This car belongs to one of my friend (91 honda accord ex manual). The
car has long standign problem. He kills distributors.
What i found out from the car: it hessitates when the idle is low. if
the idle is above 2000 then everythign works fine. you feel this at the
acceleration (mostly from stops), and when it is hot. when it is cold,
it is ok. A mechanic pinpoint the problem as ECU, but it did not change
What does control the ignition, I believe something cuts of the
ignition? did anybody experiece this kind of problem.
By any chance does he not use geunine Honda distributor,
ignition wire, and spark plug parts?
That /will/ shorten distributor lives.
It's amazing how often someone will report bad running
problems with his/her Honda, and slapping in genuine Honda
ignition wires (with plugs, etc.; don't be cheap) fixes it
is low. if
feel this at the
it is cold,
did not change
I would not go back to this mechanic for awhile. ECU's are
rarely the problem. Your suspicion that it's ignition system
related is far more sound.
I would start with a complete tuneup:
Genuine Honda parts for the ignition wires, spark plugs,
distributor cap and rotor. Costs about $100 for the parts.
New air filter and fuel filter. Maybe $20 for the parts.
Check ignition timing. You need a timing light.
New, genuine Honda PCV valve. Another $20.
Buy a bottle of Chevron Techron injector etc. cleaner for
$6. Dump into near empty gas tank. Fill. Start doing this
maybe once a year.
Top off the cooling system. Purge of air (will take at least
thirty minutes for fan to come on twice). Top off. All per
the manual. www.autozone.com has a manual specific to this
car, free online.
I donot want to trow in parts. Which will cost minimum 500 for a 400
dollar car. What i did so far is, I swap the distributor with another
car and it did not help. ps: the other car is ok wiht the current
Autozone distributor (i know how cheap autozone parts are). I feel like
some component aout to die or does not produce enough signal when the
rpm is low.
how can i test the distributor? I have another honda which is autoatic
but i hope it will not make huge differnce.I can put anything into that
can you help me to test the problem part.
Putting in new, genuine Honda wires, plugs, rotor and cap
will cost about $90, tops, for the parts. www.slhonda.com 's
online parts store has very good prices for genuine Honda
parts, and that estimate is based on its numbers.
I am not trying to get you to throw away money. These
ignition parts, if old and worn enough, typically cause
running problems. In addition, they're due for replacement
every few years, anyway. So you spend the $75 now, and
eliminate these as the cause, or you spend it within a few
years. I do list a few tests below.
You do mean you swapped the entire distributor assembly
(cap, rotor, coil, igniter, and housing), right?
are). I feel like
signal when the
That's a good test you did. It does suggest the ignition
wires and plugs could stand replacement. Your test
eliminates the distributor coil from being a cause, which I
otherwise would have strongly suspected.
anything into that
The distributor and ignition parts that are replaceable, and
how "testable" they are and whether they may cause running
problems, are as follows:
May cause running, but not generally start, problems--
distributor cap (not testable; costs about $20)
distributor rotor (not testable; costs about $7)
ignition wires (testable/inspectable to some extent, $50 for
spark plugs (inspectable, costs about $8 for all four)
distributor coil (testable to some extent, costs about $90)
distributor housing (not really testable, but the wire
harness, seals, etc. age, Costs about $250. People here
generally end up replacing these at least once in an early
1990s Honda's life.)
distributor etc. radio noise suppressor (testable, but it's
not clear whether all 91 Civics have them. $6)
May cause start problems, but not generally running
distributor igniter (testable; costs about $90)
For the ignition wires, with the car's hood up, run the car
in the dark. Do you see any sparking coming from the wires?
If so, replace them.
Then do a resistance check of each wire. They should not be
more than about 15k ohms each.
I have used non-OEM wires in the past, and I think they are
why my 91 Civic LX had coil problems. Reports here support
this, too. If your friend's Civic does not have genuine
Honda ( = OEM) wires, replace them.
I would still top off and properly purge the cooling system.
I would still at least inspect and clean with WD-40 or PB
Blaster the PCV valve.
I would still spend $6 for a bottle of fuel injector cleaner
and put it in the fuel tank, etc.
Any of these may solve the problem, at very low expense.
www.autozone.com has a free online manual for your 91 Honda
Civic Ex that can help in general with repairs.
www.tegger.com/hondafaq has some pointers on running
problems. IIRC, it says what I pretty much say above.
I second that. As long as the ECU didn't get wet it should be the very last
thing to worry about. The rest of Elle's suggestions will either fix your
problem or eliminate a lot of potential trouble spots that have to be
it's NOTHING to do with the ecu. don't ever go back to an idiot that
makes such an expensive misdiagnosis.
1. use injector cleaner to make sure they're clean.
2. make sure the timing is correct.
3. make sure the ignition system is in good order.
4. make sure the valve lash is correct.
5. make sure the thermostat is correct.
6. shop different brands of gasoline. on my car, chevron is _terrible_
for this problem.
check the ecu for stored codes. occasionally on high mileage vehicles,
the t.p.s. does out and can cause symptoms as described - it gives an
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