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03 Accord Starting issues

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    MAKE: Honda
    MODEL: Accord
    YEAR: 2003
    MILES: 180,000
    ENGINE: 2.4

    Car would randomly not start, had the starter checked and it was bad. Changed starter.
    Car worked fine for a while then wouldn't start. Jump started car and it would work for a while then
    not start again.
    Now the car wont even jump start.
    Checked battery-Good
    Checked alternator-Good
    Checked for power to Starter-Good
    Checked for power to Alternator-Good
    Checked for power to fuse box-Good
    Car wont even turn over, when I try to start it all I hear is a click.
    Changed the battery post connectors to the battery cables and made sure they were tight.

    Where should I go from here to diagnose this problem?

  2. The click is at the starter yes?
    That sounds like battery, how old?
    The cables pos and neg both ends at battery and starter and ground - tight corrosion free.
  3. The battery is only a year old, had it load tested at 2 different places. If it was the battery it would at least crank when being jumped, correct? All connections are tight and corrosion free.
  4. Using jumper cables can be "iffy". You can't conclude the battery is OK because jumpering to another battery didn't help.

    Did this change from a "crank but won't fire" to "won't crank" issue, or has it always been "no crank"?

    The way to track this down is with a voltmeter. Do you have one, and are willing to crawl under the car and do some voltage measurements?
  5. The battery has been tested and is good. Previously it would crank, just started not cranking. I have one and will do whatever to find the problem.
  6. OK, then we need somebody to post a schematic of the starting circuit. Is this an always "no crank" situation now, or intermittent?
  7. Always, i think i have one will post it tomorrow if i can find it.
  8. I took a peek at pictures of that starter, it's pretty standard so I can get you looking at voltages even without a schematic. It looks like the manual and auto trans use different starters, but both will have one larger terminal (stud), about 5/16" or 8mm diameter, with a a large battery cable attached to it. There is also a small terminal that has a quick-disconnect "spade" terminal. One version of the starter has an additional large terminal that connects to a short bare cable/strap that disappears into the starter housing.

    First, check voltage at the large term with cable, measuring relative to the starter case itself, not the battery negative term or even a handy engine/chassis ground. That should read battery voltage (about 12V) before trying to crank and while trying to crank. It will drop down a little while trying to crank (or actually cranking), but if it drops any below 10V, let us know.

    Next, check voltage at the small term; again relative to the starter case. It should be 0V when not cranking, and battery voltage while trying to crank.

    If those check out, and your starter has the second large term, then measure voltage at that terminal (to starter case). That should be 0V when not cranking and near battery voltage when trying to crank.

    Tell us what you get with those tests, we'll go from there...

    PS: all voltages mentioned are "DC"
  9. Put a wrench on the crankshaft pulley bolt to see if you can rotate the crankshaft. (A diagnostic procedure for "makin' sure the engine ain't locked up")
  10. It could also be caused by a connection problem between the starter solenoid and the starter itself.
  11. upload_2017-1-25_10-31-13.png
  12. I like to do electrical checks at a point "in the middle of the circuit" that is easy to access. Starter Cut Relay in under dash fuse/relay panel may be a good choice. [​IMG]
  13. How to you test to make sure the relay is good?
  14. Many times it is possible to swap it with another nearby relay that is exactly the same, and see what happens. I often will choose a "non-essential" relay like the horn relay. If that makes no difference, you will need to do some tests with your meter or a 12V test light.
  15. Mobile dans answer is close to my thoughts. Try the AC relay, I think it is same part number.

    Since this is intermittant, I would guess on a ignition switch. I don't know if this wiring was posted or not, but the wiring is quite simple.

    This one is for MT and AT.

    The starter cut relay can be bypassed easily enough with a wire. So that can be eliminated quickly.

  16. As for this question, you have to ascertain that the ignition switch is sending the voltage to the cut off relay, after that if joy on the multi-meter, proceed to starter.

    Here is a PDF on how to check the relay. Enough said.
  17. @Bill, this term got me confused in my french. What does "relative" mean here?
  18. So if PCM is not seeing clutch cut out or the auto trans is not sending via the neutral switch, no joy.
  19. As mobile dan says, focus on the steak.

    Screenshot (42).png
  20. Also, there was a recall for these accord on the interlock.

    This also may be your problem. Check it out. This is why I am also assuming you may have a problem there, as it was very common enough that the company recalled this very situation. Screenshot (43).png
  21. I know I can get confusing sometimes, but my logik is sound. You need to see 12v at relay to suspect the starter.

    For me this is simple, but for a DYer, I can se how this is confusing. Maybe one of my colleges here can simplify.
  22. Of note, I have seen a few guy's check 12v at relay with a led tester, you do not want that. A DVM is essential here.
  23. DVM stands for digital voltmeter, or analog will suffice.
  24. "Relative" for voltage measurements means "where the other meter probe is connected". When putting one probe on a starter terminal, looking for 12V, I want the other probe on the starter case. Then you won't get confused by poor ground connections from the starter to engine (rare!), or engine to battery. If the main 12V to the starter is OK that way, then move the "reference probe" to the battery and try again; that will show if there is a problem in the ground path. It is simply a systematic way to check the power and ground independently and definitively.

    Trust me, I would not do anywhere near as good as you if this was a French-speaking forum!
  25. So this in essence, is how to measure a voltage drop in proper english??
  26. Trust me, I would not do anywhere near as good as you if this was a French-speaking forum!

    I would not ask this question if I was not serious.
  27. Beware, I am leaning three languages now.
  28. @Bill and others, there is no good Quebec forums.
  29. The relative term got me stayed away for sure. I was confused because relative does no come up in our dictionary in relation to 12v systems and I got confused in the translation.
  30. Are you un-confused now? Voltage is always the electric potential between two objects. If you say you have "X volts" someplace, you have to specify what the other place is; the "reference" for that reading. Birds can happily stand on a "20KV" power line because that is 20KV relative to one of the other wires, which they aren't touching, so there is really zero V across their body. Now, if a big bird with long wing-span touches two wires with its wings... you get flaming birdie. I think some forest fires have been attributed to that.
  31. This confused me even more.
    I think one of the reasons this is confusing to many, is that beginner circuits rarely have more than one voltage. Every project I assembled as a beginner had but one input voltage. This may not be true of everyone, but I think it's common enough that the idea of having another voltage, and it being relative to something, makes it elusive.

    As I think about this, there are a couple of ideas that I personally would use to explain relative voltages.

    The process of learning how to use a voltmeter lends to this discussion. Learning about electronics, I would measure the voltage across an LED or resistor and sometimes got the leads backwards. The voltmeter would show a "negative" voltage. Reversing the leads "fixed" it. The value was unchanged. It became quickly apparent that it was a matter of perspective. "Am I looking at this with respect to ground, or respect to the positive voltage terminal?" It's the same voltage, with different points of reference.

    Expanding on that, I think it simplest to show a schematic with two batteries in series, and explain that connecting a meter in the various combinations will produce two voltage values, sometimes positive, sometimes negative. One could then add to that schematic with a couple of resistors or lamps to show that it's possible to provide one voltage or the other to those components.

    Another concept that helped me understand voltage potential and how it can be relative, is the age-old question about "Why don't birds get electrocuted on power distribution lines?" The answer is that they are at the same voltage potential as the wire they are touching. As far as the bird is concerned, everything is fine. Relative to ground the bird is at a lethal potential, but since it's not touching ground, there's no real danger.

    It might be useful to construct an example from the bird-on-wire example: Suppose the bird is on a 10KV line, and a nearby wire for some other purpose carries 5KV. With respect to ground, both lines are dangerous. But what if the bird on the 10KV line were to make contact with the 5KV line? It would still be a 5KV shock. Less than what would happen if it were to bridge the 10KV line with ground, but still deadly.

    The point of this is to show that the voltage from these lines is relative to some frame of reference. With no other information, someone with a meter might think the 5KV line is "ground" and the other is a 5KV power line. You could, in theory, say that a third wire connected to earth is, in fact a negative 5KV power line. (Misleading, but the point is that calling a particular line "ground" is basically establishing it as a point of reference.)

    Finally, an analogy that isn't perfect but might be of use, is to imagine people on balconies of a high-rise building. If someone on the 80th floor were to jump to the 79th floor, they would probably be OK. Their "falling potential" to that floor was only 1; but clearly (with respect to actual ground) their falling potential is a much deadlier 80. What's important is where they are jumping to - that point of reference.
  32. @Bill, plz don't harp on me with the bird scenario. I understood that one when I saw a skunk take out the whole grid.

    I am most happy you took the time to explain that to me. I will endeavor to put that in my translation box.

    On a funny note, the bears will start to wake up soon.
  35. After seeing this video, what else can I say? Work hard, play hard.

    I still can't believe I had the balls to go work there. What a tuff place for sure.
  36. I am amazed at the resourcefulness of the neskapi tribe. They have a very good grasp on the tundra. From my experience there, I have much to learn.
  37. I am just hoping they still have birds for me.I love the taste of the perdrie.
  38. A ferro vinces
  39. I swapped the starter cut relay with the A/C relay and no luck, I checked the voltage to the solenoid when trying to start the car and it read 11.63. Car will still not start.
  40. Does that starter have two terminals or three? Which one(s) had 11.63V when trying to crank? Again, it won't crank, correct? Was one voltmeter connected to the starter case while measuring voltages at the solenoid?
  41. It has 2 terminals. I disconnected the one from the solenoid and placed the red lead into that wire and held the black lead on the ground for the battery. Yes it wont crank.
  42. @pop rock newbie, do you know how to do a amp draw test. ??
  43. no i dont
  44. Have you verified that the engine is not locked up?
    The replacement starter....is it a new starter or a used starter?
    So your starter has two wire connection points, a big one and a little one? With the big wire connected and the little wire disconnected, connect a new wire to the "little" connection at the solenoid and touch the other end of the new wire to Positive post of battery (or a safer spot, like a power feed connection in the fuse box). What happens? Expected result would be that the starter cranks the engine.
    A classic "jump the starter" choice would be to touch the end of your "new wire" to the big wire connection at the solenoid. What happens if you do that?
  45. Hmm, I meant to post this yesterday...

    wire did you probe, the big one or the small one (with BLK/WHT wire attached)? What did the voltage on the other terminal do? Regardless, you have to leave both wires attached to the terminals while testing, and touch the other meter probe to the starter case, not the battery.
  46. Starter is located behind the exhaust manifold and this would be impossible.
  47. Just cuz I like being disagreeable, you are wrong in this statement, it is located below/behind the intake manifold. And you can probe the starter case without removal of the intake. The rest can be done also as billr said with the leads attached.

    This what we call a sub harness check.

    I have done many checks like this before, once the air intake duct is removed, you can, if your patient, find a way to access those leads, or just do the check with the sub harness in place at the PDC center as Dan said and at battery.

    It takes some pretty small and agile hands, but doable.

    I got lost a bit in this thread, sometimes I have few beers to many, but I think Dan, Billr and I are all on the same page. So don't give up. You will get it.

    Drinking and posting sometimes causes issues. But hey, we have fun here helping folks out. Don't hold that against me plz.

  48. The starter is tightly tucked behind intake manifold, and I'll bet OP typed "exhaust" but meant "intake". I have replaced several of those starters without removing the intake. I have small hands, and it was difficult. [​IMG]
  49. Hey poprocks, how about answering some of the questions in my reply #45.
  50. Im not sure how to find out if the engine is locked up?
    It is a new starter.
    I have not tried these yet, will give it a shot this coming weekend.
  51. Try turning the pulley on the end of the crank that drives the accessory ("serpentine") belt, to see if the engine is free to turn. There is often a large screw in the center of that pulley; put a wrench on there.
  52. Oops, forgot to mention, that crank bolt is very stubborn on these accords.

    Be sure to use a ingersol or a cp to loosen that bolt. A wrench won't fit there. There is an access hole for the impact.
  53. The OP doesn't want to remove that screw, just turn the crank to verify the engine isn't seized...
  54. Ok, finally had time to work on the car. Took the starter out again and tested it, it worked fine. Replaced starter back in the car with a lead wire hooked to the solenoid, placed other end of wire to positive battery post and the car started right up. I am assuming it is the ignition switch? I cant find a good write up on how to replace this though. If I am correct can anyone point me in the right direction? Thanks for all your help.
  55. The ignition switch is one possibility, but you need to trace this back through both the starter relay and the neutral safety switch; one of those could be bad (as well as wiring).
  56. Buy a new ignition switch.
    Remove Steering column covers.
    Look at your new switch to see where the bolts/screws go.
    Loosen switch, remove electrical connector.
  57. The whole lock assembly does NOT have to be removed to change the switch. I have replaced several for intermittent failure. [​IMG]
  58. Exactly. Check those before replacing anything. It is more likely to be there and easier and less expensive to repair.
  59. I think Dan is saying the ignition switch is a very strong possibility, as he has replaced several failed ones. Still... I would use a meter to confirm.
  60. [​IMG] When the key is turned to the "CRANK" position, black wire/with white tracer is used to send power from the ignition switch to the rest of the starter circuit.
  61. Well I changed the ignition switch and the car started. It worked for a couple weeks then wouldnt start. Left it sitting for a week and was going to work on it again but the car started up, drove for two days and it wouldnt start again. Towed the car home, went to look at it later the next day and it started right up again. Discouraging!!!
  62. Clarify, again: this is now "intermittent", but is it intermittent "no crank", or intermittent "cranks but no fire"? If it is "no crank", you want to add a (long) temporary wire to the small terminal on the starter. Bring the other end of that wire up near the battery + terminal, strip the end (and insulate) the bare wire. The next time it won't crank, you measure voltage at that wire, while trying to crank. If the voltage isn't battery voltage (~12V), then you touch that bare wire end to the battery + term and see if that makes it crank
  63. It is a "no crank". When was trying to figure out the initial problem I ran a wire from the solenoid and touched the positive of the battery and it started, didnt get a reading however.
  64. OK, then put that wire back on and carry a meter with you until this is resolved. You have to be ready to test whenever the no-start pops up, and it may save you another tow...
  65. Do as Bill states and if you have several more no crank issues and they all then start with the jumper wire you have a good starter and solenoid. Now the problem must be traced back to a possible neutral safety switch or some other part of the circuit.