1994 Honda Accord cold weather starting problems

Discussion in 'Accord' started by bgodd99, Oct 29, 2007.

  1. bgodd99

    bgodd99 Guest

    1994 Honda Accord LX Cold Weather Starting Problem

    Seems to only occur in very cold weather, -20 C and after the car has
    been sitting outside for 10 hours or more.

    When the key is in the ignition and turned to the On position (II) the
    Charging System Indicator Light, the Daytime Running Lights Indicator
    light, and the Supplemental Restraint System Indicator Lights are not
    lit. Actually no lights on the dash are lit.

    Thus when the key is turned to the Start position (III) absolutely
    nothing happens.

    During this time my horn, radio as well as my fan/heater works.

    After up to 15 tries of turning the key to the start position in the
    ignition the dash lights will suddenly come on (i.e. Charging System
    Indicator Light, etc) and the car will then start no problem.

    Once the car is warmed up there is no problem trying to start the car
    again throughout the day.

    Could the contacts in the ignition switch be going bad? Could the cold
    weather worsen the problem due to parts contracting?

    At the same time once the car has started and I turn on my low beam
    headlights there can be up to a 20 second delay before they actually
    come on. Could this be a bad headlight combination switch? And are
    these two problems realted?


    Battery was replaced in Sept 2005, was checked about a month ago and
    told it is okay, ie Cold Cranking Amps ok etc .

    Daytime running light module was replaced one year ago.

    Back plate of ignition switch replaced 2 years ago.

    Any ideas........Thanks ahead of time.
    bgodd99, Oct 29, 2007
  2. bgodd99

    Tegger Guest

    Ignition switch, most likely.

    Yes. Or hardened grease.

    Yep. Try repeatedly rotating the switch rapidly from off to on. This may
    help re-establish contact and the switch may work more effectively for a

    No. Well, same basic cause, but different parts involved.

    "Back plate"? You mean the one with the solder on it? Was it replaced
    with new OEM or "refurbished" aftermarket? Or was the entire switch
    replaced (which I am more likely to expect)?
    Tegger, Oct 29, 2007
  3. bgodd99

    bgodd99 Guest

    New OEM honda parts but only back plate of the ignition switch was
    replaced a few years back, not the entire ignition switch.
    bgodd99, Oct 29, 2007
  4. bgodd99

    motsco_ Guest

    Read through the ignition switch recall ( I realize yours is older) :


    It could just be your starter brushes, so read through this thread and
    follow ALL the links.

    It would be very helpful to know your mileage.

    motsco_, Oct 30, 2007
  5. bgodd99

    motsco_ Guest


    You know about holding the pedal to the mat when it's that cold, yes?
    It's in the owner's manual. I park on the prairie a lot in winter.

    motsco_, Oct 30, 2007
  6. bgodd99

    bi241 Guest

    i suspect a battery drain. with all doors closed, accessories off,
    remove the negative post and put it back, it there are sparks, then
    something is draining the battery plus the cold temperature has
    weakened it to the point it coulndt activate the main relay, thus
    there's no lights coming on. try jump starting to confirm or eliminate
    this cause

    it could be the bad ignition switch that yields the same symptoms.
    it's strange though, because most ign switches would quit when hot not
    bi241, Oct 31, 2007
  7. bgodd99

    motsco_ Guest


    It's the MAIN RELAY that most often gives trouble when HOT. The ignition
    switch only gives trouble (engine dies) when you turn into the path of
    an oncoming cement truck. Thus, the recall.

    motsco_, Nov 1, 2007
  8. bgodd99

    bi241 Guest

    ok, i can now confirm it's the bad ignition switch (switch assy)

    i just fixed a friend's Honda with similar symptoms: no warning lights
    on, car started but died immediatedly when the key was released from

    i disconnected the battery, dosed the ignition key hole with WD-40
    then put the key in and gave it a hefty work out
    then reconnected the battery and tried to start, same shit, but i
    noticed that the warning lights flashed as the key returned from II to

    so i held the key between I and II and voila the warning lights were
    on, as the car started i forced the key to that stupid positon and
    luckily it held there and the motor kept running. let it run til it
    reached normal temp.

    turned it off and tried to work the alignment between the switch
    cylinder and its assembly. and then magically everything fell back
    into place. the car runs fine since.

    but i told my friend to take off her key chain til she has the switch
    bi241, Nov 17, 2007
  9. bgodd99

    motsco_ Guest


    Lock-Ease is a good lube for ignition switch locks. I spray all five
    locks on both of my Hondas twice a year. I got it at a locksmith shop
    and they warned me to NEVER spray WD-40 in a lock unless it was an
    emergency (like a seized lock).

    motsco_, Nov 18, 2007

  10. I got pretty good results using sillycone spray on an old Ford LTD. I
    drove the car for another 45K without incident then sold the car.

    People should realize that WD-40 is a moisture dispersing agent and not
    much else.

    Grumpy AuContraire, Nov 18, 2007
  11. bgodd99

    bi241 Guest

    You're right about that, WD-40 will eventually dries out and leaves
    the contact surfaces even dryer. But it was all i had at the time.

    i'm using ATF for lubricating my locks. It's lighter than motor oil
    but i'm not spinning my key at 3000 rpm!!!. And i think ATF contains
    friction modifiers that work just like graphite, and yet it's not
    conductive in case the fluid finds its way to the electrical portion
    of the switch. Silicon lubricant is excellent, but i'm cheep

    On my 89 accord LX-i a few months ago, i had intermittent non-starting
    problem when the engine was hot. All warning lights on, but starter
    would not engage. Top suspects were the starter solenoid, or the main
    relay, or the ignition switch. But they cost close a hundred dollars
    each and a PITA to replace. So i took my chance and replaced my 3 year
    old Duralast battery with a cheapo Walmart battery ($35) and it
    completely solved the problem!! Still, the key can get very hot
    sometimes. I am sure my ignition swich is failling.

    I hate tow trucks as much as farmers hate weeds. So i just did a
    little reasearch and now i know how to limp home on a malfunction
    ignition switch and a plan to fix (mod) it with just a little money
    (with a toggle swich and a push botton switch). i'm anxious to see how
    the mod works but too lazy to do and most of all it ain't broken
    bi241, Nov 20, 2007
  12. bgodd99

    E Meyer Guest

    Before you start hack up your car with toggle switches & push buttons, you
    might want to double check the price of the ignition switch. You don't need
    the lock cylinder, just the switch. Last time I got one for a mid-90's
    Honda, it was $30 & took all of 10 minutes to change.

    You might also try taking it out, popping it open and cleaning it up. What
    you will likely find is burnt contacts because the spring(s) that hold
    pressure on them are not moving freely, allowing arcing. Sometimes its
    E Meyer, Nov 20, 2007
  13. Or the grease in the switch has hardened, which is what happened in our 92
    Acura Legend. The car would start, but as soon as you let go of the key it
    would turn off, with no lights on the dash. I pulled the switch off the
    back of the key cylinder, opened it up and cleaned it, and it worked fine.
    Mike Iglesias, Nov 20, 2007
  14. bgodd99

    bi241 Guest

    i planned to give my ignition switch it a good cleaning, as i always
    recommend cleaning prior to replacing malfunction electrical parts.
    but after doing my research, i just learned that ignition switches are
    designed for convenience, not reliability or performance. What can be
    good when filmsy little pieces of copper moving back and forth trying
    to estalbish contacts and becomes a little furnace in doing so? A
    conventional ignition switch will rob the current until there's no
    current at all!!! Separate and stationary switches will do the job
    much better. The modified set up might look ugly, but i don't care.
    It's a 20 year-old car anyways.

    autozone quoted me $108 for a Beck-Arnley switch, NAPA had it for $58,
    Echlin brand. Junk yards are not my options when it comes to
    electrical parts. But i can have a toggle & a push button switch at
    pepboys for $19 total!!!

    when i am eventually forced to disassemble my iginiton switch
    (electrical switch), it's got to be hacked, fer sho!! :)
    bi241, Nov 21, 2007
Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments (here). After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.