Question re: '92 Accord Ignition Control Module

Hi To All:
My wife's '92 Accord LX died today as she was coasting to a stop, fortunately at a slow speed on a neighborhood street. It seemed like the battery at first, but a jump did no good and a subsequent check of
the voltage showed that this was OK. Only after the car sat for awhile was I finally able to start it again, otherwise it would just turn over. I got up to 20 mph and then the vehicle suddenly went dead. This was a bit scary. My first thought (based on reading this board) was the igniter, but Canadian Tire called and said that the "ignition control module" was bad. Question: are these just the same part? Also, what is the funciton of a related part called a "pickup"? Thanks in advance for any help. - Paul D.
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If you turn on the key and leave it on for 5 seconds:
Is the check engine light on, or does it go off after a couple seconds ?
Is the sports light flashing ?
G
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Hi : I guess that's a moot issue now, since Canadian Tire is already ordering the ICM for installation tomorrow. Wish I'd known to try this before I turned the car in to them, but my wife has to have it for later this week so I couldn't wait. Just curious...what would this protocol have told me in terms of diagnostic information? I'd really like to learn all I can.Thanks. - Paul.
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Paul D wrote:

DO NOT go to Crappy Tire for service on a Honda!!! Or any car.
If the tach acts erratically before stalling and dash lights remain lit, I would suspect the igniter or ignition coil.
If the tach instantly drops to 0 when it stalls and no dash lights come on, I would suspect the ignition switch.
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That would be the former scenario which you mentioned, at least in this case. The tach did not instantaeously drop to zero. I therefore am back to suspecting the igniter, at least if I understand you correctly. - Paul.
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I had something similar a few months back where the car just died while backing out of a parking spot. I was told that it was the "master module". That doesn't sound like the same thing as this, but it is a 91 Accord (that just turned 100,000).
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That could have been your ECU (Electronic Control Unit). The way you know is if it cost you a bundle, several hundred just for the part, then it was probably the ECU. - Paul
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Ah, yes, the big clue. It cost $500 or so.
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Hi: One more question...do you guys happen to know whether the Bosch or Huco Igniters would be of better quality than what you get at the dealer? I couldn't find a Honda brand igniter/ignition coil module per se. Also, Canadian Tire replaced this part with a "Niefhoff", which I've never hear of. - Paul

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Based on both my experience with my 1991 Civic and reading here, I now feel OEM is the only way to go for any ignition (= distributor on down to the spark plugs) parts. The OEM parts pay for themselves in longevity, with the caveat that buying them at online OEM parts dealers is your best bet by far. Not sure what Canada offers for online, though.

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Hi - You just confirmed what I had heard earlier from others, namely that OEM is the best way to go on certain Honda components. Sounds like distributor and ignition parts both fall into this category, so I will plan to go ahead and change out the generic igniter since it's such a big safety concern. Many thanks for your assistance and have a great weekend. - Paul.
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Paul D wrote:

igniters go at 12 month intervals. because of other reasons, i replaced the original condenser on my distributor, and haven't had any more problems with the igniter since - it's been nearly 3 years now. since you're going to be in there, i strongly recommend you replace this part at the same time if there is one with your distributor. and go oem on the igniter btw.
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Thanks again, Jim - I'll look into replacing the condenser as well. Will go OEM on everything for sure. - Paul
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Not sure what you mean by safety here, but it seems to me the failure of the igniter is akin, worst case, to running out of gasoline. Which, granted, certainly could be an unsafe situation. But truth is a lot of parts can suddenly go amiss and produce a scenario like running out of gasoline.
I bought my 91 Civic new; I am the only owner. In 1997, the car had a month or so of bad starting, then one day the car simply would not start after sitting in the garage. I did not know any better, and the Firestone shop where I had it towed put in a non-OEM igniter. This non-OEM igniter was still doing fine until 2003when the ignition coil failed. At the suggestion of the import shop and from reading here, at the same time I put in an OEM igniter. Thus the non-OEM igniter lasted at least as long as the OEM one.
OTOH, I have heard it suggested that the failure of the ignition coil could be related to the non-OEM igniter.
I keep the non-OEM igniter as a spare for long trips only. Because, following a long trip where the OEM igniter failed, once I got home I think I would repace the spare with another OEM one. Not that it's totally a piece of cake to remove and install an igniter. But it's not that hard, either, after one has done it once, and if one is reasonably handy and patient.
I recall the "Ignition Control Module" and igniter being synonymous, by the way.
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The scary thing was suddenly losing power brakes and steering. At least I think that's what happened. In terms of oem vs. non-oem, I guess some of that is just the luck of the draw. But wanting to keep the odds as much in my favor as possible, will go oem this time around and keep my fingers crossed. Have a nice weekend. - Paul.
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I think you might have a touch of confusion here. There are ABS brakes (= anti-lock brakes), but they are not affected by a loss of ignition anything. The brake system (ABS or otherwise) relies on mechanical systems, when push comes to shove. Maybe, with a lot of coincidences at work, losing certain electrical features (all not really ignition related) might compromise the ABS action, but the braking action will, for the overwhelming part, still be very much intact. So you'd have to, ya know, both lose certain very specific electrical (non-ignition) features and be in a situation where ABS is essential (really wet or snowy roads, say).
As for power steering: The "power" part comes from the engine crankshaft powering the PS pump via the PS belt. Again, all mechanical. A loss of the igniter will cause the crankshaft to slow, but then the whole car is slowing down, too. Also, fact is the driver can still quite safely steer the car if, say, the PS belt were removed or if it broke. Making really large turns or maneuvers simply takes more "umph" on the part of the driver as s/he turns the steering wheel. The "power assist" is gone, but steering ability is still present.

Understood, and likewise.
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Paul D wrote:

igniter/ignition control module are the same.
it could be that, but while some people say this is an intermittent issue, in my experience, igniters die, then stay dead forever. check into the coil and the main relay as potential other culprits. read the diagnostics at tegger.com.
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Thanks, Jim - you answered my question. I'll have my regular mechanic check these when I take the car in for brake work next week. - Paul
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