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Old 08-14-2011, 11:21 AM   #1
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Default 2004 Ex Random Overheat - Coolant Overflow Filling Up

Hello Gentlemen.

So after a car accident I lost a flawless 2000 Accord (RIP) and decided to stick to a honda engine. The accord died at 130,000 so I bought an 04 Civic at 154,000 (still pretty young for a Honda Engine).

However, lately I've been having a weird overheating issue. It is completely random and doesn't seem to follow any logic. Here are the symptoms.

Symptoms
  • AC gets "weaker" as you run it over time.
  • Coolant Temperature shows above nominal (70% +), Randomly Drops Back Down.
  • Coolant Overflow Tank Fills Up (Siphoned it back into Radiator, and it is full again)
  • Engine Smells Like Radiator Fluid after Running for a while. (No Leaks to be seen)
  • Ran the car with the cap off, saw no bubbles from Radiator or Overflow.

Solutions Attempted
  • Replaced all Thermostats/Temp Sensors/Coolant Sens
  • Replaced Fan Sensor
  • Radiator Cap Recently Replaced

At this point I'm getting ready to screw myself with a Head Gasket, but the lack of bubbles seems to suggest otherwise. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to further diagnose the issue before I take it into the Mechy again? I'm not exactly knowledgeable on cars, but I've worked as an engineer while in school after Highschool so I can catch up pretty quickly.

I've already had two jobs done on the car that did nothing to fix it, so please advise!
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Old 08-14-2011, 02:58 PM   #2
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Default Re: 2004 Ex Random Overheat - Coolant Overflow Filling Up

Sound like you have got a coolant flow issue. You might have a plugged up hose, or you might not be getting sufficent flow through your radiator or heater core. The way you can test this is to remove the hoses and inspect them. Also to check the radiator you can remove the upper and lower hose and run water through it to check for sufficent flow. Same with the heater core leave the two heater hoses that run into the heater core attached at the heater core. Remove the opposite end of those two hoses and run water throught the heater core.You should not have very much restriction through either the radiator or the heater core, if you do then its time to replace them.
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Old 08-14-2011, 03:09 PM   #3
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Default Re: 2004 Ex Random Overheat - Coolant Overflow Filling Up

^ ^ yup Flush the radiator.
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Old 08-14-2011, 04:46 PM   #4
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Default Re: 2004 Ex Random Overheat - Coolant Overflow Filling Up

If the radiator and heater core are okay, and the bypass hose etc. are clear, it's likely your head gasket.
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Old 08-14-2011, 05:08 PM   #5
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Default Re: 2004 Ex Random Overheat - Coolant Overflow Filling Up

Quote:
Originally Posted by Valvador View Post
At this point I'm getting ready to screw myself with a Head Gasket, but the lack of bubbles seems to suggest otherwise. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to further diagnose the issue before I take it into the Mechy again? I'm not exactly knowledgeable on cars, but I've worked as an engineer while in school after Highschool so I can catch up pretty quickly.

I've already had two jobs done on the car that did nothing to fix it, so please advise!

Consider yourself screwed...

PS: Make sure they also check the head to see if its warped, and if it is(which it most likely is), make sure they resurface it.
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Old 08-14-2011, 06:05 PM   #6
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Default Re: 2004 Ex Random Overheat - Coolant Overflow Filling Up

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Consider yourself screwed...

PS: Make sure they also check the head to see if its warped, and if it is(which it most likely is), make sure they resurface it.
:-\

I have been messing with a few tests in the morning and for some reason the reservoir drained back to Max. I took the car for a quick errand run, drove it on the freeway to put a little more work on it to see how it would react. When I got back and parked it I look at the reservoir from the side while the car was running and saw the line "Shaking". Wasn't sure if it was bubling or what. But from reading other similar issues it almost seems like Head Gasket

Does the A/C symptom sound like part of the Head Gasket issue? I'm gonna try to open the radiator cap again tomorrow. So if I open the Rad Cap tomorrow morning and I haven't driven the car in over 12+ hours and I get a pressure "hiss", does that sound kind of like a Head Gasket issue?

And can someone explain to me why this issue would cause the A/C to act so strangely?
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Old 08-14-2011, 09:06 PM   #7
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Default Re: 2004 Ex Random Overheat - Coolant Overflow Filling Up

the reservoir issue is due to pressurized cooling system. when the car sits, i would assume that the pressure in the system is relieved, but when a load is put on the motor, there is pressure build-up due to possible exhaust fumes exiting the head and getting into the cooling system.. the a/c issue i cant really explain, but i can have an answer to you sometime tomorrow for sure. the a/c not blowing cold air is in fact, a symptom though. usually when a head gasket is blown or the head gets warped, the A/C will not blow cold air. a shaking hose is kind of funny... possibly because of bubbles or something? i dont know. but im am pretty sure you have a head gasket issue. cheers.
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Old 08-15-2011, 07:45 AM   #8
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Default Re: 2004 Ex Random Overheat - Coolant Overflow Filling Up

As I feared. Well, time to make some phone calls and let them confirm my fears. Good thing my last two paychecks had mistakes in them so this next one has a nice little bonus on it to make up for this bullshit. But GOD DAMMIT.

Appreciate the help.
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Old 08-15-2011, 09:34 AM   #9
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Default Re: 2004 Ex Random Overheat - Coolant Overflow Filling Up

when you find a place that will do it for cheap, see if they will give you a list of all the parts necessary and ask if you can provide the parts yourself, and then go online and find the cheapest prices.... i saved $200 by doing this. This way you are only paying for the labor, only. see the FAQs of this thread for where to shop online at certain sites that have pretty competitive pricing.
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Old 08-15-2011, 09:52 AM   #10
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Default Re: 2004 Ex Random Overheat - Coolant Overflow Filling Up

So I live in Santa Barbara, CA. Pretty pricey place.

A bunch of people recommended me this shop and they are going to do a compression test on the car. He said he has someone else in there with the same problem and they quoted me $1500 for the Head Gasket, Resurfacing, changing all the liquids and so on...

Does this seem like a bit much? What do you guys think this type of work should cost?
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Old 08-15-2011, 10:00 AM   #11
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Default Re: 2004 Ex Random Overheat - Coolant Overflow Filling Up

dude. way too much. if you think you can make it over to the santa clarita valley, i can have you bring it to a guy that will do it for around $800.... and he does a good job. i had him do mine cause i didnt wanna hassle with it myself.. and i got it done for just around $800. i got all my parts and gave them to him, and he had it done by the next day. head resurfaced and all.
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Old 08-15-2011, 10:24 AM   #12
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Default Re: 2004 Ex Random Overheat - Coolant Overflow Filling Up

Was this excluding the parts you brought?

At this point I don't wanna deal with having my car brought distances larger than 20 miles. Otherwise I'd have to get it towed to not risk any significant engine damage.

Either way I'm gonna take it to them to do a compression test tomorrow just to confirm my problem. I'll decide where and when to do the work after. I can usually drive the car carefully for about 50 miles on the freeway before overheating starts to act up, so that's not that far of a distance.

Do the 7th Gen civics have this problem often?

EDIT: One more thing. I don't wanna replace the HG unless I really have to, but when are the fans supposed to come on? Like for example if I sit the car Idle and warm it up to operating temperatures, unless I have the heater one, the Fans don't run. When I have the heater on the fans go to full blast.

Hopefully the compression test is going to reveal the real story tomorrow, I'm going to try and bleed the system of air today just to be sure...

Where is a good way to feel where the radiator is hot or cold? I wanna check for a clogged radiator just in case.

Last edited by Valvador; 08-15-2011 at 10:58 AM.
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Old 08-15-2011, 11:43 AM   #13
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Default Re: 2004 Ex Random Overheat - Coolant Overflow Filling Up

Quote:
Originally Posted by EM2abe View Post
when you find a place that will do it for cheap, see if they will give you a list of all the parts necessary and ask if you can provide the parts yourself, and then go online and find the cheapest prices.... i saved $200 by doing this. This way you are only paying for the labor, only. see the FAQs of this thread for where to shop online at certain sites that have pretty competitive pricing.
I would never take my car to anyone who would do that. A good shop would never install parts that they know nothing about. (stock-not aftermarket mods)

If the "cheap" gasket fails who pays for the labor all over again?
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Old 08-15-2011, 11:48 AM   #14
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Default Re: 2004 Ex Random Overheat - Coolant Overflow Filling Up

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I would never take my car to anyone who would do that. A good shop would never install parts that they know nothing about. (stock-not aftermarket mods)

If the "cheap" gasket fails who pays for the labor all over again?
Don't worry, I'm not gonna hassle with buying the parts myself. My main worry is that they might mis-diagnose the problem. I'm afraid of shelling out a grand and then finding out the problem still exists.

My fans still seem to be functioning improperly. If I turn the car on idle from cold, the fans don't seem to come on. I had the sensor cleaned from corrosion yet it still acts up. In fact I've never seen the fans click on from letting the car idle from cold.

How sure is the pressure test? I'm going to have a leak and pressure test done tomorrow I believe, but I wanna run a few diagnostics (perhaps bleed the air) if I can. However my coolant is not up to the top. Would it be okay for me to add a little water?
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Old 08-15-2011, 12:20 PM   #15
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Default Re: 2004 Ex Random Overheat - Coolant Overflow Filling Up

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Originally Posted by pon55 View Post
I would never take my car to anyone who would do that. A good shop would never install parts that they know nothing about. (stock-not aftermarket mods)

If the "cheap" gasket fails who pays for the labor all over again?
my initial thought was that only OEM parts would be used. that would be the only way i would go about it. if they were aftermarket then yes you are right. but OEM, you cant go wrong. A good shop would only do this if you were only getting OEM parts to replace.
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Old 08-15-2011, 03:32 PM   #16
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Default Re: 2004 Ex Random Overheat - Coolant Overflow Filling Up

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Originally Posted by Valvador View Post
Don't worry, I'm not gonna hassle with buying the parts myself. My main worry is that they might mis-diagnose the problem. I'm afraid of shelling out a grand and then finding out the problem still exists.

My fans still seem to be functioning improperly. If I turn the car on idle from cold, the fans don't seem to come on. I had the sensor cleaned from corrosion yet it still acts up. In fact I've never seen the fans click on from letting the car idle from cold.

How sure is the pressure test? I'm going to have a leak and pressure test done tomorrow I believe, but I wanna run a few diagnostics (perhaps bleed the air) if I can. However my coolant is not up to the top. Would it be okay for me to add a little water?
Horror of horrors, but you may want to take it to the dealer to have them find the problem.
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Old 08-20-2011, 07:08 AM   #17
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Default Re: 2004 Ex Random Overheat - Coolant Overflow Filling Up

I'm anxious to hear the diagnosis. I have the same problem. I have not had the cooling system flushed yet but that's the only thing left besides getting the HG done.
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Old 08-25-2011, 02:00 PM   #18
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Default Re: 2004 Ex Random Overheat - Coolant Overflow Filling Up

Diagnosis was 2nd Cylinder Leaking.

I had the Head Gasket replaced and head re-surfaced. The engine seems running fine. No more clicks when going into the mountains (cylinder misfire), no more intense radiator smell when driving, no more bubbling in overflow after long drive.

However I do have a weird A/C Issue. the A/C Randomly stops blowing air on the interior. Sometimes turning it up to max, you can hear the noise, but not much air is coming into the cabin. Can anyone advise?
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