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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Three weeks ago replaced the ignition module and found the main relay was loose and cruddied.
Sanded the contacts on the main really and made certain it sat tight.
This Honda with 288,000 miles worked like a charm for three weeks. I let it sit for 5 days and it turned over but wouldn't start.
After a half dozen tries I stopped. An hour later I went out and it started up.
What could be happening (or not happening) as it sits too long...obviously?

Fuel filters were just replaced. I checked the board's main relay won't' start fix but it was a dead link.
I have a new aftermarket main relay, but not sure it should be replaced.
main-relay-honda-power.JPG
My original owner 1989 Honda: Isn't she pretty?

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It started again today, but with the spontaneity it did the previous three weeks.
 

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Could be the Dizzy getting ready to fail... Have you had a chance to check Codes or if there is spark when it doesnt start?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Blaine,
Thank you for your reply.
My mechanic friend is coming by on Saturday to have a look. He's going to test for spark.
What usually fails in the distributor is the Ignition Module.
I've searched and there are no new carbureted distributors for this '89.
I have no idea where the codes would be on it.

Everything I've learned is from searching through forums (noobie).
 

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Sanded the relay contact ? May be you can try re-soldering its circuit contact as per FAQ hints on the Main relay... Give it a go. Sound like Main Relay to me.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Rockauto.com I believe they have distributors for your year in stock.
No, they don't. I got the OEM number from the local Honda parts man and there are none at Rock Auto. My distributor is carbureted. There is a subcontractor Cardone who will rebuild the old carburetor (that OEM matches). the only internal part they will replace new is the Ignition Module and I have a supply of those. The OEM is pictured.
A vendor on Ebay had a matching distributor - so they said, but sent one for fuel injection.
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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Sanded the relay contact ? May be you can try re-soldering its circuit contact as per FAQ hints on the Main relay... Give it a go. Sound like Main Relay to me.
The soldering was fine. this is what was loose (the prongs?)
And they were sanded. you can see a little of areas missed at the top and back of prongs.

When Dan comes by tomorrow he will likely replace the old main relay with the aftermarket one I bought..
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Have you tested the main relay properly?

I'd recommend testing main relay, soldering cracks etc on circuit board can work but usually the main relay is too far gone for this to work. Even if it does click, resistance may be too great for it to function properly.

There should be a factory service manual on here that shows how to test the main relay.

There really is little point in changing new parts without testing stuff first. I'd look to see that the battery is charged, if it holds voltage while cranking, starter ok, spark is sufficient, fuel pump is not only turning on but the pressure is good. (if main relay faulty then fuel pump will not get power). Then test the main relay.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I've already addressed this.
Thank you for looking and posting. If you look at the pictures they do not match. But eBay vendors will be happy to sell the wrong one.
 

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You should try a website like jp-carparts.com, Amayama, or partsouq. Filter out your car by model, year, engine etc and it'll give you the right part number in their diagrams. That's the way to purchase the right oem part when you don't have a part number. Your other option is to contact a dealership, and pay their extortionate prices.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Have you tested the main relay properly?

I'd recommend testing main relay, soldering cracks etc on circuit board can work but usually the main relay is too far gone for this to work. Even if it does click, resistance may be too great for it to function properly.

There should be a factory service manual on here that shows how to test the main relay.

There really is little point in changing new parts without testing stuff first. I'd look to see that the battery is charged, if it holds voltage while cranking, starter ok, spark is sufficient, fuel pump is not only turning on but the pressure is good. (if main relay faulty then fuel pump will not get power). Then test the main relay.
As noted in my other post,
When Dan comes by tomorrow he will likely replace the old main relay with the aftermarket one I bought..
I agree with "Even if it does click, resistance may be too great for it to function properly." and I brought the same thing up to Dan who would disagree with both of us.
The relay is 31 years old. He must have tested it. He's a retired professional mechanic. But I'll ask him if he did and/or will. Is there a way to test the Ignition Module? I found a way on youtube but it didn't really work.
I'll look for the factory service manual.
this may be written a bit scrambled. I just rode my bike 9 miles to go to the store - up hill and against the wind

I can hear the fuel pump when it turns over. I'll make a recording tomorrow when we first start it up.

I should add that I bought this car in California so it has all the emissions "stuff".
I'm living at 6800 ft now in New Mexico where the nights are cold. It sat for 5 days so I agree it could be the battery and/OR condensation in the gas line, gas tank as the gas is down to a third of a tank.

I got through several New Mexico winters adding dry gas to get it started when the tank was low.
I'll cut and paste your comments for Dan. Thank you.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
You should try a website like jp-carparts.com, Amayama, or partsouq. Filter out your car by model, year, engine etc and it'll give you the right part number in their diagrams. That's the way to purchase the right oem part when you don't have a part number. Your other option is to contact a dealership, and pay their extortionate prices.
The dealership does not have these parts they are "No longer available", but as stated in another post with a picture the dealership is very generous in looking up the OEM number for me. I do have the auto part number...the distributor's OEM is KA 30100PK1661
If It's determined that it's the entire distributor then I will check out jp-carparts.com, Amayama, or partsouq. but I have had three thorough searches by super great parts-people and none was found.
Thank you for your input.
 

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Well, I know for a FACT, that this hasnt been addressed yet

www.row52.com <-- Master link to Salvage Yards across the U.S.

If there is ONE Carb centric Dizzy in ALL of the United States these Guys will find it... Hope you dont mind an "experienced" Dizzy
 

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It's ok that you replaced the ignition control module. I have an '89 and it's the part under the dash just next to the steering wheel shaft. I replaced mine as it had the classic symptom of hard/spotty starting when the weather is hot. An ICM's connections can deteriorate over the years and when it gets hot in the passenger compartment the contacts expand and don't conduct current. Resoldering the connections is a way to repair the module.

What made you replace it?

I've had real problems starting because my coolant leaked a bit over the winter one time while the car just sat. Check your coolant level and bleed the air out of the system. The nozzle is where the upper radiator hose enters the block.

I suspect this isn't your problem though as you are able to start the car after it sits for a while. In my experience, air in the system meant no starting period. Ever.

After I bled the system it would start fine but die big time when the engine reached operating temperature. This proved to be the result of having plugs that needed replacing. They weren't badly fouled but they were a little. I replaced the plugs and no more problems. I would never have figured that out and I had no codes in the computer to hint at what was going on. Just systematically checking the ignition system was what did it. As Eric the Car Guy recommends, forget possible problems with sensors and ECU codes (or lack thereor) and just systematically check distributor, cap, igniter, plug wires, plugs, timing, air filter.

I'm at the same altitude as you so I bought a variant of the recommend spark plug for colder climates.

I don't know what the main relay does so have no idea what it might do to cause your problem.

Nice looking car indeed. My machine has 455K+ on it and is not as pristine as yours.
 

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It's ok that you replaced the ignition control module. I have an '89 and it's the part under the dash just next to the steering wheel shaft.
What? No, what you are describing is the main relay. The Ignition Control Module is also known as the igniter, and is either inside or bolted to the outside of the distributor, depending on the year and model. For this vehicle, on the TEC distributor, it is bolted to the outside of the housing, and does not fail very often. The Hitachi model has the igniter inside the housing around the shaft. Either version of the distributor will work, as long as it is the for the carbureted vehicle.

When Dan comes by tomorrow he will likely replace the old main relay with the aftermarket one I bought..
Did Dan replace the relay?

I can hear the fuel pump when it turns over. I'll make a recording tomorrow when we first start it up.
If you can hear the fuel pump, then the main relay is probably fine, since most of its job is to power the fuel pump.

I suspect that you have no spark. Don't bother trying to replace the entire distributor, unless one of the sensors is damaged. If the ignition coil or igniter has failed, just replace those parts. Based on the number you posted above, I think that is a Hitachi distributor, so the igniter part number is: 30120-PH4-005, which is nice, because it fits a LOT of '80s Hondas (also some Nissans and Subarus), so it is common. Feel free to message me directly if you have any questions. I am happy to take a phone call during office hours as well. Our website is in my signature.
 

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If that didnt work out for you I have an entire carb head (b20a3) and a distributor that I would be willing to sell cheap the distributor was swapped out of the car on mine when I switched to the fuel injected head. The engine was only at 30,000 miles so it should be in working condition it was also kept in a dry garage ever since it was pulled. Hope you get your car running again.
 

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I am having similar issues with my Prelude which is a dual carb 87 model. I bought the car less than a month ago and got it running as timing was the issue (or so I thought). Car worked pretty well for a week and then one day would not turn on. The car starts and when I let off the choke it comes down to idle and cuts off without a sputter like a switch. The car will run for about 30 seconds to 1 min. I just had the distributor replaced with a rebuilt (Hitachi model) and have new spark plugs. I tested the coil and spark plug wires and they are fine. I have spark and fuel going to the car before starting, but something cuts off both after the car shuts off. I cannot get spark and fuel back unless I also let the car sit a while and it seems like also with the battery terminals unplugged. I replaced the fuel cutoff relay which I thought was my problem but it wasn't. I hope you solve your problem so maybe it will give me a lead for mine. Goodluck!
 

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Three weeks ago replaced the ignition module and found the main relay was loose and cruddied.
Sanded the contacts on the main really and made certain it sat tight.
This Honda with 288,000 miles worked like a charm for three weeks. I let it sit for 5 days and it turned over but wouldn't start.
After a half dozen tries I stopped. An hour later I went out and it started up.
What could be happening (or not happening) as it sits too long...obviously?

Fuel filters were just replaced. I checked the board's main relay won't' start fix but it was a dead link.
I have a new aftermarket main relay, but not sure it should be replaced.
View attachment 27474
My original owner 1989 Honda: Isn't she pretty?

View attachment 27476 View attachment 27477
It started again today, but with the spontaneity it did the previous three weeks.
Possibly fuel pump
 
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