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1996 Accord overheats when idling


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CarDriver44
New User

Aug 15, 2013, 6:03 PM

Post #1 of 10 (1298 views)
1996 Accord overheats when idling Sign In

1996 Accord, 4 cylinder, ~160k miles


What would happen initially is that the car would overheat anytime it was idling; at red lights, in traffic, etc, but when moving again would go back down to normal. I know I should have stopped driving the car immediately at this point, but alas I didn't. Gradually though, the temperature stopped going back down to normal and only went down slightly, for all intents and purposes it's now always overheated (No, I'm not driving it anymore). Oil and coolant are fine.

From what I understand it's quite possibly a broken water pump, but I would like to hear what others might think.


(This post was edited by CarDriver44 on Aug 15, 2013, 6:04 PM)


Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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Aug 15, 2013, 6:25 PM

Post #2 of 10 (1290 views)
Re: 1996 Accord overheats when idling Sign In

Were fans just not coming on? Water pumps can corrode impellers and work better at some RPM but more likely the airflow of moving cooled it instead.

How did you check the coolant? Just the recovery bottle or know it's full inside radiator and engine?

When you say "overheat" do you mean it boiled over or just gauge was in a warning area?

Chances are so far that head gasket has let go and putting combustion gasses into cooling system and it won't cool itself with gasses in there but probably started with lack of fan to begin with.

Test for a head gasket,

T



Hammer Time
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Aug 15, 2013, 6:56 PM

Post #3 of 10 (1281 views)
Re: 1996 Accord overheats when idling Sign In

My money is on a fan problem.



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CarDriver44
New User

Aug 15, 2013, 7:07 PM

Post #4 of 10 (1277 views)
Re: 1996 Accord overheats when idling Sign In

When I say overheat, I'm referring to the gauge, and it goes past the warning area when idling. As far as the coolant, I was only talking about the recovery bottle.


For whatever it's worth: In the past the car would not overheat if I simply started it and left it in park. It had to be driven before it would overheat while idling. That's no longer the case, although it takes a while to get there.


Thanks for the help so far guys. I'm terrible when it comes to cars, any advice on what tests I can conduct myself to troubleshoot the problem?


Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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Aug 15, 2013, 7:33 PM

Post #5 of 10 (1272 views)
Re: 1996 Accord overheats when idling Sign In

You need to observe fan(s) working. If (some don't) this has a radiator cap on radiator check that it's full there - cold engine with no pressure in system checking that.

If not it's harder to know it's really full. If heater doesn't work when warmed up enough that's a sign of it being too low on coolant unseen just by a recovery tank.

You said the problem changed from only at idle, stops and now all the time. Air isn't blowing by fan or gasses have displaced liquid coolant, a must for cars in general.

Gasses can get into system by blown gaskets or even a crack. Unknown right now. If found low the question is why and overheating can blow coolant to ground and you might not have noticed?

Personally have never known a water pump not to pump at all so long as it turns.

Some things to test if found low on coolant is to pressure test, test vapors over coolant even at recovery tank for exhaust fumes and a list of things but let's wait a bit.

If fan(s) do not work you need to begin there and if very lucky fixing that just might be the end of it. Can't know without some testing and observations while it's doing it but don't let it get too hot again even testing things out,

T



CarDriver44
New User

Aug 18, 2013, 7:47 AM

Post #6 of 10 (1231 views)
Re: 1996 Accord overheats when idling Sign In

So I took the car to the mechanic to see what the problem was. He said it was probably a head-gasket problem, that it would cost over $1000 to fix (money I'm not willing to put into this car at this point as I need to get a new car in the near future anyway). Perhaps this forum frowns upon stuff like this, but I found a product by the name of K-seal that I'm going to try (I've got nothing to lose at this point) and see if that helps.


My question: There was no coolant in the radiator, but the reservoir was full. Any ideas as to why that would happen?


Discretesignals
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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Aug 18, 2013, 10:03 AM

Post #7 of 10 (1227 views)
Re: 1996 Accord overheats when idling Sign In

Did the mechanic verify that the cooling fans were operational. If the headgasket is blown, inop fans could have been the cause.





Since we volunteer our time and knowledge, we ask for you to please follow up when a problem is resolved.

(This post was edited by Discretesignals on Aug 18, 2013, 10:05 AM)


Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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Aug 18, 2013, 10:34 AM

Post #8 of 10 (1220 views)
Re: 1996 Accord overheats when idling Sign In

If you are giving up on the car anyway go ahead and try a sealer but don't expect it to work despite claims on containers.
The reservoir is full and engine low to empty as it requires it to be air tight which it isn't. It blows coolant out to reservoir and sucks back air if not right. Pressure cap can be faulty too and can be tested.

AYOR with sealers. Chance it makes things worse right away and may lose heater if needed till you dump this car,

T



CarDriver44
New User

Aug 18, 2013, 12:07 PM

Post #9 of 10 (1215 views)
Re: 1996 Accord overheats when idling Sign In

Thanks once again for the information. I know almost nothing about cars and I appreciate being taught some things.

I certainly wouldn't use a product like that if I didn't plan on getting a new car in the near future, but at this point it doesn't make sense for me to put a lot of money into this car. Out of curiosity, what would the sealer potentially do to cause loss of the heater?


(This post was edited by CarDriver44 on Aug 18, 2013, 1:27 PM)


Discretesignals
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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Aug 18, 2013, 12:38 PM

Post #10 of 10 (1213 views)
Re: 1996 Accord overheats when idling Sign In







Since we volunteer our time and knowledge, we ask for you to please follow up when a problem is resolved.






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