Rebuild f23a4? Junk Yark Swap? Cliff Diver?

Blenton

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So I bought my first honda 2 years ago - a 99 Accord EX sedan 4-cylinder A/T - and it's been nothing but trouble for me. A few months ago, it started running really rough (it's never run really well to begin with) so I yanked the plugs. #3 was white and cruddy and was fouling, so I decided it was time to replace the plugs (again after 15,000 miles), wires, cap, and rotor and not have to worry about it. 1,000 miles later, it was running crappy again. So I yanked the plugs and did a compression test: 150psi, 145 psi, 40psi........, 140 psi. Ummmm.... Something is wrong. So I took it to a local honda guru to diagnose what the problem was. He said it was a couple of burned valves on #3. Yuck.

It's got 156k miles on it, and the sucker burns about a quart of oil ever 1000 miles (sometimes every 600 miles), and runs like poo. It clatters in the morning for about 15 seconds when it's cold out. And it drives like poo. I think my 96 exploder could beat it at the dragstrip, and it's about to beat it at the gas pump, too. I'm not sure how long the car has been beating itself up like this, but I'm pretty sure it's been losing oil somewhere (can't find any leaks, though) since I got it at 133k.

So here's my dilemma. Do I pull the thing apart and have the machine shop rebuild the head to the tune of $350 + gaskets and parts to put it back together? Do I swap in a used engine and hope it runs better than this one? Do I just yank the whole motor and tear it down and rebuild it? Or do I just push the think over a cliff or park it behind a big rig and hope they back over it? I'm still in school so most of my $ goes toward tuition and the likes. Two of my siblings swear by honda so I was pretty peeved to get one that runs like crap (I'm not even going to start with what else I've had to do it).

I'm worried that if I just have the head rebuilt, I'll regret it a few thousand miles later when the bottom end has issues, or find out that the rings were shot in #3 as well. I think the main bearings may have gotten a little hot as well, so if I did the whole shibang I would most likely have to shell out for a head rebuild, cylinder boring/honing, magnafluxing and milling the block and whatnot, and having the crank turned. To me, that sounds like over $1000 in machine work alone. Then add the $600 engine kit and lots of busted knuckles to that and I'm almost to the price of a beater that will get me through the rest of school.

So what do ya'll think? Anybody have a price they wanna throw out there that they paid for a stock rebuild? Anybody know of a place to get quality remanned engines? This thing just needs to last another 3 years (long enough for me to finish school and save up some coin for a new TDI or duramax - yes, I'm a diesel addict). Of course, my wife may veto me and put the money down on a house, so it may need to last another 5 or 6 years. Your thoughts?
 

BigAnt

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Best thing to do is rebuild the motor or get a used one from a junk yard.

If you get one from a junk yard, make sure that it is the exact same engine. (F23A1 or F23A4 (ULEV)). Try to find a motor that is still in the car, to see if you can see the mileage.
 

ryan s

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personally, id first determine where the oil is going. if there are no leaks, its probably getting burned and you should be seeing the traditional blue smoke in the exhaust.

if its getting past the piston rings, then it might be better to find a junkyard engine. if its being burned up top, chances are its a valve seal and those will be replaced when the head is rebuilt.

its a hard situation to be in. spend 1/3 of the cars worth to fix it...or sell it for 2/3s of what its worth and buy something else and hope the same thing doesn't happen. hopefully its just the head.
 

Blenton

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As far as where the oil is going, this has long been a mystery.... Until recently, the engine was clean as a whistle on the outside. Now there is a very small leak from the front of the motor by the main pulley (front main seal?). I'm used to working on american-made V8's, so this little booger is a bit different - vtec and all. However, that small leak couldn't possibly be spurting a quart in just over a tank of gas. There hasn't ever been oil under the car when it is parked or idled for in the same spot.

From what I can tell, I surmise that the oil is leaking in to the cylinder via the burned and poorly sealing valves. There, I supposed that it is burned a little bit at a time, while some of the heat and exhaust gasses escape back up in to the valve train to burn oil in closest proximity to the valves. After driving the car for a bit, if I turned it off and unscrew the oil filler cap, smokey fumes come wisping out the hole. Strangely, I don't see traditional blue smoke coming out the tailpipe. I don't smell it when I drive behind it, either. Hence, the mystery...
 

FunnyVictor86

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if you decide to go to the junk yard and look for a wrecked 6ga ... stay away from the ones with no body damage because they are there for a reason ...
 

Blenton

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Good call, FunnyVictor - pretty car = bad motor at the junk yard...

Thus far, I've been able to find a motor with 103k on it for $400 that's about 3.5 hours drive from here. That's not a bad drive, plus I have family there. Maybe I'll go check it out. I also talked to some yayhooo that kept telling me that rebuilt, remanufactured, and junk yard engines are bad, but his was 100% genuine Honda and it was the only good choice. When I asked him how many miles it had, he didn't know but guessed 65k. So I asked where the motor came from if it didn't come from a vehicle (like from a salvage yard) and had 65k miles on it. I think he about pooped his pants cuz he didn't know what to say to logic, so he started yelling at me on the phone trying to compensate for his stupidity. Of course, I could barely understand what he was saying in the first place so I decided to terminate the conversation.

So for $400 I might jump on it and just replace the timing belt and whatnot up front, as well as give it a tune up before I drop it it. Dang, that means I need to steal a cherry picker from somebody again...
 

BigAnt

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Good call, FunnyVictor - pretty car = bad motor at the junk yard...

Thus far, I've been able to find a motor with 103k on it for $400 that's about 3.5 hours drive from here. That's not a bad drive, plus I have family there. Maybe I'll go check it out. I also talked to some yayhooo that kept telling me that rebuilt, remanufactured, and junk yard engines are bad, but his was 100% genuine Honda and it was the only good choice. When I asked him how many miles it had, he didn't know but guessed 65k. So I asked where the motor came from if it didn't come from a vehicle (like from a salvage yard) and had 65k miles on it. I think he about pooped his pants cuz he didn't know what to say to logic, so he started yelling at me on the phone trying to compensate for his stupidity. Of course, I could barely understand what he was saying in the first place so I decided to terminate the conversation.

So for $400 I might jump on it and just replace the timing belt and whatnot up front, as well as give it a tune up before I drop it it. Dang, that means I need to steal a cherry picker from somebody again...

that's not a bad deal $400 with 103k miles. also since you're going to replace the timing belt and give it a tune up it should run like new. also since you going to replace the timing belt, you should replace all the seals since you're opening it up and put a new water pump.
 

Blenton

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that's not a bad deal $400 with 103k miles. also since you're going to replace the timing belt and give it a tune up it should run like new. also since you going to replace the timing belt, you should replace all the seals since you're opening it up and put a new water pump.

I haven't opened one of these up yet, so pardon my ignorance. Which seals are you referring to? I'm guessing a front main oil seal, cam seal, water pump seal (along with water pump)... are there seals on the balance shaft? I assume that I don't need any special seal tools - a socket and gentle persuasion will work for installation? I just hope the other motor runs well.

I figured both belts and tensioners and a water pump would be a wise investment (especially since the belt stretched on mine at 133k so bad that it throw the motor completely out of time and turn off. I was lucky it didn't snap.) Any particular brands ya'll recommend going with or staying away from? Gates, Beck/Arnley, Goodyear, AC Delco, Genuine Honda ($$$), etc... I though I read something about the impeller fins being plastic on some pumps and metal on others... Maybe that was for my buddy's GLI.

Oh, one more thing - I thought I'd check the EGR port to see if it's plugged. I'm a little hazy on instructions for drilling these things, but I think there are instructions somewhere on the site. (I think the 2.2l had ports on the exterior of the intake manifold that needed to be drilled...). Mine was also plugged like crazy at 133k.

Anyways, thanks for all the advice and replies. I've been on other forums dealing with this car and they were about as much help as a snowblower in the Sahara. So, seriously, I appreciate it!
 

BigAnt

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I haven't opened one of these up yet, so pardon my ignorance. Which seals are you referring to? I'm guessing a front main oil seal, cam seal, water pump seal (along with water pump)... are there seals on the balance shaft? I assume that I don't need any special seal tools - a socket and gentle persuasion will work for installation? I just hope the other motor runs well.

I figured both belts and tensioners and a water pump would be a wise investment (especially since the belt stretched on mine at 133k so bad that it throw the motor completely out of time and turn off. I was lucky it didn't snap.) Any particular brands ya'll recommend going with or staying away from? Gates, Beck/Arnley, Goodyear, AC Delco, Genuine Honda ($$$), etc... I though I read something about the impeller fins being plastic on some pumps and metal on others... Maybe that was for my buddy's GLI.

Oh, one more thing - I thought I'd check the EGR port to see if it's plugged. I'm a little hazy on instructions for drilling these things, but I think there are instructions somewhere on the site. (I think the 2.2l had ports on the exterior of the intake manifold that needed to be drilled...). Mine was also plugged like crazy at 133k.

Anyways, thanks for all the advice and replies. I've been on other forums dealing with this car and they were about as much help as a snowblower in the Sahara. So, seriously, I appreciate it!

For the seals and belts stick with oem honda.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/01-0...rQ5fTruckQ5fPartsQ5fAccessories#ht_3278wt_940
 

HondaLuver83

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Usually exhaust valves burn if the valve lash closes up for some reason (improper lash adjustment, cam wear). The lack of lash (clearance) in the valvetrain prevents the valve from closing fully, which causes it to leak compression and overheat.

Valve burning can also be caused by any condition that makes the engine run hot or elevates combustion temperatures. This includes cooling problems, abnormal combustion like detonation or preignition, loss of exhaust gas recirculation (EGR), retarded ignition timing or lean fuel mixtures.

Do the compression test over again, warm the car up, turn it off, pour a cap full of oil in cylinder #3, this will temporary seal the suspected bad piston rings, do the test over again, if the compression goes up, you have bad rings. If it does not go up, then its most likely in the head.

Just take the cylinder head off and look at the exhaust valves on cylinder 3, if they look good. Then look for vertical scoring on cylinder 3 for a bad ring(s).

It cost a bit more to have an engine rebuild, but then its YOURS. And your not having to deal with someone elses bad habits. Even if you dont rebuild the engine yourself, taking it out atleast will save you a lot of money to have it rebuilt. You don't necessarily have to touch the block if the cylinder walls are okay. If the head is the culprit, have the burnt valves replaced, replace all valve seals, grind the valve seats and vales. If you have an itch, take the pistons out since the head is off and hone the block, put some new rings on your pistons, the voila. New engine...practically.
 
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