Leaking Coolant, bypass-dump? [broken water pump]

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LokRobster
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Leaking Coolant, bypass-dump? [broken water pump]

Postby LokRobster » July 16th, 2012 11:16 AM

I've got a 97 EX-VTEC, bought 3 days ago, the guy selling it said, "keep an eye on that radiator fluid, i've had to add a lot in the past couple of weeks". Yeah - understatement.

Checked it Friday morning, was low but still looked OK. Drove it maybe 10 miles Saturday. Sunday morning, it overheated after 5 miles of driving 70mph - radiator was totally empty. I refilled it, looked for leaks. Radiator looks new, hoses look new, no leaks at clamps or holes that i can find. This morning I found a puddle of anti-freeze just under the driver's side rear of the engine block. Added more coolant, couldn't find a leak.

Drove to work this morning, got about 10 miles in and stopped at QT for a drink - came out and there's a little stream of coolant coming from that same spot - driver's side rear of engine. I popped the hood and there's a 1/4" [6mm] wide stream of fluid just pouring out, like the radiator is dumping, but at the back of the engine block. It emptied the radiator in a bout 5 minutes. I added more and drove home, used the 94 wagon to get to work today.

It's too dark to see in there that low, but I bet there's a pressure relief valve or temperature valve in that spot - either it's opening and stuck when it shouldn't be, or there is a line that is supposed to be connected at that place and isn't. I figure it must be a bypass of some sort, or i'd lose coolant constantly, not just in specific conditions.

I'll look at it tonight after work, but does this sound familiar to anyone? I could really use a piping diagram of the coolant system if anyone has one [and a recommendation of a good shop manual or online resource while I'm at it].

(Edited subject to reflect found root cause)
Last edited by LokRobster on November 4th, 2012 01:12 PM, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Leaking Coolant, bypass-dump?

Postby John » July 18th, 2012 05:50 PM

Are you sure it is on the driver's side? To the best of my recollection, there are not any coolant hoses on behind the engine on the driver's side.

Perhaps it is the freeze plug? I don't know where this is located, but I do know it is on the back side of the engine somewhere.
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Re: Leaking Coolant, bypass-dump?

Postby edrock68 » July 18th, 2012 08:39 PM

Here you go this might solve your problem.
viewtopic.php?f=130&t=9944
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Re: Leaking Coolant, bypass-dump?

Postby LokRobster » July 18th, 2012 10:49 PM

edrock68 wrote:Here you go this might solve your problem.
viewtopic.php?f=130&t=9944


yep, sounds like the beast. I'll have to post a pic when I get to it. From where the stream was pouring out, it's likely the yellow circle in the one picture...

Thanks for the search-n-find! Figured I wasn't the first to see a leak in this loc.

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Re: Leaking Coolant, bypass-dump?

Postby LokRobster » August 4th, 2012 07:40 PM

I finally made some time this morning before work and climbed under to check it out. It turns out that the leak is the "bleed hole" on the side of the water pump. Apparently the seal inside is broken and the weep hole is a gusher now.

So, I get to replace the water pump. And the manual suggests replacing the timing belt at the same time.

Wheeeeee!

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Re: Leaking Coolant, bypass-dump?

Postby LokRobster » August 25th, 2012 09:51 AM

Follow up, for anyone interested: The new water pump fixed the issue. The old one was probably from the previous owners' [well, 2 owners ago] 98k mile timing belt job - so less than 60k later the pump has obviously failed; the bearings are stiff and grinding, and the metal shims between the pump sprocket drive the the face of the pump are popped out. I believe the pump was a super-cheap, maybe even a re-manufactured unit but it did not have any manufacturer logo on it.

I bought an Aisin pump to put in, Made in Japan ftw.

Incidentally, this is my first timing belt replacement as well - seemed to go alright all things considered. :D

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Re: Leaking Coolant, bypass-dump?

Postby Mx-rep » August 25th, 2012 05:50 PM

"Incidentally, this is my first timing belt replacement as well - seemed to go alright all things considered"

If you replaced all the belts, hoses, and water pump with Honda parts then you're ready for years of driving pleasure. Good move. Plus, if you decide to sell the car, it's worth more.

Also, I'd had my car for just about a month and it started leaking water from behind the engine towards the drivers side. Turned out to be the hoses routing water to the intake manifold. Replaced all the hoses and decided to replace the timing belt, water pump, springs and belt adjuster.

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Re: Leaking Coolant, bypass-dump?

Postby LokRobster » September 8th, 2012 10:58 AM

Post Timing Belt / water pump change... 2 weeks later.

I think perhaps that I am off on my reconstruction - the timing feels retarded to me [like my old VW bug would when the distributor was loose and rotated backward]. The engine is throwing no codes, and seems to run smoothly enough. I notice the lack of power when trying to accelerate quickly. I suppose it could be something else off - is there a way to check the timing?

My suspicion that the timing belt is off by a tooth or two is based partially on the fact that when I took it apart and marked the positions of the balancer sprocket, the camshaft pulley and the crankshaft gear, I was careful to keep them as they were when I disassembled it, but it seemed a little off compared to the shop manual photos of what it should look like. Particularly the crankshaft factory markings did not seem to line up. I kept it like it was, but now I wonder if I shouldn't have re-arranged everything to make it match the manual.

Has anyone else run into problems getting your timing off enough to mess up engine power output, but not affect the computer codes? Or should I look to other sources for the power loss, like cleaning out the intake manifold?

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Re: Leaking Coolant, bypass-dump?

Postby ex-r-wagon » September 9th, 2012 07:49 PM

Get a timing light and check the timing mark on the fly wheel (exposed when you remove the rubber plug). That will tell you very quickly if your timing belt is off by a tooth or not.
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Re: Leaking Coolant, bypass-dump? [broken water pump]

Postby LokRobster » November 4th, 2012 01:23 PM

Turns out the timing belt was off by one tooth on the cam sprocket - I pulled the upper cover only and was able to check alignment using the targeting sight on the lower cover to line up on the tiny edge notch on the crank pulley.

I loosened the belt tensioner bolt, slipped the timing belt off of the cam-sprocket, rotated the sprocket counterclockwise one tooth and put the belt back on. I still need to road test it (after replacing some boots and other non-related work, but I am confident that this was the problem.

I found it very I interesting that the system auto-compensated for the mechanicals being off. It ran and idled smoothly, with no trouble codes. It just felt like there were only 90-100 horsepower!! If I hadn't driven it before, I might have thought it was normal, just way underpowered.

Figured I would share my findings in case anyone sees something similar, particularly after doing their first timing belt.

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Re: Leaking Coolant, bypass-dump? [broken water pump]

Postby LokRobster » November 6th, 2012 02:45 PM

Drive test to work today was great. Makes a huge difference, that one tooth... it's like driving a whole new wagon!

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Re: Leaking Coolant, bypass-dump? [broken water pump]

Postby John » November 6th, 2012 10:31 PM

Glad it was a simple fix. Yes, the timing belt being off makes a big difference.
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Re: Leaking Coolant, bypass-dump? [broken water pump]

Postby LokRobster » May 2nd, 2013 08:58 AM

Thought I'd post another follow-up to this for anyone else replacing timing belts -

I did the timing belt on my '95 Odyssey [same trans/engine as our Wagons] - I followed the directions in the Honda Shop Manual exactly and the cam sprocket line-up was exactly 1 notch off, I had to loosen the belt and rotate the cam sprocket counter-clockwise about 10mm; the same as my wagon 6 months ago. Apparently the way I follow the procedure is consistently off like that.

Luckily I caught it immediately this time since I knew what to look for. Just figured I'd throw that out there for ya'll!

In Other News:

I had a business trip to Boise for 5 weeks this spring, and we drove the Odyssey [changed the timing belt since I had at least 120k miles on the old one]. It rolled 350,000 miles while there: this is on the original engine and transmission. Further evidence that my decision to have 3 mid-90s Hondas for the family is the correct choice!

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Re: Leaking Coolant, bypass-dump? [broken water pump]

Postby SilverShadow » May 2nd, 2013 09:30 PM

Any other brand of car/van would have died a long time ago. Something about how they took quality measures in developing our Hondas back then. I hope for future Honda buyers of the 2000 models, they get the same quality we got. Only time will tell. Style and longevity.. why buy anything else?
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