Question about 1998 Honda Accord

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Oil in coolant after cleaning vtec screen on 98 accord lx!!!!

My 98 accord lx has the 2.3 vtec four cylinder with auto trans. It currently has 142,000 miles on it. Has been a great car. Meticulously maintained. The car has NEVER ran hot since I've owned it until just a few months ago. The first thing I did was replaced the thermostat and the coolant. This fixed the temperature problem, but I kept smelling antifreeze for about two weeks. At first, I thought I just spilled some coolant under the hood, but then I noticed that the coolant level was low. Then I found a small crack along the top of the radiator. So I replaced the radiator with a new one from honda. I had to bleed the air pockets out of the system. Everything was pretty much back to normal. I was still losing a very small amount of coolant, but there was no leak to be found. It was not coming out the exhaust or leaking around the motor. About three weeks later, I had a CEL come on and the code was P1259 which was a vtec system malfunction. I got online and read about this problem and most forums said to take the rubber gasket (which has a screen built into it) out of the vtec oil pressure switch, because if it gets dirty then it will kick the P1259 code on. I ordered a new gasket with a new screen and installed it. This fixed the code. Here's the funny thing. My car calls for 4.5 quarts of oil, but when I drained it and refilled it after changing the vtec gasket, the car took five and a half quarts to read full on the dipstick. I had never had to put this much oil in this car ever. But I thought that the housing that held the gasket was where the extra oil was going, because there was some oil lost when I removed the vtec switch housing. Nevertheless, I figured it was fixed. About two weeks later, I began to smell a strong coolant smell again. I popped the hood only to find the top radiator hose to be split. When I pulled the hose off, I found an oily mix of coolant. It was not foamy, but just blackish green liquid. There was definitely oil in the cooling system. I replaced the hose and refilled the coolant and checked for leaks. I noticed the other radiator hose (with the thermostat) was not getting hot at all, while the new one was pretty hot. I figured the thermostat which I had replaced only a couple of months earlier was stuck closed, not letting the coolant flow through the system causing the top hose to rupture. So I replaced the thermostat and drained the coolant, then I cleaned out the coolant reservoir and filled the radiator and the reservoir with water. My plan was to try to flush out the oil in the cooling system and change the oil again to fix the problem. Everyone I had told about this said my head gasket was blown. When I started the car to circulate the water and clean out the radiator, the motor began stumbling and idling really rough, the I got another CEL and the CEL went from being constantly lit to flashing and then back to being constantly lit. I checked the oil level and it was normal. There was no coolant or water in the oill. I checked the spark plugs and they were normal, no oil, coolant or anything. I haven't checked the engine trouble code yet because I can't drive the car in the shape that it's in. I have researched this problem on the internet and most of them point to a blown head gasket. There also seems to be a design flaw in the blocks on these motors. Apparently, the block is porous between the water jackets and the oil pump, which lets the oil (under 20-70psi.) get into the cooling system (around 13 psi.) My question is there any way for the oil to get into the cooling system through the vtec oil pressure switch? Have I maybe pinched the gasket or put it in backwards to cause the oil/coolant mixing? The oil was never present in the cooling system until I changed the vtec gasket and had to put 5.5 quarts of oil in it. This makes me think that I might have done something to cause it. I have also recently changed the O2 sensors before and after the converter and I also had a new catalytic converter installed earlier this year. Do you think that it's something I have done or is it really the head gasket?? I would really like to keep the car but I don't want to have the head gasket replaced (around $2000) if the block is the way these forums say they are. But it kills my trade in option if the motor is bad too!! I am on a pretty tight budget. Please HELP me. What would you do in this situation??

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It definitely sounds like either blown head gasket, or possibly a blown seal from too much oil. Either way if you don't want to repair it you consider putting in a used motor which you could get for less then the price of head gasket replacement. If you have further questions let me know. Also please take a moment to accept and rate my solution and I will be more then happy to assist you further.
Thank you,
Lee

Posted on Jan 11, 2009

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Its going to be the head gasket.there are too many things pointing that direction and once they start to go they just go

Posted on Jan 11, 2009

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By what you've described it sound as though one off the time's its overheated its just slightley warped the head, so when its cold the head gasket is still sealing but when it gets to a certain temperature the metal is expanding enough to leak oil into the coolant and vice versa. Either way the head is going to have to come off. The best scenario is that you might just have to get the head planed back to flat and replace the head gasket. Thats if there is no bottom end damage.

Posted on Jan 11, 2009

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Could be alot of things, check valve adjustment even possible clogged catalytic creating back pressure.
also if======If the engine overheated, even a little, it could have damaged the head and head gasket. That's pretty much the only way they go bad. 
Your mechanic and/or auto dealer may not bother to tell you that, just so you won't get upset with them, but anyone who works on engines regularly will confirm the fact. 
========= a simple quick test. with engine hot remove dipstick and drop a bit of oil on hot manifold or other hot part of engine, oil will smoke and water will sizzle. Signs of water/antifreeze in oil is an indication that head gasket is leaking

Posted on Jan 11, 2009

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Welcome to Fixya! This is a Common Flaw in the Honda Blocks. The Option is to get is Replaced, Rebuilt, In Either Case the Head gasket would be Replaced Also. Replacing the Head Gasket will not get the Problem Fixed However, It would put a "Bandaid" on the Compression Problem and Slow the Oil into the Coolant Problem. It will not Fix it Though. It is Still cheaper to Rebuild it than to get rid of it. I Personally would Rebuild it. You will continue to have the Same Trial and Error Problems if not.

Posted on Jan 11, 2009

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Sorry to say but its definmately the head gasket in your case to be replaced.

Posted on Jan 11, 2009

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