honda accord overheating

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  #1  
Old 06-11-09, 10:47 AM
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honda accord overheating

this has been an ongoing (6 months) situation for a 94 accord EX with 4 cyl VTEC
My primary mechanic couldn't find reason for coolant fluid loss & overheating, but convinced me to finally replace timing belt & water pump. It still had originals and is going on 200,000 miles.
I subsequently found and replaced leaking hose, bad thermostat and radiator (cap seat had cracks so cap wouldn't seal). These improved the frequency of overheating, but haven't stopped it. I don't think I've allowed it to to get overheat to where the temp gauge is 'pegged'.
Another mechanic is certain my current problem is a leak in the head gasket between a cylinder and a coolant jacket. He says compression gas is entering and heating the coolant. Other symptoms fit this scenario, including engine stuttering at start due to coolant leaking back into cylinder after engine is turned off and gas bubbling (boiling?) up through radiator when engine is running.
Second machanic wants to replace head gasket but always mills head. Cost $1000.
First machanic says he wouldn't pay to have head milled due to cost and potential to mess up cylinder height. Would replace with used head, if necessary. BUT he says he'd replace the timing belt & water pump that he replaced only 4 months ago because "they're junk" if the car's been overheating (1st mechanic said nothing about this). 2nd mechanic wants $750 for head gasket, time belt & water pump replacement. Maybe $200 more for used head if warped.
I'm to the point of replacing the gasket (only) myself. Think I can do it for $100 and half day. But kinda worried about 2nd mechanic's idea that time belt and water pump are likely bad.
Car is only worth about $2000 if not overheating when sold, so hard to consider paying one or other mechanic about $1000 to make sellable.
Maybe I'm optomistic about being able to get another year or more with cheap gasket (only) replacement. Others may say do it right (milling head, crack check, new time belt & pump, maybe more). Doesn't seem worth it on this car.
Any suggestions, comments, warnings?
 
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  #2  
Old 06-11-09, 03:48 PM
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you are taking on a serious task for a rookie mechanic.
you will have to remove valve cover, both manifolds, all the hoses, and timing belt. along with all the connections and other stuff around engine head. special tools will be needed.
then, you'll have to replace all the gaskets, as they will be no good after removal, so in gaskets only you are looking at more than a hundred bucks.
setting timing will be quite a job if you don't know what you doing.
now, with head off, you might find that some of the valves are shot and need replacements. while there, it is wise to replace valve stem seals.
just scraping crap off the combustion chambers/valves will take you easy 2 hrs and lots of kerosene.
while there, it is even wiser to drop oil pan down, pull pistons out down through the crankcase, and replace piston rings/pushrod bearings. hone cylinder bores. basically, new engine.
so, if you are up to all this - hey, it's about a day job on a sunny day, with all the tools and parts on hand. half day - if it's plymouth reliant, maybe.
 
  #3  
Old 06-12-09, 02:28 PM
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I would add that just replacing a head gasket on a car that has been overheating without inspecting the head (and as often as not having it milled) is really rolling the dice. Might consider a brand new complete head for which the prices have really come down. Here's a sample: Cylinder Heads. A used head would be crap without a trip to the machine shop and by the time you bought the used one and had it machine shop checked you could buy a new one.

Just a quick opinion, but mechanic #1 is saying things that would steer me away from him.

The $64,000 question is, what kind of shape is the rest of the car in and how long do you plan on keeping it? If the answers are "not too bad" and "for a while", give the job to mechanic #2 and tell him to install a new head; at 200,000 and some overheating chances are pretty good the head is a goner.
 
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Old 06-12-09, 06:47 PM
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Hey Tow...........Would you REALLY want to put a fresh head on a 200,000 mile old block that has sustained as much overheat as the original head????.........I'd really need to assess the overall condition of a vehicle with that many miles and at that point see my local salvage yards for a low mileage used engine (if available) or see "Mr Jasper".........but the car would have to be in super shape
 
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Old 06-13-09, 10:53 AM
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Used Auto Parts | Used Car Parts might be able to help you find an engine, but the shipping cost from a yard at the opposite end of the country may not make it worthwhile.
 
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Old 06-13-09, 12:47 PM
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Got me on that one, wrench. Forgot to look at the BIG picture. Beer 4U2

Not sure Mr. Jasper is a good option either; gonna be more than the cars worth for sure. Even used engines nowadays seem to be bringing premium prices - supply & demand.
 
  #7  
Old 06-13-09, 05:32 PM
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Originally Posted by the_tow_guy View Post
Got me on that one, wrench. Forgot to look at the BIG picture. Beer 4U2

Not sure Mr. Jasper is a good option either; gonna be more than the cars worth for sure. Even used engines nowadays seem to be bringing premium prices - supply & demand.
Agreed........As I said, the car would have to be in super shape to induce me to install $3000 + of engine into it....but in todays world. IF the car is overall in good shape, it's worth it. What are you going to find comparable for $3000??????
Somebody ELSE's headache???? The dollar value of the job vs the $$ value of the car/NADA is probably lopsided, but if it were mine and I had a reasonable expectation to get service out of it, I'd probably do it
 
  #8  
Old 06-13-09, 06:36 PM
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Hi fellow oldgoat, I'm not a mexhanic, but was called upon to figure out why a 94 accord was overheating. They pulled the schematic and I followed the fan sequence and determined the fan would intermittantly not come on when told to. Even a used control board was too expensive for this car so I rewired the board so the fan would come on with the ignition. Next time it overheats, check to see if the fan/s are running.

Just a lower priced thought,
Bud
 
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