Re: 94 Honda Civic LX Sound at startup - ABS? Also, light issues, more...

[UPDATE]
The weekend after I wrote this, my car failed to start at all (it was cold) which was fixed by filling the gas tank with a couple bottles of
Heat and letting the car sit for a few days to let the weather clear up a bit. After I started driving again, all of my original problems started to come back one at a time each day. Iíve also been having an issue with the steering wheel that I forgot to include in my previous post. When I start the car in cold weather, it feels like the power steering has been disabled. Then after the car warms up, the problem goes away. Not really a big issue, but it seems that it would also do this when it wasnít that cold outside, so maybe not the weather, not sure. It just seemed to happen more often in cold weather.
The moan that I hear at startup now happens more often, just about every other day. This is something that has been going on for a couple years now, but seems to happen more frequently after making it through a winter season. Once again, it only does this the first time I start the car in the morning, and then wonít happen again for a few days.
Iíll get in the car, turn key, engine turns, engine starts, then a half a second later is when it will make the moan sound and will only last for about a second, then I start to drive and everything seems to be fine and drives like nothing is wrong.
I am 90% sure that the moan is the same sound that the brakes/ABS make when I slide on ice and definitely sounds like it comes from the same place. The days that I would slide on ice, the sound wouldnít happen in the mornings after. It seemed like each time I did slide, and heard the moan, it would reset the cycle and I wouldnít hear the noise a few days later.
Any suggestions on troubleshooting or possible causes are always appreciated.
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[UPDATE]
The weekend after I wrote this, my car failed to start at all (it was cold) which was fixed by filling the gas tank with a couple bottles of Heat and letting the car sit for a few days to let the weather clear up a bit. After I started driving again, all of my original problems started to come back one at a time each day. Iíve also been having an issue with the steering wheel that I forgot to include in my previous post. When I start the car in cold weather, it feels like the power steering has been disabled. Then after the car warms up, the problem goes away. Not really a big issue, but it seems that it would also do this when it wasnít that cold outside, so maybe not the weather, not sure. It just seemed to happen more often in cold weather.
Dunno about your other symptoms, but what you describe is commonly known as "morning sickness." That is the result of the internal seals in the steering rack hardening so they don't seal well when cold. After the fluid warms up a bit the seals soften enough to seal and all is well until it gets cold again. I don't know why the external seals don't succumb to the same problem but (thankfully) morning sickness isn't much of a predictor for rack leaks.
Because the proper fix is replacement or rebuild of the rack (as expensive as it sounds) a lot of people turn to additives. This is Honda power steering so you have to be careful about what you put in the system; it's easy to make it much worse. I have had success with Lucas power steering additive for stopping a leak in a '93. It looks like red "engine honey" - very thick. It comes in bottles big enough to treat a small city - you only use a couple ounces - but the price is reasonable. You could also try replacing the fluid with fresh genuine Honda power steering fluid - can't hurt, might help.
I recommend you wait for the gurus to give their advice and then see what fits your budget and tolerance of risk. You may elect to just let it ride, especially if it happens only on really cold days. One of my previous work trucks had morning sickness one winter and not the next. Huh.
Mike
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On Thu, 5 Mar 2009 18:17:09 -0800 (PST), snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

It is normal for the ABS pump to occasionally run momentarily at startup. It may even mention it in the manual. It is also normal for it to run momentarily after the ABS has activated although it may not happen every time. As long as the ABS light isn't lit, just ignore it.
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