vapor lock problem

teotikiJuly 27, 2007

I have a 1993 honda prelude that has a small problem that I hope someone here can suggest a solution for. The car will take me from A to B without any problems but if the car is then left sitting in the HOT sun for 5 to 6 hours it is extremely hard to start. It cranks over fine but it takes close to 15 minutes for it to catch. Hubby says it sounds like a vapor lock and I'm wondering if there's some quick remedy I can use so I don't have to sit in the hot sun trying to get it to start. Total fustrating as I love my car and like things to run smoothly. Any help would be greatly appreciated. TIA


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I would agree that vapor lock is a possibility if your engine had a carburetor and conventional fuel pump, but I think that your 1993 Honda has fuel injection. It does seem that the problem is heat related. Initially, I am ruling out the fuel filter since the car operates fine once started, however, this suspect is not totally removed from the list of suspects. I'm wondering if the fuel pump is delivering enough pressure after the fuel tank warms up. There are other temperature related problems that could be the cause such as failure to deliver ignition. I recommend that you take it to your favorite mechanic and explain the problem. Tell him to let it sit in the sun for a few hours. With proper diagnostic tools and skill, maybe the problem can be discovered.

By the way, has any trouble codes been set by the engine computer?

    Bookmark   July 27, 2007 at 3:35PM
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Yes it is fuel injested and definitely heat related as in the sun. The other thing the car will do is almost the same, if I've driven a fair distance then shut down the car for all of say three to five minutes, again it's hard to start but always does after about five minutes or so. Again I equate this as a heat problem.

Trouble codes? What are these and where would I find them?


    Bookmark   July 27, 2007 at 4:52PM
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Don't know what it is but I know what it ain't...vapor lock. That happens when the fuel starts to boil. That never happens to a car that hasn't been running for 5 hours, don't care how hot is is outside.

You could have a fuel or ignition problem. There may or may not be trouble a trouble code stored for this. As jemdandy says, time for a trip to your favorite mechanic for this one.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2007 at 11:20PM
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Thanks guys.. did find the trouble codes in my manual but don't know what I'm looking for so when I can afford it I'll have to see my mechanic.
Thanks for the suggestions.


    Bookmark   July 28, 2007 at 5:00PM
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Hi teotiki, anybody....I'm having exactly the same problem with my 1993 Honda Accord. I brought it to one mechanic and he thought it was a distributor problem, so the distributor was replaced. The problem continues. I live in AZ so this is really a problem. The Honda repair shop I patronize can't quite put a finger on the cause of the problem either. Somebody, pls HELP!

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 11:17AM
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I don't have any information about the 1993 Honda, but I did see mention of a 'distributor'. If you have a distributor, it may also contain a "distributor shaft position sensor". It occupys the same place where the old fashioned points used to be. This sensor can become erratic and temperature sesitive, and when it dosn't work, there is no spark or worse yet, spark at the wrong time. If you have one, it is a suspect. Have it checked out. Unfortunately, it may not show bad during a cold stsrt and for some time thereafter. It will go bad only after this sensor exceeds its critical temperature.

I had a problem similar to yours on a 4 cylinder GM motor (the Iron Duke made by Pontiac). Mine would start when cold, and was ok if the car was moving enough to keep air flowing under the hood and over the distributor. The bowl of the distributor was elevated from the engine block. With the car stopped and engine running, the bowl would warm up and misfiring began, If the car was parked with a hot engine and the engine shut off. The problem would appear soon thereafter. (The bowl heat soaked from the engine.)

I mention this for grins. It may not have any revelance to your problem, and then again, it may.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 11:37PM
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I always laugh a little when someone says they are having the exact same problem that someone else did. There is a very strong temptation to ask "well just how did his old parts get onto your car?" VBG...

There can be similar sets of symptoms and the causes may be similar, and easily may not be. The distributor is a good guess for a cranks but won't start with this car. In fact it may well have been exactly correct too and needed to be replaced. The car may simply have been experiencing more than one failure. Sadly throwing out silver bullets and telling people what "might be" (probably is) wrong may give them a good feeling for a moment or two, but it devalues the knowledge and experience that is quite difficult to earn. Let's face it. When I tell him the PGM relay is failing and it is causing the fuel pump to not be turned on when it (the relay) gets hot inside the car, that piece of information becomes worth exactly what he pays me for it. Now imagine it taking four to five hours of testing over a couple weeks time to prove this is happening. That easily was the cost of learning this failure occurs. Now also imagine only getting paid for one of those hours because nobdy really understands exactly what "fair" is.

Replace the PGM relay, fix the car. Make a donation to the Epilepsy Foundation,.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2008 at 8:16AM
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I always enjoy John's post. So here is todays assignment. Read the complete article and check out the links. There might be a pop quiz tomorrow. ;>)


    Bookmark   June 19, 2008 at 11:07AM
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Could be a fuel shut off selinoid

    Bookmark   June 21, 2008 at 11:29AM
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