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Old 12 Jul 2011, 10:46 am
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Default 1992 Honda Accord, cranks but rarely starts, sometimes starts but then dies.?

OK so I have spent all day trying to figure out what is going on with my car.

What it does: Most of the time it will just crank and not start.

Every once in a while it does start but it seems random when it does.

When it starts it runs perfectly at 2000 rpms for about 5 minutes.

After that 5 minutes it begins to sputter when you press on the gas (at about 1.5-2.5 rpm)

The car then will stall whether driving or just pressing the gas while in park.

It tries to start up again with a bit of a glug then just goes back to step one.

What I've done/seen:

There is oil in the spark plug wells. ( I replaced the seals here and it still seems to be leaky)

I recently changed out the PCM

We sprayed starting fluid into the air intake. Sometimes this gives a bit of a sputter most the time it does nothing.

The battery is brand new and has plenty of charge.

We raised the idle a bit

From time to time the D2 light blinks continually but when it does this it will never turn over.

Any ideas? I am stuck and I know I can/should go to a mechanic so don't use that as your obvious answer!

Thanks for any help!
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Old 12 Jul 2011, 11:01 am
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Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 1,032

Getting the oil out of the spark plug wells is a good place to start. It is coming from the "tube seals" - rubber seals that look like hose washers at the bottom of the spark plug tubes and are part of the valve cover gasket set. As you've found, replacing them is not always enough and when you get around to it you will probably put Form-a-Gasket on them to try to stop the oil bath. Anyway, for now removing and cleaning the plugs is good enough. In theory the oil is not conductive but in practice the oil bath is often associated with sputtering. Getting the oil cleaned out may get it running for now. If the distributor rotor and cap are old replacing them is a fairly cheap way of optimizing the spark. Spark plug wires are great, but mighty expensive.

The first source has a test for the main relay (fuel pump relay) that is a common problem in older Hondas. Because of the way your engine reacts to starting fluid I don't think the main relay is killing your engine but it is still something to check.

My big concern is that the distributor itself is at fault. There are two major failure modes - rust around the shaft (red death) and oil getting through the bottom seal (black death). Removing the rotor and dust cover will tell you if either one is happening to you. Both are most easily fixed by putting a distributor from a wrecking yard in the engine but black death can be cleaned up and the O-ring replaced. No such luck with red death. Of course, the definitive test for the distributor is using a timing light to see if the timing behaves normally.

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