It's becoming ever more frequent that my '94 Accord would not start
after short stops of a minute or two. Trying to start again with
completely pressed gas pedal does not help, either. The only thing that
helps is waiting five minutes or so. The crank is strong but the engine
does not catch on. I wonder if anybody here knows what might be going on
Thanks. I also called up a radio talk show this weekend that is hosted
by two Japanese car expert mechanics and when I described the symptoms,
they immediately said the same thing you gays are saying: main relay
problem. They also mentioned that this was a well known problem with my
Accord model. But now I wonder if there ever was a bulletin on those
main relays just as there was on the the ignition switch that was
replaced free when it started acting up, way after the car warranty
I plan to bring up the issue with the shop at my next oil change unless
I start experiencing the problem more often before that. BTW, what is
the normal fix for that at Honda shops? Replacing the relay with a new
one or resoldering? In either case, the fix might be quite expensive, I
suppose, considering the hard to reach location of the relay. Any idea
how much a new relay costs and whether the new ones are designed better
to avoid such problems in the future?
It's a reasonably easy DIY job.
The relay is indeed nestled up in the tangle of wires adjacent to the
steering wheel, but it's not too deeply buried.
Once out, the fix is trivial.
Remove cover, apply a few drops of rosin flux (not acid flux, these
aren't your sink pipes!), apply heat to reflow, clean any gobs of
residual flux with a q-tip and rubbing alcohol, replace the cover.
I am generally pretty handy with electronics when it comes to PCs. I
assembled all my desktops from components, the first one from Heath Kit,
with lots of soldering. However, when it comes to cars, I am kinda'
chicken, especially when it comes to hard to reach places, like under
the dash. I alway worry that I might screw up something in the process
that used to work before. I am also often at a loss when it comes to
those snap joints connecting components to the wire harness, not quite
sure what to sqeeze or pry to disconnect them. Just the other day, for
instance, I was trying to fix the indicator switch light in the dash
board for the rear window defogger, only to discover that there was not
enough slack in the wire harness to easily separate the pried-open
switch from the harness with my fingers. I've experienced this kind of
problem with other components before, too. It's as if though Honda
designed its cars deliberately to make them hard to fix by amateurs. I
suppose somebody who does this kind of thing professionally, knows the
tricks how to do these things easily, but I don't.
In any case, I looked under the driver side dash with a flash light and
mirror, but could not quite locate the main relay with any confidence.
The one I thought might have been it, was indeed pretty far in and
rather inaccessible. Perhaps if one removes the front seat and lays on
his back on the floor with the head under the dash. I'm not sure. But
thanks for the additional detailed info on the subject, Greg, that will
be helpful if I really get the courage to try this myself.
Thanks to your link above, I realized I was looking for the main
relay on the wrong (left) side of the streering column. Due to the above
link I took another look on the right side with my camera under the dash
and I think the pics below show the relay. It sure is really hard to
Hey, I just replaced my original clutch master cylinder. Compared to
that, the relay is a cinch! Get busy! :)
Good luck, whichever route you take.
Good for you, Greg! But did you see how tight that relay is with that
wire bundle coming through the firewall? I can't even see the bracket
holding the relay, not to mention a bolt with it. That leaves me with
only one viable option: pulling out the connector from the relay and
pushing it into a new relay that could be zip tied to a more reachable
location while leaving the old relay in place (Shortcut removal method
I'm glad you agree. ;-) I already checked with my local Honda dealer
about a new relay and to my surprise they didn't even carry one. But
they might as well because when I asked about the price, they quoted me
something like $105 or so. Interestingly, it was a lot more than for
some other models that mount the relay on left of the steering wheel. I
wonder why that should make such a big difference in price.
In any case, that brings up the question: can anybody here recommend a
good online Honda parts store that really sells genuine OEM Honda parts
for less than local dealers? I goodled up some that claim it, but I
don't have experience with any of them, so I better ask you guys first.
The tachometer gets its signal from the igniter. Even during cranking there
is enough ICM activity to make the tach needle jiggle a bit. If the ICM
fails to function, the tach needle will be dead-still, since there is no
signal to make it move.
Did you say at one point that the Check Engine light was on?
Not for retail sale.
Genuine Honda parts are ONLY sold to franchised Honda dealers. That's part
of the benefit of owning a Honda franchise.
Worldpac occsionally has OEM parts, but they sell to the trade only.
There are no aftermarket parts that match OEM in quality except for NGK and
ND spark plugs, some radiators, and windshields.
On closer reading, I notice the OP has asked for parts suppliers that are
cheaper than "local" dealers; I missed that the first time around.
A caveat: make sure you include shipping when you compare remote dealers
with local ones! I've found that once shipping is included, the financial
benefit of using remote dealers can be greatly minimized, especially for
Another caveat: once you know the exact cost of buying from the remote
dealer, you may be able to use that as leverage with your local dealer.
Dealers add about 60% to the parts they buy from Honda to arrive at their
"retail" price. Independent garages get between 10% to 30% off retail, so
there's lots of negotiating room if the situation is right. The upshot is
that local dealers can be /cheaper/ than online.
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