86 Acura Legend Overheating, do I have a blown headgasket?

I have a 1986 Acura Legend, with a mileage of about 224800, it's an automatic with front wheel drive. I'm having a overheating problem, I've gone through replacing all of the hoses, because one by one they have all blown. I replaced the condenser fan, which was not functional when I got the car. I also replaced the oil temperature sensor (The new part ended up being smaller than the original, Napa told me that it didn't matter.)

It's overheating on a regular basis now, and i'm not sure where to go at this point. I think maybe the head gasket is blown, but I'm really not sure.

I have to add coolant about every other day. I don't see any leaks, but it needs it. The oil is not milky or gray. But it has always eaten oil.

After driving on the freeway for about 30 miles, it'll get hot if I hit any traffic or get off the freeway. I can usually do city driving alright, but if I take the freeway for 10 miles then get off and do some city driving it'll overheat.

When it does, the overflow reservoir is full of boiling water, and a few times the lid has blown off. I can usually, let it cool down, and add new fluid, and it runs fine for the duration of my trip.

When I shut the car off while its overheating, there will usually be a small but steady amount of steam from the tailpipe. Occasionally after this it will be hard to start, and when it does start there is a huge cloud of coolant steam will blow out the tailpipe, which dissipate after I reach about 30mph. When this happens the car is running really rough until I get to 30, then runs fine for the rest of the day.

I'm not sure if it's related, and I doubt it is, but the distributer cap has recently started making a grinding noise.

Should I replace the head gasket? Is there a cheaper or easier alternative to that? I'm a student, living on a very fixed income, and I dont plan on having the car much longer. Thanks!
Do you
have the same problem?
Saturday, September 8th, 2007 AT 5:24 PM

1 Reply

You are at a make or break time with the car. This could be a head gasket or something a little further down. It is definetly engine related and my guess is that the head is warped or cracked. If you want to stand the expense of repairing it is your call. I am just confirming your fears.
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Monday, September 10th, 2007 AT 10:03 AM

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