK platinum plugs were installed around 30,000 miles ago.
Do you think this was the problem??
Wade
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Did all the dash lights come on as the engine died?
If YES: Igniter is bad. If NO: Ignition switch is bad.
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It was daytime, and I was in traffic, so I was too distracted to notice. I sort of think the lights did not come on. The ignition switch was replaced a long time ago, under a recall. If it is the ignition switch, I wonder if they would replace it for free?? Doubtful.
Where is the igniter? What does it cost? Expensive? Would a good mechanic be able to tell which it is, if it is a sporadic problem? Also forgot to say, I installed new Honda spark plug wires at 105,000 miles, 67,000 miles ago.
Thanks, Wade
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wrote:

Check for dash idiot-lights before condemning the ignition switch. I'm betting igniter, right now.
Also, the next time it gives signs of dying, immediately look at the tach. Is it at zero even before the engine stops turning?

Inside the distributor. Wrecking yards are full of them, and for cheap. Do NOT buy an aftermarket one.

Sure, but he's gotta know how Hondas work (and don't)!
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Well, it turned out to be the electrical contacts in the ignition.
2 nites ago, the car died on me at a light, still didn't notice if the dash lights were on or off, I was in traffic, at an intersection. Unlike before, this time the engine would not start, it cranked only. Then after a couple of minutes I tried it again, the car started, and the key got frozen sort of halfway. So ... I figured I better drive it to a repair place, and I was near a Honda dealer, so I drove there and parked it. Surprisingly the dealer was open till 8 pm on Tue. so I made it in time. The service guy wiggled the key and got it to come out. We ascertained the key was getting worn quite a bit, and it doesn't hit the tumblers well, and causes difficulty with turning the key. This happened to me earlier, and I replaced the key, after that it worked well.
The electrical contacts were actually replaced in 2003 w/ about 67,000 miles after I got a factory recall on it. The dealer asked Honda if they would cover a new one this time, they supposedly said no. The part was about $60, labor is "about 1.5 hours" @$100 hr. [ouch], the new key $25. Total out the door >> $254 I have to pick up the car later today.
The service guy said this electrical contact problem and the worn keys is all they usually see. The igniter problem he says happens in earlier Accords. [mine is '99]
Thanks for everybody's input~! :)
p.s. my drivers seat belt latch [female part] has acted funky for a long time now, where it will not latch securely, it pops out sometimes and I have to really push on it firmly to make sure it latches. I mentioned it to the service guy and he ordered a new one and he says they [Honda] cover those at no cost. I thought it was a federal warrany kind of thing, but he seemed to make it sound like it was a Honda deal.
p.s.s. they had the electrical contacts part in stock, but had to order the seat belt latch, it was supposed to be on the truck today, but didn't make it, so I have to go back for that, that's a drag, but at least I will have a more secure seat belt. I'm in Nashville, I think he said the parts distribution center is in Atlanta.

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FYI The part # for the "electrical switch" is 35130-S84-305 $56.11 1.5 hours labor = $150
Misc. charges = $20
Then as a "favor" they gave me a 10% parts and 10% labor discount that totalled $18.11, so I "only" paid $1.89 for the "misc" charges. What a racket.
Wade

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When you took it to have the codes read, what were the codes? Or are you just replacing parts hoping to guess right? ;-)
Dan D '07 Ody EX Central NJ USA
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