[color=blue]Thanks, guys. I’ll reply mostly to Michael’s post as it seems to cover most of the points brought up:
I haven’t really had much opportunity to check anything, on account of too much work, people getting married, and the car being parked on a slope all the time. No place to work, and no tools doesn’t help either.[/color]
One other thing you might want to consider is the oil pump. Even with fresh oil a bad pump will not be able to circulate it through the engine properly, which could well account for all the ticking noises and increased engine temperatures.
[color=blue]This is what I’m thinking. Thanks for the info about replacement parts.[/color]
Also, be sure to check you engine fans, both for the main radiator and the a/c fan. The thermostat can easily be checked at home to see if it works by simply putting it in hot water and using a cooking thermometer to check it’s opening temperature. Lastly don’t be surprised if your Civic has no thermostat, many mechanics here will simply pull them and let the system run open. If your car takes forever to warm up in the winter, then it’s safe to assume it’s been removed.
[color=blue]I discovered a screwdriver hiding with my computer parts, and it was just about adequate to undo the top radiator hose. The water was dirty, but oil-free, and there seemed to be pretty good flow once the engine warmed up. I don’t think the problem is the pump or the valve. The fan kicked in OK too, although I don’t know at what temperature.[/color]
As for the head gasket, it’s not always a surefire diagnosis to check for radiator bubbling, so look for signs of oil in the water by sticking your finger in and feeling the “fins” (when cold of course). Also, look for signs of water on the dipstick or signs of oil in your overfill container.
[color=blue]I checked the oil before my first posting, as it was the easiest and most obvious thing to do. Plenty of oil, and it was clean - no water in it either. Actually, there looked to be rather a lot of it. I checked the water too - full to the top, and no oil in it.
I guess we can discount the blown head-gasket theory, however I did forget to mention the burning smell. I’ve also noticed wafts of blue smoke occasionally, but am not sure where they’re coming from. Somewhere down below. What are the odds of a blown sump gasket leaking a bit of oil when the pressure gets up, which blows back onto the exhaust while driving?[/color]
I wouldn’t sweat the fuel gauge too much…Just reset your odometer to zero every time you fill up, and after one tank you’ll know how far you can go on one stop at the pump. If you have to have this problem addressed, very likely it’s the sensor in the gas tank itself that’s causing the problem.
[color=blue]I’m not worried about this issue in itself, it just makes me wonder whether the reported oil problem is real or not. It might be telling me to fasten my seatbelt for all I know.[/color]
Has the car overheated? Or runs hotter than 3/4 on a consistant basis? Either one of these symtoms could cause warpage in the head itself, so make sure to let the engine cool (ideally 2 hours) before adding water or anti-freeze. It’s also possible you have a cracked block, which would spell the end of your vehicle.
[color=blue]The engine is “hot” after being driven, but I don’t think it’s excessively so. It’s hard to tell with a non-functioning temperature guage. I don’t hear any frightening cooling sounds when stopped, it doesn’t run on after switching off the ignition, runs fine, and doesn’t blow off steam.[/color]
Also, what kind of oil are you running?
[color=blue]The oil that was in it when I bought it. [/color]
Cooling system problems are a true pain in the ass, but you can upgrade to an oversize copper radiator, larger cooling fans, and an aftermarket water pump.
One last thing about old Taiwan clunkers…Don’t throw good money after bad. I say this only from expensive first-hand experience. Several of the fixes mentioned on this thread will cost more than the car is worth…Any chance of obtaining this vehicles service records?
[color=blue]It was apparently looked after by this ‘great’ mechanic for years. The timing is out, and the plug leads look to be the original ones, so I’ll take that recommendation with a pinch of salt. Compare and contrast with the way that Bikefarm happily tinker with my Zing, looking for things to fix, every time they change the oil. Anyone know a good mechanic that can diagnose and fix this problem with the minimum of fuss - then give the car a proper service and tune-up?[/color]
Hope you get it sussed before your road trip…
I didn’t use the car this weekend, partly because the aircon stopped working on Friday. (I’ll worry about that problem later.) This morning I drove 25 minutes in traffic before the light came on. Usually it takes 5.
Also it started flashing straight away at all engine speeds, instead of holding steady at lower revs as it had done previously. I checked the oil level before starting out this morning and it was noticeably lower than Weds/Thurs too. Does anybody have the manual for this car, and can tell me what the light actually means when it does this - assuming it’s wired in correctly.
Thanks gentlemen, and keep the ideas coming please. I’m still driving 30-50km a day so I want to fix this SOON![/color]