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Old 06-25-2017, 03:33 AM   #1 (permalink)
Xist
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Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Show Low, AZ
Posts: 8,152

Chorizo - '00 Honda Civic HX, baby! :D
90 day: 35.35 mpg (US)

Mid-Life Crisis Fighter - '99 Honda Accord LX
90 day: 37.1 mpg (US)

Mom's grandmamobile - '06 Toyota Camry SE
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Possibly need new heater core

I have only driven my Civic here in Arizona and really only use my heater with passengers, but I almost never use my air conditioner, either. It was supposed to be 120 on Tuesday. It wasn't. I feel like having survived that, I do not need to worry for another year.

I always complain about my car being black. I wanted an HX. It took me several months to find Chorizo. I did not want to wait indefinitely (while driving my unreliable Forester) until I found a white or silver one. We talked about repainting or using Plastidip, but it never felt right.

Here I am, almost three years and eight months after I bought her and she started overheating on Tuesday.

No AC, just the window open, and I was driving 65. I turned on the heater full blast (oh joy!). Nothing. I stopped and adjusted my grill block. Nada. I felt I needed to slow down until I could get home and take off the air dam, but after I made it to my client, I checked my radiator.

I do not recall ever seeing the radiator fins.

I like to keep distilled water in my car, just in case, but I have gone through several bottles that leak and need to be replaced. I drove carefully to the nearest store and put at least twenty ounces of water in the radiator, planning on flushing today. I have not had any difficulty with the car overheating (it has been cooling off a degree or two each day since), but I have been topping off every day or two, and I topped off my fluids about three weeks ago.

I am definitely smelling antifreeze, so even when it is night, I open my window instead of using the vent.

Almost everything I read on-line says it is the heater core, with a few saying to replace the radiator. One time I topped it off I saw some water dripping a foot or two behind the radiator, but I have not seen that since, nor puddles, but they would evaporate quickly. There is a small damp spot on the carpet that I think smells like antifreeze, but so does the rest of the car. Neither the dipstick nor the oil cap show any water. There is antifreeze on top of the radiator, the top hose is crunchy, and there is antifreeze stain on the engine on the far side of the top hose, but I ran my car for about twenty minutes in the evening with the AC on full, headlights, and stereo. The engine was about as warm as it gets driving in the middle of the day (without headlights or AC). I pressure-tested the coolant system and it immediately lost pressure, but I could not tell from where.

Using KBB's "Fair" estimate, my car is worth $1,300. I looked at Civics on Craigslist and I would not look at anything for sale for less than $1,500, just the obvious problems seemed as bad as my car. I do not quite have that much and I have tax and student loan payments to make.

My Accord runs awesome, but I had wanted to fix the cosmetic stuff and have a pretty car while I drove my economical one. The best lifetime MPG anyone on this site got with a sixth-generation Accord with an automatic transmission was about 36, which is not a great deal better than I have done, although I drive 99% highway.

I kind of want to just top off the radiator each morning. It will get cooler and cooler, so that should be fine for a while, but one gallon of antifreeze each month being deposited all around Arizona does not sound like a very good idea.

Rockauto has the heater core for $40\59\70 (three different brands)
Pep Boys has Rockauto's $40 one for $90. Napa wants $111, and Autozone asks $121.
O'Reilly $122
Majestic Honda $251 (shipped)

It seems weird to spend ten hours replacing a $40 part, but I would not feel any better spending three times as much for the exact same part.

It seems weird to spend ten hours replacing a $40 part when the engine has low compression.

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