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Technicaldan, Technician
Category: Honda
Satisfied Customers: 101
Experience:  Accredited
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I have a 2005 Accord LX (4 cyl) with random stalling issues:

Customer Question

I have a 2005 Accord LX (4 cyl) with random stalling issues: while driving the engine dies. When I try to start it again it won't (it just cranks). I have to wait around 2 minutes and then it starts right away. There's no pattern to it. It may happen 3 or 5 times in a week, the next week doesn't do it, and then comes back again. It has happened to me more than 20 times in the last 3 months (many times on the express way as well). In every case, I just wait 2 minutes and it starts fine.
I went to a local Honda mechanic but he couldn't find any issue with the car. The thing is that you can't recreate the issue and that's the reason many mechanics won't give it a look (because they can't recreate it).
I even went to the local Honda dealer and they did a bunch of diagnostics, used their "sophisticated" scanners and couldn't find anything. In that occasion I asked them to replace these two relays (based on some information found on the web):
- ECM Main Relay (39794-sda-902)
- Fuel Pump Relay (39794-sda-004)
After a week it happened again so the relays weren't. Then I purchased 4 OEM Denso Coils and replaced them myself (also based on some online suggestions). After a couple of days it happened again; so coils weren't. Finally, I purchased 4 OEM NGK Spark-Plugs and installed them (that was Saturday). The issue happened this morning so I'm out of ideas. That's why I'm here.
Some more brief facts:
- I've used many different filling stations (so an issue with fuel is discarded)
- battery is relatively new (less than a year)
- there's no check engine alert
Please help!
Submitted: 3 months ago.
Category: Honda
Expert:  Technicaldan replied 3 months ago.

Hi, I hope you are well!

My name is***** will see if I can help you with this.

In the absence of any codes and diagnostic information, I usually consider the crank position sensor failing when hot then restarting when cooled slightly, the fuel pump cutting out and the ignition coil cutting out.

How old is the crankshaft sensor, ignition coil and fuel pump, do you know if they have ever been done?

When it next cuts out and it won't start, look at the rev counter to see if it shows the engine is being cranked over - if it doesn't show any rpm on cranking but then when it does, the engine starts, this would help to support this theory.

The engine ecu uses the crank position sensor as it's main point of reference for many of it's functions, in the absence of a crank signal, the ecu would simply assume the engine is not running or was stalled and would not trigger a fault as it believes the engine is not turning.

This is opposed to say a camshaft sensor, the ecu would know the engine is turning from the crank sensor and therefore fault the camshaft sensor as it is not getting a signal.

I would expect a fault code or engine management light for most other sensor issues.

The fuel pump, if you can hear it priming when you turn the key, listen out for it also when it next refuses to start, same again, if you cant hear it but then when you can it starts again, this would support this theory.

If it comes to the ignition, sometimes there are resistance test that can be done to assess the coil and we could look at this if needed.

Is there anything else I can help with?

If I have helped, please rate 5 stars as this is how I get credit for my time and research, I am happy to keep this thread open once rated and 'await more details' as they happen.

Customer: replied 3 months ago.

Hi Danny,

Thanks for the feedback. I purchased the car in 2012 so I have no idea how old is the crankshaft sensor or fuel pump. I've never changed them.

I did change the ignition coils about 3 weeks (the OEM Denso I mentioned on my question).

Ok, I will check the tachometer how it behaves the next time it happens (while trying to start it). I honestly don't remember if the gauge moved at all.

Regarding the fuel pump, am I supposed to hear the fuel pump (the priming you mentioned) when I put the key to the 2nd position? I honestly can't hear anything. I know it's supposed to be a humming sound but really I can't hear it. I'll double check again.

One thing particular with my car is that I almost didn't used for 1.5 years. During that time, I only used it on weekends (since during weekdays I used public transportation). I used STA-BIL everytime I filled in the tank during that time. Do you think it might help if I try a fuel injection cleaner like Lucas? Does it makes sense? or do you see it highly unlike it to the case?


Customer: replied 3 months ago.

Hello again,

Considering the low price for the crankshaft position sensor, I've just placed an order for it.

I'll report back.


Expert:  Technicaldan replied 3 months ago.

Apologises for the delay, I have been away.

You usually hear the fuel pump prime when you first turn the ignition briefly, and if you can hear it, during cranking, if possible and you have two people, once you know roughly where you can hear it loudest, they could listen when it refuses to start if they can hear the pump.

(Provided of course, the ecu is seeing engine rpm and requesting the fuel pump to be active)

The long standing period may possibly of have some effect on the fuel pump, I've only known it a few times though.

The fuel system cleaner is more aimed at the injectors, fuel rails and intake ports as opposed to providing any lubrication for the pump motor and it would likely be sealed anyhow.

Let me know the findings and how things perform with the replacement crank sensor.