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97 Honda Accord Cooling Question

The 97 Accord Wagon 4-cyl. overheated Friday. I noticed the radiator coolant level was low; it took about 2 liters of water. Then it ran fine, temperature steady. However, I’m concerned about where the coolant went—though I must say, this is a very light-duty car and I haven’t checked it in probably a year or more.

I see no signs of leaks, both with engine running and stopped. The worry, of course, is an internal (head gasket) problem, but no signs of that either, so far. The heater works fine.

One question: When running for a while, the upper radiator hose gets quite hot, but the lower hose remains cold. Shouldn’t that warm up as well?

/Mr Lynn

It is getting to that age where the rubber starts to fail. We also have a 97 Accord. I had to replace the radiator about two months ago because the rubber gasket between the top tank and the core started leaking. You could see the coolant around the edge of the tank.

Ours is still loosing a little coolant from time to time. When I replaced the radiator, I also replaced the thermostat and both hoses. I bought all the heater hoses and a heater control valve but didn’t replace them at the time. Now I can see a very tiny weeping from the heater hose connection just below the distributor.

I don’t look forward to replacing these hoses, a lot of disassembly is needed to get at them.

The job of the radiator is to allow the coolant to get cool before going back into the engine. It is normal for the upper hose with coolant coming from the engine to get hotter than the lower hose supplying coolant to the engine. Your radiator is doing it’s job.

Thanks, Keith. I got underneath to change the oil today, and didn’t notice any leaking. But as you say, it could be minor, just adding up over time.

/Mr Lynn

I forgot to mention that you should check your transmission fluid for any milky color or evidence if foaming. The transmission cooling lines go through the radiator and while the odds are against it leaking into them, I would be worth a look. The transmission is quite expensive in this model.

Are you really using water instead of coolant?