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Old 15 Feb 2004, 01:06 am
tomb
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Default '88 Civic starting trouble

Hello group,

a few months back, my Civic started having some starting trouble which seems
to get worse; last week, it didn't want to start on two evenings.

The reason it doesn't start is because the fuel pump turns off (I can hear
the relays clicking).

"The usual" main relays trouble, for which there are some excellent web
pages out there? I'm not so sure... the symptoms are:

- only seems to happen when cold (as in, Northern California night time
temps
- when turning the ignition key from off to on, the fuel pump comes on
- leaving it in on will cause the fuel pump to click off after a second or
so
- *usually*, when going from on to start, the fuel turns on again, as
evidenced by the relay's click
- when the failure occurs, the main relays will click on and then
immediately off again. Of course, cranking won't do much good in that state
if there's no fuel.

After a few attempts, it will either stay on in "start", or the engine will
have enough inertia when going from start back to the on position (where the
fuel pump is on) that it springs to life.

I'm probably going to take out the main relay tomorrow and see if it looks
alright. Something tells me the real cause is elsewhere - it's like the ECU
inhibits the fuel pump due to some other reason.

Appreciate any suggestions, ideas, ....
Thanks!
TomB

PS: the car runs fine otherwise, no trouble codes or any other hassles
(apart from rattles and things you'd expect from a car of that age)
--
to send e-mail, remove the socks from the address
shpongloidsock@hotmail.comsock


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Old 15 Feb 2004, 07:04 pm
T. Nelson
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Default Re: '88 Civic starting trouble

In article <c0n535$197e45$1@ID-207360.news.uni-berlin.de>, "tomb"
<me@privacy.net> wrote:

> Hello group,
>
> a few months back, my Civic started having some starting trouble which seems
> to get worse; last week, it didn't want to start on two evenings.
>
> The reason it doesn't start is because the fuel pump turns off (I can hear
> the relays clicking).
>
> "The usual" main relays trouble, for which there are some excellent web
> pages out there? I'm not so sure... the symptoms are:
>
> - only seems to happen when cold (as in, Northern California night time
> temps
> - when turning the ignition key from off to on, the fuel pump comes on
> - leaving it in on will cause the fuel pump to click off after a second or
> so
> - *usually*, when going from on to start, the fuel turns on again, as
> evidenced by the relay's click
> - when the failure occurs, the main relays will click on and then
> immediately off again. Of course, cranking won't do much good in that state
> if there's no fuel.
>
> After a few attempts, it will either stay on in "start", or the engine will
> have enough inertia when going from start back to the on position (where the
> fuel pump is on) that it springs to life.
>
> I'm probably going to take out the main relay tomorrow and see if it looks
> alright. Something tells me the real cause is elsewhere - it's like the ECU
> inhibits the fuel pump due to some other reason.
>
> Appreciate any suggestions, ideas, ....
> Thanks!
> TomB
>
> PS: the car runs fine otherwise, no trouble codes or any other hassles
> (apart from rattles and things you'd expect from a car of that age)


There is a whole list of things that cause starting troubles. They are
listed on the front pages of the Haynes Repair Manuals. They sell the
Haynes Repair manuals at many Auto Parts Stores. One person recently found
a unique cause of his starting problems. He changed the fuel filter and
the problem went away. The poster suspected that he got a bad tank of gas
that had water in it. The water got caught in the fuel filter and would
freeze into ice on really cold nights and his car would not start. It
started just great on warm and hot days. In your case--it appears to be
the fuel pump and/or related relays. You first step might be to replace or
repair the relays and if that does not solve the problem--replace the fuel
pump.
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  #3 (permalink)  
Old 15 Feb 2004, 07:17 pm
tomb
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Posts: n/a
Default Re: '88 Civic starting trouble

T. Nelson wrote:

|| In your case--it appears to be
|| the fuel pump and/or related relays. You first step might be to
|| replace or repair the relays and if that does not solve the
|| problem--replace the fuel pump.

OK, it took the main relay out. What an inconvenient place to get to! Good
thing I have slim and flexible hands, otherwise I'd have to have taken off
the dash :/

Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised to see the soldering joints. Considering
the age (16 years this year) and the mechanical strain on that PCB, it
looked still very OK. Since I had it out, I cleaned up all the solder joints
and re-soldered them. None of them looked broken, but looks can be fooling.

Reassembled everything again, it works. Since the starting problems were
intermittent earlier on, I don't know whether they are gone now. Time will
tell.

Thanks for your suggestions. I am positive the fuel pump is OK. It's the
relay, or what is driving the relay (ECU)... and from experience with
electromechanical systems, it's usually the "mechanical" aspect that fails
first. In this case, a connector is considered a "mechanical" part

BTW - T.Nelson, did you used to go by the name of "Bill" earlier on on this
group?


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