1999 Honda Accord. Oil in Coolant

Tiny
ACE786
  • MEMBER
  • 1999 HONDA ACCORD
My car was running just fine until one day I took it in for maintenance. The mechanic told me there was some oil like residue in coolant. The car had never overheated or had any problems. The oil in coolant intensified and I took it in to Richmond Honda dealer to fix. The mechanic opened up the engine and replaced head gasket and had the upper part of engine tested for cracks or damage. After the job was done, the mechanic mentioned that he didn't really see any problems at the head gasket level. Two months later, the same problem is occurring and now the mechanic is saying that there could be a problem with the head cylinder or the engine block. Could this be true and if so should he not have addressed it when he had the engine open? Is the dealership sidetracking and if so what can I do as a consumer in British Columbia, Canada? Please help.
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Friday, March 23rd, 2007 AT 12:12 AM

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Tiny
BRUCE HUNT
  • EXPERT
Tough question. I find it hard to fault the dealership. The color of the oily mixture is black/brown and green? Not any red? Transmission is an automatic? I ask that because the radiator could also be the problem. Car runs fine?

One of the last things you would suspect is that the block would crack or have a problem causing the mixture of oil in to the coolant.
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Monday, March 26th, 2007 AT 9:52 AM
Tiny
ACE786
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Thank you for replying.

The color of oily mixture is brown/green not red. Transmission is automatic. I'm losing oil from the oil compartment of oil. When dealer fixed the problem by replacing the head gasket, it seemed to be ok for almost 2 months but the same problem has started again. Now the dealer says it's a problem with head cylinder or engine block. Note: the dealer had the top part of engine taken to a machine shop to check for cracks/wear so why would the dealership claim that the head cylinder could be cracked. As well, when the mechanic opened the engine to replace head gasket, would he not have noticed problems with anything else.
Do you think the dealership doesn't want to do the work again and wants to charge me for it?
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Monday, March 26th, 2007 AT 10:46 PM
Tiny
BRUCE HUNT
  • EXPERT
Two things to note.

1. 2 months of driving the vehicle and then the problem arises again. Yes it could be coincidence and the head gasket failed again. But they could also point the blame to you saying you didn't maintain the coolant level causing the car to overheat, etc. It is a tough one.

2. The oil in the coolant. This should be the first consideration. There are other possibilities, but the most obvious is a problem with the block. Those are hard to find without taking the engine completely apart. Not easy for the mechanic to have found. But, if I were working on your vehicle and noted the oil in the coolant, I would warn you that the problem could be deeper and more serious but there is a chance the problem is related to the head.

I don't really think you put the blame on the mechanic. However, you do have a serious engine problem to deal with. I would be leary about even an overhaul fixing it without replacing the block.
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Tuesday, March 27th, 2007 AT 8:09 PM
Tiny
RASMATAZ
  • MEMBER
Or an intake manifold coolant passage leaking from the top side.
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Tuesday, March 27th, 2007 AT 9:13 PM
Tiny
ACE786
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Thank you for your replies.

I'm just curious, when the dealership mechanic tested my car before he worked on the head gasket, would he not have been able to determine if there was a problem with either the head, the head gasket, or the block?

And secondly, when he replaced the head gasket and noticed nothing really wrong with it, should he not have told me at that time that perhaps the problem was in the head or the block before putting the car back together?

Since I was charged $1200.00 for the head gasket job, I feel really cheated cause now the mechanic is claiming that because it could be head or block problem, they will have to charge me more for it.

Is this fair?

Worse case scenerio, I'm thinking of taking my car to North American engine and transmission installations and replacing my engine for about $2500 from Japan low mileage with 6 mo warranty or have my engine replaced with a rebuilt engine for $3500 with a 3 yr or 60,000 km warranty. What do you think?
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Wednesday, March 28th, 2007 AT 1:03 AM
Tiny
RASMATAZ
  • MEMBER
My best advice is to get over it and go for the rebuilt engine. I know what you're trying to say and I feel for you.

Good LUck!
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Wednesday, March 28th, 2007 AT 3:53 AM
Tiny
HONDAMICHAEL
  • MEMBER
I hope that my recent experience will help. My 2000 Accord had the same problem - oil in the coolant. A little background - about 7 weeks ago I had a radiator fail which caused the engine to overheat which warped my head - there was water in the oil and oil in the water. My mechanic replaced the radiator, head gasket, water pump, etc and had the head ground. Last week my car overheats - I take it back to my mechanic - they figure that the problem cannot be anything they fixed and they cannot figure out how there is oil in the coolant but no water in the oil and the oil is almost gone from the engine. They spend the day working on the problem and could not figure it out - they finally dismantled most of the engine and do a pressure test - lo and behold - there is oil blowing out through a tiny hole/crack in the block in the oil passage just ahead of where the oil pump sends the oil - my mechanic said that the oil is under a good bit of pressure there and that must be why the oil is in the coolant but the water cannot get into the oil. My mechanic said that they have never seen a crack in a block there but there it is. Bottom line - they are getting me a new block and I am out about $1,500 which, considering everything, is not too bad. My mechanic felt so bad about the situation he let me have one of their "spare" cars to drive.
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Wednesday, April 11th, 2007 AT 9:10 PM
Tiny
SHOGUE
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I recently discovered I have the same problem. Oil in the coolant but no water in the oil. The car was running fine. It never overheated. The only reason I discovered the problem is that my car started tapping. I was a little surprised because I am absolutely dilligent about checking the fluids and I had just added about a quart of oil about a week before this. I had been driving a lot more than usual that week and thought maybe (I know) that I was just using a little oil. I decided to check the coolant while I was under the hood and "OH MY GOD!" What a mess. It was thick, brownish black sludge.
I immediately flushed the coolant system. Cleaned it with a radiator flush product and put it all back together again. Just to make sure that the oil was indeed going into the coolant, I have been making very short trips and keeping a very close eye on the engine oil and coolant levels. I can assure you the the oil is indeed being sucked into the coolant.
I took it to a mechanic and he thought it might be the head gasket or a cracked head.
I am trying to figure out how I can have a cracked head, blown head gasket or a crack in the block.
The car was running just fine. It never over heated or gave any indication that anything was wrong.
Please help me. I really don't know what to do at this point. It is a 1996 car with 104,000 miles on it. While I love my little Saturn, I'm not sure it is worth all the money it will cost to repair.
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Thursday, April 26th, 2007 AT 12:19 PM
Tiny
HONDAMICHAEL
  • MEMBER
My guess is that you have a cracked block, like me, and that you need a new engine. My repair cost about 1,660. My mechanic works cheap. My guess is that a normal reputable shop would charge about 2,000 to get and install a used replacement engine. Look at it this way - if you are not really in love with the car, then consider putting the 2000 towards a new car. If you love the Saturn, spend the 2,000 - if you keep the car 2 more years, and then you are able to sell or tradde the car for 1,000 - the repair only cost you 1,000 and you got 2 years of driving out of the car. These repair v ditch questions are always difficult - if you trust your mechanic - see what he/she has to say. And does the car need anything else - like tires, etc. If the car has a lot of needs, I would definitely factor that in. I would be very leary of spending the money to just repair the head (if that is what they claim is wrong) unless the mechanic could guarantee that is all that is wrong. And I doubt that a reputable mechanic would make such a guarantee. My mechanic had to tear my engine apart to figure out where my leak was. I wish that I could be more help. Good luck.
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Sunday, April 29th, 2007 AT 8:38 PM
Tiny
SHOGUE
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I had the head and head gasket replaced. Car seems to drive fine (actually it always did), however, it now has a very distinct tapping noise.
I called the mechanic who informed me that it was probably the valve sticking.
Am I wrong or isn't the valve and everything included in the head of a Single Over Head Cam Engine.
Please reply ASAP as I am about to go off on the Mechanic and I want to be sure of my facts before I rip him a new one.
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Thursday, May 3rd, 2007 AT 5:11 PM

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