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My 1999 Ody with almost 200k miles will start easily, but as soon as I let go of the key after starting, it dies. The other major symptom is that none of the dash lights come on for the usual bulb check. However, the radio and other accessories worked, as did the emergency flashers.

It died while driving, so had to get towed home. The tow driver saw the same symptom. He got it home for me, then dropped it off in my driveway. He parked it too close to the garage door, so I got in to put it in neutral and roll forward a bit. Of course, this time all the dash lights came on as normal, and it started and ran normally.

I picked up a wiring diagram, since this sounds like an electrical issue to me. Before I go checking a boatload of wires and connections, I'd appreciate any thoughts about common failures with these symptoms.

I don't think this is the idle air control issue. I've had that one already - several years ago - and this is different. It dies immediately, not after idling badly for a couple of seconds.

Thanks for any help.
 

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My 1999 Ody with almost 200k miles will start easily, but as soon as I let go of the key after starting, it dies. The other major symptom is that none of the dash lights come on for the usual bulb check. However, the radio and other accessories worked, as did the emergency flashers.

It died while driving, so had to get towed home. The tow driver saw the same symptom. He got it home for me, then dropped it off in my driveway. He parked it too close to the garage door, so I got in to put it in neutral and roll forward a bit. Of course, this time all the dash lights came on as normal, and it started and ran normally.

I picked up a wiring diagram, since this sounds like an electrical issue to me. Before I go checking a boatload of wires and connections, I'd appreciate any thoughts about common failures with these symptoms.

I don't think this is the idle air control issue. I've had that one already - several years ago - and this is different. It dies immediately, not after idling badly for a couple of seconds.

Thanks for any help.
start with a search on this site for ignition switch issues and go from there
 

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"Main Relay". Google this. Many, many, posts on this subject. Could be easy fix. Located under dash, by brake pedal.
Solder joints go bad. Replace or re-solder. Good luck.

Let us know if it is the "main relay", or ignition switch. Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
"Main Relay". Google this. Many, many, posts on this subject. Could be easy fix. Located under dash, by brake pedal.
Solder joints go bad. Replace or re-solder. Good luck.

Let us know if it is the "main relay", or ignition switch. Thanks.
Did the searching. If I understand correctly, a main relay failure will turn off the fuel pump, causing the engine to die of fuel starvation. If that is correct, my problem is not the main relay. It's an instant die, which is going to be electrical, not fuel starvation. I'm still trying to figure out all of the things the main relay controls. If it does control some part of the ignition circuits, then it's still a possibility.

If my understanding of the main relay is wrong, I'd appreciate a correction. I may check the relay anyway - looks like its a lot easier to get to than the ignition switch.
 

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OP. Your original post. 2nd paragraph. You wrote this: "It died while driving, so had to get towed home".

Which is why, I thought, it might be the "main relay" failing. Which is very common to 2nd generation odyssey.
 

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Did the searching. If I understand correctly, a main relay failure will turn off the fuel pump, causing the engine to die of fuel starvation. If that is correct, my problem is not the main relay. It's an instant die, which is going to be electrical, not fuel starvation. I'm still trying to figure out all of the things the main relay controls. If it does control some part of the ignition circuits, then it's still a possibility.

If my understanding of the main relay is wrong, I'd appreciate a correction. I may check the relay anyway - looks like its a lot easier to get to than the ignition switch.
look on the bright side...if the main relay is good, you've eliminated that...does sound electrical and the ignition was just a suggestion as a place to begin troubleshooting with the "My 1999 Ody with almost 200k miles will start easily, but as soon as I let go of the key after starting, it dies" symptom ...sorry I can't find the info I used to track down my issues...

ignition switch and/or worn key can cause weird issues just from wear...common and not that difficult to check...youtube has good videos on accessing and troubleshooting and removing/repairing/replacing...I was lucky to not have to pull the ignition cylinder as I couldn't afford the part or a locksmith and "fixed" it with the valet key that was never used...symptom free for about 18 months so leaving well enough alone...had intermittent issues with starting and dash lights very similar to yours and was in the grocery store parking lot when it started fine until I let go of the key and it ran rough and died...thought the ignition switch was loose with as much as the key wiggled...drove home carefully holding the key in place without engaging the starter lest a bump in the road shut it down...you wouldn't happen to have a spare unworn key?

hope whatever is the cause is an easy and inexpensive fix

also, there was a recall on some part of the ignition wiring down the column...probably not the problem but did that get done on your van?...just something else to consider and eliminate
so far my main relay looks fine and trouble free
 
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