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Problem starting car on hot, humid days


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#1 OFFLINE   Peachy

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Posted 10 August 2003 - 02:52 PM

Okay,maybe Prelude can help here but for any car people out there I need help. I have a 91 Honda Accord Wagon that I bought used in January of 2001. It's been starting fine until this summer when occassionaly on hot humid days it doesn't start right away. When everything cools down it will start fine. Cool, damp days are not a problem. I've been Googling around and I confirmed by suspicion that it may be the starter. Anyone else have an opinion? I'm going to take it my mechanic tomorrow and have him look at the starter. Last time out he suspected the brushes may need cleaning or adjusting. But is this a typical symptom of failing solenoids?

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#2 OFFLINE   beeTee

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Posted 10 August 2003 - 06:28 PM

Hi Peachy,I drove Honda's for years (decades, actually), (my whole family for that matter) and it sounds like the automatic choke is sticking.   When the car is cold, this is desired, but when already hot, it has the opposite effect.bee

#3 OFFLINE   Peachy

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Posted 10 August 2003 - 10:56 PM

Automatic choke? Well it is an automatic transmission with an electronic fuel injection VTECH engine. Where would this choke be?

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#4 OFFLINE   ibe98765

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Posted 11 August 2003 - 04:43 AM

Maybe you have a case of vapor lock?http://autorepair.ab...y/bldef-856.htmVAPOR LOCK  Definition: When gasoline overheats and boils inside the carburetor bowl or fuel pump of a hot engine, it ceases to flow. This can cause stalling or hard starting. This is called vapor lock, and it usually happens during hot weather. If a hot engine won't start, all you can do is let it sit and cool off. You should check the cooling system to see if anything is causing the engine to run unusually hot (a bad thermostat or cooling fan, for example). Switching brands of gasoline may also help. You might get better help here:http://www.honda-forum.com/

#5 OFFLINE   Grasshopper

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Posted 11 August 2003 - 09:30 AM

Sometimes, during hotter weather, the starter (especially if going bad) is more susceptible to metal expansion. I've noticed on a few different vehicles I've had have trouble starting in the heat or after the car has run for a while. Then it'll start right up after it cools.Unless you're can do it yourself, I'd take it in and have them test it HOT. Kind of hard to do but that could be it.
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#6 OFFLINE   Prelude76

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Posted 11 August 2003 - 12:31 PM

hehehe.  so right, Peachy, I CAN help you.  i have a '92 Honda Prelude and it also has trouble starting on hot humid days.  so does my girlfriend's '90 Honda Accord.  hey, the cars can't be perfect, especially since the 2 cars have a combined 750,000 km between them.  B) each case is unique, but on the Prelude, i suspect its vapor lock as mentioned by ibe98765.  but what fixes it 100% of time is I open up my gas lid, i hear a psssssss sound of gas vapors, and tighten gas lid back on, and she starts up no problem afterwards.Starters on Hondas are usually rock solid.  I've had issues with Distributor, Alternator, and oil leak around spark plugs, but never had a problem with my starter.  and the biggest issue i have had is overheating (replaced radiator twice, and had to change every single rad hose.  if you're not using your A/C or your A/C is non-operational anymore as it is in mine, ripping out the a/c radiator that is in front of main radiator will really help keep the engine cool.  also, dont skimp out and buy the cheapest oil;  i alternate between 100% synthetic and half synthetic, and throw in SLick 50 every once a while.  Hondas are great reliable cars but they really rev-up a lot higher than typical cars, which generates a lot more heat than normal.  the Accord doesnt have problem starting on hot humid days, but does run 'rougher'.as a side note, see what analysis is and give me full symptoms.  my younger brother is a class A mechanic and he knows so much i always get his opinion on everything.  saves me a bundle on repair costs.

#7 OFFLINE   Prelude76

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Posted 11 August 2003 - 12:34 PM

ibe98765, on Aug 11 2003, 03:43 AM, said:

VAPOR LOCK  Definition: When gasoline overheats and boils inside the carburetor bowl or fuel pump of a hot engine, it ceases to flow. This can cause stalling or hard starting. This is called vapor lock, and it usually happens during hot weather. If a hot engine won't start, all you can do is let it sit and cool off.
sit and let it cool off works, but also opening gas lid and letting the gas steam out for a couple of seconds helps too.

#8 OFFLINE   Peachy

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Posted 11 August 2003 - 12:49 PM

Thanks all for the replies. I booked an appointment with the mechanic this morning for tomorrow. Mentionned vapour lock and he didn't think so with a fuel injection engine. Prelude, I will have to try the gas tank lid tip. Also, you're right about the starter; he doesn't think the starter's the problem. His best guess at the moment is the fuel pump, but I'm not sure it's that. This has only started this summer. It did maybe twice last summer and once the first summer I had it. This summer it's been almost once a week and the past three weeks it's been more often and usually on the really hot humid days. Started fine this morning in the cool, damp weather.I can agree on the radiator. Mine totally went the first summer I had it. The bottom pretty much fell out of it and the fluid spilled onto the ground. B)

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#9 OFFLINE   Prelude76

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Posted 11 August 2003 - 01:02 PM

peachy, does your starting problem happen in mornings, or only if you drive somewhere, park for 5-10 minutes, and try to start it again?thats how mine is.  in mornings, or after work, no problem starting.  if i make a quick stop at blockbuster or a convenience store, it wont start (it starts, but idle is so low it stalls out).  then i go and do the gas lid trick and it starts up.  mine is fuel injected too, but its totally vapor lock.  i mean, i can HEAR the vapors when i opened the gas lid on hot days.  but vapor lock is the problem, but it might be caused by bad pump, bad cooling, and what not.its the 2nd summer ii've had to open gas lid on hot days, did it about 5 times this summer, but fall is around the corner so i'm still posponing trying to fix it.  how many km is your honda?  aside from the cooling problems and various fluke problems, one problem happened to both of my hondas at about 350,000.  the head gasket leaked oil and it soaked up some of the spark plugs.  car ran like crap until i fixed it, but it was a minor fix (can fix it yourself and cost me $30 in parts + new spark plugs).  if you see oil seap around rim of head of engine, or if theres oil on your spark plugs, you've got the same problem.  only mention it since you have similar year make/model.

#10 OFFLINE   Prelude76

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Posted 11 August 2003 - 01:07 PM

Peachy, on Aug 11 2003, 11:49 AM, said:

I can agree on the radiator. Mine totally went the first summer I had it. The bottom pretty much fell out of it and the fluid spilled onto the ground. B)
been there several times.  :( funny story to that.  apparently, Honda made 2 radiators for the Accord/Prelude of that time.  the good radiator went to US sales, and the crummy weak radiator went to Canadian sales.  i guess they forgot to mention to Japan that in Canada, our summers are just as boiling hot as middle of Texas.  B)

#11 OFFLINE   Peachy

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Posted 11 August 2003 - 01:21 PM

Prelude76, on Aug 11 2003, 01:02 PM, said:

peachy, does your starting problem happen in mornings, or only if you drive somewhere, park for 5-10 minutes, and try to start it again?
Exactly! That's what it's been doing.  B) Mornings and evenings are fine. But recently it's been doing it having been parked and sitting in the hot sun for a couple of hours.  I will definitely give the gas lid trick a try.I just passed 166,000 km on Saturday. I bought it at 123,625 Km in January 2001. Since then I have had to replace the shift cable, timing belt/water pump, battery, parts of the tail pipe, muffler, the front brake pads just last week, the rad and a new set of tires last fall as the treads were down to about 1/16" deep. All were your basic wear and tear repairs.Also, I have a dark blue paint job and just this spring the paint on the roof started flaking off like crazy. I've seen this on other makes/models with similar paint colour; apparently this was a well documented problem with GMC trucks of the same year, too.

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#12 OFFLINE   Peachy

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Posted 11 August 2003 - 03:09 PM

Okay, around 1:30 I decided to key the ignition as it was starting to get a built hot and humid outside and I figured the car wouldn't start. Correct, it wouldn't start. Popped the gas tank lid, but didn't hear a psssssst sound of escaping vapour. Waited a few minutes to try again; still won't start. It's still hot and humid outside and the car still won't start. So, any other suggestions?

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#13 OFFLINE   Prelude76

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Posted 11 August 2003 - 03:28 PM

if you dont hear the pssssst (highly technical term, eh?  :lol:  ) then its not vapor lock.  i'm gonna ask my brother tonite and post his thoughts as to possibilities.  good luck.

#14 OFFLINE   Peachy

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Posted 11 August 2003 - 06:20 PM

Hey Prelude,Thanks for asking your bro'...  :lol: Could you also ask him if he thinks its the 12V Main Relay?

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#15 OFFLINE   Scot

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Posted 11 August 2003 - 07:55 PM

Fwiw, I've had vapor lock on multiple other cars. In all cases, vapor lock doesn't just affect starting but also operation, especially in stop and go traffic. I had it on a 1962 VW bug. Turned out that the gas line just needed to be move about an inch farther away from the hot stuff.I've also seen that stuck automatic choke problem someone else mentioned, though not in years and years. The old automatic chokes had thermal coils that picked up ambient temperature and expanded or contracted. They'd get dirty and stick. I don't think any car maker has made that stuff in years though.I've only owned two hondas in my life, neither of which ever had this problem (1978 Honda Civic, my first new car and a 1989 Honda Accord).Diagnosing auto problems is a lot like diagnosing computer problems. I enjoy both equally. And I started out working on engines. B) Be interested to hear what the answer really is.-- Scot
Scot Finnie, Editor-in-Chief, Computerworld.com

#16 OFFLINE   Peachy

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Posted 11 August 2003 - 07:58 PM

Yeah, me too.  B) Thankfully Autumn is just around the corner!

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#17 OFFLINE   Prelude76

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Posted 11 August 2003 - 09:51 PM

ok peachy, i talked to him but didnt ask him about 12V relay because i didnt get the message 'til now, but from i described to him, his hunch is the fuel system, either the pump is weak or filter is clogged.  he says no ways it ignition system if it only happens in hot weather.  hot weather affects the fuel system the most (as in vapor lock problems) but also can trip out your fuel pump , fuel pressure, fuel filter, etc... so unless you know how to troubleshoot a fuel system, best bet is to take it in or wait until fall.let us know how it works out.

#18 OFFLINE   ibe98765

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Posted 11 August 2003 - 10:00 PM

Why don't you try changing the fuel filter?  They are usually cheap and generally easy to replace.

#19 OFFLINE   Peachy

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Posted 11 August 2003 - 10:06 PM

Okay,I will ask the mechanic to go ahead with the fuel pump; that was is theory, too.

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#20 OFFLINE   Peachy

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Posted 12 August 2003 - 05:42 PM

Update:Well, another humid day here and the car wouldn't start for the garage. They contacted Honda and they told my mechanic that it is probably the fuel pump main relay. So, part ordered, should be fixed tomorrow. Hopefully.

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#21 OFFLINE   Peachy

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Posted 13 August 2003 - 04:44 PM

Yea!  :) It definitely was the main 12V relay that powers the electronic subsystem. She didn't start before they stuck in the new part, but she did after.  :)

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#22 OFFLINE   JerryM

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Posted 13 August 2003 - 07:46 PM

;)  :)  :) YEAAAA for Peachy.Jerry

#23 OFFLINE   volunteer

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Posted 13 August 2003 - 08:41 PM

Peachy, on Aug 13 2003, 03:44 PM, said:

Yea!  ;) It definitely was the main 12V relay that powers the electronic subsystem. She didn't start before they stuck in the new part, but she did after.  :)
Peachy, the old girl just needed a little more spark in her life.  OK, a lot more.  :)  Glad your back on the road again.Ken

#24 OFFLINE   georgeg4

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Posted 14 August 2003 - 02:38 PM

Hi Peachy    I just got here and I missed the main discussion but I did just want to add some afterthought , First since your car is fuel injected it does not have a choke so that is out . Second as prelude said the starter is rarely the problem . Anyhow I am happy to hear you got it fixed and I would like to add just one more thing . Since Honda's are susceptible to overheating as My Oldsmobile is ,along with many other makes and models , and since you live in an area with lots of bugs like I do , Whenever you wash your car open the hood and spray your radiator from the inside out , Being carefull if your engine happens to be hot , to remove the built up bugs on your radiator . This will help it to run much cooler . Just keep in mind if your engine is hot do not spray the water directly on it as you can cause damage to it with cold water on a hot engine. :rolleyes:
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