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atvar88

1988 Accord Dies while driving.

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Hello folks,

 

My 1988 honda accord dx hatchback with the A20A1 4cyl carb engine is having some issues. I need some feedback and ideas on what might be going on. I would post a picture from the web as to what the car looks like under the hood, but from what I read of the "new member" guide in the topic's root, I'm refraining from posting links.

 

Here are a list of problems/symptoms:

-While driving, Engine sometimes sputters and dies, or just cuts out.

-Coolant blows out of the broken stem that should go to the reserve tank from the radiator. Often causes white coolant burning on the engine/exhaust manifold.

-Moderately profuse oil leak. Seemingly from the Valve Cover Gasket, I can't identify any other sources. Car doesn't seem to burn it.

-Battery fried. 2 years old. Oozing from terminal.

-Replaced battery. Car drove fine for a few miles, but died again. I wasn't present for this instance, but girlfriend reported that smoke came from under the engine. (white color)

 

 

I have some theories on why it's doing this...

Theory 1 involves a bad alternator. I remember reading that if the Fuel pump doesn't receive the right voltage, it shuts off. If the alternator's regulator is fried, then it would provide too much power, frying the battery and possibly shutting off the fuel pump, killing the car. If the alternator is seizing up, that might explain some of the smoke if it burned the bearings, I'd imagine that the belt would squeal, but it might just burn the rubber. The fried battery may be explained by increased power drain (on a 2 year old battery) from trying to start for so long and so often recently. As soon as I'm able to get the car off the side of the road, I'll plug in my Black and Decker charger that has an alternator test mode and see if it agrees.

 

Theory 2 is a bit more... expensive, and I've crossed my fingers, toes, legs, elbows and eyes hoping this isn't the case... but I think the head gasket might be blown. All the normal signs I'm aware of (knowing that a head gasket can fail in multiple ways.) aren't present... the oil isn't milky, the coolant doesn't seem to react when the car starts with the cap off, etc....

 

Anybody else have any ideas?

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