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TOV Forums > EL/CSX > > Re: 2003 EL Engine overhearing (?) & no inside heat

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danytancou
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2003 EL Engine overhearing (?) & no inside heat    (Score: 1, Normal) 01-13-2015 15:33
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Hi all,

This is my first post here, so I will be as brief as possible. My 2003 EL 1.7 with just over 186,000Km has the following problem:

- after about 5 min of driving (after leaving it in somewhat-heated garage in Toronto overnight), the temp gauge goes to normal (just below half)
- after another 5-7 minutes, it starts to go above normal
- after driving for 20-25 minutes the temp gauge is almost at max/red (so I stop driving for a few minutes)
- this happens regardless of whether or not I turn the heat on
- this even happens when it's really cold out (i.e. at -25C)
- throughout the 20-25 min drive (city only, no highway) there is no heat in the car, except randomly, for a minute or two--but not during every drive


Here is how it got to this point:

- 5-6 weeks ago I noticed that the heat wasn't working right; this got a bit worse with every drive
- a week or so after that I noticed the temp gauge going above normal
- another week after, the temp gauge went to red for the first time, so I stopped to let it cool down and then took it to a shop where they replaced the thermostat for $200
- this didn't fix the problem so I took it back a couple of days later; they told me there was a lot of air in the cooling system, so they bled it all out
- this didn't fix the problem either, so now it's in the shop for the third time, and they're telling me the water pump is gone, so they want to replace it, together with the timing belt and the coolant sensor, for $800

I *think* (not sure tho) they also said that the pressure inside the cooling system is fine... does that make sense? If true, wouldn't that indicate that the water pump is fine and only the coolant sensor is gone? (Is it not the coolant sensor that provides data to the temp gauge?)


I should also mention that the water pump and timing belt were replaced about 2.5-3 years ago, at around 105,000Km. (I have the bill for this work from the previous owner at home, I just can't recall the date but do recall the mileage.)


If anyone has any opinions here, or advice, I would really appreciate it. I'm thinking of taking it elsewhere, for a second opinion.. if I do, should I mention that I'm coming from another shop or just play dumb, describe the problem and let them figure it out?


Thanks so much in advance!

Dany

typer_801
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Re: 2003 EL Engine overhearing (?) & no inside heat    (Score: 1, Normal) 01-13-2015 16:38
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If the waterpump has failed, then replacing the timing belt probably makes sense since they remove the timing belt to replace the waterpump anyway. There's no additional labor since everything is already off.

Pressure would likely be fine if the coolant level was full, it would only be high with too little coolant present (too much air), so sounds reasonable to me.

$800 seems a little steep to me for the cost. My local Honda dealer charges $399 plus waterpump, tensioner and any accessory belts. Waterump shouldn't be more than $100 retail.

Joe Morgan Honda Service Specials

And since they misdiagnosed on the first two times in the shop, should give you a break on this repair too, particularly for stuff like the coolant which they'll charge you for a second time.



Nick GravesX
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Re: 2003 EL Engine overhearing (?) & no inside heat    (Score: 1, Normal) 01-13-2015 19:37
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I reckon your radiator core (or heater matrix) may be sludged.

You could try flushing the system.

Any poor running/white smoke to suggest head gasket failure?

A new cam belt is about 12/$/ so don't even ask...never re-tighten one.

Nick GravesX
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Re: 2003 EL Engine overhearing (?) & no inside heat    (Score: 1, Normal) 01-13-2015 19:44
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The other weird one is where your coolant hoses might have broken down internally - they look OK, but a flap of rubber acts as a butterfly valve. Time for a whole set of ricey blue ones?

Try squeezing them when it's cold & see if any feel weak.

NoBrainer
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Re: 2003 EL Engine overhearing (?) & no inside heat    (Score: 1, Normal) 01-13-2015 19:46
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Any chance you can ask around for recommendation of a better shop?
Grace141
Profile for Grace141
Re: 2003 EL Engine overhearing (?) & no inside heat    (Score: 1, Normal) 01-13-2015 22:06
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I'd think a failing water pump would sound like a concrete mixer or it would be pouring coolant onto the pavement. A problem with the heater failing to warm the car and then soon afterward the engine overheating makes me think of a failed thermostat, or even a thermostat installed upside down but I don't think that's possible on the Civic.

I'd check:

- The radiator, hoses, and coolant in the expansion tank are all hot when the engine temp hits the top of the gauge. Be careful doing that.
- No smoke from anywhere. No leaks.
- The engine runs correctly with the normal amount of power on the road.

I think I'd take the car to a trusted Honda dealership service department.

And I hate to say this but a Google search just now turned up dozens of comments about failed head gaskets in that series of Civics with most of the folks saying there were no visible signs of the failure other than the engine overheating.

meyerk9
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Re: 2003 EL Engine overhearing (?) & no inside heat    (Score: 1, Normal) 01-14-2015 00:17
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Headgasket. The D17s have been known for headgasket issues. I've done quite a few myself.
JP
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Re: 2003 EL Engine overhearing (?) & no inside heat    (Score: 1, Normal) 01-14-2015 01:51
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Change the thermostat, is stick...
Grace141
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Re: 2003 EL Engine overhearing (?) & no inside heat    (Score: 1, Normal) 01-14-2015 06:31
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meyerk9 wrote:
Headgasket. The D17s have been known for headgasket issues. I've done quite a few myself.

The one odd part is not having heat in the car but it's possible a passage is blocked, the gasket leak is pressurizing the heater core, or something. The head gasket repair should include a proper check of the head for flatness by a trusted shop. I did find a couple of comments about using a newer design gasket - I suspect the Honda part was updated at some point.

danytancou
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Re: 2003 EL Engine overhearing (?) & no inside heat    (Score: 1, Normal) 01-14-2015 12:08
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Hi everyone,

Thank you so much for all this information!! I really, really appreciate your replies..

One thing I failed to mention yesterday was that the water pump was replaced (for the second time in the lifetime of the car) at 161,000Km, so the chances of it failing 45,000Km later are small... right? Plus, there are absolutely no odd noises or anything from the engine (it sounds like it always did) and no coolant leaks (nothing beyond a few drops after they did the thermostat work).

The thermostat was already replaced as I said (this was the first and only thing done for this problem), but the fact that so many of you mentioned it again makes me think that maybe I got a dud, and the shop didn't think to re-check that (probably figuring "it's new, so it's fine"). I don't know what I'm gonna do if that turns out to be it.. it's not exactly as if I can go back to this shop and ask for at least part of my $200 back--although I should, because I did pay them that, and the car is the same. I never got a receipt though (paid in cash). .. Ah, screw it, and let that be my only loss here. (I hope they choke on it though! :)

The Head Gasket is likely not the problem, because I don't see any white smoke.. is that the only symptom though?

The only thing different about the engine is that it seems to rev a little higher than normal, and the idle speed is a bit higher too, but I attribute that to the cold, because after 5-10 minutes of driving, my RPMs are more or less what they used to be.


Yea, I'm taking it to a shop that belongs to a friend of a friend, who worked at Honda for a long time, and now has his own shop where he only fixes Hondas and Acuras... I think I would call that a "trusted shop", and with so much experience, I am sure the mechanic will know exactly what to check, and will check EVERYTHING. :)


Thanks again, everyone!

Dany


Nick GravesX
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Re: 2003 EL Engine overhearing (?) & no inside heat    (Score: 1, Normal) 01-14-2015 12:57
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Thermostats are usually designed to fail open; the wax solidifying is what closes them against a spring. So a failed thermostat would result in an interminably long warm-up. Yet you state the car warms up quickly before & after, so no change there. Unless it's a cheap crap non-oem, I suppose...

Similarly a genuine Honda water pump should be fine.

I'd google the HGFs - if that engine's only real symptom is overheating (ie, the combustion gases are blowing into the cooling system, but no real loss of compression) and the hole disappears the other way, meaning coolant isn't being drawn into the pots as they cool, there may be little external sign other than the coolant getting too hot.

Good luck - these things can be difficult to trace sometimes.




meyerk9
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Re: 2003 EL Engine overhearing (?) & no inside heat    (Score: 1, Normal) 01-14-2015 13:34
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danytancou wrote:
Hi everyone,

Thank you so much for all this information!! I really, really appreciate your replies..

One thing I failed to mention yesterday was that the water pump was replaced (for the second time in the lifetime of the car) at 161,000Km, so the chances of it failing 45,000Km later are small... right? Plus, there are absolutely no odd noises or anything from the engine (it sounds like it always did) and no coolant leaks (nothing beyond a few drops after they did the thermostat work).

The thermostat was already replaced as I said (this was the first and only thing done for this problem), but the fact that so many of you mentioned it again makes me think that maybe I got a dud, and the shop didn't think to re-check that (probably figuring "it's new, so it's fine"). I don't know what I'm gonna do if that turns out to be it.. it's not exactly as if I can go back to this shop and ask for at least part of my $200 back--although I should, because I did pay them that, and the car is the same. I never got a receipt though (paid in cash). .. Ah, screw it, and let that be my only loss here. (I hope they choke on it though! :)

The Head Gasket is likely not the problem, because I don't see any white smoke.. is that the only symptom though?

The only thing different about the engine is that it seems to rev a little higher than normal, and the idle speed is a bit higher too, but I attribute that to the cold, because after 5-10 minutes of driving, my RPMs are more or less what they used to be.


Yea, I'm taking it to a shop that belongs to a friend of a friend, who worked at Honda for a long time, and now has his own shop where he only fixes Hondas and Acuras... I think I would call that a "trusted shop", and with so much experience, I am sure the mechanic will know exactly what to check, and will check EVERYTHING. :)


Thanks again, everyone!

Dany



I've never had them have white smoke out the exhaust when the head gaskets fail on those Civic's. As a matter of fact, I had one about a week and a half ago with the exact same symptoms. I put a head gasket in it. Very common on those engines.

danytancou
Profile for danytancou
Re: 2003 EL Engine overhearing (?) & no inside heat    (Score: 1, Normal) 01-14-2015 13:44
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Nick GravesX wrote:
Thermostats are usually designed to fail open; the wax solidifying is what closes them against a spring. So a failed thermostat would result in an interminably long warm-up. Yet you state the car warms up quickly before & after, so no change there. Unless it's a cheap crap non-oem, I suppose...

Similarly a genuine Honda water pump should be fine.

I'd google the HGFs - if that engine's only real symptom is overheating (ie, the combustion gases are blowing into the cooling system, but no real loss of compression) and the hole disappears the other way, meaning coolant isn't being drawn into the pots as they cool, there may be little external sign other than the coolant getting too hot.

Good luck - these things can be difficult to trace sometimes.






Thanks again, Nick! I will make sure to speak to the new mechanic about all this! :)

danytancou
Profile for danytancou
Re: 2003 EL Engine overhearing (?) & no inside heat    (Score: 1, Normal) 01-14-2015 13:53
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meyerk9 wrote:
I've never had them have white smoke out the exhaust when the head gaskets fail on those Civic's. As a matter of fact, I had one about a week and a half ago with the exact same symptoms. I put a head gasket in it. Very common on those engines.


Thanks Meyer! If you don't mind me asking, what is your price for replacing the head gasket?

mad_ox1
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Re: 2003 EL Engine overhearing (?) & no inside heat    (Score: 1, Normal) 01-14-2015 14:06
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I had the same symptoms on my '05, they would be there one day, gone the next. My dealer replaced the thermostat, fluid flushed, etc. After they looked at it (twice) the car would be fine for a month or more, then the same issues would pop up. After a whlie it just went down on power, and ran really rough and stuttering. Ended up having been the gasket. Killed the motor with coolant.
superchg2
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Re: 2003 EL Engine overhearing (?) & no inside heat    (Score: 1, Normal) 01-14-2015 14:11
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Would the coolant show up on the dipstick?
mad_ox1
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Re: 2003 EL Engine overhearing (?) & no inside heat    (Score: 1, Normal) 01-14-2015 15:15
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It should. It had not been there all along (to be fair I don't check it religiously, but this had gone on over the course of a couple oil changes, never mind just a dipstick check), but you can be sure there was plenty of it on the dipstick when the engine started to run horribly.

I would guess it had been pretty close to a month since its last oil change where the oil had appeared to be without contamination.

Of course it is possible that I wasn't observant enough, but considering how obvious the coolant was in the oil at the end, I'm not sure how I could have missed it in the oil all along.

superchg2
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Re: 2003 EL Engine overhearing (?) & no inside heat    (Score: 1, Normal) 01-14-2015 16:20
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danytancou, have you checked your dipstick or oil for coolant?
meyerk9
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Re: 2003 EL Engine overhearing (?) & no inside heat    (Score: 1, Normal) 01-14-2015 17:23
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danytancou wrote:
meyerk9 wrote:
I've never had them have white smoke out the exhaust when the head gaskets fail on those Civic's. As a matter of fact, I had one about a week and a half ago with the exact same symptoms. I put a head gasket in it. Very common on those engines.


Thanks Meyer! If you don't mind me asking, what is your price for replacing the head gasket?




Well, I work at a Honda dealer and we charge $110 an hour. I believe I charged 5.5 hours for the job. The total job was around $850 I believe. If you're near Milwaukee, I'm allowed to do side jobs (although it being an EL I'm guessing you're in Canada. I'd be happy to do it for $50 an hour. :) I also obviously get a decent discount on parts.

The gasket usually fails at a point where it leaks coolant into the combustion chamber (but not fast enough to have white smoke during regular driving... I've never revved on to reline under load to see if it smokes then, though). If you pop the radiator cap you can usually smell exhaust gases in the coolant. They also make co2 testers to test if theres exhaust gases in the coolant.

meyerk9
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Re: 2003 EL Engine overhearing (?) & no inside heat    (Score: 1, Normal) 01-14-2015 17:30
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When you pull the head off, you almost always see one of the tops of the piston "washed" like cylinder #2 is in this picture. The gasket on that picture is already the new one so you can't see the point of failure.


danytancou
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Re: 2003 EL Engine overhearing (?) & no inside heat    (Score: 1, Normal) 01-27-2015 11:26
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Hi everyone,

Thanks so much again for all the responses--and sorry I haven't been able to write back until now. I just wanted to confirm that the Head Gasket is indeed the problem. I took it to a mechanic who's been servicing Hondas and Acuras his whole life, started at Honda and then he opened his own shop and he confirmed this; he's a friend of a friend and therefore I can only assume that I can trust him. I mentally prepared myself for the repair cost based on what you guys mentioned above, so it didn't come as a shock when he told me what it was--CAD$800-1000 all in, which includes resurfacing the cylinder heads.

(@meyer: That said though, I wish I was able to come to you to fix it, but I am indeed in Canada (Toronto), so with the car it that condition, it would have taken me a two days to drive there instead of the normal one.. :)


One last time, thank you so much for all your responses and support, everyone!

Cheers,

Dany

Nick GravesX
Profile for Nick GravesX
Re: 2003 EL Engine overhearing (?) & no inside heat    (Score: 1, Normal) 01-27-2015 12:27
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meyerk9 wrote:
When you pull the head off, you almost always see one of the tops of the piston "washed" like cylinder #2 is in this picture. The gasket on that picture is already the new one so you can't see the point of failure.




That's a useful photo.

Is there a 'normal' spot for failure? It might just be my eyes, but the right front water port on No. 2 looks as if it's been stamped out a bit closer to the bore pressure seal than the others.

meyerk9
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Re: 2003 EL Engine overhearing (?) & no inside heat    (Score: 1, Normal) 01-27-2015 21:35
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Nick GravesX wrote:
meyerk9 wrote:
When you pull the head off, you almost always see one of the tops of the piston "washed" like cylinder #2 is in this picture. The gasket on that picture is already the new one so you can't see the point of failure.




That's a useful photo.

Is there a 'normal' spot for failure? It might just be my eyes, but the right front water port on No. 2 looks as if it's been stamped out a bit closer to the bore pressure seal than the others.



I see what you're looking at there. Didn't notice that. It may be the camera angle. From my experience, when it fails you'll see the black part of the headgasket actually turn silver like the black had worn away. Usually between the coolant and combustion chamber.

I'm glad you got to the bottom of your issue. If you were closer I would have definitely helped you out with it.

Grace141
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Re: 2003 EL Engine overhearing (?) & no inside heat    (Score: 1, Normal) 01-28-2015 06:19
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danytancou wrote:
Hi everyone,

Thanks so much again for all the responses--and sorry I haven't been able to write back until now. I just wanted to confirm that the Head Gasket is indeed the problem. I took it to a mechanic who's been servicing Hondas and Acuras his whole life, started at Honda and then he opened his own shop and he confirmed this; he's a friend of a friend and therefore I can only assume that I can trust him. I mentally prepared myself for the repair cost based on what you guys mentioned above, so it didn't come as a shock when he told me what it was--CAD$800-1000 all in, which includes resurfacing the cylinder heads.

(@meyer: That said though, I wish I was able to come to you to fix it, but I am indeed in Canada (Toronto), so with the car it that condition, it would have taken me a two days to drive there instead of the normal one.. :)


One last time, thank you so much for all your responses and support, everyone!

Cheers,

Dany


The repair should include oil and coolant changes. I'd go ahead with replacing the timing belt, drive belts, and spark plugs for good measure even if they're extra cost items. And I'd probably check the condition of the coolant hoses too. Your Acura should be good to go for some time.

VTEC_Inside
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Re: 2003 EL Engine overhearing (?) & no inside heat    (Score: 1, Normal) 01-28-2015 21:15
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Nick GravesX wrote:
meyerk9 wrote:
When you pull the head off, you almost always see one of the tops of the piston "washed" like cylinder #2 is in this picture. The gasket on that picture is already the new one so you can't see the point of failure.




That's a useful photo.

Is there a 'normal' spot for failure? It might just be my eyes, but the right front water port on No. 2 looks as if it's been stamped out a bit closer to the bore pressure seal than the others.





It was the same cylinder on a Civic we got for my gfs parents... You can see the valves are washed of ash... It hadn't gotten bad on this engine yet, but the tech I took it too had also seen a bunch of these and knew what to look for the second he noticed it was slightly low on coolant.


 
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