2002 Accord - Few Engine Questions 2.3 VTEC w/Pics


New Member
Jul 10, 2020
Reaction score
Hi everyone! Very new to the forum but hopeful to become more engaged and helpful where possible as I just picked up a 2002 Accord, 2.3 VTEC w/5spd MT - with a whopping 224k miles :)

I enjoy rehabbing older cars and working on them over the weekends to repair issues, fix leaks, etc. The prior weekend I put in new rear shock assemblies, sway bar bushing, sway bar links, drain and refilled the M/T fluid with GM Synchromesh, changed the oil/filter, air filter and cabin air filter. Next - the engine area.

I'd greatly appreciate some experienced input on a few under the hood items as this is my first time touching a VTEC or really anything Honda (but am eager to learn!).

First off, I noticed at the dealership during inspection something odd - there is an exposed part below and to the left a bit of the distributor - it almost looks like a fuel filter with an open end up top. I am 99% sure this is not correct - could anyone help me understand what this is and what is missing - maybe a vacuum hose? Wondering if this could be part of my issue with an oil leak in the same general area.

Secondly, the oil leak, as you can see in the pic 2 that there is fresh oil on top of the transmission area under the distributor. I question if it's this exposed part perhaps (thinking not likely)? From doing some research I learned about the VTEC solenoid and am going to change the gasket there over the upcoming weekend. The valve cover gasket seems fine but will probably put a fresh gasket and screw bushings in as well.

Also going to drain the antifreeze to put fresh fluid in. Curious if folks know of any other common leak areas, particularly ones that can leak on top of the transmission. Leaning towards the VTEC solenoid gasket which appears to be common, but while I'm in there I don't mind hitting a bunch of stuff :).

Any help would be sincerely appreciated. I wanted to add that the GM Synchromesh fluid does seem to have made my transmission shift smoother, especially from 1-2, where some notchiness is now minimal - I think I read some debates on here between the GM and Honda spec fluid lol.

oil 1.jpg

oil 2.jpg


Well-Known Member
Nov 29, 2008
Reaction score
I’m about 8 months late but figured this may be useful to anyone else who searches this site. That exposed tube is the vent for the transmission... there is supposed to be a rubber cap on it (yours is missing).

While the VTEC solenoid MIGHT be leaking simply due to the age of the car, that looks to me like a leak at the distributor. These distributors often leak from one of two locations: from the o-ring where it attaches to the valve cover/cam. The second is from the seal on the shaft. If it’s the first location then it’s an easy fix, just remove and replace the o-ring. If it’s from the second location just get another distributor.

While the shaft seal can technically be replaced, it’s a pain to do so, and once again, given the mileage, you just want to swap the distributor.

For all I know, this issue may have already been resolved 8 months ago.
Last edited: