i have a 94 accord lx. the car has been dyin on me. and i dont really know
what to do next. i changed the fuel filter and all that good stuff. got a
new main relay. then when it died tonight, i checked for spark when it
wouldnt start. so im thinkin its gonna be the igniter, but i dont know
where its at. anyone know?? thanks guys...you have been helpful in all
my stupid car drama
Do you have spark? I can't tell for sure from what you say
Did we eliminate the coil? If not, how old is the coil in
From my experience with my 91 Civic, when the igniter fails,
the car flat out won't start again. Whereas the coil will
allow starts for awhile, dying intermittently.
The igniter is underneath the distributor cap, mounted on
the distributor housing.
Are you trying any of the online manuals or online parts
sites that have drawings? Once one gets the hang of how
they're organized, they are very helpful. If you can't find
something in either of them, tell how far you got, then ask
for pointers. That's how a person learns. :-)
So go to autozone.com 's free repair guides, and you will
find the procedure for removing and probably drawings or
photos of where the igniter is.
Also, try www.slhonda.com 's parts site.
My daughter's '93 Accord stalled a few times in the month or two before the
igniter failed, but of course I have no way of knowing if it was the igniter
doing that or not. It didn't do it any more afterward, but I also replaced
the tune-up parts at the same time.
Yes, I think I've seen reports of this before.
All I can think of is that electronics do fry. Could they do
so gradually, so as to allow intermittent operation? Given a
number of design features, I don't see why not. I just don't
know the principal failure mechanism of why igniters fail.
I'd certainly be googling for why transistors fail, first,
'cause I'm thinking it's not a solder joint problem with
them. It's more an electrical transient problem, based on
commentary on how a bad coil can mess up a good igniter, the
presence of the capacitor to reduce electronic noise going
to the igniter, etc.
But it may take someone very attuned to how his/her car
feels to notice these things. I think a lot of DIY-ers and
master technicians would agree one can hear and feel a
weakened battery upon starting.
Unfortunately, the one time my 91 Civic's igniter failed,
back in 1997 at about 91k miles, I don't recall if the car
was running well or not in the preceding weeks. I was too
busy with work, etc.
Changing the igniter every 90k miles, if one is feeling
financially flush, has occurred to me, though. (I think some
igniters have lasted a lot longer, based on reports here,
though.) Or do as I think JB does: Carry a spare with tools
in the back of the car after about 70k miles.
Intermittents were very common in the "epoxy" power transistors when they
appeared in the '70s. Apparently the thermal expansion of the epoxy was more
than the lead could handle, and *poink* (technical term) it would open up -
normally base-emitter so it wasn't obvious whether it was the base or
emitter lead doing it - until it cooled again....
In spite of the potted design of the igniter, I don't think that's what's
happening. The potting epoxy was refined to stop the *poink* problem. In any
event, thermal intermittents in potted transistor modules are not very
common any more.
Junction transistors typically fail in two ways; the collector develops a
hot spot that goes into thermal runaway and shorts collector-emitter, and
then if the current is too high it opens the emitter lead like a fuse. But
it could be a lower level stage is being weird.
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