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Old 01-03-2011, 07:45 AM   #1
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Start up troubleshooting.

Hopefully I can get some ideas and suggestion on this topic. The car in subject is a 95 Acura Integra.

I am currently located in Brooklyn, NY, and last week Sunday into Monday we got hit with a major snowstorm that left about 2-3 feet of snow.

Now on that Monday I was able to shovel around the driver side just enough to open the door and get inside. I started up the car but only for about 3 minutes since snow was piled in the rear end of my car, so I turned off the car to prevent carbon monoxide build up. Plow trucks got stuck on the corner of where my car was parked so I didn't bother shoveling anymore since the plow trucks would push it against my car again anyway. Left the car untouched until Friday. On Friday I did the same thing, shoveled just enough to get inside. This time however I tried starting up the car, it was no good. Left the car since it was late. Saturday evening, I tried starting, no good so I tried jump starting the car, also no good. Tried starting it this morning, no good.

When I try starting the car, the sound of the crank sounds fine. It doesn't sound like there isn't enough battery power. My headlights do dim however if they are on and I try to start up. I've tried starting with everything off, and with my headlights, radio, etc on. The battery connection is fine. I highly doubt any fluids are frozen but I'm not ruling it out, though I would thing it would have melted by now.

Oh yes, also my friend two blocks away who drives a 98 Lexus GS300 is also having starting problems, same symptoms, however his car has been untouched for about 2-3 weeks since he was on vacation in california.

Any suggestions from anyone? I currently work 7AM-7PM and commuting to work by NYC's failing MTA system in the cold when the sun isn't around anymore is a pain in the ass.
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Old 01-03-2011, 01:12 PM   #2
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What is the current temp? It's more difficult to start in colder temps and probably suspecting your battery is having a problem due to the CCA (cold cranking amps) and your oil is probably very viscous.
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Old 01-03-2011, 01:26 PM   #3
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Also inside the engine too. If it's too cold it has hard time firing it up. When's last time change out the spark plugs & clean out the fuel injections?
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Old 01-03-2011, 06:37 PM   #4
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The battery itself is new, about a month old. I picked up a Duralast gold from autozone. I was thinking maybe the alternator just happened to coincidentally crap out on me.

Current temp now is 37 degrees Fahrenheit. It's been around the range of mid 20s to 30s in the past 2 weeks. Today was one of the warmer days.

I'm hoping it's just viscous oil, and just wait till it warms up in which case I was going to get an oil change anyway this month. I am really hoping it's thick oil since the last time i changed it I used 10w30.

I was actually planning to change out the spark plugs/wires this month also. Do you think this is a possible cause? If my car doesn't start up in the next few warm days I'm going to have to try changing the plugs. Only reason why I haven't changed it yet was because of the recent excessive snow, and they're predicting its going to snowstorm again sometime this week. Unfortunately I don't own a garage and it's extremely expensive to rent one out here in NY.
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Old 01-03-2011, 06:46 PM   #5
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Mysterious Honda/Acura non-starting issues are often distributor/coil/igniter related.
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Old 01-04-2011, 02:56 PM   #6
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a bad alternator wouldnt cause a no start condition, only your battery would die, and also the battery charging light would illuminate once the engine is running if your alternator isnt providing power.

couple steps first, auto or manual? doesnt really matter, do you hear your starter relay clicking when you try to turn the key? if so this is indicative of low battery.

If relay doesnt click and it cranks, but cranks slowly, low battery or is indicative of excessive resistance.

cranks but fails to catch is indicative of no spark/fuel.


very unlikely its the oil, I start my car all the time and I'm running 10w30 also in nyc in a 92 celi.


so all in all I'm with ichi on this one, and if ur gutsy as hell, do like me and unplug one of ur spark plugs wires and hold the tip near the engine (preferrably at night) and have a friend crank it, you should get a nice blue spark, if not, then your ignition coil/cap/rotor/wires (1 or more) is most likely bad or on its last legs.

Sorry about the essay lol (this just happens to be my favorite topic)
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Old 01-04-2011, 03:04 PM   #7
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Nah dude the essays good. I'm not as extremely knowledgable with car mechanics as I would like to be. I need all the info I can get.

However what I DID notice yesterday night when I tried starting up on my dash was, a battery light was lit, which I don't even know if it's normal to be lit when in the ON position. There was also another light which appears to look like a can with a drip on it. Would this be an oil lamp? Just as a clarification, i've attached an image i found online.



it would be the symbol on the left of the tachometer above the thermostat gauge.
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Old 01-04-2011, 03:29 PM   #8
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those 2 lights should always be on when the key is in the on position but the ignition is off.

cant see the image as I'm at work, but I am pretty certain they are what I think they are.

you can try going thru the steps above and posting ur results (constant cranking however will end up leaving ur battery depleted when the problem is resolved.) so you may not know unless you have a friend on hand with a good battery and jumper cables or etc.

and if you have access to a volt meter, check battery voltage at the terminals, should be above 12v.

I'll be checking here later so I can get a quick response to you.
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Old 01-04-2011, 03:59 PM   #9
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I'm going tonight to get my battery tested just to rule that out as a first step. I don't get off work til 7PM so won't be for a while from now.

To be honest I'm unsure on how to really listen to the starter relay.
From what I can remmeber the last few times I attempted to start it up, it would crank but the sound of it would be constant. It wasn't a fading sound like last month when my battery crapped out on me at 4AM.

Right now I'm leaning towards spark and I'm really hoping it's just the plugs/wires/something in the dizzy.
The cap and rotor i changed last year but the wires and plugs have not been changed since purchasing the car. I bought the car about 4 years ago and currently at around 105k miles.
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Old 01-04-2011, 04:11 PM   #10
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the starter relay will only make a clicking sound if your battery doesnt have enough charge to turn the starter, if your starter is turning, then that is fine, and that leaves us with fuel/spark.

worst case in a no spark condition is you either have worn distributor points, or ur ignition coil crapped out on u, both are components of the distributor, typically @ autozone if necessary you can find a ignition coil for around $40-$60, but to rule out the possibility of a bad coil it can be removed and taken to the shop to have it tested.


On a side note, totally off the mark here.

If your engine is a non interference and doesnt have a timing chain the timing belt couldve went on you, which would be indicated by a fast whirring when you crank the motor. (hope this isnt your problem)
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Old 01-04-2011, 05:59 PM   #11
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Thanks for your input. I will attempt probably sometime this Friday or the weekend to get the ignition coil out and have it checked out. Don't really want to have my car towed.

I will also attempt to record the sound it makes when I try to start it up lol.
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Old 01-05-2011, 06:48 PM   #12
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any luck getting it started?
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Old 01-09-2011, 05:45 PM   #13
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Yea I finally got it running 2 nights ago. I'm not sure why but I just tried jumping again except this time with a portable jumper and it worked. Same thing also with the lexus. Perhaps there was problems with the previous cables my friend and I have tried.
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