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I'm having a strange issue with my 1999 Accord. It's an intermittent issue where it will crank but not start. The issue seems to happen most often when you take a short trip followed by a short stop, then try to start it up again. If you then let it sit for five minutes after the failed start attempt, it will start fine.

Edit:
CEL is not on.

Edit 2:
Was talking to a guy a few days ago and said it might be a particular part, I believe he called it the "main relay" but can't remember for sure. He said that I should listen for a click under the dash as I try to start it. If it makes a click when it starts, but not when it won't, then it was this part that was going bad. It refused to start today for the first time since that conversation, and sure enough, no click. Can anybody confirm that a) I'm remembering correctly and b) that this diagnosis makes sense.

  • Is the CEL (check engine light) on? Have you had the codes read? So on a longer trip it does not happen? – CharlieRB Jan 30 '18 at 17:23
  • Used to see this on cars with carburettors where the carb / manifold was too hot - even some fuel-injected cars have had a similar issue. For some makes of fuel-injected cars there was an ecu update that altered how it sensed temperatures during the starting phase - you may need to check with a dealer. – Solar Mike Jan 30 '18 at 17:32
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    That era of Accord had a problem with the PGMFI relay. The relay is under the dash on the driver's side. Pull the relay down and see if it operates while the vehicle won't start. – vini_i Jan 31 '18 at 11:19
  • Check your main relay for the fuel pump as stated by your friend and the answers below. You can jump the relay to verify it is the issue. After verification, just re-solder the relay. I have had to do this on 5 of my Honda's, The relays are like $40 and less reliable than re-soldering it. – finleyarcher Feb 22 '18 at 2:37
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    @Kevin the level of skill needed to solder this component is very low. It is a good learning opportunity for you. youtube.com/watch?v=qMpgmzGhJeE is a more detailed video. – finleyarcher Feb 23 '18 at 1:28
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+50

As mentioned in the comment, it could be the PGM FI Main Relay. The linked forum has (in the second post) an image that shows how to test that relay and it looks like the age range is right too.

Relays do intermittently fail sometimes which can make debugging and testing a bit difficult. You may just buy a new one and see if that handles the problem. They aren’t too expensive, but it’s up to you whether you want to spend the time testing it or if you’d rather just replace it.

As far as:

b) that this diagnosis makes sense.

It could certainly be the case. As I said that can function intermittently and if it’s failing that would starve the motor of gas, this resulting in crank, but no start.

  • Suggesting throwing parts at something should never be an answer. The relay diagrams for that relay are all over the internet. OP will need the tools but it's very simple to test and there are several youtube videos showing how to do so. Also many of the aftermarket relays are lower quality than the original which can be resoldered for $10. – finleyarcher Feb 22 '18 at 2:59
  • @finleyarcher I’m not suggesting randomly throwing parts at something. I think we can agree the relay is a likely option for solution. Yes soldering a relay is entirely possible and I’ve personally done it several different time with several different types of relay, but it really depends on a number of factors. When I first started soldering I just melted most of the thing that I was trying to solder because of insufficient skill and incorrect tools. Yes the OP could do the study, buy the equipment, and take the time to do it. But it’s up to the OP which is more ideal. – kyle_engineer Feb 22 '18 at 3:08
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The PGI main relay is a fairly common failure on these cars. They fail intermittently because of a fractured solder joint in the relay. The circuit boards expands and contracts and that causes an intermittent no power to the fuel injector. The rely is in the dash above the glove box. It's a cheap fix

  • Soldering the relay is the recommended fix for this issue, the relay is designed to be opened. Remove all solder and re-solder with fresh solder. This is a common issue across many Honda's of this generation as they used solder that would fragment over time. – finleyarcher Feb 22 '18 at 2:36

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