1990 Accord Loose Coolant Help

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  #1  
Old 08-04-11, 12:01 PM
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1990 Accord Loose Coolant Help

1990 Honda Accord LX, 4Dr, AT, 218,600 miles. My A/C had some leaking and blows cool (not cold) air for about 30 minutes. So, I retrofited it myself with R134a. A/C is still not working at this point. Prior to retrofit, when I turn on A/C, both radiator fan and condensor fan turn on right away. After retrofited, both fans don't turn on at all when I turn on A/C. However, after about 40 minutes drive, radiator fan turns on by itself after a few minutes when engine stops and runs for a few minutes. Does this normal? I also notice coolant loose about 16 to 32oz every week. I think I had coolant loose prior to A/C retrofit, but not sure. There isn't any signs of coolant leaking from engine compartment or oil dip stick. The temperature gauage on dash is normal when engine is hard. Could this be the cause of overheat to boil coolant since radiator fan isn't turning while driving? Can anyone help?
 
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Old 08-04-11, 05:17 PM
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After the retrofit, did you completely evacuate the system and ensure there was no leakage prior to servicing?

Side bar note off on a tangent: Do you keep the timng belt replaced at the recommended intervals? Broken timing belt is fatal on those.
 
  #3  
Old 08-04-11, 06:30 PM
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I vacuumed and make sure there isn't leak before charging. Since there isn't pressure reading on gauage after charging, I doubt myself I may not vacuum it properly with wrong A/C gauage hose fitting (may vacuum only hoses that is why I don't see leaking). The dual pressure switch may cut off compressor due to no pressure in the system. However, shouldn't at least radiator fan turn on as soon as I turn on A/C and fan? Timing belt is 38,000 miles beyond recommanded change interval, but I just opened timing belt upper & lower covers and visually checked belt without taking it off a month ago, belt looks good to me. Car is still running good. If a broken timing belt, car won't run, isn't it?
 
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Old 08-04-11, 10:57 PM
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On an interference engine like you have a broken timing belt means that the valves are bent and destroyed from the pistons slamming into them as some remain open, and the pistons are then toast also at the very least. There is no way of visually confirming the condition of a timing belt, and they really need to be changed per the service schedule or you are living on borrowed time with your engine.
 
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Old 08-05-11, 04:38 AM
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As to the fans, it varies from car to car. Some cars one fan comes on all the time, then goes to a higher speed with ac on; others have two fans, like yours; and still others have different configurations. yours may very well be of the type where nothing comes on until either the proper temp is reached (for the regular cooling) or the ac engages for the aux cooling. First step should be to confirm proper servicing of the ac.

That has a 90k replacement interval on the belt according to Gates; you're pushing 50% over that. The situation equinox describes essentially means instant death on a car that old; the repair would easily exceed the value of the car.
 
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Old 08-05-11, 06:02 AM
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This is like watching a train wreck in slow motion.....
 
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Old 08-05-11, 11:05 AM
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Thanks to all your replies. I will change my timing belt next before fixing this loose coolant first. I double checked my A/C manifold gauage set and confirmed I have vacuum pulled with no leak for sure before added R134a into system. However, the pressure reading is 0 for both low and high sides. Could it be possible system has no leak when engine stops and leak (compressor leaks) when engine runs? If this is possible, where at compressor part that leaks (I already changed seal on top of compressor that has inlet and outlet of tubes)? Can it be repaired because don't have budget for new part? If I don't repair A/C, will car overheat (the temperature gauage on dash is normal) to boil coolant out?
 
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Old 08-05-11, 11:12 AM
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I had a '92 Prelude and the timing belt was replaced at 90,000 miles. I then didn't change it the next time it was due and the engine was junk when it broke at 218,000 miles.
 
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Old 08-05-11, 02:20 PM
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AC being inop should have no effect on whether it overheats or not. Just sitting at idle, does the engine come up to temperature and then the cooling fan eventually comes on? Provided the temp gauge is staying in the normal range - usually the middle of the range, rather than pushing the red zone - and the fan comes on when needed, I don't see a problem.
 
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Old 08-05-11, 03:27 PM
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I only use this car to commute to work about 40-50 minutes (most of time is 45-70mph) drive including about 10-15 minutes (20-35 mph) with some traffics. I would expect engine's temperature should high enough to automatically turn on cooling fan during drive, but it didn't. The temperature gauage is in the middle of range which is normal. It looks like cooling fan only turn on a few minutes right after engine is off after drive. Could it be wind blows enough to cool engine without kicking on cooling fan? Since it has significant coolant loose and can't see any in engine oil or dripping from hoses, I don't know where coolant would go except boiling out. Any ides?
 
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Old 08-06-11, 07:22 AM
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Wouldn't hurt to replace the radiator cap. Significant loss is either being burned or leaked since you don't notice it in the oil. I recently replaced a radiator on a car (Ford Contour) for my sister's youngest and after the job I warmed things up to check for leaks and it took a loooooong time for the fan to come on; so long I was beginning to think there was a problem, but it never got hot. Just an efficent cooling system and yes, airflow will keep things pretty cool.

Probably wouldn't hurt to run it by a good garage and have them to a pressure test on the system with the proper equipment; should solve the mystery.
 

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  #12  
Old 08-10-11, 12:08 PM
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I pressure tested radiator cap and radiator system. Radiator cap can't hold pressure and change a new one. Radiator system lose about 1 psi for about 1-2 minutes and can't see any leaking coolant from hoses. One day after changing radiator cap, loose coolant even more significantly about 2/3 of coolant reservoir tank for about two 20 miles drives in a day. Coolant can't be drawed back to radiator from reservoir tank when engine cool. Very rough to start engine and sometimes engine stops immediately after started. Can't start engine when low coolant in radiator. Is this normal? Once engine warmed up, drives normal. I found coolant come out from muffler and with lots of white smoke. Also lots of white smoke come out from middle of catalytic converter (not joint with central pipe). Heard some rough noise from this catalytic converter. Can this just a broken catalytic converter or more than that?
 
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Old 08-10-11, 01:06 PM
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White smoke is coolant burning off I think. The new cap increased the system pressure and forced more of it into the cylinders. Most likely is a blown head gasket. Pretty simple/cheap fix if that's the only issue and you DIY. Could be other issues, but thats the most common.
 
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Old 08-10-11, 01:18 PM
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Yep, sounds like you're getting coolant into the cylinders - I think Vic nailed it.
 
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Old 08-10-11, 01:35 PM
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Can anyone explains to me? If it is blown head gasket, shouldn't I able to find coolant in engine oil? There isn't coolant in engine oil. If it burns out coolant, why there is still lots of coolant dripping out from muffler end? Lots of coolant get into cylinders and can't be all burned out, then is forced un-burned coolant out through muffler? How can I fix head gasket? What are options to fix it and cost of each options both expensive and cheap options? Thanks in advance!
 
  #16  
Old 08-10-11, 01:52 PM
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I'm going to disagree with Vic on a head gasket being cheap or easy, they usually require quite a bit of the engine to be dismantled to get to them. Then your choices are cork or rubber and hope the head isn't cracked.

Coolant does not burn, so you either see vapor or liquid in the exhaust, or both. It can be fun once you can see into the cylinders, the one(s) the coolant leaked into will usually be really clean.
 
  #17  
Old 08-10-11, 01:52 PM
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No...depending on where it's blown (between coolant passage and cylinder for instance)....you might not see anything in the oil. Different area of the gasket..maybe so.

Some of it condenses as it is forced down the exhaust...as well as the initial startup when coolant is in the cylinder and is forced out as a liquid....as you said.

As to repair...the first thing you would need is a manual....a Haynes manual is pretty good and runs about $20. Thats if you DIY...probably about $100-150 in parts. A shop would probably be $300-400 or more since your car is older and relatively simple compared to some new ones.

There are no cheap options....no miracle stuff to pour in the radiator.

Again....that's IF its the gasket (most common). There may be other things that could cause the same thing. Wait for some of our Honda types to weigh in....
 
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Old 08-11-11, 08:12 AM
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Originally Posted by mitch17 View Post
the one(s) the coolant leaked into will usually be really clean.
Along those lines, you can try pulling the spark plugs for inspection; the cylinder(s) eating coolant will often have spark plug porcelain that looks like brand new due to the steam cleaning effect in the cylinder.
 
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Old 08-11-11, 08:15 AM
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Not to argue with Vic, but actually there are some newer technology products that can be poured in. I haven't tried any myself, but I've heard talk that some of them are quite good at fixing minor head gasket blowouts. They are not really intended for a newer, higher value car, but might be worth looking into on a vehicle where head gasket replacement might exceed the value of the car. No word on the longevity of the fix. Maybe Mythbusters will try it sometime.

I don't recall ever hearing anyone mention anything besides a head gasket on Hondas. Any Honda experts out there?
 
  #20  
Old 08-11-11, 12:01 PM
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I pulled spark plugs this morning and found #3 has water and oil mixed. I will open up engine this weekend to check. I don't know whether I can get off stubborn timing belt adjusting nut this time or not, see my other posting http://www.doityourself.com/forum/pa...lt-change.html. Any tips from anyone for this nut and changing head gasket?
 
  #21  
Old 08-11-11, 03:54 PM
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I would stay away from those pour in fixes. I had a coolant leak on my truck, and didn't really have the time to fix it, and didn't want to be out there in the middle of winter doing it any way. So I bought some bars leak. It sealed the leak, and everything else. Within a week, I had no heat, and the truck started over heating. That bars leak, cost me a new heater core, and radiator. Bottom line is, the right fix, is better than a quick fix, and most of the time cheaper in the long run.
 
  #22  
Old 08-12-11, 09:25 PM
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I bought 6-point wrench & use Liquid Wrench's penetration oil and still can't get this timing belt adjusting nut off. I even used torch to heat it, but didn't heat it to long. The bolt is 14mm. I am wondering is it just like regular bolt to get it off by counter clockwise direction? The 14mm 6-point wrench rounded bolt's edges and I am totally out of any idea to get it off. Please help!
 
  #23  
Old 08-17-11, 05:44 PM
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Took off head and inspected head gasket last weekend. The head gasket looks good to me. No sign of crack or broken. However, cylinder #2 and #3 have some coolant and piston are cleaner than #1 and #4. I ordered head gasket, intake manifold gasket, and plenum gasket. I will install them on this weekend and will report back with result later.
 
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Old 08-18-11, 04:21 AM
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Get the head out to a machine shop first for a throrough inspection including that the head surface is flat and not warped. Be a shame having to repeat the job.
 
  #25  
Old 08-22-11, 11:13 AM
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I didn't have head inspected by machine shop before I put back head with new head gasket and torque to 78 lb-ft (1st. 29 lb-ft, 2nd. 51 lb-ft, and 3rd. 78 lb-ft) base on spec. Engine can now start easily, but found white smoke come out from engine. I open engine oil filter cap and white smoke is in there, too. The engine dip stick seems to have water (coolant) in it. I guess coolant is now leaking into engine oil passage. Can anyone tell me what I should do next? Should I just open up again without removing intake and exhaust manifolds, loose head bolts and re-tie head bolts with proper sequence and torque again? Or, should I just tie these head bolts more torque (how much?)? Please help!
 
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Old 08-22-11, 01:22 PM
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Warped or cracked head still possible. Retorquing probably not an option; don't know about Hondas, but most head bolts are one-time use.

Did you mention somwhere earlier if this was V6 or 4 cylinder?
 
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Old 08-22-11, 01:42 PM
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Replacing a gasket w/o having the head inspected (and possibly a valve job)is a waste of time and money.
Did you loosen and tighten the bolts in the correct order?

TG...I think that only came with a 4.
 
  #28  
Old 08-22-11, 02:57 PM
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This is V4. The repair manual didn't say replacing with new bolts. I loosen and tigthen in correct order base on repair manual. However, repair manual says to loosen 1/3 turn at a time in sequence until all bolts are loosened, I may not loosen bolts at 1/3 turn at a time. The required torque is 78 lb-ft. What if I torque to say 80 or 82 lb-ft, would that works?
 
  #29  
Old 08-22-11, 04:30 PM
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Just found out from repair manual. The correct sequence of removal head is "Exhaust Manifold" -> "Cylinder Head" -> "Intake Manifold". I did it with "Intake Manifold" -> "Exhaust Manifold" -> "Cylinder Head". The installation is reverse order of removal. Since I did it in wrong order for removal, the installation was also in wrong order. Does it really matter?
 
  #30  
Old 08-24-11, 11:25 AM
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I loosen Intake Manifold supporting bracket bolt under car only and tighten Cylinder Head bolts to 88 ft-lb in sequence with 2 ft-lb increment from 78 ft-lb. After this, leaking seems went away. No signs of white smoke from engine or exhaust pipe. However, I noticed it is slower of changing gear (about 1-2 seconds delay when changing from 2 to 3 and 3 to 4 gears). Also notice during this delay time, I push gas pedal harder and engine rpm doesn't seem to raise up and car doesn't seem to accelerate until gear changed. Before changing Head Gasket, car had a little hard to shift from 'P' to 'R' or 'R' to 'P', but doesn't have changing gear problem or shifting between other gears. Could this changing gear problem caused by timing off? Can any expert here help? Thanks!
 
  #31  
Old 08-29-11, 02:24 PM
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Adjusted timing and fixed slower of changing gear issue.
 
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Old 08-30-11, 04:44 AM
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I wasn't paying attention to the year of the Honda, so your head bolts were probably reuseable. The order of the manifold removal isn't likely to have been a problem. The sequential loosening and tightening would have been more critical. Overall my guess is that you may have some slight warpage on the head and by overtorqueing you've managed (for the time being) to compress the head gasket to the point of overcoming the warpage. Keep in mind, though, that the head bolts are overtorqued by about 10%. Will this cause problems in the future? Anybody's guess.
 
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