Blown Head Gasket or Cracked Block? - Drive Accord Honda Forums | radio-pro.ru
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post #1 of 10 Old 08-13-2014, 01:17 AM Thread Starter
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Exclamation Blown Head Gasket or Cracked Block?

Hey all, I just bought a 2001 Honda Accord from a private party a couple weeks ago. I took it about 400 miles a week after I bought it for a little road trip. I made sure all the fluids were filled and topped off. But about 3 days after I got back to my hometown. I pulled into work Saturday morning and saw that my engine had white smoke. So I popped the hood and I had a very tiny slit in my upper radiator hose, and that was shooting anti-freeze all over my engine causing the smoke. But I then looked at my coolant reservoir and it was filled with the brown stuff. Looked like a very watery peanut butter. Very thick. I am not sure what it could be, I was told it is most likely a blown head gasket. My transmission oil is still red and fine, as well as my oil still brown and not peanut butter looking at all. The car did not shoot out white exhaust and it did not ever over heat. So I am quite puzzled on what this issue is. It ran smooth and had a strong engine. It is a 2001 Honda Accord 4-cylinder vtec with 160,000 miles on it. As far as I know everything mechanically is stock.

Any suggestions on what it could be? My mechanic said he would fix the head gasket for around $700-800.

here are some pictures,



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post #2 of 10 Old 08-13-2014, 06:23 AM
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Welcome to Drive Accord. Nice first post with informative pics....

It is always a good idea to change (not just top off) all fluids as soon as you purchase a used car. This is because you don't really know what is in there.

The previous owner could have added fluids improperly, or added fluids at Jiffy Lube which may not have reacted well with existing fluid. I've seen people mix full strength Ford coolant with Honda's blue coolant- it is not pretty.

That being said- it looks like cross contamination. Before you spend huge money, be honest- does the car misfire? Any check engine light? Can you go to Pep Boys/Advance Auto/Autozone, etc and ask them to pull your codes (it is free and takes 2 minutes)?

If the car is running fine, and there are no codes, I would probably change the coolant out using Honda's drain and fill procedure. I would use Honda coolant. If this brown stuff reappears in a day or two then most likely you have a crack or blown head gasket whereby the oil is mixing with the coolant. If not, then it was "user error" where someone put something in there they should not have.

You can also send a small oil sample in to an oil analysis place like Blackstone labs. For under $30, they will tell you exactly what is in your oil. If they detect certain metals- it could indicate certain failures, etc. Coolant? Well that means your oil and coolant are mixing so something is blown or cracked.

When you bought the car, what color was the coolant? Was it blue, green, or red?


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post #3 of 10 Old 08-13-2014, 07:26 AM Thread Starter
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Hmmm.

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Originally Posted by RickBlaine View Post
Welcome to Drive Accord. Nice first post with informative pics....

It is always a good idea to change (not just top off) all fluids as soon as you purchase a used car. This is because you don't really know what is in there.

The previous owner could have added fluids improperly, or added fluids at Jiffy Lube which may not have reacted well with existing fluid. I've seen people mix full strength Ford coolant with Honda's blue coolant- it is not pretty.

That being said- it looks like cross contamination. Before you spend huge money, be honest- does the car misfire? Any check engine light? Can you go to Pep Boys/Advance Auto/Autozone, etc and ask them to pull your codes (it is free and takes 2 minutes)?

If the car is running fine, and there are no codes, I would probably change the coolant out using Honda's drain and fill procedure. I would use Honda coolant. If this brown stuff reappears in a day or two then most likely you have a crack or blown head gasket whereby the oil is mixing with the coolant. If not, then it was "user error" where someone put something in there they should not have.

You can also send a small oil sample in to an oil analysis place like Blackstone labs. For under $30, they will tell you exactly what is in your oil. If they detect certain metals- it could indicate certain failures, etc. Coolant? Well that means your oil and coolant are mixing so something is blown or cracked.

When you bought the car, what color was the coolant? Was it blue, green, or red?
The car didn't pull up any codes at all, so no check engine light. The sludge did make it into my hoses which I had to replace because there was an excessive amount. The coolant was green that I topped off before I went on my trip. The car never over heated or shift weird. But one morning when I did start it I heard an extra sound (I listen to my car carefully) and it sounded like something popped but the engine started up. As I sat there I heard am extra squeaking sound like a belt was loose or something. I'm not quite sure if I have a cracked block or a bad head gasket, but my mechanic said he would do the gasket for 800 but it's not guaranteed this will be the solution.
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post #4 of 10 Old 08-13-2014, 03:52 PM
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I hope for $800 your mechanic was going to have the head checked for cracks and replace all the valve guide seals, and replace any guides that need to be fixed. In general rebuild the head and have it machined flat. Also check the block to make sure it is flat as well, flush the cooling system and replace all the hoses.

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post #5 of 10 Old 08-13-2014, 04:57 PM
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Agreed about machining the head flat. It may look good when put back together, but any imperfection will show itself within 1,000 miles.

OP, I guess I am trying to be too optimistic here...I have a friend with a 2001 Mercury Grand Marquis, and his coolant was just like yours. Very common issue on the Ford 4.6 liter is a cracked intake manifold (it's Ford quality plastic!) and oil in the coolant- so that is what I thought it was. But we had extra Prestone lying about, and did a drain, flush, and re-fill. Turned out the previous owner's widow added oil to the coolant. That was all.
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post #6 of 10 Old 08-13-2014, 09:15 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greg1c View Post
I hope for $800 your mechanic was going to have the head checked for cracks and replace all the valve guide seals, and replace any guides that need to be fixed. In general rebuild the head and have it machined flat. Also check the block to make sure it is flat as well, flush the cooling system and replace all the hoses.
He is just going to replace and resurface the head gasket as well as replace the hoses and flush the cooling system.. Do you think it could be anything else other than the head gasket? Because I never got white smoke, never over heated and never lost coolant or oil/

Quote:
Originally Posted by RickBlaine View Post
Agreed about machining the head flat. It may look good when put back together, but any imperfection will show itself within 1,000 miles.

OP, I guess I am trying to be too optimistic here...I have a friend with a 2001 Mercury Grand Marquis, and his coolant was just like yours. Very common issue on the Ford 4.6 liter is a cracked intake manifold (it's Ford quality plastic!) and oil in the coolant- so that is what I thought it was. But we had extra Prestone lying about, and did a drain, flush, and re-fill. Turned out the previous owner's widow added oil to the coolant. That was all.
Ah, well, it was owned by the previous owners grand mother. She may have put the wrong fluids in elsewhere. But wouldn't it have showed up earlier? Aside from that, do you think it could be a blown or cracked head gasket? Or am I looking at something bigger/worse.
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post #7 of 10 Old 06-22-2015, 04:29 PM
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HI,
Have similar problem with my 2001 accord, F23a1 with manual trannsmission. First I replaced the head gasket, ran OK for two months, then started seeing teaspoon of oil in overflow bottle each 50 miles. At what rate does a porous block leak? Lots? Or is it a slow leak like what I am seeing?
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post #8 of 10 Old 10-06-2015, 01:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hernst View Post
HI,
Have similar problem with my 2001 accord, F23a1 with manual trannsmission. First I replaced the head gasket, ran OK for two months, then started seeing teaspoon of oil in overflow bottle each 50 miles. At what rate does a porous block leak? Lots? Or is it a slow leak like what I am seeing?
I have had a very similar problem…98 Accord F23A1 engine with oil in radiator reservoir, but no radiator fluid in oil. Engine light on no over heating until recently. Thinking the block has a crack in it letting the high pressure oil into the antifreeze, but not visa versa. Anyone out there with same experience? How did you fix the problem? Thanks.
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post #9 of 10 Old 10-06-2015, 06:13 PM
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If you have a blown head gasket you might expect to see coolant contamination of your oil also. How does the oil look? I agree with jay above about making sure you start out with fresh fluids. Its possible somebody put oil right into your radiator if they didn't know what they were doing.
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post #10 of 10 Old 10-07-2015, 05:48 AM
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A porous block can not be repaired, and would have to be replaced. The issues to get oil in coolant or vice versa are the following.

1. Cracked head
2. Blown head gasket
3. Porous block
4. Cracked block
5. Wrong fluid put in coolant or oil.

Repairs depend on what's wrong, and can be expensive.
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Current Honda vehicles
2010 Acura RDX Turbo AWD/Tech 67k miles - Daily Driver
2013 Accord EX-L I4 Auto 53k miles Black Pearl - Wife's car
2005 Acura TSX Auto 208k miles - Youngest Daughter
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Former Honda Vehicles
2001 Acura MDX Totaled t223k
1991 Accord LX auto sold 185k miles
1995 GSR sold miles
1991 Civic SI Crushed by a tree during a tornado 1997
1989 Prelude SI soldr miles
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