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Honda-Man, Honda Mechanic
Category: Honda
Satisfied Customers: 3079
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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My 94 Accord LX will lose power usually about five minutes

Customer Question

My 94 Accord LX will lose power usually about five minutes into a drive. The tach immediately drops to zero. The car won't restart for five minutes or so. It sometimes runs rough for the first few minutes. If I wait 15 minutes the car starts right up. The car runs smoothly after that for at least an hour. I have replaced the fuel filter and the main relay but to no avail. The MIL does not turn on and there are no codes. These problems happen when I am commuting to and from work and it is uncanny that it always stalls near the same morning and evening locations. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.
Jim ***@******.***
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Honda
Expert:  Honda-Man replied 2 years ago.

Welcome to JustAnswer.

Sounds like your ignition control module(ICM) is failing. Honda calls the ICM an igniter unit. The ICM is inside the distributor housing and is what controls spark. When it heats up it can fail and cause the stalling problem. Once it cools down the engine will usually restart. Eventually it will stall and not restart at all. Another indication of a bad ICM is the tach dropping suddenly to zero. The ICM is responsible for the signal sent to the tach. This is the most common cause for your stalling issue.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to assist you. Your satisfaction and accepting my service is what I work for! If you can't rate in a positive way please let me know so I can continue to help. A positive rating is the only way the site will compensate me for helping you. You can still ask follow-up questions after the rating.

Thanks again! ~Honda-Man

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I don't understand why a bad ICM would cause the problem I described. Why would it work for the first five minutes then stop working for the next ten, then work for the next 45+ minutes? This sequence has happened at least ten times.
I replaced the distributor with a Duralast (Autozone) distributor about six months ago when I broke off the distributor cap screw and the remnant stayed in the distributor housing. The new distributor included a new ICM. I may have to contact Autozone and have the ICM tested.
Expert:  Honda-Man replied 2 years ago.

Like I mentioned the ICM can heat up and quit working. Did the problem start after the distributor was replaced? You may have gotten a bad ICM.

Testing it might show the ICM is bad but in may cases it will test good unless it's actually acting up.

Thanks again, Honda-Man

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
But why would the ICM revert to working again in a warmed up car and keep working for 45minutes plus more?
Expert:  Honda-Man replied 2 years ago.

I have seen the ICM act in very unpredictable ways and act similar to what you are experiencing. I obviously can't know for sure but in this case the ICM is the most likely suspect. When it stalls spark needs to be checked. If there is no spark but fuel pressure you have a spark problem. ICM, coil etc.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I have not had a chance to work on my car but will be able to this weekend.
Expert:  Honda-Man replied 2 years ago.

No hurry!