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Discussion Starter #1
General car maintenance question, not quite Lotus specific, but i guess it could apply to a Lotus. I'm replacing the spark plug wires on my car. I heard they recommend you apply on dielectric grease on the inside of the spark plug boot? Is it ok to put it on the end of the spark plug wire that goes to the distributor cap as well?
 

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It won't hurt to apply dielectric grease around the distributor/ignition coil end of the spark plug cable, but I personally wouldn't unless i was worried about dust or water getting into the engine compartment. Or if the boot on that end didn't fit very tightly. It could get real messy especially if you use too much. Remember dielectric grease is non-conductive, it simple provides an additional barrier to block out moisture and dirt. Kind of misleading since "electric" is in it's name.

I definitely recommend using some anti-seize on the spark plug threads especially if you're installing them into an aluminum block.

good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I'm trying to diagnose/fix why my '98 Honduh Accord is having problems starting since sometimes it takes a while for the engine to turnover. Since the grease is "non-conductive", bad idea to put on the distrubutor cap? If that doesn't help out, i'm going to try a new distributor cap next. If that doesn't work, i'll go for the battery next. If that doesn't work, i'll leave my car parked in the street in Compton, CA with the doors unlocked:crazyeyes
 

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I wouldn't put dielectric grease on the distributor - it's not going to help it start. I don't think it's the battery if the starter is able to turn the engine over.

Its hard to say what's up with your car without seeing it. Next time you go to start it, turn the key to the on position (where everything is on including the AC), but before it cranks, let it sit there for 5 full seconds then turn the key the rest of the way and see if it starts right up. It may be a fuel pump/fuel pressure issue you're having and putting it in the on position for a few seonds gets the fuel pressure up - many of those cars have that issue.

If it's not that then my guess is that it's the distributor or something with the ignition. Another sign that it's the distributor is if it stalls while you're driving along or runs rough.

HTH,
larez2
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I wouldn't put dielectric grease on the distributor - it's not going to help it start. I don't think it's the battery if the starter is able to turn the engine over.

Its hard to say what's up with your car without seeing it. Next time you go to start it, turn the key to the on position (where everything is on including the AC), but before it cranks, let it sit there for 5 full seconds then turn the key the rest of the way and see if it starts right up. It may be a fuel pump/fuel pressure issue you're having and putting it in the on position for a few seonds gets the fuel pressure up - many of those cars have that issue.

If it's not that then my guess is that it's the distributor or something with the ignition. Another sign that it's the distributor is if it stalls while you're driving along or runs rough.

HTH,
larez2
Thanks for the tip! I heard from someone else it could be a fuel pump related issue as well.

The car currently has no issues when the engine is running, just only having problems starting.
 

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If I understand, the issue is the starter not turning the engine?

If so, check battery w/specific gravity tester or electrically

Check cables and connections for voltage drop w/DVM

Check ground cable


If you hear any clicking, the starters in some Hondas may be rebuilt simply: the brass-looking contacts (L shaped) may be worn and can be easily replaced.

It's too long ago for me to remember which starters have this issue, but it was an ez fix on a Toyota.



If the problem is that the starter turns fine, then, yes you would want to check fuel and, more easily, spark.
 

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General car maintenance question, not quite Lotus specific, but i guess it could apply to a Lotus. I'm replacing the spark plug wires on my car. I heard they recommend you apply on dielectric grease on the inside of the spark plug boot? Is it ok to put it on the end of the spark plug wire that goes to the distributor cap as well?
Dielectric is your friend when it comes to ignition. When in doubt, apply it. It's that simple. The metal to metal contact of parts displaces it where it needs to be displaced for current flow. Other than that it insulates connection from corrosion and helps prevents misfire. Use in the plug boot, at the coil, int he distributor, etc... It WILL keep your ignition in better shape for a longer period of time...

Best,

Phil
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Got good news and bad news:

Good news, i replaced the spark plugs, spark plug wires, air filter, cleaned corrosion/added water to battery/check volts (14.6 running, 12.5 not running). Car now runs smoother and throttle response is a lot better. The spark plug boot had signs of corrosion and the wire plug ends for the distributorcap had no visible corrosion. So, i only applied dieletric grease to the spark plug boot when i installed the new wires.

Bad news, the car still takes several cranks of the starter to get the engine started. However, once the engine is warm, the car has no problem starting. The starter doesn't sound like its struggling so i assume the starter/battery is halfway decent. I guess i should tackle the fuel system next.

Before i go spending big $$ to get a new fuel pump/filter installed, should i try those fuel injection cleaning services that the quick oil change places offer?
 

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Probably not the fuel pump. Bad fuel pumps typically means loss of power up top where the fuel is really needed... Hard starting is most often either leakiy injectors and/or leaky fuel pressure regulator. Both of those items will let pressure out of the fuel rail (often time in just seconds after turning car off) forcing the system to prime each time the key is cycled on... This process takes time, thus the long cranking time...A fuel pressure gauge tapped into the rail is the easiest way to identify the leak. Once you've determined there's a leak, use some pliers to pinch the rubber portion of the return line (if it has one). If that stops the pressure bleed down, you know you have a bad regulator. If not, leave that hose clamped, prime the system again (cycle the key) and pinch the feed side of the rail. If that stop the bleed down, your check valve in the fuel pump is bad... if not, your injectors are leaking... If injectors, it can be a pain to figure out which injector leaks... Usually time to replace them all at that point... Sometimes a professional cleaning will do the trick...

Make sense?

Best,

Phil

Got good news and bad news:

Good news, i replaced the spark plugs, spark plug wires, air filter, cleaned corrosion/added water to battery/check volts (14.6 running, 12.5 not running). Car now runs smoother and throttle response is a lot better. The spark plug boot had signs of corrosion and the wire plug ends for the distributorcap had no visible corrosion. So, i only applied dieletric grease to the spark plug boot when i installed the new wires.

Bad news, the car still takes several cranks of the starter to get the engine started. However, once the engine is warm, the car has no problem starting. The starter doesn't sound like its struggling so i assume the starter/battery is halfway decent. I guess i should tackle the fuel system next.

Before i go spending big $$ to get a new fuel pump/filter installed, should i try those fuel injection cleaning services that the quick oil change places offer?
 

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Those Honda Accords are notorious for having bad fuel pump relays. Your car is showing early symtoms of it...soon, the car will randomly cut out on you.
But like someone said, maybe you should get someone who's qualified to correctly diagnose the problem instead of playing guessing games and wasting more money; Unless you are replacing parts that needs maintenance/replacement in the first place.
But if you ask me? I would place my bet on the fuel pump relay......
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks for the suggestion guys!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
If i just try starting the car after its been sitting around overnight, engine still has problems starting.

However, if I tried leaving the ignition on for about 5-10 seconds, then i start the car, it seems to start halfway decent. The new plugs/plug wires seemed to help a bit since the car has around 180,000 miles on it and this is the first time i replaced the plug wires :panic:

Once the engine is warm, it has no problems starting.

I probably won't take it to a mechanic yet since its not too problematic and i'm low on funds at the moment.
 

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Does this car have dist cap, rotor, etc? In other words, are there any normal tune-up parts you should replace? Basics?
 
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Check the ground strap from the chassis to the transmission.

Look for corrosion.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Does this car have dist cap, rotor, etc? In other words, are there any normal tune-up parts you should replace? Basics?
Yes i have the above setup and i only replaced the plug wires. I didn't see any corrosion on the distributor cap.
 

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Yes i have the above setup and i only replaced the plug wires. I didn't see any corrosion on the distributor cap.
Not all problems in these areas are from corrosion, and some are not easily seen.

180k miles: when did these parts last get replaced?

These parts are cheap & ez to replace and will reduce your variables w/further troubleshooting.

In other words, like chicken soup, it couldn't hurt.
 

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It still seems to me like it could be a fuel pump that is turned on late (such as a slow switching relay) or for some reason is slow to pressurize the fuel system. If the car has been recently driven (in the last hour or two), the fuel system still has pressure in it. Let it sit long enough to get cool, and the fuel system pressure drops as well.

A simple test without needing any equipment would be to:
1) run the car to warm it up (since you say it works when warm)
2) turn it off
3) pull the fuel pump fuse
4) try to start the car again (this will drop the fuel system pressure to zero)
5) put the fuse back
6) start the car normally (by normally, I mean turn the key from off to starter position immediately - don't let the ignition stay on for awhile before engaging the starter motor because that would give time for a slow relay or slow fuel pump to do its work, and you want to find if one of these is the cause).

Do this test a few times to make sure you have consistent results. If the car is slow to start after depressurizing the fuel system, it is a fuel pump or relay problem. If it starts right away, look for other causes.

You can also try the test with a cold engine (say, after sitting overnight) to gather more data.

By-the-way, we even have a fuel pressure delay related sympton on the Elise. If the Elise fuel system depressurized, and you turn on the ignition before pushing the button on the key fob to mobilize the system, the fuel pump does not turn on until you push the starter button. This causes a delay in starting. If you push the key fob button before turning on the ignition, then the fuel pump turns on when the ignition is turned on, which gives the fuel pump a few seconds to pressurize the system before the starter button is pushed.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
It still seems to me like it could be a fuel pump that is turned on late (such as a slow switching relay) or for some reason is slow to pressurize the fuel system. If the car has been recently driven (in the last hour or two), the fuel system still has pressure in it. Let it sit long enough to get cool, and the fuel system pressure drops as well.

A simple test without needing any equipment would be to:
1) run the car to warm it up (since you say it works when warm)
2) turn it off
3) pull the fuel pump fuse
4) try to start the car again (this will drop the fuel system pressure to zero)
5) put the fuse back
6) start the car normally (by normally, I mean turn the key from off to starter position immediately - don't let the ignition stay on for awhile before engaging the starter motor because that would give time for a slow relay or slow fuel pump to do its work, and you want to find if one of these is the cause).

Do this test a few times to make sure you have consistent results. If the car is slow to start after depressurizing the fuel system, it is a fuel pump or relay problem. If it starts right away, look for other causes.

You can also try the test with a cold engine (say, after sitting overnight) to gather more data.

By-the-way, we even have a fuel pressure delay related sympton on the Elise. If the Elise fuel system depressurized, and you turn on the ignition before pushing the button on the key fob to mobilize the system, the fuel pump does not turn on until you push the starter button. This causes a delay in starting. If you push the key fob button before turning on the ignition, then the fuel pump turns on when the ignition is turned on, which gives the fuel pump a few seconds to pressurize the system before the starter button is pushed.
I'll give this a try and let ya know how it goes!
 

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Those Honda Accords are notorious for having bad fuel pump relays. Your car is showing early symptoms of it...soon, the car will randomly cut out on you.
My '93 Accord had problems. It was an intermittent problem starting. It would work fine, and then it wouldn't start. Try several times and it would work again.

Sometimes it would start up and normally, and when shut off at the gas station it wouldn't start. Try a bunch of times, and it would finally work. Or it would work fine for days at a time.

I attached fuel pressure gauge to check the pump pressure, and did lots of other diagnostics. Unfortunately, being an intermittent problem, it naturally worked fine whenever I was testing things.

I finally ended up replacing the fuel pump relay up under the dash after having that suggested from a couple of sources. Swapped out the relay with an OEM Honda part - it wasn't too bad, but it wasn't cheap - and it hasn't skipped a beat for about 8 years. :shrug:

By the way, I usually order my Honda parts from these guys: Majestic Honda - The Internet's #1 Honda Automotive Parts Store - their prices are significantly lower than any local dealers.
 
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