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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've searched the forums and can't find my exact problem, similar but not exact. I have the headlight flicker problem when the AC compressor kicks on BUT the engine also "stumbles" or sometimes will shut off (while driving at speed!) and come back on and the waring lights on the dash will come on also. I've read that a larger batter usually takes care of the head light flicker but I haven't found any information on the engine shutting off. BTW this also happens day or night. This is driving me crazy!
 

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mobiless2
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More info is helpful, I4, V6, auto, manual. Have you checked you grounds at battery, and block? How many miles? New or used? How long has it been doing this?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Sorry for the lack of information. It's a 2009 I4 with 81k (that I purchased used about a year ago) and all grounds are good. This all started when I replaced the positive battery terminal. The original one actually corroded pretty much off the battery. I replaced it with the same type (metal) and it started corroding again so I replaced that terminal with a lead one and this started happening.
 

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the headlight flicker can be fixed with capacitors. they r around ten dollars for two on ebey. idle and put aheavy load on the engine. i.e. a/c radio rear defrost etc. if it dies at idle then have someone check the alternator and battery. if it doesnt i would check fuel system for lose connection. does it only happen in turns or straight lines? only over bumps or any smooth surface? and you say will stumble or shut off. when it turns of completly do you have restart it yourself or does it just come back on?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The engine will shut off for a split second and at times a little longer (this is when the dash warning lights come on like you started the engine) but I've never had to restart it while driving at speed. This is my wife's car and she has had it die while idling and had had to restart it.

The only time this problem presents it's self (or is noticed at least) is when the AC compressor clutch engages. It doesn't matter if you are moving or not. I can deal with the headlight flicker but not the engine dying issue, to big of a safety risk. She is driving my truck to work today and I want to look into this problem.
 

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When the AC compressor engages it puts additional load on the engine via the accessory belt. I wonder if putting that extra load is somehow causing the belt to not spin the alternator and is causing an issue at that moment. Have you done anything to the accessory belt? Is there too much slack in the belt?

Just my 2cents.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I thought about that but the battery should keep the engine running even if the alternator completely dies (for a little while anyway). Had Pep Boys check the battery and alternator and both check good and the belt is good. The engine dying really has me baffled.
 

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Sorry for the lack of information. It's a 2009 I4 with 81k (that I purchased used about a year ago) and all grounds are good. This all started when I replaced the positive battery terminal. The original one actually corroded pretty much off the battery. I replaced it with the same type (metal) and it started corroding again so I replaced that terminal with a lead one and this started happening.
I think you pin-pointed your own problem - if the problems started after replacing the positive terminal - that's where the problem is.

I believe your positive terminal is loose and/or has a bad connection - either at the battery or to the cable. When you drive, the vibration is causing a disconnection with your battery. This is bad for your electrical system since my understanding is that the battery serves to smooth out the DC voltage when the car is running. In addition, the connection may be good enough for a small load, but will not be able to pass a larger load - such as when the compressor comes on. I just saw this problem with a loose positive connection - lights & all worked but unable to start car.

How are you replacing the battery terminal - just a screw type pressure fit? Or a crimped/soldered connection - crimped/soldered is a lot more reliable, or just replace the whole cable - more $.

From what I read on the web, the corrosion is caused by a crack around your positive battery terminal & acid vapor corroding your connector - you should replace your battery. If the previous terminal worked (metal), I'd suggest go back to that if the lead one is causing problems. Use some dielectric grease on the terminal before connecting and spray with battery terminal spray to help with corrosion problems.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks kw da. That does make sense and that is the path I was considering. I'll give it a try and let you all know the outcome.
 

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You are positive that the big 3 grounds are good? Battery disconnected would not kill the engine as the alternator would keep up.
 

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You are positive that the big 3 grounds are good? Battery disconnected would not kill the engine as the alternator would keep up.
The compressor startup pulls a lot of amps, probably more than what the alternator can supply - that is why the lights flicker. The car will use the battery to help with these peak loads. If the battery/cable/connector can't supply the amps, the voltage will drop - this will cause problems with the computers in the electrical system which could cause the engine to die or stumble.

I agree that a bad ground could also cause the same problems - but the OP said that the problems started when he/she changed the positive battery terminal. So if nothing else changed, that's probably the culprit :).
 
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