Mechanics

OIL CONSUMPTION

2001 Honda Accord • 4 cylinder 2WD Manual • 218,000 miles

I am currently adding a quart every 500 miles. No oil slick under the car, no blue cloud of smoke in the morning, no anti freeze in oil or visa versa, no oil in spark plug holes, See some oil drops hanging off of where bellhousing and engine meet. Engine is running great and quiet! How would I begin to start checking for this issue, I already replaced pcv valve, it wasn't very clogged. Car is almost perfect besides oil leak and drivers side water on floor. Thanx
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Charllie1960
December 19, 2013.



The best approach for this is to add a small bottle of dark purple dye to the oil, then search in a day or two with a black light. The dye will show up as a bright yellow stain that you can follow back to the source. Auto parts stores have the dye and those that rent or borrow tools should have the black light.

Caradiodoc
Dec 19, 2013.
So if it is burning oil, then will I see color at the exhaust pipe?

Tiny
Charllie1960
Dec 19, 2013.
Yup. The dye will survive being burned in the cylinders and will coat the inside of the tail pipe. There are similar dyes for brake fluid and coolant. The engine oil dye will list the other petroleum products it can be used with. As I recall, it can be used with power steering fluid and transmission fluid, but to be sure, it will say right on the front of the bottle. Brake fluid is separate. That's a glycol product and petroleum products must never be allowed to contaminate brake fluid. Another version is available for air conditioning systems but those have to be injected through a service port.

Caradiodoc
Dec 19, 2013.
Wow, at least I will finally know! If it is burning, at 218000, is it worth doing the pistons and valves?

Tiny
Charllie1960
Dec 19, 2013.
I live in Wisconsin where they throw a pound of road salt on an ounce of snow, but my daily driver is a rusty trusty '88 Grand Caravan that refuses to break down. It's probably the last one left in the state. There's well over 400,000 miles on the engine. I regularly drag around a tandem axle enclosed trailer that's bigger than the van, and the transmission fluid and filter have been replaced once since the van was new. I haven't changed the oil in over ten years, (about 90,000 miles). I have to add a quart about every 800 - 1000 miles, so there is always some fresh additives going in that's in that oil. Obviously I'm not suggesting you or anyone else do that. That's not neglect; it's abuse, but I did it to show my students what some engines are capable of.

Given the miles and the rust, my van is worth nothing to anyone except me and the salvage yards, but if I had to, I'd stick a few thousand dollars into it because it has been so reliable. When looking at the cost of repairs, too many people look at the value of the car to decide if it's worth it. That is only important if you're planning on selling it. I've always kept my cars until they just won't go any more. If someone says they had an $800.00 repair bill, which is typical every six months for a GM product, they're angry if it's a ten-year-old car, but they don't seem to mind if it's a two-year-old car. To me that's silly. It's 800 bucks regardless of the make, year, or model.

Now, if you're planning on selling the car, and you think you're going to get more for it if you fix everything that's wrong with it, of course you have to look at what you can get for it. Fixing problems before trading it in to a dealer is always a bad idea because you won't get any more for it. Selling it privately is a different story. In your case, if you plan on keeping the car and you like it, I'd say fix whatever it needs to stop the oil consumption, but consider the whole picture. The two things that can cause oil to be burned are worn oil control piston rings and dry-rotted valve guide seals. On all of my Chrysler engines the valve guide seals can be replaced right on the car without removing the cylinder heads. Most imports require special tools to remove the valve springs, and those require the head to be removed. You'll be doing a cylinder head gasket then too. Then you might as well do the timing belt since it will have to come off. Honda engines are pretty well-known for the timing belt replacement interval being listed as every 75,000 miles, and they commonly break at 65,000 miles. If yours is an interference engine, as most imports are, you'll have bent valves. That's the perfect time to take care of everything including the valve stem seals.

If you're going to do piston rings, you'll have the connecting rods out so you might as well do the bearings right away. New rings won't seat and seal properly unless you hone the cylinder walls. The head will be off. Now you're a good percentage done with a total rebuild. A couple bucks for a quart of oil every few weeks is starting to look pretty good.

Also, before we get too wrapped up in costs, I'm not convinced you need seals or rings. You observed oil at the back of the engine. That suggests a rear main seal. You have a manual transmission so you know you're going to need a clutch disc sooner or later. That's the time to replace that seal because both operations require removing the transmission. You mentioned you were checking for an oil slick under your car. To leave a puddle would be to leak a real lot more than a quart every 500 miles. You might try adding a seal conditioner additive to see if that will slow the leak down, but beyond that, do the dye test first so we know for sure what's causing the oil loss. Be aware too that different brands of oil have different additives. It's pretty common for one brand to cause a real bad leak, and switching back to your previous brand slows or stops the leak. That's because some of those additives aren't compatible with each other.

Caradiodoc
Dec 19, 2013.
Great answer to a pretty vague question! I, like you, get my vehicles up to 400,000 or better, I had a 92 accord that went to 400,000, my four runner is at 245,000, and my 88 Silverado is at 200,000. I am going to keep this accord and like you have said, I can keep fresh oil in her all of the time, just keep changing filter though.

The clutch is new and tranny gone through very smooth, new hydraulics on the clutch, so I probably will wait till next clutch before doing rear main seal. I just did the clutch, rear main seal, oil pan seal, oil cooler on four runner, I need a break.

Did you read my posting just before this one, for a 94 four runner that just stopped power while idling, after I removed the burned up heater control. I cannot think where to start looking for fried parts. The ig/ecu fuse was blown and I replaced it but nothing.

Tiny
Charllie1960
Dec 19, 2013.
I did read that post but that is not in my area of expertise. Automotive electrical is one of the specialty areas I taught, but beyond the basics, my experience is with Chrysler products. I can share some ideas that may be related though, that might give some things to look for.

There is very little that can go wrong in any computer that will cause it to blow a fuse, other than connecting the battery backward. When any fuse labeled "ignition", "ECU", "fuel injection", or anything like that, blows, it is almost always due to something the computer is turning on that is grounded or shorted. A perfect example would be when a wiring harness falls down onto hot exhaust parts and the wire feeding the oxygen sensor heaters melts through and grounds out. That circuit on Chryslers also feeds the ignition coil(s), injectors, alternator field, and fuel pump or pump relay. Too many people get stuck on the lack of fuel pressure and change the pump. If they would have gone further and found no spark, they might have looked for what was in common, and that blown fuse.

In this case that fuse isn't in a circuit that feeds the Engine Computer, but it DOES feed the automatic shutdown relay which is turned on by the computer.

The melted switch you found is caused by arced and pitted contacts that get hot, especially when you use the fan on the higher speeds a lot. That heat further degrades the contacts which causes them to have more resistance which causes more heat buildup. I don't see how that can be related to the no-start condition you have now unless a wire got pulled loose that you didn't see or something got pinched when you put it back together and is causing a fuse to blow. I didn't see that question in the list and I can't remember for sure, but seems to me you said the new fuse blows too. A simple trick to finding a short is to replace the blown fuse with a pair of spade terminals, then use small jumper wires to connect them to a 12 volt light bulb. A brake light bulb works well. When the circuit is live and the short is present, the bulb will be full brightness and hot so be sure it's not laying on the carpet or against a plastic door panel. Now you can unplug electrical connectors and move things around to see what makes the short go away. When it does, the bulb will get dim or go out.

Caradiodoc
Dec 20, 2013.
Thank you for reply, The fuse has not blown since I installed it again, but there has been now power to the system to blow it. I was reading another thread and noticed that there is a fuse and relay and resistor pack that I think may be blown. That would be great if that is the problem, I will let you kn0w later.

Tiny
Charllie1960
Dec 20, 2013.