88 Honda Accord Leak - HELP!


Old 09-30-05, 05:52 AM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Exclamation 88 Honda Accord Leak - HELP!

I'm going insane trying to figure this out before I rip apart my engine. I've got a 1988 Honda Accord LX, 5 Speed w/ AC. Car turns on, runs very nice. Shifts perfectly. No lights go on inside showing I have a problem. Say about 10-20 minutes after I start it (Sometimes longer) there is a white vapor coming from the engine. There is no white smoke coming out of the exhaust. Looking at the engine it's coming from behind the exhaust manifold. There is next to no smell associated with the vapor. The longer the car runs the longer it smokes. If I'm on the highway the majority of the smoke dissapates and I don't even notice it. At this point I've heard everything from a Head Gasket to a Thermostat or Water Pump. Any ideas at all? I don't want to pull this thing apart and repair the wrong item repeatadly.

Sponsored Links
Old 09-30-05, 06:36 PM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a

Does the "vapor' look more like steam or smoke. Usually "white" means steam and all smoke smells, but next time take a long steel spoon and keep it in an a/c vent. When you see the vapor hold the cold metal in it and see if it will condense. Then smell feel and taste the tiniest amount, i bet it's water! Then get Bardahl engine block fixer or, .... sell it to my brother.
Old 09-30-05, 07:41 PM
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: atlanta
Posts: 10
sounds like your valve cover gasket is leaking some oil onto the exhaust manifold.
Old 10-01-05, 06:02 AM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
I think its hard to say not knowing exactly what color it is.Antifreeze has a distinct smell and if it was a cyl. head problem you would have had to add coolant at some point, (you mentioned highway driving) also usually when the car is at normal operating temp then through a cool down period even if only a short time, all that compression that had pressurized your cooling system would go back and pressurize the engines cylinders (since the car is off at this time there wouldn't be the compression/pressure like if it was running ) and the coolant in the cylinders would either cause a hard start, or extended crank time, and when it did start would be smoking pretty good till it burned the antifreeze off. Have you added coolant? Those things have small coolant passages in the heads and that is common problems but usually there is more symptoms too. Someone said v.c.gasket and I've seen that too Oil usually to me smells kinda musty like a old basement except not like that at all! Those plastic radiator tanks are bad about getting a tiny split in the top tank,when they get about 120,000 on them,and a lot of replacements radiators are worse than the one that was taken out, but if it is you will see it slightly bubbling out when its at reg. temperature at the top. I would check your fluids when the cars cold.If ok when you start it up for the first time that day see if the top radiator hose is tight with pressure say 1-2 minutes after its first fired up, if its got a tight radiator hose that quick I would agree with it being a head gasket problem Hope this helps
Old 10-01-05, 06:18 AM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Smile More Info

First off thanks for all the info thus far! Here's some extra for ya.

1. The stuff coming out is definately white - almost dark white if you can dig it.

2. The stuff looks likes SOMETHING is smoking. I'm calling it smoke for lack of a better work. I'm not calling it steam because it just dosen't seem like steam.

3. There was a crack in the top of the plastic radiator tank - a little JB Weld and it's as good as new. After repairing that I filled up the radiator and topped off the overflow tank. That was about 5-6 weeks ago, driven quite a bit since then everyday to work, and I've yet to need to add Radiator fluid.

4. The only other problem I have that the car show symptoms of is needing new brake pads. Totally unrelated but oh well.

5. As for the radiator hose - after starting it up it's warm to the touch. APPEARS to be working OK. I did notice that the hose itself is soft, as is the lower hose, but wasn't leaking. Obviously I need to change them.

6. The smell is REALLY hard for me to describe. I don't think it is radiator fluid because that has a very sickly sweet smell to it. I got used to smelling it on my previous car before it died (92 Cavalier and the Fuel Injection system EXPLODED - not pleasent) as I fixed the radiator then a hose died, fixed the hose and another died, fixed that and the water pump went, fixed that then the thermostat went. Not fun. Anyways my point is I have smelled burning radiator fluid before and it just dosen't seem to smell like it to me. It a burning smell more like a .....umm.....cripes, dirty laundry? stagnant water? I really can't describe it very well. It almost smells, well, old and moldy.

Hopefully this will help get some insight for everyone. I did have one friend suggest, since it APPEARS relativly easy, to remove the exhaust manifold cover/bolts/etc.... and run the engine to try and get a better view...think that might help?

Thanks again for everything everyone I really do appreciate it!

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes