91 engine stumble - Drive Accord Honda Forums | radio-pro.ru
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post #1 of 6 Old 01-20-2014, 12:02 PM Thread Starter
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91 engine stumble

A year ago my engine began to stumble when I started it, and the rpm's would drop to 500ish or lower, as soon as I got the rpm's reved up, I could get through it. Then it stumbled as I accelerated hard, like the timing was off. Honda had a "port" issue, that is similar but that had already been corrected by cleaning out the ports.

When I put SEAFOAM cleaner in it, it worked great, but it still wasn't perfect. I changed the sparkplugs and that really did the trick but just a month later it started again but only on acceleration, as time went by it went back to the original problem. Seafoam & CRC cleaners always helped as if it was a clogged injector, but the problem always comes back, the only time it acted right was after replacing the spark plugs a year ago, they are too new to replace again, and only have 10,000 miles or less on them. The former ones had 100,000 miles on them.

As far as I know, the engine has not been timed, it has 250,000 miles on it, spark plug wires are good, found two crossed, fixed that, runs better but can still stumble when it feels like it. Parking the car sloping backwards can trigger it when I restart it.. When I start the car for the first time, it NEVER stumbles, only after I've driven it for 15 minutes, park, and then restart, will it stumble, reving the engine and waiting a minute will let me drive ok, but a hard acceleration always will STUMBLE. Right now I'm just doing trial and error checks, one at a time so I can pin it down.

If I change the plugs again it probably will run great again,for awhile.. Also, one of the spark plug wire/rubber boots did have oil on it when popped out, but not so bad, I check every now and then, seems ok.

Something is shorting electrically: plugs/wires/distributor cap/rotor......or the TIMING is way off. OR, some sensor/valve/carbureator/ issue is not letting it get gas or breathe. I did replace the GAS FILTER, it added performance when the engine is running good but did not correct the problem, I thought it would since the gas filter had not been changed in 200,000 miles.

I suspected water in the gas for the longest time, and it surely had some, using chemicals really helped but it never was perfect. And this is important, the car needs only regular gas but the stumbling is worse,,,, if I use mid grade gas, it runs so much better I can't believe it, and I've checked this 50 times, it runs better end of story. Also, when I changed the plugs the first time a year ago, I no longer needed mid grade gas, it ran good on regular. I'm losing horsepower and gas mileage is down.

the battery
air filter
spark plugs once - a year ago
cleaned ports - this was a Honda Tech bulletin
replaced gas filter
used Sea Foam & CRC
used water removers

timed the engine
replaced PVC/ or other same type filters
replaced distibutor cap or rotor
replaced the spark plug wires recently- but my Honda specialist said they are good for life

I feel I'm getting about 19 miles per gallon......when it should be 25, my driving is rural, about 70% steady, 50mph, 30% city stop and go.

when I start for the first time, no stumble, runs good, after driving 15 minutes, maybe it will stumble when I start again, or maybe not, it does sometime depend on the angle of parking, sloping back bad, slightly forward ok.....when I accelerater hard, ALWAYS hesitates or stumbles, drive normal ok......sometimes it will just stumble on it's own, best thing is to shut off engine and wait.....

Last edited by Greenbamboo; 01-20-2014 at 03:03 PM. Reason: correction
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post #2 of 6 Old 01-23-2014, 07:53 PM
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Water in the Gas

Maybe different than your problem, and you've already tried some chemicals, but I'll post this because it might help others searching. About 5 years ago my 1991 Accord would sputter, hesitate and misfire while taking off from being stopped at a light. I suspected water in the gas because it started right after I filled it up in the middle of a 2 week period of non-stop heavy rain. When I first cranked it up and drove it, it was OK. It would do it after I was already driving and only when taking off from a stop, usually taking off from being stopped at a light.

Several mechanics all quoted me different expensive repairs (fuel pump, distributor etc), and all mechanics claimed it was NOT "water in the gas" when I told them what I suspected.

I replaced the plugs, distributor cap and other things with no improvement. Finally I tried a bottle of "Iso-Heet" water remover (from Walmart). It improved after the first bottle, and more after each additional bottle (one bottle at every fill-up), and after doing this for about 4 or 5 fill ups (guestimate), the problem was gone and it's never returned. I still have the car.

So it WAS water in the gas, even though every mechanic I asked said that wasn't the problem. I don't know if how the Iso-Heet's added makes any difference, but I would drive the car until it was almost empty, then I would pour in the bottle of Iso-Heet at the gas station while it's on empty, wait about a minute then fill it with gas. And just to make sure all the water was gone, I continued adding the Iso-Heet at each fill up for a couple months after the problem stopped. I've never used the stuff before or again since then.

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post #3 of 6 Old 03-19-2014, 05:59 PM Thread Starter
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Your post is interesting as water has always been a prime suspect. I live in a humid state on the east coast and I do not fill this tank full, I usually only go 1/3 to 1/2 so that leaves a lot of air space. The chemicals i used equal the ISO-HEAT, but to your point, I have used ISO-HEAT too. I actually wanted to drain the gas from the tank and see how much water came out but there is no draincoc to do so, thus it would have to siphoned and I don't consider that the same. Just filling it up and using a gas dryer as you suggest is probably the best route to flush the gas tank.

However it has been running ok, just can't put the pedal to the metal, it will stumble. Going to "time' the engine, and replace distributor cap and rotor and see what that does.

But with 250K on the engine, I wonder if I can get back the original power.

One more thing of interest: I added some Bardahl 'no smoke' to seal a oil leak, wow, it improved the compression and really picked up the performance, I recommend that one for all, I was surprised at the new found horsepower..


Last edited by Greenbamboo; 03-19-2014 at 06:02 PM. Reason: spelling
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post #4 of 6 Old 03-20-2014, 07:18 AM

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If the fuel in your area contains ethanol, usually 10% for winter blend then that should take care of water in the tank. Try some and click on retailers. I would buy a bottle of Chevron Techron which might still be bogo at O'Reilleys.
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post #5 of 6 Old 09-14-2015, 04:56 PM
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My 1991 Accord was stumbling under low acceleration. I found my problem and I believe it's the same many of you are having. It turned out to be the ecu needed to be reset. It got messed up. My battery had gone dead while I was doing some body work over a one year period. Occasionally, I would jump start it so that I could move it around. That meant I was resetting the ECU Constantly. The problem is, if you reset the ECU after it is warm or reset the ECU in the middle of it's learning cycle, you set your sensor parameters incorrectly into the ECU's memory. In my case, My temperature sensor's parameters were off. While I was having the acceleration stumbling problem, I unplugged the TW sender, no more stumbling. I tested the sensor, it was within specs. Reset the ECU properly, the problem went away.

Good luck. I went through all that you guys have gone through. EGR, distributor, timing, torque converter, spark plug wires and plugs. None of them really explained the stumbling only under low acceleration, when warmed up. It was not intermittent, it was under very specific circumstatances. Bad parameters, explained why the check engine light did not come on. Bad parameters explained why, when I disconnected the sensor, the ECU went to warmed up default condition for that sensor, so the car ran fine when the sensor was disconnected.

Good luck and let me know what you find.
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post #6 of 6 Old 05-12-2016, 10:23 AM Thread Starter
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SOLVED: I posted this a year ago but apparently it didn't complete. My Honda tech friend discovered the problem, a broken spark plug boot, split vertically about 3 inches - new plug wires, phenomenal performance. I checked the easy ones I could reach EARLY ON, but this was second one in and skipped it, I wasted so much gas with that hesitation - he took one look and found it in 30 seconds. Have 265K now, engine runs great! JEFF
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