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89 accord lx-i: several problems

About 5 months ago, I recently bought a 1989 Honda Accord LX-i with appx. 213,000 miles. For the most part, it runs like a champ. However, there are a few issues that I would like to address if possible so I can get the most out of this car.



The first problem is a very small oil leak that I cannot locate. By a small leak, I mean that the oil level on the dipstick has not changed since I bought the car. I can smell oil burning occasionally when driving, and there are tiny oil spots on the ground where I usually park my car at home. I’ve tried a new valve cover gasket, and that seems to have eliminated the burning smell, but there are still new spots appearing on the ground.



The second problem is a loose feel in the steering. There seems to be the slightest amount of freeplay. I’m wondering if something needs to be repaired or replaced soon.



Any ideas or suggestions are greatly appreciated. I really like this car and I don’t want to see something disastrous happen in the near future if I can prevent it now.

For the free-play in the steering, that may be wear in the tie-rod ends or other ball-joints. You need a good alignment shop for that.
There may be a short, cylindrical, water cooled oil cooler, between the engine oil filter and the engine block. It has two coolant hoses going to it. Under it is an O-ring seal which hardens, cracks, and leaks engine oil. The O-ring seal (and the attached coolant hoses) need to be replaced.
If you do this repair yourself, it’s a little difficult; but, doing it yourself will save you $200 to $300. Cutting the old hoses off is much easier than trying to slip them off. Enjoy.