July 2010


Today I looked around the radiator after driving the car around town. There was some leakage around the cap and a couple of tiny spots around the end of some tig welds. A different radiator cap took care of that leak. Now I have to see if the tig welds keep leaking. I may have to have the brass radiator repaired.

It looks promising that I can carry the yurt on top of the wagon. The mounts for a factory luggage rack make it possible to hold the yurt nicely on the roof. Straps will do the rest.

Today on the way onto the freeway, I hear a clanging as though something were falling out of the engine compartment. I looked back into my rear view mirror and found that there was something bouncing onto the road surface. I had to drive a couple of miles to get back onto the freeway entrance again. But there was the distinctive alternator pivot bolt in the middle of the road. I grabbed it and sure enough mine was missing. I had thought that maybe it was a wrench or socket that I had left under the hood. I carefully drove home and reinstalled it. Whew! Glad nothing else bad happened. I still need to look closely to make sure the bolt did not crack or damage the timing cover.

The AC was evacuated and a couple of ounces of oil were added. Then the R12 was added. The ac temps are great. After an 83 mile run nearly to SF, the car didn’t leak a drop. So tomorrow we head off for a long road trip to do some water skiing. That will test the AC and the radiator since it’s fairly hot there. The rear brakes feel like they could be adjusted a little.

The air conditioning has never worked since I got this wagon. I bought a TIF ZX-1 freon sniffer to find the leaks. The ZX-1 has had poor reliability. Two of them failed right out of the box. But it is very sensitive to freon leaks.

Here are some pinhole leaks on the condensor that the ZX-1 found. There were something like 6 of them along the top tube.

Engine compartment stripped.

The original condensor and all brass radiator. Both were replaced with brand new parts.

The knobs for my R12 gauge set cracked. So I did my standard carbon fiber and CA (superglue) repair.

Brand new condensor from MKO auto. $120.

The new all aluminum tig welded radiator.

Five 8mm socket head screws were removed to take the front section off of the compressor.

Here is the pulley, clutch and coil removed from the A/C compressor. Just a pair of snap ring pliers and a 10mm socket got these parts off. No puller required.

Fans on the new all aluminum tig welded radiator.

Here are the valves.

Removing the valve plate was easy with a flat bladed screw driver. There is the carbon shaft seal that needs replacing.

…And it’s snap ring.

Here is the new seal kit.

I’m trying to show the alignment pins are both offset to one side of the shaft. This makes it easier to get the plates back in place correctly.

The old carbon shaft seal on the left and the new one on the right.

I just used a large socket to push the new seal in. Contact should only be made around the perimeter of the seal so it’s not damaged.

The new seal and new snap ring.

From the top down. The old felt washer. Brass retainer. New felt washer.

The new felt washer installed. It fits snugly. Make sure it’s wet with refrigerant oil.

Gently and straight pushing the felt seal and brass retainer back in to position. I pushed it down to an exact dept of .XXX”. Originally it was at .XXX” deep.

See how the alignment pins are both offset to one side of the shaft?

The splines are very sharp on the ends.

This is 2″ wide packing tape being used to cover the splines to keep the carbon seal from being dinged up as it’s installed. This failed since it would not start into the seal.

The version worked. The ends were sliced with an exacto knife. Plus the tape did not extend down to the smooth part of the shaft. It only covered the splines.

Using a 1/4″ drive 3/8″ diameter socket, I gently increased the diameter of the carbon seal so it would fit more easily onto the shaft.

Needle nose pliers pulled the packing tape spline cover of with no problem.

The Accord wagon was leaking oil like it had a hole in something. Made stains on the pavement after sitting for only seconds. The engine also whined. One of the spark plug tubes filled up with oil. The previous owners had a local mechanic change the timing belts and water pump. Here is my exploration of the engine whine and the oil leaks.

Here is the rocker arm assembly removed from the engine. The o-rings at the bottom of the spark plug tubes were very brittle. This is why they leak. All of the bolts must remain in the rocker assembly to keep the whole thing from falling apart. So I never turned it upside down. The o-rings came out easily. The new ones are held in place by some narrowed areas around the o-ring groove. I oiled them up before I installed them.

Here is the camshaft end seal. This is where the massive oil leak was coming from. The oil was all over the back of the cam timing pulley and the engine case itself. It’s normally very dry and clean under the timing belt covers. Since I had to remove the rocker assembly to get to the o-rings, it made swapping out this oil seal a 3 second job.

Thee was a chunk of rubber missing from the lip of the oil seal.

Here is a view of with the cam and rocker assemblies removed.

Since one of the spark plugs was completely submerged in oil, I had to get all of that oil out before trying to remove the spark plug. I tried my trusty model aircraft electric fuel pump, but it was too slow. So I took my hand vacuum pump and attached it to a piece of 1/8″ diameter antenna tubing and cleaned out the spark plug hole. It took several fills of the tubing to remove all of the oil. But it did an excellent job.

See how wet the end of the engine is. This oil leak was really bad. That seal around the balance shaft I also replaced, although it did not leak. The seal came out with the twist of a flat blade screw driver. I found a video online where a guy named Eric the car guys, does this same timing belt swap. He charges $10 for the downloaded video. It was worth it! I learned a lot and had far more confidence going into a job I had never done before. Here is the link to his video.

Here is the crankshaft pulley removing tool that I got from Amazon. It holds the pulley still while you apply a massive amount of torque to the crankshaft bolt to loosen it. Eric the car guy shows a cool way to do the same thing without this tool in his video.

Here the crank pulley has been removed. See how oil soaked everything is??

I scrounged the junkyard for a replacement timing belt cover since mine had massive slices in it from the fan belt and crank pulley rubbing on it. It took that trip to the junkyard to discover that all of the Accords have at least some timing cover damage! I was surprised! So I ordered a new one from Honda. I always go to Majestic Honda online to get far better prices on Honda parts. I take their online price and show the dealer. They usually come much closer to matching it. This new cover was about $46.

Here is why all of the junkyard accords had damaged timing belt covers. They warp as they age!! This new one was very flat. The old one bulged out significantly. Mine was also missing the washer seal on the timing belt tensioner, which made it warp even more. Eric the car guy says to leave this washer off so people know you have been into that part of the engine. Don’t do that!! Make sure you put the washer seal back on so that it slows down the warping of the timing cover!!

While the brand new timing cover was sitting on the floor, I accidentally stepped on it. It broke off one of the mounting ears. Man was I pissed at myself! I used my tried and true method of repair ing plastic parts using carbon fiber strands and superglue (CA).

It’s hard to see the difference between the timing cover plastic and the carbon fiber since they are both black. But the repair came out strong.

The timing belt cover edge seals were old and oily. So I had to use masking tape to hold them in place while installing the new timing cover. There is a kit that comes from local auto parts stores for $100 that has the timing cover and edge seals. But I could not afford it. So I reused the old ones.