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For the last few weeks my 2003 Honda Civic has had trouble starting. If I try to crank it (move key from OFF to START) the dashboard lights will flash and the will rotate fully (rrrr rrrr rrrr rrrr...) but it is all under the power of the battery/starter motor but then will not be powered all on it's own. It doesn't stop though unless I let go of the key. (i.e. it cranks over fine but won't start) The fuel gauge stays on empty.

If I wait a few seconds (5-10) with the key in the ON position the fuel gauge will rise to the correct level and then I can start the car but it still takes about twice as long to start. If I have the AC on still it is unlikely to start at all.

Periodically while driving all the dashboard lights will turn off too. This has only happened 2 or 3 times. Certainly not every time the car is driven. Sometimes, while driving, there is a lag between pressing the accelerator and more power being applied. It'll give a little jolt after a second giving it gas.

I thought at first it was a dead battery because the first few times I didn't wait in ON. Giving it a jump didn't really seem to solve anything though. It let me try to crank it for a long time then eventually started.

Could this be a fuel pump issue?

  • Not a fuel pump issue. My 2003 Civic LX had the issue of all of the gauges on the dash going limp. They reset on next startup and I've only seen it do it the once. When you say "not turn over all the way", are you saying the engine turns over freely but doesn't want to start, or do you mean the engine turns 1/2 turn (or whatever) and then stops turning altogether? – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Sep 12 '18 at 14:58
  • @Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 I mean the starter motor will rotate the engine but not quickly enough to turn on and run on it's own (not that it just does a half turn then stops). This happens every time I try to start the car soit's not just a one time thing. It will even happen if I stop the car then try to start it again. I have to perform the same routine. – Brad Sep 12 '18 at 15:16
  • @Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 I added more details to my post to elaborate on a few points. – Brad Sep 12 '18 at 15:43
  • the engine will move but not turn over all the way - So you get a kind of "grunt" then it stops rotating? I'm suspecting a bad connection - either at the battery terminals themselves, or at the other end of the battery cables. – mike65535 Sep 12 '18 at 15:56
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    @mike65535 I think I'm using the wrong phrase (maybe you can correct me). The engine will rotate fully (rrrr rrrr rrrr rrrr...) but it is all under the power of the battery/starter motor but then will not be powered all on it's own. It doesn't stop though unless I let go of the key. Does that make sense? – Brad Sep 12 '18 at 16:08
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It turned out it was the battery.

I'd eliminated it as a possibility at first because I'd taken the car to AutoZone and done their battery/alternator in-store test which came back negative for issues with the electrical so I moved on.

I changed the fuel pump relay. Nothing.

I changed the starter motor. Nothing. (was able to return the one I bought at least and put the old starter back in)

Changed the battery...and then everything worked again. The old battery was still under warranty because it was less than 2 years old so I got a new one for free thankfully.

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