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"Car Ignition Trouble Shooting - Help Please" Topic


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305 hits since 17 Aug 2015
©1994-2017 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Mako11 Inactive Member18 Aug 2015 2:36 p.m. PST

So, the ignition on the '88 Honda Accord finally gave up the ghost.

It's been coming for a while, since I needed to put pressure on the key in different spots to get it to start. Now, that doesn't work anymore.

I replaced the ignition wiring harness, behind the ignition key assembly, and followed the instructions for aligning the parts up correctly, I think.

First time though, I couldn't turn the key to the off position. Probably got it a bit too tight, so I loosened it up, and all seemed to be better, with the full range of motion to all positions.

I reattached the negative battery cable, and the warning bells and dash idiot lights came on. Turn the key to the start position though, and NOTHING.

Hmmm, so, I reloosen the wiring harness a little from the ignition, jiggle it slightly, and then retighten. Still nothing in the start position, and now the idiot lights don't even come on.

Any ideas on what else I should do that may be keeping the car from turning over?

I've checked the plastic connectors for the wiring harness, and they all seem good.

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP18 Aug 2015 3:06 p.m. PST

Did you have the right instructions for the ignition AND the car AND the wiring harness?

It sounds like you have something cross-wired.

Mako11 Inactive Member18 Aug 2015 3:56 p.m. PST

I read the instruction on-line, and given the shape of the two connectors, and the other little wire that goes near the steering column, there's no way to connect them incorrectly.

The only thought I have is perhaps the little slot for the wiring harness "ball" is perhaps not correctly aligned, but it does feel like it is.

I'm going to try to double-check that, once it gets a little cooler outside, again.

I believe I have it correct, and doubt I could tighten it up fully if it isn't right, but am not 100% sure, and it's at a bad angle, so difficult to get to/see. The steering wheel is in the way, and I don't want to unbolt the whole ignition-key assembly.

Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP18 Aug 2015 5:29 p.m. PST

'88 Honda Accord.
That says it all, hainna?

Mako11 Inactive Member18 Aug 2015 7:29 p.m. PST

So, turns out it is probably the ignition key switch, and not the wiring harness that's bad.

Sadly, $75 USD and about 4 hours wasted, but I have a spare now.

Actually, with 200,000 miles on it, or so, it's been quite reliable, despite the general neglect.

Can't afford a new vehicle, or repairs by a trained mechanic, since a certain female Republican candidate needed to pad her salary bonus by laying me and about 50,000 – 70,000 others off, and haven't found a decent job since.

RavenscraftCybernetics Inactive Member19 Aug 2015 5:01 a.m. PST

it might be a misaligned transmission switch. if the tranny doesnt say :I'm in park" the ignition switch wont work.

Cerdic Supporting Member of TMP19 Aug 2015 3:02 p.m. PST

From what you say about jiggling the key in the switch to get it to work, I would say it sounds like the switch itself that has worn.

If it was me, I would look for a used switch and matching key from a breakers or eBay!

Personal logo Andrew Walters Supporting Member of TMP19 Aug 2015 5:17 p.m. PST

Hondas are not done at 200,000.

My first one had to go at 230,000 when I was stupid and didn't keep the oil topped up. Result: ran great, wouldn't pass smog. I donated it, someone got it past smog somehow, and it got another 100,00 miles on it before it was impounded for some reason.

My second and current one has 206,000 on it and it runs like new. It will probably be due for a $1,000 USD clutch at 260,000, at which point I'll decide whether I want donate it or put the clutch in and keep going. Handles great, never given me any reliability issues. Only thing I wish I had was a more up-to-date stereo.

Your symptom sounded like the switch, since wiggling the switch gives you different behaviors. Don't live with a dicey ignitions switch. The car has at least another 20,000 in it, maybe twice that, it's worth a switch.

And keep the oil topped up. Cars over 150,000 can lose a quart of oil every thousand miles without anything being wrong, it's ordinary behavior. Past 150 just check the oil level every third or fourth tank of gas and add a quart or half-quart as needed.

Mako11 Inactive Member27 Aug 2015 11:18 a.m. PST

Thanks for the tips.

AND, the saga continues.

Replaced the ignition switch for the key, as well as the ignition switch wiring harness behind it.

Idiot lights on the dash don't light up, as they should, but there's power from the battery, since other lights and warning buzzers work.

Did a little on-line reading, and apparently if the headlights are turned on, and I try to start the car, the power drain from that (if the new ignition switches were good), should cause the headlights to dim.

They don't.

So, looks like they've sold me a bad switch, or switches (called the store, and the guy there agreed that is most likely the problem, given the symptoms), so now, I need to uninstall them, walk back to the store in 100 degree heat, swap them out under warranty, and re-install them.

What fun!!!???

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