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Thread: Need help with Fuel Issues in my carb ASAP!

  1. #1
    DX User Jared Roussin's Avatar
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    Need help with Fuel Issues ASAP!

    Hi! Just had to remake my account because I couldn't get into my old one for some reason, but a long time lurker and fan of the 3Geez forum!

    I recently purchased a 1988 A20A1 Stock Carb 5-Speed Accord from the original owner who bought it new back in 1988!
    He drove it all the way up to 380K miles with no issues until his HG blew on him and coolant got in the oil etc. etc.
    Anywho, I rebuilt the engine (didn't touch the carb) and kept everything stock just how it was off the factory line. Except I deleted the EGR tubes because I couldn't get them off.. so those are welded shut

    The issue I'm facing is two fold
    The first "Issue" or symptom? Is that when I go to turn the key to the Acc. position, the fuel pump only primes for just under 1 second. I'm used to my long prime times in my crx so I could just not be used to a carb setup. My neighbor said it should run for about 2-3 seconds though.. so I feel like this could be part of my main issue. However I will prime the car about 3 times (For about 3 seconds worth of priming) to compensate for lack of prime time.

    The Second issue I'm facing is the engine just not staying running... I can start it up with pumping the pedal a few times. It starts right up and sounds amazing (Loving the carb sound!) but dies after about 3 seconds. This is because it's running out of gas from me priming it with the accel. pedal, getting gas into the barrel, right? If I pour a little bit of gas into the barrel it will run for a good 15 seconds no problem then die. If I cheese it with starting fluid I can keep it running for as long as I keep spritzing it, lol. Definitely a fuel issue. I have gotten to the point in diag where I've noticed that no fuel is going into the (Second?) barrel. (The one not covered by the choke plate) I have fuel going into the float chamber, but none into the barrel. The carb was definitely upside down a few times as I've tried to figure stuff out, figured I should note that as I've heard it could be a needle, valve, thing that got stuck in the carb. (Again, I'm new to carbs, sorry for bad terminology/lack of knowledge)

    This is what I have done/checked for so far:
    New Dizzy Wires
    New Fuel Pump
    New Main Fuel Relay
    All of the fuel relay connections check out to oem spec with the multimeter
    It has (about) 5gal of 1.5yo gas and 3gal of fresh gas, I read that gas is good for at least two years so I left it in with the new stuff
    I can keep the car running if I cheese it with starting fluid, it will also run for a good 10-15 seconds if I dump some gas into the barrel
    Fuel pump will run just fine when jumped (New fuel pump sounds nice when it does pump)
    Tested the fuel lines from the tank, all the way up to the carb, (front and back of both filters) flows great
    I can pump gas into the barrel under the choke (Chamber 1?) with the accel. pedal
    Gas does get into the float chamber, can confirm by the little window on the side
    - I just cleaned up the window today as it has been white spray painted over (possibly coolant) I can now see the float a1. Although when I jumped the relay the float chamber is now full and I gotta recalibrate it tomorrow
    If I open up that screw on top of the carb with the yellow paint on it that allows the fuel into the carb/float chamber, if I prime it enough it will push fuel into the chamber no problem, but only while I'm priming it..
    - I know I shouldn't overload the float chamber, my neighbor did it trying to help who is an old Honda mechanic, but he never worked on the carbs so he was just trying to help.
    Tested the slow-leak solenoid in the back. Reacts just fine
    I have done a Light checking of the hoses, and I haven't seen any obvious tears/cracks/breaks
    I would also like to note that this car went to a Honda Dealer a year and a half ago when the prev. owner wanted to see what was wrong. He didn't repair it then. But I mention this because the ecu was originally unplugged. There was a 2pin connector that went from the seat to the ecu (I think, hard to see under there) so could my prime time possibly be an ecu thing?

    This is my first time messing with a carb'd car and it's honestly a lot to take in. The oem manual keeps telling me to warm up the car (Which I can't do due to this issue) and hook a vacuum pump/gauge up to it, which I don't have.. I have about 800$ to my name and no car and no job, so I need this thing on the road asap to get some work to pay my bills!

    Thank you guys in advance! I love this forum! I love the community! You guys are the best and are always so helpful and persistent!
    Last edited by Jared Roussin; 04-04-2019 at 04:28 PM.



  2. #2
    SEi User Hauntd ca3's Avatar
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    Re: Need help with Fuel Issues in my carb ASAP!

    Not an exprt on these old honda carbs , but most jap carbs have a fuel shut off solenoid that cuts fuel to stop run on when the ignition switch is turned off ..
    some one else here will be able to confirm that .
    Sounds like you have missed a connection putting it back together to me though

  3. #3
    DX User Jared Roussin's Avatar
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    Re: Need help with Fuel Issues in my carb ASAP!

    I checked that fuel shutoff solenoid you're talking about. It's working a1.. Just double checked my connections as well. Everything is hooked up :/ I wish it was as easy as a connector! lol

    Someone told me on Discord that it could be the needle in the float is jammed.. Going to go out there and try to old school fix it by just hitting it and seeing what happens.. lol. If that fixes it, I'll update here. If not, I won't update. We'll figure this out together and I'll post what I've learned here!

  4. #4
    DX User Jared Roussin's Avatar
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    Re: Need help with Fuel Issues in my carb ASAP!

    Just got back in from working on it. Hit the carb with a hammer with a rubber handle inbetween the blow of the hammer and the carb to keep it safe. It didn't do anything unfortunately, and I was sure to whack it hard, many many times over close to the float chamber as possible but no luck.. I also took it out and messed with the mixture screw. Didn't seem to have much of an effect and I turned it a decent amount out but to no avail.. I also tried adjusting the float level.. sort of hard to do if I can't get the car to run to begin with to level the fuel though..

    For whatever reason, it doesn't seem like the amount of fuel in the float chamber makes a difference.. on the mark, over the mark, under the mark, filled to the brim, or bone dry. There's nothing that will get fuel into the chamber
    The only thing that really gets it flowing is if I open up the chamber alll the way and keep priming my engine until the gas literally can't go anywhere else. Didn't intend for that when it happened, but it just kinda did at the time..

    Still stumped. Got rained out today so couldn't diagnose it long.. If anybody could give me something to do aside from just doing a carb swap I could really use the help. Thank you guys in advance!

  5. #5

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    Re: Need help with Fuel Issues in my carb ASAP!

    Not sure I am much help. But googling pointed to a dirty needle valve in the carb, sometimes there is a screen there that gets clogged. Definitely can happen with the crappy ethanol gas we have to use nowdays. That gas gums up after a few months. If it were me I'd try to clean the carb as much as I could without taking everything apart first and see if it runs any better or at all.

    Also possibly clogged fuel line by the carb.

    1988 Honda Accord LSDX-I

  6. #6

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    Re: Need help with Fuel Issues in my carb ASAP!

    x3 on needle valve problem or a stuck float, either of which requires a complete overhaul to correct. You can probably buy a rebuild kit for cheap. Rebuilding it successfully will be the hard part. Overhauling a Keihin carb was probably the third thing I did as a freshman mechanic. It was an unmitigated fiasco. You've already monkeyed with the adjustments enough that you'll need to spend some time correcting all that, so rebuild is the way to go.
    Dr_Snooz

    "I like to take hammers, and just break stuff, just break stuff." - Beavis


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  7. #7
    DX User Jared Roussin's Avatar
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    Re: Need help with Fuel Issues in my carb ASAP!

    Thank you all for the replies! As an update I took the top part of the carb off to look inside of the float chamber. The gasket that was there, while it was ancient, still looked like it was holding up just fine before I took it off. Everything looked relatively clean inside of the float chamber. No real dirt or gunk in there. I wound up cleaning as much as I could in there anyway, and blasted all of the tubing with clean compressed air to make sure I got it all out. I didn't find any sort of filter in there conozo, if it was something as simple as that I would of have jumped for joy! Dr_Snooz, what needle valve are you referring to? You'll see in the video below what I see. Let me know what it is on the carb and I'll check it! Thank you! All of my fuel lines are clean, and the float chamber gets gas no problem.. Just for whatever reason, gas refuses to go into the barrel... I can pump gas into the barrel by pumping the accel. pedal, but gas will not go into that second barrel.. So if my new found knowledge of venturi's and the Bernoulli's principle is right, then vacuum and strong air flow is responsible for pulling the gas into the barrel.. I double checked all of my vacuum lines however and didn't see anything out of place. I'm going to double check overnight tonight to be sure, but all of the hoses and connectors are correct to the best of my knowledge as of typing this right now. Also, my egr pipes are welded (The two pipes that go from the exhaust to the intake) I couldn't get them off, so they were cut and are welded now.. Not sure if this is having an effect on my vacuum in my carb. I took the pipes off as well and tried that and it didn't make a difference from when they were on.. Also my float will move freely, it's not binding on anything, you'll see it kind of move in the video below.

    Here is a video link to a video I sent to my buddy, although I'm sure it could be of help here as well: https://photos.app.goo.gl/wNpPjXP5mmVKnHp59 (Pardon my french in the video)

    My biggest issue is cash right now. I definitely will be correcting everything I'm doing today in the future.. but I just need something that runs for now. A refurb'd carb is in this car's future, but as of right now I'm working with what I got. I can get a rebuild kit no problem, but it seems like most of those are primarily just gasket replacements with some new tiny cotter pins.

    You guys are all rock stars! Thank you for the help!

  8. #8

    Dr_Snooz's Avatar
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    Re: Need help with Fuel Issues in my carb ASAP!

    Okay, my newb dectector is starting to register. You aren't looking for gas to enter the secondary chamber are you? That only works when you press the throttle down a long way. The choke will be over the primary chamber, which is where all the action is. If there's nothing going to the secondary when you're standing over it, it's working properly. You monkeyed with the float adjustment, which is pretty much death. Re-adjust it back to it's normal level (gas level will be even with the dot on the sight glass) and hope you didn't damage the needle valve, though you most likely did, which means you'll get to rebuild the carb. The Rock Auto kit has a needle valve: https://www.rockauto.com/en/catalog/...epair+kit,5964. You could have a stuck float too, but I'm not sure where you'd get those. A reman unit may be your only option, and those are pricey. For future reference, random tweaking on carb adjustments turns into big repair bills very quickly. They only need to be set once and will hold for the lifetime of the carb.

    I'd say you have a fuel delivery issue. I don't see that you replaced the fuel filter, so that's the next step. There are two of them on the carbed cars. After that, test fuel flow using the test outlined in the manual. You can download it from my signature.
    Dr_Snooz

    "I like to take hammers, and just break stuff, just break stuff." - Beavis


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  9. #9
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    Re: Need help with Fuel Issues in my carb ASAP!

    Used to rebuild these all the time. They aren't that complicated, but require paying detailed attention. I'm not typing a book on it, and can't say that I remember all the details anyway, but a rebuild is primarily about cleaning the fuel buildup, blowing out the passages, and replacing o-rings.

  10. #10
    DX User Jared Roussin's Avatar
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    Re: Need help with Fuel Issues in my carb ASAP!

    I cleaned up all of the old fuel out of everything and put some new stuff in. That old stuff was pretty yellow, and the new stuff.. Well it's new stuff, can't go wrong there! Unfortunately this didn't magically fix it..
    So I popped the carb's top open and checked everything. The float and float needle move freely and aren't binding at all. Float feels light, not soaked with gas or anything. I see the float rise and fall when gas goes into the chamber as well. I can get gas all the way into the float chamber, but I can't get it into the primary barrel except for when I pump the accel. pedal to get gas in there..
    I got the rebuild kit from autozone for like 40$ and replaced the top gasket after blasting everything with canned air. I re-calibrated the float to the proper level during reassembly and I'm just going to leave it alone for now like you said Snooz.
    I didn't tweak anything else except for the air/fuel mixture screw, I turned it out a little bit to see if it was binding inside or something, so we'll see what happens. I have yet to start it up as my battery is dead.. The gasket I replaced did have a tear in it so maybe that will help the vacuum..
    Yeah, I definitely got some bad information Dr Snooz! Neighbor told me that the second barrel was where all of the gas should be coming out <.< Not listening to that good-intentioned knuckle head again!
    The only adjustments I've messed with on the carb is the throttle cable, of course, the float level screw, and that mixture screw.
    Both of my fuel filters are a1, fuel flows all the way into the float chamber no problem.. What I don't understand is why my pump only primes for 1 second.. It's a brand new pump assembly (With a new filter). Shouldn't it prime for like 3-5 seconds? My Crx does..
    I'm going to try to get my battery jumped today, and I'll let you know what happens. Let me know what your guys's thoughts are!

  11. #11
    DX User Jared Roussin's Avatar
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    Re: Need help with Fuel Issues in my carb ASAP!

    Yup, just as I thought. No luck. Battery is topped off but the engine still wont stay started. Let me know what you guys think!

  12. #12

    Dr_Snooz's Avatar
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    Re: Need help with Fuel Issues in my carb ASAP!

    It's been awhile since I worked on carbs, but I'm pretty sure they don't actually squirt fuel into the barrel. It's drawn in as a vapor from the bowl. Basically you're never going to see it unless something is wrong. You mention you had bad gas in the carb, which will have left a lot of yellow varnish and gunk of the kind that likes to clog jets, gum up metering rods and restrict small passages. That's what I'm thinking right now. That's pointing to a rebuild again, because you want to thoroughly clean that out of all the nooks and crannies. At the least, check your jets to make sure they still flow. When the car is running, does the bowl empty or stay at the same level? Did any of this fuel sit in the filters? Might be well to replace them as a preventive measure. Also, have you actually tested fuel flow from the tank per the factory manual instructions? That wouldn't be a bad idea. You're able to start, so some fuel is getting there, you're just not able to get enough to stay running. That points to a fuel delivery problem.

    The danger of tweaking on the float adjustment is that you can easily damage the needle valve. If it's damaged, the car won't run right and you won't know why.
    Last edited by Dr_Snooz; 04-12-2019 at 10:38 PM.
    Dr_Snooz

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  13. #13
    DX User Jared Roussin's Avatar
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    Re: Need help with Fuel Issues in my carb ASAP!

    It probably is that left over varnish and gunk inside of the jets. I need to get some carb cleaner in my life and take this champ apart and clean it out. I think it may of have sat in the rear filter, but gas flow all the way to the carburetor is just fine. I'll check the specs on it when I get out there today and let you know though. The fuel level was right where it should of have been yesterday when I was starting and stalling it. Right now my biggest constraint is money. If I had the money to do this all right, it would just have a new carb in it, new filters, etc.. I just need to get this thing running so I can get to work. I'll definitely be replacing all of that in the future. I'm going to see if I can't get a can or two of carb cleaner today and get in their later.
    I'll let you know what happens when I clean everything out! Hopefully I can have it running by this evening.. although that's been the hopes every evening for like two months

  14. #14
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    Re: Need help with Fuel Issues in my carb ASAP!

    Will it run if you hold it up? Try keeping it running until it warms up and see if it will then idle.
    In rebuilds we also replaced/reset the heated coil on the side. Forgot what it's called, but has the rivets or shear screws holding the cover on. I remember it's important, but.... I'm old now .
    Also, one trick to clean things was rev it practically to redline and quickly cover it with your hand. The engine vacuum can suck some of the junk out. Although that isn't likely to be worth much since you had it apart.

    Oh, and the base plates tend to warp over time. We actually put a thin line of silicon over the base plate o-ring because they didn't always come with kits and to keep rebuild costs down. You can always tell the customers that wouldn't fix it at all if you gave to high a quote....
    The fuel should be visible from the jet when it's running. At low rpm the air is too slow and it looks more like a splattering spray from a 4yo with paint. Try spraying carb cleaner down the throat after you start to see if that keeps it running. If you can fight it to run until hot, then try spraying some carb cleaner, with the red straw, as slowly/finely as you can for vacuum leaks around the base.
    Last edited by night; 04-13-2019 at 05:25 PM.

  15. #15

    Dr_Snooz's Avatar
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    Re: Need help with Fuel Issues in my carb ASAP!

    Quote Originally Posted by Jared Roussin View Post
    Right now my biggest constraint is money. If I had the money to do this all right, it would just have a new carb in it, new filters, etc..
    You ARE doing it right. You're figuring it out yourself, and doing minimally invasive repairs. No "pro" mechanic could do that. He'd have to replace a bunch of stuff and hope it works. He'll tell you he's doing it "right," but that's a way of covering his ignorance. A "new" carb just means that someone other than you rebuilt it. And they care about it a lot less than you. You're going to get this and you'll be empowered when you do. Every repair makes you smarter and better. When you're my age and still driving that same car with a million miles on it, you will have done something very few people in the world can do. This is what separates the men from the boys. Don't be defeated. Be excited!

    [It is a good idea to replace the filters though. ]
    Dr_Snooz

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  16. #16
    DX User Jared Roussin's Avatar
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    Re: Need help with Fuel Issues in my carb ASAP!

    I sprayed the snot out of the carb with carb cleaner, let it sit and everything, and no luck.. I'm getting help from a buddy of mine and I'm going to buy a refurb'd one for now. The hope is is that I can completely disassemble the old carb and see if I can't fix it and put it back on. Then I could even go and get my $$ back

    I tried to keep it up night by just pumping the snot out of the accel pedal, but it wouldn't hold after me doing it for about 2 minutes. I also don't want to do it again because the engine still needs to be broken in and I'm hoping doing that isn't damaging the cylinder walls or anything.. I tried the suction thing a few times and it didn't work either unfortunately. I also rarely have a second hand to help which sucks, and even if I did, I don't think they would know what they're looking for. I'm going to completely disassemble the carb and dip everything in chemicals etc and rebuild it when I can.

    Dr_Snooz! I appreciate the words of encouragement! I definitely will be swapping those filters out when I can afford to. I like doing everything as "right" as possible. I always make sure to double check my theory on why X isn't working. You always gotta make sure before you go spending hundreds of dollars on parts you don't need! I'm going to rebuild this carb and put it back on there. I will probably hit you up with questions if I have any! I'm ready to make this thing run like new! It sounds amazing when it is running!

    I'll definitely keep this thread updated for future people to keep watch out for. I'll let you know how the swap goes!

  17. #17

    Dr_Snooz's Avatar
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    Re: Need help with Fuel Issues in my carb ASAP!

    Good luck with the rebuild. Some pointers:


    • Get a roll of masking tape and a Sharpie. Mark every vacuum line and electrical connector as you remove it so you know where it goes when you put it back together.
    • Try to keep your disassembly to a minimum. Don't take your spring linkages apart, or anything else super complicated unless you have to.
    • Read through the manual and whatever directions come with your rebuild kit before starting the job so you know about any special tools you will need.
    • There are a lot of vacuum actuators, electric solenoids and other goodies festooning the carb. It's not a bad idea to test those (directions are in the manual) and make sure they work.
    • Nor is it a bad idea to make sure you have replacement gaskets BEFORE removing any bolt on parts on the carb.
    • If you can't find a replacement gasket, Permatex 1 is a gas resistant sealant.


    It's a do-able repair. Just be methodical, organized and think things through beforehand.

    Just out of curiosity, why aren't you doing a Weber swap?
    Dr_Snooz

    "I like to take hammers, and just break stuff, just break stuff." - Beavis


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  18. #18
    DX User Jared Roussin's Avatar
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    Re: Need help with Fuel Issues in my carb ASAP!

    Hey guys! Could of sworn I updated this awhile ago but I guess I didn't. Did a stock carb swap onto a refurbished one and the car will actually stay running now! My assumption is that the old gas just clogged up the lines and the new one was clean which allowed the flow. I'll eventually be tanking my original one in cleaner and I'll eventually rebuild it. The car runs now at around 800rpm when warm. I think I have some vacuum leaks as my idle wants to sometimes stay up high, or climb back down slowly, or my throttle is just sticking. I think some carb cleaner will clean that up though so I'm not worried about it as of typing this. I have a brake system issue now. I'm ordering both a refurb'd brake booster (No one makes them new anymore) and a new master cylinder with some fresh DOT 4. Everything has been replaced on this car except for the car itself and the intake manifold it seems, but this means I'll have zero issues for the next 400K miles at least! Found a crack in the radiator and I need to replace it, and the thermo switch for the fans is also a dud so I have the connector hot-wired for now. Also the fans are both rusted on the motor and need replacing as preventative maintenance. So as of right now, I'm going to fix the brakes, hopefully it will help my idle out as the brake booster is leaking air, as well as the master cylinder leaking fluid. I'll be getting those parts on Tuesday (5/7/19) I went with Cardone on both parts as I heard really good reviews about them compared to other mans.

    At this point I can take the stock carb off of the car in 5 minutes flat, I have all of the connection points that hook up to the carb memorized. I definitely have been taking a ton of pictures during my light disassembly, and will be using those as reference for rebuilding it. Good to know that Permatex one is a good gasket, I know some of the gaskets on the carb are no longer made OEM so thank you for the recommendation! I appreciate the good vibes and the encouragement as always Dr Snooz!

    Not doing a Weber swap because I want to be as stock as possible on this car. The name of the car is Lizzy, and has been meticulously taken care of by the original owner that I bought it from. I say that, but had he fixed his cooling issue, it wouldn't of have blown up to begin with! I want to keep this thing as a sort of classic car/restoration and take good care of it. I plan on fixing up the interior as the seats are worn to all hell, and the carpet I think may be permanently stained in some spots, and would love to keep it looking fresh. The window motors are worn or aren't getting good electrical signals as they strain to raise up and down, and my driver window doesn't move at all. There's a lot more to be done to this car aesthetically, but as of right now, she'll be on the road for many many years to come, granted I don't get hit by a someone as project Hondas seem to do

    TLDR OF THIS THREAD: Old gas messes up the carb and it needs to be cleaned out or replaced with a rebuilt to allow gas to flow.

  19. #19

    conozo's Avatar
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    Re: Need help with Fuel Issues in my carb ASAP!

    If the carpet is real dirty but not worn out it may be best to take it out, spray some degreaser on it and lightly power wash it. It will take a few days to completely dry but there are many youtube videos about it, its amazing how clean it actually gets it and i bet the car smells way better too. I'm going to be doing this soon to our minivan.

    1988 Honda Accord LSDX-I

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