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Old 19 Dec 2009, 03:08 am
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Default Engine randomly dies, a most baffling problem!

I've been having the strangest engine problem on my automatic 1996 Honda Accord 4 cylinder (196k miles). I took it to a mechanic and he was baffled as well because the problem refuses to reproduce, but it's rather random. The last thing I want to happen is for it to shut off in the middle of a busy freeway.

The engine randomly shuts off like someone flipped a switch to turn it off (no jerking, just turns off). Plus the check engine light never comes on.

This has happened in the following places:
1. While idling in a parking lot a few minutes after startup
2. After sitting a red light and trying to accelerate and also at initial highway acceleration
3. While coasting in a parking lot (foot NOT on the gas paddle, just coasting)

When trying to start the car back up after the engine turns off, the car makes the typical startup noise but never starts. If I let it sit for 1-4 minutes, the car starts fine. The heater and the radio are not affected, they work normally during everything.

I've noticed a few trends of when this happens. It happens at the beginning of the day when the car is out and about but still kind of cold. It rarely happens once the car has been out and about for a little while. This could be coincidence? Also, having the heater on max at the beginning of the day seems to up the probability of the car engine dying. Again, coincidence? Also, perhaps related or not, the car also has a high pitch squeal at startup that seems to go away when the heater/fan is turned off.

I've taken it to a mechanic and he tested the ignition switch, which he said worked properly and was not the problem (60$ later). I've done some research on the net and have come up with 3 possible problems I think it may be. I'm really really really hoping someone on here can perhaps narrow it down based on these symptoms and give me a direction.

1. Ignition coil
2. Ignition control module
3. Fuel pump

I was told fuel pumps are super reliable on 96 accords, so I'm thinking it's a problem that lies within the distributor.

Any fresh ideas out there? Please?

Grateful,
Jeul

Last edited by Jeul; 19 Dec 2009 at 03:32 am.
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