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1990 Honda Accord several issues

edited November -1 in Repair and Maintenance
I own a 1990 Honda Accord with approximately 89,000 miles. I have four issues:



1) Intermittently as I drive, my speedometer dips down to 0 and then back up to the correct mph. What is going on and how do I fix it?

2) When I start my car I get an awful and loud squealing from the engine. As I step on the gas the squeal increases or comes back. After a few minutes the squealing stops. I was told it is my belts. Which belt is it most likely and how much can I expect a mechanic to charge me to replace it?

3) I recently changed my spark plugs and noticed oil in the spark plug chamber about 2-3 inches was the oil mark on the spark plug cable. What is wrong with my car, what can I expect a mechanic to charge me to fix it.

4) My car got 30 miles to the gallon earlier this month but recently I am getting only 20 ? is it related to the oil in the spark plug chamber or the belt?

Comments

  • edited May 2008
    These are good questions for your (paid) mechanic.
  • edited May 2008

    1) It could be just a loose cable.

    2) The belts are a pain to replace because the engine is transversly mounted. Not sure how much it'll cost, but I would hope not over $200 (belts included).

    3). It's a gasket leak. The valve cover has gaskets around each of the spark-plugs. Your mechanic will have to get a Valve Cover Gasket kit and replace it. Again...should be just a couple hundred.

    4) It's NOT related to the oil around the plugs unless you're seeing a drastic decrease in performance due to a fouled plug. And the belt will have nothing to do with it either. When was the last time you changed your plugs???
  • edited May 2008
    Not sure about the speedometer. The belts are cheap to have replaced, and even cheaper if you do them yourself, pretty easy job really. I wouldn't pay a shop more than $60 to replace the belt in question. A shop shouldn't charge any more than around $60 for the oil in the spark plug tubes. Each of these jobs takes about 15 minutes for a mechanic to perform. I HIGHLY recommend that you go to an independent Japanese or Honda/Acura shop. Do not go to a chain store or a dealer for these things, they will find more things to replace on you 18 year old car and scare you into paying for them...
  • edited May 2008
    On issue #3, I would add that since your mechanic will probably need to take the valve cover off to change the little spark plug tube grommets, it would be an excellent time for him to adjust the valves, which you really ought to do every 30-50,000 miles, but nobody ever does.

    Is the speedometer reading zero for any sizable length of time? Keep in mind that the odometer and speedometer are run by the same cable and are part of the same assembly-- if the speedo is at or on its way down to zero a lot, your distance measurement will be low, which could very well explain your poor gas mileage measurement.
  • edited May 2008
    The 1990 Honda Accord does NOT have a speedometer cable. The speedometer gets its signal from the VSS (Vehicle Speed Sensor). The drop in mileage may be related to the VSS problem. The fault could lie in the wiring between the VSS and the speedometer. It could be the VSS. Check fuse #1. It supplies power for the VSS. Checking the VSS circuit, with a digital multimeter, is the way to go.
    Click on this link for the wiring diagram of the VSS circuit, then click on Fig #37: http://www.autozone.com/shopping/repairGuide.htm?pageId=0900c1528005f9fc
  • edited May 2008
    On issue #3, I would add that since your mechanic will probably need to take the valve cover off to change the little spark plug tube grommets, it would be an excellent time for him to adjust the valves, which you really ought to do every 30-50,000 miles, but nobody ever does.
    Sure these aren't hydraulic valves. 87 Accord didn't have them...but the I know the 95 and later...Not sure about the 90 though.
  • edited May 2008
    The belts are cheap to have replaced, and even cheaper if you do them yourself, pretty easy job really. I wouldn't pay a shop more than $60 to replace the belt in question.
    Have you ever replace a belt before. I just bought the ONE belt for my 4runner to replace.....$40 just for the aftermarket belt (Gates). And the belt on the 4runner is a LOT EASIER to replace then the Accord belts.
    Each of these jobs takes about 15 minutes for a mechanic to perform.
    No way....I've done them....The valve cover needs to be removed. There are several hoses and wiring that have to be removed....Then you can get to the valve cover bolts. I seriously doubt a mechanic who's preformed this job 100 times could do it under an hour.

    As for the belts....There are 2 bolts that are very difficult to reach. If you have very skinny arms one can be reached from the top...if not you have to remove the splash guard to get to it...Either way it will take well over an hour.
  • edited May 2008
    I have a 92 Accord which is the same for practical purposes as a 90 under the hood. Yes I have replaced the belts, several times, 2 bolts, for each, 15 minutes...Valve cover, an hour?!?! Remove PCV valve, ground wire, and a breather hose, remove 4 bolts, under 5 minutes. Change out gasket and tube seals, 5 minutes, put back on, 5 minutes, 15 minutes all together...
  • edited May 2008
    The squealling belt can be isolated . . . have someone start the car while you listen to the engine (hood open, of course) . . . just listen and look. The one belt that is a real pain in the one on the bottom . . . on my '89 it is for the alternator, a real pain. Could be that it has road dirt or oil on it . . . causing it to slip and squeal. Belts are cheap . . . easy to replace except when in a tight place. Another thing which may affect the belt squeal is an alternator crapping out, becoming harder to turn, causing the belt to slip. BTW, anything dragging like this could affect the MPG . . . but a 35% drop is more serious . . . gotta be something else. Did you gap the plugs correctly? Tire pressure OK? Timing? If you are not mechanically inclined, I'd ask a mchanic to see which belt is making this noise and see if the alternator is "dragging" . Are you certai that the oil level was 2-3 inches? That seems like a lot . . . maybe you should check this out with a mechanic. Good luck! Rocketman
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