Engine cranks but won't start! - Drive Accord Honda Forums
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post #1 of 24 Old 09-10-2012, 07:30 PM Thread Starter
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Engine cranks but won't start!

So before all of this the car is a 2001 Accord LX 2.3L F23A4 automatic. With 177,000 miles.

Within the last few thousand miles the car has been having an issue where it will crank strong, but will just never start. And it probably happens once out of every 100 starts. Generally after letting it sit for 5 mins, it will start fine. When it's having the issue, I can't take the transmission out of park when the ignition is set to ACC, and any other time I can take it out of park. So something makes me think it has to do with the transmission (it already has been replaced once at 23,000 miles).

Also, I think the last time it happened, my check engine light wasn't on when the key was on ACC and I don't think the green key icon was lighting up, so maybe something with the ignition?

I'm not sure at all what the problem could be and was wondering if anyone else had the same problem, or any idea what it could be? Other than this issue every so often, the car always starts and drives perfect.
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post #2 of 24 Old 09-12-2012, 02:26 AM
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Search the forum about the main relay, its a common problem. The next time it does not start turn your key and listen for the fuel pump to prime. That will most likely verified that it's the relay.

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post #3 of 24 Old 09-12-2012, 07:03 AM Thread Starter
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I'll try and take a video next time it happens. I made a mistake on the first post, I meant when the key is in the ON position I can't take it out of park when the issue is happening. Any other time I can take it out fine when it's in the ON position.

But I will check on that main relay, thanks for the advice.
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post #4 of 24 Old 09-12-2012, 11:47 PM
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Well that would be better if you put the video...



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post #5 of 24 Old 09-13-2012, 06:17 AM
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Could be the ignition switch also, there was a recall for that issue. The green key should blink 5 times when you turn the key from on to acc or off. It should only stay on solid if it doesn't recognize the identifier chip in your key. Since you are unable to shift out of park when this occurs, it makes me think it's the ignition switch, since the recall said problematic switches would either keep the shifter unable to shift when it was supposed to, or it would allow shifting when the key was off (safety issue). I forget where/how to do it, but run your VIN online (honda owner link I think) and see if the recall has been done.
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post #6 of 24 Old 09-13-2012, 08:40 PM Thread Starter
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The owner link reports I'm only under recall for the Airbag recall, which I still need to go to the dealer for, and the extended transmission warranty thing. I have the carfax on the car, and it doesn't say anything about the ignition switch being replaced.

Like I said, next time I'll take a video. And hopefully you guys can further diagnose it, but who knows when that'll be. Now that I want to not start, it will probably start fine for the next few weeks.
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post #7 of 24 Old 09-14-2012, 04:03 AM
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The ignition switch recall was only for 98 and 99 Accords, but your switch could still be causing similar problems if it is worn. They just wont replace it for free.
The extended transmission warranty ended in 2008 (7years) and at 109k miles so you are well past those points. Maybe Honda will offer some goodwill help if you are having transmission problems.

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post #8 of 24 Old 09-22-2012, 08:55 PM
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I'm having the same problem with my 98 coupe. The green key light doesn't come on when I turn on the ignition. From what I have read, its an issue with the immobilizer not recognizing the key no mater what key I use. No one ever posts what they did to fix it. In my case it's an intermittent problem. I can get it to work by hitting the steering wheel so it's probably a loose connection or an antenna problem. Has anyone ever fixed this?
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post #9 of 24 Old 10-08-2012, 03:26 PM Thread Starter
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Figured I'd update, since it happened again and I was able to get it on video.

Here's what happens when it doesn't start:
2nd video on the transmission not moving:
3rd video of it starting normally:
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post #10 of 24 Old 10-08-2012, 07:07 PM
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video 1. it definitely looks like you have a malfunctioning immobilizer unit due to the immobilizer (green key) is not coming on. I believe that the immobilizer unit is causing fuel pump not to prime because it is unable to verified the key (because it is not turning on). You mention it won't start unless you see the key or a CEL. Do you happen to know what the CEL is? That might help you diagnose the problem.

check out this post. http://honda-tech.com/showpost.php?p...5&postcount=13

http://honda-tech.com/showthread.php...5#post36220355

Assuming the remote start system is NOT playing a part in this problem, you can check the following.

1. Disconnect the 5P connector (A) from the immobilizer receiver unit (B).

2. Check for voltage between no.1 terminal and body ground. You should see battery voltage.

3. Check for continuity between the no.4 terminal and body ground. You should see continuity.

4. Check for continuity between the no.2 terminal and the ECU. You should see continuity between the terminal and ECU (red wire, A25 at the ECU).

5. Check for continuity between the no.3 terminal and the ECU. You should see continuity between the terminal and ECU (blue wire, A13 at the ECU).

If you get to any of these steps and don't see the required voltage or continuity, let us know, and we'll see what the recommended fix action is.

If you get through all of these procedures successfully, Honda recommends that you replace the immobilizer receiver unit.

video 2. check if your brake lights are working (no kidding. brake light and third brake light. my friend had this issue and it was due to the third brake not working). if they are working then i would check the brake light switch next.

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post #11 of 24 Old 10-09-2012, 08:33 PM Thread Starter
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I don't actually have CEL code, I just know when the CEL comes on, it will start. If I don't see that or the Immobilzer key icon flashing, I know it's not gonna start. You think the brake light has something to do with it? I'll check that as well. I'm just saying, when the issue is happening, I can't do anything with the shifter. Any other time when the car is starting normally, the shifter functions as normal as well.

Also, I forgot to mention. I did get a spare key cut with no immobilzer chip inside a year or two back. When that key is put in the ignition the light blinks normally like it would with the regular key. It functions exactly the same as the key with the immobilzer in it until it comes to trying to start the car, in that case it doesn't start 100% of the time, which is of course to be expected. That kinda rules out having anything to do with the immobilizer I think, but I'm not sure.
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post #12 of 24 Old 10-10-2012, 08:56 PM
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I think the transmission shifting has something to do with the brake switch. I had a friend who had a 2000 coupe and the brake switch went out. Her brake lights didn't work, and her transmission wouldn't shift out of park.
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post #13 of 24 Old 10-11-2012, 09:29 AM Thread Starter
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All the brake lights are confirmed working.
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post #14 of 24 Old 10-15-2012, 11:39 AM
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@rand0mher0: I can confirm that despite what others may say here, the immobilizer can lock up your shifter.

My immobilizer was working fine, but due to a problem with the car's Electronic Control Unit (ECU), the immobilizer and ECU could not communicate- so the car would not start and the shifter would not unlock.

In my case, I had to replace the ECU with a used unit on eBay.

I agree with DJR above, your brake light switch can also cause the shifter to lock up- in my case, the brake lights worked fine, I just could not get out of park. So that led me back to the immobilizer (but again, the immobilizer was doing its job, it just could not communicate with the ECU).

I also agree with dorkiedoode above. If your immobilizer "green key" light is NOT coming on, then it is simply NOT working. Could be the antenna for it, or the unit itself. Used ones on eBay are $50 - $80. But first, remove a couple of screws around the ignition housing and clean that area (ten minutes to do this) as dust does collect there around the immobilizer's antenna. That can cause the intermittent problem.

Hang in there!
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post #15 of 24 Old 10-21-2012, 04:25 PM Thread Starter
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Okay, I will check all these, thanks for the ideas people! I've also noticed, when it doesn't start, when I turn the key, the car doesn't beep like it normally would. And if I keep the key in the ON position, eventually I'll hear a click, and the rest of the lights in the gauge cluster will come on, and the car will start..
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