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1997 Honda Accord Problems

RepairPal has identified the most common problems with the 1997 Honda Accord based on complaints from actual vehicle owners. We'll tell you what the problem is and what it'll take to fix it.

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36
Known Problems

Smelling burning engine oil is common on the 1990-2002 Honda Accord 4-cylinder engine, and is associated with oil leaking from the valve cover. It is most common to smell the oil burning at a stop light, or just after you shut off your engine.

Engine oil leaks from the valve cover, drains down, and settles on the exhaust manifold, which burns the oil upon contact due to high exhaust gas temperatures. This creates an odor that comes through the vents, and can be smelled around the front of the vehicle. 

The valve cover gasket should be replaced in a timely fashion to prevent engine misfires resulting from oil contamination of the ignition coil, which is fairly common.

Valve cover gasket replacement will correct both the leak and the smell of burned oil at the same time. If the ignition coil or spark plug wire was soaked in oil, it will need to be cleaned or replaced to stop or prevent misfires.

The camshaft seal, located at the end of the cylinder head, has a reputation for failure on 1990-2002 Honda Accord four cylinder models.

This seal wraps around the camshaft to prevent engine oil from leaking where the camshaft exits the cylinder head.

Replacing the leaky seal requires timing belt removal, so timing belt and water pump may be recommended if your vehicle is near the service interval.

The exhaust recirculation valve (EGR) on the 1990-2007 Honda Accord V6 may fail, causing:

  • Illumination of thecheck engine light
  • OBD trouble codes P0401 and P1491
  • Rough idle
  • Reduced fuel economy
  • Engine vibrations
  • Hesitation or stalling
  • Long cranking before engine starts
  • Failure of state or federal smog tests
  • The EGR valve has open and closed positions, and opens or closes on command from the computer.

    Exhaust gases constantly pass through the valve when it is open, leaving carbon deposits on the valve. These carbon deposits may lead the the valve sticking in the open or closed position.

    To correct this issue, sometimes it is sufficient to clean the valve, but replacement is recommended in all cases.

    For further information on your vehicle's issue, try out our diagnostics tool here.

    The 1990-1997 Honda Accord V6 is well known for issues with the fuel pump and fuel injection relays.

    These relays send power to the fuel pump and fuel injectors when the key is turned to the “ON” position. So, when they fail, there is no electrical current to the necessary fuel system components to send fuel into the engine, causing engine stalling or failure to start.

    In this situation, there are many other possibilities, so testing components is vital for time and money savings.

    If the relays test bad, they must be replaced with relays specific for that circuit.

    To help prolong the life of your under-hood electrical components, ensure the lid for the fuse block is closed, and any factory sealing material is correctly installed.

    Four cylinder models of the Honda Accord from 1990-2001 have a known issue with ignition distributor shaft bearing failure, which causes:

  • Failure to start 
  • Engine randomly misfires 
  • Check Engine Light Illumination
  • OBD Trouble code(s) P0300, P0301, P0302, P0303, P0304, P1336, P1337 
  • Engine vibrations  
  • Hesitation or stalling 
  • Oil leak from distributor cap 
  • The ignition system uses the distributor to send high voltage electricity to the spark plugs at the right time. It accomplishes this timing mechanically by a shaft, which connects the crankshaft and ignition distributor, so they spin at the same rate. That shaft, part of the distributor, rests in a bearing inside the distributor.This bearing, the distributor shaft bearing, is known for failing, and allowing the shaft to move slightly.

    As the bearing fails, it allows the shaft to move away from the shaft seal, and oil pours into the distributor cap, causing misfires.

    The play in the shaft can also cause contact with the crankshaft position sensor, causing a no start problem.

    Total bearing failure will be most evident from the grinding noise that changes with engine speed, and oil in the ignition distributor cap.

    If the bearing is making noise, driving or running the vehicle can result in catastrophic engine failure.

    To correct this issue, the ignition distributor and shaft must be replaced. Any damage to the crankshaft position sensor will necessitate replacement as well.

     

    If the brake pedal feels hard the first time it is pressed in the morning, it could be due to a problem with the vacuum supply hose for the brake booster. A revised brake booster hose is available to address this concern.

    The distributors on higher mileage vehicles can leak oil onto the heater hose causing the hose to soften and break. Heater hose breakage will cause a coolant leak.

    Occasionally, the anti-lock brake (ABS) warning light may illuminate. This could be due to a faulty rear wheel speed sensor. The sensor design has been updated and revised parts are available to correct this problem.

     

    A water leak on the passenger floor can be caused by a clogged AC evaporator drain.

    Contamination can get in the distributor, cause a misfire and set a Check Engine light.

    The Check Engine light may illuminate with a transmission fault code. The repair for this concern is to replace the Powertrain Control Module (PCM) and flush the transmission.

    The temperature control knob may break, requiring replacement.

    Plugged moon roof drains can cause a water leak inside the car. The water will usually leak onto the driver's or passenger's head when the car turns a corner.

    A foul smell from the AC system can indicate mold growth on the AC evaporator.

    The balance shaft seal tends to fall out causing a large oil leak. There is a retaining device available to prevent the seal from falling out, which can be put in place during routine timing belt maintenance.