Won't Start if in HOT Sun OR After Being Driven + Turned Off 4 Short Time on 1991 Honda Civic Si

Only happens when outdoor temp is over 80 degrees. I'm in Houston area -- so that's 10 mos/yr. Started a little over a year ago -- now MUCH, MUCH WORSE! Happens when car has not been started or run for hours IF sitting in direct sunlight. Also happens under shade if car has been run (2 miles) to gas station, then turned off to fill up, then I try to start again. Sometimes it will start, but chuga-chuga-chugs off. Never dies while on the road. Lately has been giving a skip or two while on the 70mph highway every 30 secs to 5 mins. Engine, starter, both turn over. Also hear what I think to be the fuel pump shutting off after I turn off key (after failed start attempt). Can take as long as 20 mins of intermittent (short break of about 60 seconds each, then try again) attempts to finally start. Beginning to get dangerous -- wolf in sheep's clothing to offer help is inevitable eventually!

by in East Bernard, TX on June 18, 2011
Get Your Car Fixed at a RepairPal Certified Shop.
We certify shops based on expertise, quality work, and verified customer reviews
3 answers 4 comments
ANSWER by , June 18, 2011
I'm pretty sure these vehicles have distributor problems. Sounds like a loss of spark to me. This is where I would focus my attention.
COMMENT by , June 18, 2011
Thanks, Dave. I had it at a shop for 3 days, but they say they never had a prob. with it. I told them that I'd researched & found EXACTLY what you said, but they said they could "throw parts at it" if I wanted, but then quoted prices from over $400 to OVER $700 for the part alone! Can I order an After Market part online, then take it to them, and have them put it in? How many hours does the book thingy say it should take to put one of those in? Your help is GREATLY appreciated!
COMMENT by , June 18, 2011
I don't endorse any online parts web site, but many folks cite www.rockauto.com for parts, and I have to admit, even never using them, their web site interface looks good and useful. They show several distributors from $120 - $220. I would do some homework and you'll probably be better off. The original Honda parts list out at near $750, indeed. If you have an adversarial relationship with a repair facility -- PICK ANOTHER ONE! Many folks out there like working with their customers, instead of being dominant over them. Labor should be about an hour to install. Good luck!
COMMENT by , June 18, 2011
Danka! We're not adversarial. They've actually saved me several hundred dollars before, but quoting me a $400 rebuilt part as the lower end, then never being able to diagnose the prob, irked me. Pretty sure they just pulled it out of the shop on a daily basis, then let it sit outside, and the only diagnostic that went on was when they pulled it back in at the end of the day. Will buy the part & tell them what to do. They are good people, I think. Thanks again! BTW: THIS SITE ROCKS! =)
COMMENT by , June 19, 2011
Hey -- thanks! Don't be a stranger...
ANSWER by , July 30, 2012
In case you never figured this problem out, change your main relay. It's under the dash near the driver's side fender. Kind of a pain to get to, but I can almost guarantee you that's your problem. Had the exact same issue with my '91 Si and it eventually stopped starting altogether. A friend who had an '89 Si told me to change the main relay, so I did and it resolved the issue. It's like a 30-40 dollar part.
ANSWER by , September 03, 2013
I must be doing this wrong. I don't have the answer. I'm looking for the answer to my question. Thank you. Thank you #2. I'll try the relay trick.