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Starting problem

Car: Acura, Vigor LS, 1993, 5cyl     -    Back to Fix-It    -    Acura Repair Manuals

Q.1993 Acura Vigor 150k miles Hello, I own an automatic '93 Acura Vigor LS with 150k miles on it.
Recently (in the last three weeks) my ability to start my car has gone from 100% success to closer to maybe 15%. This has declined steadily and worringly, especially in the past few days. I start the car and it sounds great, but it dies after a few seconds (or immediately now...). The car still has power, but the engine is not running.
If I give it a little gas and hold the key, I can sometimes get it to stay on. After the car is successfully running and driving there are no problems. That is until last night, when the car turned off while I was driving. I lost power and had to pull over... (and boy is my car heavy without power steering!) I wasn't idling at the time, I was driving.
Our mechanic friend pointed to oily spark plugs (recently replace) and wondered about the seals and 'towers'(?). He could smell gas, and hypothesized that they weren't giving enough spark, and thus we could smell the unspent fuel. My spark plugs have been oily for at least well over a year and I haven't had this problem. What is wrong with my car...? Some kind of bad ignition relay? Something under the hood? Bad spark gaps? Bad distributor? Please help if you can.

Answer One possible cause of your symptoms is a bad ignition switch. Try not turning the key back to run completely. Just hold it at the position when the starter stops turning. It is usually possible to make them stay running that way. What happens is the contacts in the ignition switch go bad in the run position. The contacts are still okay in the crank position, thus the start and stall. This can also cause the car to stall out while driving. If you can keep the car running by holding the key in just the right position, or if you can get it to stall once it is running by turning the key slightly, this is the likely cause. You .. >> login for more

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