Help support TMP

"Auto Ignition Question" Topic

11 Posts

All members in good standing are free to post here. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the posters, and have not been cleared with nor are they endorsed by The Miniatures Page.

For more information, see the TMP FAQ.

Back to the Technical Stuff Plus Board

479 hits since 27 Aug 2015
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Mako11 Inactive Member27 Aug 2015 9:29 p.m. PST

I've replaced the ignition twice, with new parts, and still no joy, on the 1988 Honda Accord. It's an automatic.

The little chirper sounds to let me know the key is in the ignition, but the dash idiot lights don't light up like they should when it is in the "on" position (they did intermittently, after the first replacement, but now, not at all), and nothing happens when I turn it to the start position – no clicking, or other sounds in the car, or engine compartment.

When I replaced the ignition the first time, there was some buzzing, but no starting, and the idiot lights in the dash did work intermittently (sometime on, sometimes not when the key was in the "on" position) – the guy at the store thought the buzzing might be the fuel injector pump cycling. Now it no longer does that.

I've had the battery checked out, and it is good, and all the lights come on in the car, as well as the headlights too – nice and bright.

I read on-line that the ignition is bad, if when you have the headlights turned on and you try to start the car, they don't dim, so perhaps that is still a clue.

I seriously doubt two sets of ignition wiring harnesses and ignition key housings are bad, so suspect there is some other wiring issue between the ignition and the starter.

What is a bit maddening is I had a mobile mechanic out a few days ago, and he checked a lot of the wiring circuits, and didn't see any problems with those.

The idiot lights in the dash have been intermittent, coming on occasionally but not always, when I replaced the two ignition parts the first time (now not at all).

When he was here, I thought we'd check the battery first, since I'd tried to start the car quite a bit, and it had been sitting for a couple of weeks, so thought the charge might be weak, and that was keeping the car from starting.

We jumped it with an instant battery charger he had, and it started right up and ran fine.

Of course, while troubleshooting other things, we had to do that three times, but it started each and every time when being jumped.

Later, after charging with the trickle charger for a day and a half, the battery voltage and amperage appear to be great – had that checked out at the local store.

When the mechanic was here, he also checked the alternator at the time as well, and it looked fine. Charging well.

However, now, nothing – not a click, chirp, or buzz.

I've checked the fuses too, and they all appear to be fine.


Someone mentioned previously that the interruptor switch on the transmission might be a problem. I've tried moving it around a bit, and starting in both park and neutral, but no luck with that.

I don't think that would have any bearing on the idiot lights on the dash not lighting up either, so I imagine that is unlikely, and there's some other wiring, or switch problem.

Any ideas as to what else I should/can check, before I have it towed to the garage?

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP28 Aug 2015 5:25 a.m. PST

Check the continuity of your wiring. If you can start the car by jumping it, but can't even get the solenoid to engage or the dash lights to illuminate when you turn the key, you could have a short elsewhere in the electrical system (other than the ignition harness itself) that is grounding the whole thing out when you try to start up.

I would do with the a diagram of the electrical system and a multimeter, starting with the solenoid and working outward. Odds are, no garage has a computer to hook up an '88 Honda to for automated diagnosis (which you should always take with a grain of salt, anyway).

Personal logo Stosstruppen Supporting Member of TMP28 Aug 2015 6:56 a.m. PST

Electrical problems suck. I unloaded my 01 jaguar because of one. Most garages shod be able to diagnose your car but the time spent on it may be cost prohibitive. Could be a neutral safety switch. That can be tested without the car running. Best of luck to you I know how you feel.

RavenscraftCybernetics Inactive Member28 Aug 2015 9:12 a.m. PST

jiggle the steering wheel. jiggle the gear shift and jiggle the brake pedal. Something is telling your ignition switch,"I'm not ready!"

Mako11 Inactive Member28 Aug 2015 8:26 p.m. PST

I tries all that, separately, and all at the same time, without success, sadly.

Hopefully, it's just something simple like a wire shorting out a little. It did have an alarm system, aftermarket, at one time, which was removed, so that might be part of the issue.

It's in the shop now, so we'll see. Hopefully, they can find the problem quickly.

Can't be too big an issue (I hope – famous last words though, right?), since it started up when jumped, three times (so not a starter issue), the battery has checked out good, and the ignition parts are new.

Perhaps some switch, fuse, solenoid, or a coil problem.

From what I've read, turning the headlights on, and then turning the ignition key to the start position should cause them to dim, and it doesn't, so that's another clue that somehow the ignition still is not working right.

RavenscraftCybernetics Inactive Member29 Aug 2015 6:03 a.m. PST

hmmmI bet the shop will try to sell you a new alternator.
pleas keep us all informed.
good luck!

Ed Mohrmann Supporting Member of TMP29 Aug 2015 8:47 a.m. PST

Were I to bet, I'd put money on the wiring around the
removed alarm system being a big part of the problem…

Mako11 Inactive Member30 Aug 2015 1:41 a.m. PST

I hope not, since that was already checked out, as has the battery, too.

The previous guy did try to sell me a new battery, and a lot of other stuff that was unnecessary (gallon of coolant at $25 USD to replace the quart, or so that poured out), so I sent him packing, and was able to change the thermostat out in about 10 15 minutes, including cleaning the housing up, etc.. He wanted to charge me an hour of labor, plus a new thermostat too, even though I already had the latter.

He was running up a $400 USD tab, over an above the $95 USD to come out and do the first pass check.


Yea, I think there's probably a loose wire end, and/or one that's had some insulation worn off, and is shorting out.

Wish I knew more about electrical systems, but at least I have a little basic knowledge from all the other breakdowns and repairs I've been through.

Cerdic Supporting Member of TMP30 Aug 2015 11:10 a.m. PST

Sounds like a bad connection in the ignition circuit somewhere.

The thing about the headlights dimming…. When you start the car with the headlights on the headlights dim because the starter circuit draws a lot of current and there is less available for the lights. This is normally a rough and ready check on the battery if you haven't got a multimeter handy.

If the car only starts with a jump start pack and not with the battery alone, I would suspect the battery despite it being 'checked'!

Mako11 Inactive Member30 Aug 2015 4:31 p.m. PST

Thanks for the input.

That's what I thought originally too, but wanted to make sure.

I charged it for a day and a half on the trickle charger, and when I took it up to the store to have it checked out, after the car wouldn't start, and supposedly it was charged quite well. Slightly over its rating for both voltage and amperage.

The headlights, and other lights in the car are quite bright, even without the vehicle being turned on, so I find that a bit perplexing.

The guy checked out the alternator, and it was charging fine, too.

I suspect the battery was run down due to my trying to start it quite a bit, when the ignition key switch was bad, and due to sitting a couple of weeks without use.

I think the battery is only about 16 – 18 months old, which, I know for some nowadays, that is their complete lifetime. They don't make things like the used to.

Mako11 Inactive Member03 Sep 2015 3:35 p.m. PST


Finally got the car back, and apparently it was a minor issue, so only cost the $120 USD I had to pay for the initial inspection.

Apparently, some wiring, or connector had worked loose.

Not sure what, but am glad its finally running again, since walking to get things in 100 degree heat was getting a bit old.

Strange to finally be driving again, after not doing so for 3 – 4 weeks, but very nice indeed.

Sorry - only verified members can post on the forums.