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1994 Civic LX, 1.5L hard to start #4955766 12/19/18 09:01 AM
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Gito Offline OP
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1994 Civic LX, 1.5 with ˜200k

Past month my friend has been having issues with starting the car when it is raining.
On rainy days the car would crank and turn but the car would not start.
We removed the main relay and resoldered and are waiting for a good rainy day to test.


Monday- Drizzled on and off and car started up fine (slight drizzle).

Tuesday- Trouble
Morning was cold (40's deg F), and car started up fine but later that day it got warmer (70's deg F) and car would not start.
Floored the accelerator pedal all the way down and turned the ignition to try to start the car.
It cranked for about 9 seconds and the car finally started.
Ran rough for a few seconds and then drove fine afterwards.




I'm looking at other possibilities that might be causing the issues-

Bad Wires
Bad Distributor
Bad main relay (soldered may not have done job properly)
Fuel Filter (friend says he doesn't remember ever replacing it)



Parts replaced: Cap and rotor about 1 month ago, prior to desoldering main relay. Did not solve issue


Any advice is greatly appreciated













Re: 1994 Civic LX, 1.5L hard to start [Re: Gito] #4955768 12/19/18 09:06 AM
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mk378 Offline
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When it won't start, turn the key on but don't crank, and watch for the check engine light to come on then go out. If it comes on and stays on there is a problem with the main relay or the ECU and it's not going to start until the light goes out.

If that is OK next mist some water on the spark wires, if that causes them to short out, replace them. Also check your "new" cap for cracks.

Last edited by mk378; 12/19/18 09:11 AM.
Re: 1994 Civic LX, 1.5L hard to start [Re: Gito] #4955780 12/19/18 09:12 AM
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I remember when I got my parents old ford econoline (1990) in 2002. It had never had a tuneup. the misty morning dew would not allow the car to start. I literally had to bust out the hair dryer and dry the wires before it would start. First thing I did was tune that bad boy up.


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Re: 1994 Civic LX, 1.5L hard to start [Re: Gito] #4955801 12/19/18 09:38 AM
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andyd Offline
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Yah. Wires fixed this on 250K BMW


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'16 Camry SE, Valvoline HM 0w20 and OEM filter
Thick oil is better grin2
Re: 1994 Civic LX, 1.5L hard to start [Re: Gito] #4955807 12/19/18 09:47 AM
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Visually check the spark plug wires at night . Much easier to see any arcing . Then hit them with the mist , if needed .

In a pinch , I have used WD-40 to " dry out " plug wires / distributor cap .


Wyr
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Re: 1994 Civic LX, 1.5L hard to start [Re: Gito] #4955826 12/19/18 10:04 AM
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the main relay controls the fuel pump. turn the key on, but not crank, and see if you can hear the fuel pump start in the fuel tank. if it makes a humming sound, the main relay is ok.

Re: 1994 Civic LX, 1.5L hard to start [Re: Gito] #4955839 12/19/18 10:22 AM
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If I were you, I post this issue with a specific Honda forum where the members knows all the quirks of Honda.

Over here, we have member who does not even own a Civic trying to help you from their experience from other type of cars with a different set of quirks/issues.

Have your friend be a member of that forum directly so he can see the answer also.


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Re: 1994 Civic LX, 1.5L hard to start [Re: Gito] #4956030 12/19/18 01:24 PM
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If you plan to keep the vehicle for a long time you may as well change the fuel filter.

Check the plug wires carefully. Night time with a spray bottle of water is best.


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Re: 1994 Civic LX, 1.5L hard to start [Re: JMJNet] #4956138 12/19/18 03:44 PM
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Ok, get a 2nd opinion from the Honda guys. You're not gonna hurt my feelings. The symptoms, including the age of the car, are generiic old heap . and not model specific grin2


'16 Camry LE STP synth 0w20 and STP filter. the Fridge

1994 Ranger ,the Rat, 5w30 dino, STP filter

'16 Camry SE, Valvoline HM 0w20 and OEM filter
Thick oil is better grin2
Re: 1994 Civic LX, 1.5L hard to start [Re: andyd] #4956165 12/19/18 04:21 PM
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Originally Posted by andyd
Ok, get a 2nd opinion from the Honda guys. You're not gonna hurt my feelings. The symptoms, including the age of the car, are generiic old heap . and not model specific grin2
That's not an old generic heap, it is a Japanese car from the golden era before they started watering them down for North American sensibilities. I wish they built them like that today.


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Re: 1994 Civic LX, 1.5L hard to start [Re: Gito] #4956172 12/19/18 04:41 PM
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Where the valves ever adjusted? It might be a long shot, since tight or loose valves on a Honda will result in the engine running funny or needing a valve job due to burned valves. There's an igniter module in the distributor but it rarely goes out in those.

Do the basics first - wires(NGK or Honda OEM), plugs(NGK or Denso), fuel filter and then work up.

Re: 1994 Civic LX, 1.5L hard to start [Re: maxdustington] #4956173 12/19/18 04:44 PM
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Originally Posted by maxdustington
That's not an old generic heap, it is a Japanese car from the golden era before they started watering them down for North American sensibilities. I wish they built them like that today.


Amen. I still longingly search ebay for a 1989 Accord 5 speed like my friend's parents had in highschool. It's getting less and less likely I'll find one in good condition.

With that said, a crash in one of those would make for a bad day.


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Re: 1994 Civic LX, 1.5L hard to start [Re: Gito] #4958768 12/22/18 02:08 PM
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Update

This morning we decided to perform a few tests that may lead to solving the hard starts.

Test 1
We turned the ignition so that all the dash lights were on and then waited a few seconds to see which lights would turn off (prior to starting the car).
We noticed that the SRS and Check Engine lights eventually turn off.

At the same time we could also hear that classic buzzing sound come on and then turn off (can't remember how many seconds from time it turns on to time it turns off).
Again, all of the dash lights came on and after a few seconds the SRS light turned off first then after a few more seconds the Check Engine light turned off.

Test 2
We turned the ignition like we would normally do and the car fired right up, car turned on. (Cold morning and first attempt to start car).
We then turned the car off and went to Test 3. We did not drive it.

Test 3
We turned the ignition like we would normally do and the car would only crank and would not start (would not turn on).

Test 4
We stepped on the accelerator to the floor (held pedal to floor), turned the ignition to try to start and car started right up.

Test 5
We turned the ignition so that all dash lights turned on and then proceeded to try to start car immediately after the SRS light turned off.
Car would only crank, No Start.

Test 5
We turned the ignition so that all dash lights turned on and then waited for the SRS light to turn off and waited for the Check Engine light to turn off.
Car started with no hesitation

So far, the car will start if we wait for the Check Engine Light to turn off (will not start if Check Engine light is lit).



Whats next:

1. Replace fuel filter. It looks like the fuel filter has never been replaced.
2. Going to check spark plugs.



Any advice is greatly appreciated

Re: 1994 Civic LX, 1.5L hard to start [Re: Gito] #4958809 12/22/18 03:12 PM
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mk378 Offline
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Turning the key on but don't crank, the check engine light should come on for about exactly 2 seconds then go out. Every time, without fail.

Delayed turn-off of the check engine light is either the main relay or the ECU. If the light is staying on, the ECU is not properly booted up and the engine cannot start.

Check the ECU ground wires on the thermostat housing they can cause a lot of ECU related weirdness.

Re: 1994 Civic LX, 1.5L hard to start [Re: Gito] #4958844 12/22/18 04:10 PM
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Popsy Offline
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How is the tension of the timing belt (not sure these engines have timing belts) ?


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Re: 1994 Civic LX, 1.5L hard to start [Re: Gito] #4958847 12/22/18 04:19 PM
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This is how Civics of that era behave when the fuel level is low, slow pressure buildup, long crank to start. The fact that waiting for the pump to finish priming helps a bit suggests fuel pressure ie filter. On the right track to replace the filter, can't hurt to change it

Re: 1994 Civic LX, 1.5L hard to start [Re: mk378] #4958890 12/22/18 05:21 PM
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Gito Offline OP
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Originally Posted by mk378
Turning the key on but don't crank, the check engine light should come on for about exactly 2 seconds then go out. Every time, without fail.

Delayed turn-off of the check engine light is either the main relay or the ECU. If the light is staying on, the ECU is not properly booted up and the engine cannot start.

Check the ECU ground wires on the thermostat housing they can cause a lot of ECU related weirdness.


Takes longer than 2 seconds for check engine light to go away.

Is the action of depressing the Accelerator pedal to the floor when trying to start car somehow bypassing the ECU (making it think that it’s flooded)?

We resoldered the main relay but we believe that it might still be bad just by the age itself (1994).

How do we test ECU?
How do we really know that it could be the Main Relay.

Before resoldering the Main relay, the only time we had issues starting the car was when it rained.

After resoldering the relay we started to experience the other symptoms.

Please advise

Re: 1994 Civic LX, 1.5L hard to start [Re: PeterPolyol] #4959978 12/23/18 11:48 PM
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Driz Offline
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Sounds like fuel delivery. Filter or pump. Might even being that old have crud blocking the sock on the pickup in the tank. Remember, japmobiles have those wonderful access hatches under the back seat. You Can very easily yank that fuel pump in a few minutes Unlike all the rest of the garbage cars out there. Sort of ironic since I’m like all the rest🙄,those Japanese fuel pumps almost never failed.
You might pop off the upper cover and see of that timing belt is stretched or tensioner slipped. It is only intention by one tiny little 10 or 12 mm head bolt. Remember those engines are interference engines and if you snap a timing belt you almost always destroy the engine. That one should be a belt number three being changed at 60,000. Check for ( if they put it on there) on the timing cover the sticker showing when it was last changed and make sure or just change it will be done with it. And yes those belts it will snap around 65,000 without hot rotting you’re dogging it just going down the road, I’ve done it.

Re: 1994 Civic LX, 1.5L hard to start [Re: Gito] #4960303 12/24/18 12:25 PM
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Sounds like the main relay under the driver's side dash; it's a common problem with Hondas. I just had this problem this summer. The car would turn but not start in high humidity. When the car won't start, tap on the main relay a few times and it will probably start; the points crack over time. Resolder or buy and install a new relay.


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Re: 1994 Civic LX, 1.5L hard to start [Re: Gito] #4976203 01/11/19 03:20 PM
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Gito Offline OP
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Update:

Replaced fuel filter and noticed that the check engine light would go away a few seconds after turning ignition (not cranking). The car started fine each time and no check engine delay was observed.

We wanted to see if it would act up in rainy weather so we waited for another rainy day.

Rained last week and so we tried starting the car like normal and without paying attention to Check Engine Light. It started fine.

As the day went on and the rain continued throughout the day we decided to try to start the car again and the car would only crank and not start. It was then that we observed a permanent check engine light when just turning on ignition (without trying to crank or start).
We decided to buy a new main relay (Genuine part by Mitsuba) and we replaced it this morning.

We tried starting the car under cool weather (no rain) and it would only crank and not start. We noticed that the check engine light does not turn off after a few seconds of turning the ignition. The check engine light stays on.

We noticed that the fuel pump whirl sound does not come on so we decided to check for fuel pressure at the fuel filter. No fuel coming out of fuel line to filter when cranking or trying to start.

Again, no fuel pump whirl sound that can be heard when turning ignition (not trying to start or crank).


We are wondering if it’s a fuel pump issue (heard it’s rare) or the ECU (mentioned by forum member earlier).

What can we do next?

Any advice is greatly appreciated

Re: 1994 Civic LX, 1.5L hard to start [Re: Gito] #4976216 01/11/19 03:31 PM
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Has the fuel filter been replaced ? Can you remove the filter and attach a rubber hose to the line from the tank . And turn the ignition / fule pump on & see how much fuel is pumped ?

Where is it located ?

Does the fuel system have a place ( like a Schrader valve ) that you can check fuel pressure ?


Wyr
God bless
Re: 1994 Civic LX, 1.5L hard to start [Re: Gito] #4976239 01/11/19 03:56 PM
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Won’t let me edit so let me re-post but with corrections


Update:

Replaced fuel filter and noticed that the check engine light would go away a few seconds after turning ignition (not cranking). The car started fine each time and no check engine delay was observed.

We wanted to see if it would act up in rainy weather so we waited for another rainy day.

Rained last week and so we tried starting the car like normal and without paying attention to Check Engine Light. It started fine.

As the day went on and the rain continued throughout the day we decided to try to start the car again and the car would only crank and NOT start. It was then that we observed a permanent check engine light when just turning on ignition (without trying to crank or start).
We decided to buy a new main relay (Genuine part by Mitsuba) and we replaced it this morning.

We tried starting the car under cool weather (no rain) and it would only crank and not start. We noticed that the check engine light does NOT turn off after a few seconds of turning the ignition. The check engine light stays on.

We now notice that the fuel pump whirl sound is not heard when turning on the ignition (without starting car). Since we CANNOT hear the fuel pump we decided to check for fuel pressure at the fuel filter. We removed the fuel line going to the fuel filter and no fuel came out when cranking car.

Again, no fuel pump whirl sound that can be heard when turning ignition (not trying to start or crank).


We are wondering if it’s a fuel pump issue (heard it’s rare) or the ECU (mentioned by forum member earlier).

What can we do next?

Any advice is greatly appreciated

Re: 1994 Civic LX, 1.5L hard to start [Re: Gito] #4976357 01/11/19 06:22 PM
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Popsy Offline
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See if the fuel pump is getting current first.

Edit : already checked maybe?

Last edited by Popsy; 01/11/19 06:22 PM.

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Re: 1994 Civic LX, 1.5L hard to start [Re: Gito] #4976518 01/11/19 09:25 PM
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Gito Offline OP
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Update:

Car finally started later on the day after turning ignition (not starting car) and waiting for the check engine light to turn off.

Took about 1 minute for the check engine light to go away and heard the the fuel pump whirl just before car started.

Please advise

Re: 1994 Civic LX, 1.5L hard to start [Re: Gito] #4977086 01/12/19 03:13 PM
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Gito Offline OP
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Update:
Car not starting today due to rain and check engine light not turning off when turning ignition (not trying to start).

Trying to figure out if its the ECM since the main relay was just replaced.

Please advise

Re: 1994 Civic LX, 1.5L hard to start [Re: RevelationLion] #4977096 01/12/19 03:27 PM
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JC1 Online Content
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Originally Posted by RevelationLion
Sounds like the main relay under the driver's side dash; it's a common problem with Hondas. I just had this problem this summer. The car would turn but not start in high humidity. When the car won't start, tap on the main relay a few times and it will probably start; the points crack over time. Resolder or buy and install a new relay.


+1 on this.i would check this first.


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Re: 1994 Civic LX, 1.5L hard to start [Re: JC1] #4977524 01/12/19 11:12 PM
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Gito Offline OP
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Originally Posted by JC1
Originally Posted by RevelationLion
Sounds like the main relay under the driver's side dash; it's a common problem with Hondas. I just had this problem this summer. The car would turn but not start in high humidity. When the car won't start, tap on the main relay a few times and it will probably start; the points crack over time. Resolder or buy and install a new relay.


+1 on this.i would check this first.



We mentioned above that we replaced the main relay and we are still having the same issues.


Re: 1994 Civic LX, 1.5L hard to start [Re: Gito] #4977858 01/13/19 11:21 AM
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mk378 Offline
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When you know the main relay is good, this problem is the ECU. It is one of the more common ways they fail.

You may be able to rebuild ECU with new capacitors.

Re: 1994 Civic LX, 1.5L hard to start [Re: Gito] #4978328 01/13/19 09:04 PM
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I would start with checking the Inputs & Outputs at the Main Relay.....Using either a Power Probe or a Incandescent Test Light.

Terminal 1. Green/Yellow wire......Fuel Pump Control, The ECM provides a Ground on this circuit for Fuel Pump Relay coil control.
Terminal 2. Blue/White wire..........Crank Voltage Input, Provides Power with starter engaged.
Terminal 4. Yellow/Green wire......Fuel Pump Output, Provides Power to the Fuel Pump.

Terminal 3. Black Wire..................Ground for PFI Relay Coil.
Terminal 5. Black/Yellow wire........Ignition Power for PFI Relay Coil (FP Power also comes from this source)
Terminal 6. Yellow/Black wire........Output too ECM, Power to turn-on the ECM.
Terminal 7. Yellow/White wire........Battery Power PFI Relay.

See if your getting a Ground at Terminal #1 at the same time the check engine lamp is illuminated!

[Linked Image]


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Re: 1994 Civic LX, 1.5L hard to start [Re: clinebarger] #4978372 01/13/19 09:52 PM
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Gito Offline OP
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Originally Posted by clinebarger
I would start with checking the Inputs & Outputs at the Main Relay.....Using either a Power Probe or a Incandescent Test Light.

Terminal 1. Green/Yellow wire......Fuel Pump Control, The ECM provides a Ground on this circuit for Fuel Pump Relay coil control.
Terminal 2. Blue/White wire..........Crank Voltage Input, Provides Power with starter engaged.
Terminal 4. Yellow/Green wire......Fuel Pump Output, Provides Power to the Fuel Pump.

Terminal 3. Black Wire..................Ground for PFI Relay Coil.
Terminal 5. Black/Yellow wire........Ignition Power for PFI Relay Coil (FP Power also comes from this source)
Terminal 6. Yellow/Black wire........Output too ECM, Power to turn-on the ECM.
Terminal 7. Yellow/White wire........Battery Power PFI Relay.

See if your getting a Ground at Terminal #1 at the same time the check engine lamp is illuminated!

[Linked Image]



Going to need some help here
Are we checking the connector to the main relay and the main relay?
Are there any steps that we can follow?

Please advise

Re: 1994 Civic LX, 1.5L hard to start [Re: Gito] #4978398 01/13/19 10:15 PM
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Test with the Main Relay connected to the connector & harness. Use the tip of the test light to back-probe the connector.
To test for Ground....Hook the test light lead to B+.
To test for Power......Hook the test light lead to B-.

Start with Terminal #1-Green/Yellow......It should be grounded while Priming-Cranking-Running, If no ground is present here at these conditions.....Suspect a broke wire/bad connection at the ECM connector/faulty ECM.


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Re: 1994 Civic LX, 1.5L hard to start [Re: Gito] #5023828 02/25/19 10:02 PM
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Update

Friend decided to remove the ECU and ship it to a repair facility.
The facility found 17 leaky capacitors.

The ECU was reinstalled and car started fine this morning under normal weather conditions (cold morning).

Around lunch time, friend went to go start the car and the car hesitated to start. It would crank and crank and did not start.
He waited about a minute before trying to start the car again and noticed that the check engine light was staying on for more than a couple of seconds.
He waited for the check engine light to turn off and then the car started right up.

Later during the day he removed the fuse to the ECU just to see if that would reset something.

We hope that there are no grounding issues.

We will update how the car starts tomorrow.

Any advice is greatly appreciated

Re: 1994 Civic LX, 1.5L hard to start [Re: Gito] #5025120 02/27/19 07:57 AM
Joined: Aug 2009
Posts: 769
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Gito Offline OP
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Joined: Aug 2009
Posts: 769
Had trouble starting car yesterday under normal daytime weather conditions (mid 60's deg F with no rain).
When turning the ignition but not starting the car, the check engine light was on for at least 15 seconds before turning off. Car started right away after engine light went off.

Could aftermarket spark plug wires and or an aftermarket distributor cap/rotor cause a delay on the check engine light to turn off?

Do we have a faulty ignition switch?


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