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Problem Starting 1991

30 August 2003
Bay Area

I have run into a problem of hearing a click once, when turning the key to start. I hear the fuel pump and all the dash lights work, even when jiggling the key. I have cleaned the ignition switch, which helped for awhile.

From another post I'm able to start the engine if I hot start an NSX by jumping a wire from the solenoid connector directly to the positive battery post in the fuse box in the engine compartment.

So with that said, can I assume the starter is fine?

Could it still be the ignition switch eventhough the dash lights do not flicker?

Thanks you your comments in advance.
Re: Problem Starting '1991

If you are hearing a click from the starter and your voltage from your battery is fine. Then the suspect would be the starter.
If you have a test light or voltmeter, place it on the solenoid terminal on starter and check for voltage while key in start position. If power is there then your ignition switch is working.
Re: Problem Starting '1991

Main relay maybe?

Search this forum for "main relay" and you will find many discussions, several troubleshooting tips, a few pics, and a couple of solutions for the main relay problem.
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Re: Problem Starting '1991

The main relay controls the fuel system only, is has nothing to do with the starter motor.

It could still be you need an ignition switch. I would first check the battery terminals for looseness, especially the negative side, but be sure to check both. Try rotating them, if they move at all, take care of that:).

Thanks Larry. I will pay closer attention to the question and not throw out a possible answer in a rush before I head out the door.

After carefully reading the original question again, I think the problem is a loose battery terminal or terminals. First, fully charge the battery to eliminate the possibility of a weak battery. Then clean and check your terminals at the battery end to see if they are tight. If not tight, tighten them. If after tightening them, they still won't tighten all the way, replace the cable(s) as necessary. The "band-type" terminals that Honda uses leave a lot to be desired, in my opinion. It is possible to replace just the terminals with an "american-style" end. I am sure that someone will chime in and say that this is a terrible idea, but replacing the ends with heavier-duty terminals works fine.

If after cleaning and checking for tightness at the battery end the problem still persists, they may be loose at the other end. The negative/black/ground cable seems more trouble-prone.

The starter is not the problem. It could be the ignition switch but I doubt it.

Warning: Make sure the positive terminal is covered with the red rubber cover. If you change the positive terminal, make sure you get a new plastic cover to go over it. This is cheap insurance to avoid a front-end fire.


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Thanks to all that replied. After checking the battery cables, which are very tight, I decided to start the car again. All my lights were dim. It has been over a week of driving the car but the battery normally will last at least two weeks without driving it. So I decided to check the trunk, and sure enough the drunk was not tight, thus the trunk light has been on for a long time. Stupid me. I charge the battery, and this morning it started right up. I have started it four times today without a hick-up. I guess it could have been worse.

Thanks again.