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Honda-Man
Honda-Man, Honda Mechanic
Category: Honda
Satisfied Customers: 2889
Experience:  I have an Associates Degree in Automotive. 10 Years experience on all makes and models. 20 Years Honda only including factory training. Over 30 years total.
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I have a unlabeled red light flashing on the dashboard and

Customer Question

I have a unlabeled red light flashing on the dashboard and the car won't start.
JA: Have you checked the fuses? The dashboard bulbs?
Customer: Haven't checked fuses. I'm not high in car intelligence.
JA: What is the model/year of your Honda?
Customer: Accord Ex 4 cylinder 1997
JA: What year is your Accord?
Customer: 1997
JA: Are you fixing your Accord yourself? What have you tried so far?
Customer: Yes replaced battery was advised its dead.
JA: Anything else you want the mechanic to know before I connect you?
Customer: The red light on the dashboard is blinking three times. That's the cycle I noticed if that means anything. This happened two years ago as well
Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: Honda
Expert:  Honda-Man replied 2 months ago.

Thank you for taking time to ask your Honda-Acura question on JustAnswer. My name is ***** ***** online handle is Honda-Man I will be assisting you.

Expert:  Honda-Man replied 2 months ago.

When it won't start do you hear the starter turning over the engine?

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
I don't hear anything but a click. If that helps at all. I did notice last week the noise you hear before the engine starts, slowed down dramatically before the car stopped starting.
Expert:  Honda-Man replied 2 months ago.

Thanks for the reply and information. Sounds like a starter problem. The single click is the starter solenoid engaging the starter drive. Evidently the contacts are worn out. It's a classic sign of a bad starter.

Expert:  Honda-Man replied 2 months ago.

Sometimes if you tap the starter solenoid with a hammer it will start. Hold the key in the start position after it clicks then have someone else hit the solenoid. Many times it will temporarily make the starter work.

Expert:  Honda-Man replied 2 months ago.

About the red light flashing 3 times? Is it in the instrument cluster or in the dash? Should have asked where the click comes from too.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
on the dash right above the the instrument panel brightness.
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Here's a photo
Expert:  Honda-Man replied 2 months ago.

Thank you that helps! It's a alarm led light. Not a Honda one aftermarket for sure.

Expert:  Honda-Man replied 2 months ago.

That can disable the starter but it would not even click when you turn the key. Where do you hear the click?

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
I have the hood up but I hear two separate click noises. One when I turn the key to accessories, the second when I try to start. The first click I hear under the hood somewhere. The second click sounds closer to the stereo inside the car.
Expert:  Honda-Man replied 2 months ago.

OK, that's not the starter for sure. The accessory click is a relay energizing probably normal the second click may be the relay for the alarm starter disable. It sounds like now you have a alarm problem. The flashing LED, click near the stereo, and the disabled starter all ads up. Look under the dash drivers side for a small button. Probably installed through a panel or metal bracket. Turn the key to the normal on position then press the button. It should disable the aftermarket alarm. Might start then.

Expert:  Honda-Man replied 2 months ago.

Examples

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Ok I see it I turned the key on then pressed the button and nothing happened. Still no crank.
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Ok I see it I turned the key on then pressed the button and nothing happened. Still no crannk
Expert:  Honda-Man replied 2 months ago.

Darn, my best guess is the alarm relay that disables the starter is bad. The second click is probably it.

Expert:  Honda-Man replied 2 months ago.

Do you have any basic wiring skills? The starter wire from the ignition switch will be cut. They splice in the alarm wires for the disable relay.

Expert:  Honda-Man replied 2 months ago.

Should have mentioned to look for a switch under there too. Some have a valet switch that should disable the alarm. Key on flip the switch then turn the key off and try it.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
I've turned a basic 5 speaker box set into surround sound once if that counts. But if there's anyway you can guide me I'm determined to resolve this.
Expert:  Honda-Man replied 2 months ago.

First I need to mention there are many types of alarms(brands) and many more ways to wire them in. I know what wires they cut for the starter but not exactly where they did it get what I mean? It will take some looking and patience. It also may not be the alarm but with the information at hand I'm pretty confident.

Expert:  Honda-Man replied 2 months ago.

I will need to know if you have a manual or automatic transmission?

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Automatic
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Here's photos of what I see.
Expert:  Honda-Man replied 2 months ago.

Thanks again. They disable the starter by cutting the factory solenoid wire. It will have crimp on butt connectors crimped to each end they cut. The goal is to reconnect the black/white wire ends and remove the alarm from the solenoid circuit.

Expert:  Honda-Man replied 2 months ago.

The red and yellow wires are probably spliced into the black/white wire.

Expert:  Honda-Man replied 2 months ago.

Diagram.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Ok. I opened the panel. Removed the tape. Here's what I see, after I cut the wire connected to the alarm switch.
Expert:  Honda-Man replied 2 months ago.

Your pictures are so handy. Most of my customers cant seem to figure it out. Need to splice the black/white wire back together.

Expert:  Honda-Man replied 2 months ago.

After this it would be best to find the alarm module and remove it. First see if the starter works. Follow the wires and fix any factory wiring like you are doing to the starter wire. Some are plugged into the fuse box some are tapped into wires and some spliced in like the starter wire.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Can I use electrical tape for now? I don't have any butt connectors. But if necessary I can run to an auto parts store.
Expert:  Honda-Man replied 2 months ago.

You can temporarily strip and twist them together. No big deal it just might not hold and leave you stranded.

Expert:  Honda-Man replied 2 months ago.

Any luck?

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Thank you,

~Cliff

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Sorry for the late reply. So I've attached more photos. In short no start yet. However I disconnected and twisted the black/white strip wires. I also removed the red and yellow wires that were spliced, but there are two more wires that I'm note sure what to do with. One is white/black stripe. The other is black all around.
Expert:  Honda-Man replied 2 months ago.

Where do the wires go? Do they go to the fuse box or ignition switch? Any starter action at all? What exactly happens when you try to start it?

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Also when I removed the tape and the red and yellow wire the red light on the dash stopped blinking. I attached another image but that where I hoped you'd be able to tell me. I can take another look and photo. There an area with a mass of tape I'm wondering if I need to go that direction.
Expert:  Honda-Man replied 2 months ago.

The red and yellow wires are power wires for the alarm. That's why the red LED quit blinking. Guess that would be the next step. Any electrical tape that looks non factory remove it and take another picture.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Ok I took a break. But I studied the diagram and I think I see where this is headed. For clarification, where it shows the blk/wht wires connecting between the A/T Gear position switch and the starter. There is a "2" there could that be the white/black stripe wire I mentioned in the comment above? If yes should I strip and twist that into the other stripped wire?
Expert:  Honda-Man replied 2 months ago.

The 2 is a terminal or connector pin location. If a connector has more than one wire they are numbered. You don't want to connect any other wires to the solenoid black/white wire. What does it do when you try to start it? Gauge lights come on? Lights dim? Any noise at all?

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
When I attempt to start I get the same as before we started. Two clicks. No change in lights. And I just got back to the car, going to remove the additional tape and take another photo.
Expert:  Honda-Man replied 2 months ago.

OK, let me know what you find. If you can trace down what clicks when it's in the start position that would help. The second click.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Under the black tape was this relay I'm assuming. But I'm also wondering if the black box should be here as well?
Expert:  Honda-Man replied 2 months ago.

That is a relay. The box is the alarm box. I would trace down all the wires and remove-repair them if needed. Heading out for about one hour I will check back then.

Expert:  Honda-Man replied 2 months ago.

Just checking back in, haven't heard from you in a while.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
I removed the alarm box and disconnected as much of the wiring for it that I could except for one set of cables that appears to go from under the steering wheel to the engine area. However the issue persists. So could this possibly be a starter issue at this point or am I missing something?
Expert:  Honda-Man replied 2 months ago.

The other cables probably go to the alarm siren. Do you have a voltmeter or test light? Have you tried it in neutral? At this point it needs to be checked with a test light at least best to have a voltmeter.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
I don't have those tools but I can try removing the start to have it checked at the auto parts store.
Expert:  Honda-Man replied 2 months ago.

You can try that. If you want to pick up a test light I can guide you through a few simple tests too. Should be under 10 bucks.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
That would be easier than taking the start out. I'll give it a shot if I have the time. Gonna fill out the survey for you in the mean time. I won't be able to start on it again until around 6 est since I'm working today.
Expert:  Honda-Man replied 2 months ago.

So you are back east? I am in Oregon so that would be 3pm here. I will get some tests ready.

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