Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Honda Accord Radiator Flush and Hose Replacement

Who just replaced the upper and lower radiator hoses on his 1995 Honda Accord?

Oh that's right...it was me!

Of course, I did have a little help from a retired tugboat captain with a sawzall. "You think I should disconnect this fan and move it out of the way of the clamp?" I asked.

"No, we'll just cut straight through it."

Sparks flew; hours were saved.

Eventually I maneuvered the new hoses into place. The Captain handed me a bottle of dish soap; said, "Rub some of this on the inside. It'll slip on easier." I wanted to tell him, "That's what she said," but then I remembered who I was talking to. I focused on getting the job done, instead.

It's hard to know how to repay such a debt of minutes.

Also: I'm pretty sure that engine coolant isn't supposed to have the color and texture of a mocha frappucino. But that's why I did this, 'innit? Got some water in there now. Flush, rinse, drain, repeat. Antifreeze is too expensive to use as a cleanser. I'll save it for when the water runs clear.

One lesson learned: don't leave your service manual under the car when you disconnect a hose from the top. You'll have to buy a new book. Another: You lay down a tarp before you get started. It's your mother's garage, after all. Good thing you listened to the captain.

It was still cheaper than paying someone else to do it.

One more thing to cross off the list of "things to learn how to do poorly."

We get by, most of the time...


  1. It's good to have a friend help you with jobs like this, who knows a little about what they're doing.

    Regarding the color of the radiator coolant, when your head gaskets goes, and you get oil mixed with coolant, it has the color of well-creamed coffee and the consistency of thin pudding, once foamed and churned up by the water pump.

    Hopefully your head gasket is fine. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Joe -

    I haven't been burning or losing oil, so I'm hopeful that isn't the case here. At 150,000 miles this Honda is barely middle aged. But from the look of things this is probably the first coolant flush it's ever had.

  3. If you had been using water previously, the iron from the inside of the engine block would have deposited a fair amount of iron oxide into the engine. This isn't a huge problem, but just as a result of using water. Even if you flush the engine after you drain it, you'll still get a fair bit of this much.

    I'd change the coolant pretty soon if I were you.

    This can also happen - as listed above, when you have a blown head, and also a shot radiator core. Good move to flush it with water first though. But you should only do that with the addition of engine flush additive (in my opinion), which you are only supposed to leave in there for 24 hours.

  4. I don't think they were using water previously, but I'm not sure. The stuff that was in there was in there when I bought it, back in June. When I saw the color of it and the condition of the hoses I knew something needed to be done.

    Today I ran the engine for about 45 minutes with the radiator cap off and the drain open, standing there with a hose and checking the temperature once a minute. It took that whole time, but at the end of it, the water was running clear. Now it's all been drained out and refilled with proper antifreeze.

    Then I dropped it off at the mechanics to have the rusted out fuel and brake lines taken care of.

    At least I know my limits.