Oil in Radiator > Help Please!
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Thread: Oil in Radiator > Help Please!

  1. #1
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    Oil in Radiator > Help Please!

    Hello all.. 1st time here.
    We have a 2005 Odessey with 108,000 miles. Timing belt was changed last year, as well as heat pump. My fiance mentioned to me that the heat wasnt blowing hot air the other day. So, I went to investigate. Upon checking for fluid in the radiator I noticed the coolant was light brown. 1st thought, oh crap, I took it to Firestone a month ago for an oil change. They put the oil in the radiator... Anyway, So, I drained radiator (not flushed). Refilled with water, and started the van. Water stayed clear for a bit until Im guessing thermostat opened. Then I saw the light brown floating around in water. I thought maybe that was some left over oil mix because I didnt completely flush. Then, I saw a darker oil (fresh) Im guessing.

    So, Im not sure exactly where the oil is coming from. Is it a leaking head gasket? or is it an oil cooler leak? Not sure. The van has not smoked, and there is no sign of the carmel looking gunk in exhaust pipe.
    When I 1st looking into fill plug of the engine it looked like some of the same (light brown) in there. But now that I have ran engine, not seeing it.

    Anyone else had this issue? When I talked to a mechanic (x2) they didnt seem to think the gasket was leaking.. but to me, seems possible.
    I am planning on taking it to a shop tomorrow for them to take a look.
    If anyone has any knowledge, I would greatly appreciate it.
    Thanks in advance,
    Mark

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  3. #2
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    I would wait before jumping into conclusion.

    Here is something you can do and pay attentions to:

    I would flush the radiator regardless if there is a leak or not to get as much as oil out as possible.
    If it is cooler leak the contaminant would be transmission fluid.
    If head gasket leaks, you will see smoke coming out of the exhaust; blue smoke indicates oil is leaking into the combustion chamber and black smoke indicates water is leaking. Of course the engine will not run smoothly as before.
    you can also drain the oil from the pan to see if water in it. If there is a leak it usually go both way.

    If the engine runs smoothly without excessive smoke, don't worry too much.
    Heater is not getting heat usually associate with heater valve malfunction which would be the first thing you should check out. Lots of discussion on that subject in the forum.

    btw, welcome to the board.

    Hope this helps and post back,

  4. #3
    Registered User mjody's Avatar
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    When the brown stuff appeared, was it also bubbling and smell of exhaust? If so you have cylinder head/gasket issues.
    If it is brown and oily, check your ATF level. The rads have the ATF cooler in the bottom of them and can crack. The result is coolant gets in the transmission and destroys it, or the ATF gets into your coolant and does damage there.
    2004 TL
    2000 Ody

  5. #4
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    Thanks mjody and Bruce2,

    Brown substance is not bubbly, and doesnt smell of exhaust. After I drained and refilled with water, I left the cap off to observe and started the engine. It took a few moments before I saw the brown substance spotting in the water. Then it got heavy. After a bit, I saw dark streaks appearing in mixture. Then it began to over poor all light brown color - So I shut off the engine. Now, I took it to the local wash station to high pressure clean the mess. Runs fine, no smoking, heater actually worked.

    I will check trans fluid tomorrow and report back on any new findings.
    Again, thanks for the help

  6. #5
    Registered User New Dad New Van's Avatar
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    "I took it to Firestone a month ago for an oil change. They put the oil in the radiator" Sounds like a Jiffy Lube outfit!
    2001 Odyssey LX
    2003 ACURA EL Touring

    UNOFFICIAL 2001 ODYSSEY THREAD: http://www.odyclub.com/forums/showth...664#post384664

  7. #6
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    Well, sorry I didnt get back directly. Ends up I need a new engine. I took it to a local shop (same one I used for timing belt). After a few hours of looking into it they called me back. Told me that it needs a new engine. I was like what? Because it had no symptoms of running issues, smoke, sluggish etc. Other than the mixed coolant and oil. So, what they found... Oil was in coolant (which I already knew), also found the same mixture inside the engine. There is not a oil cooler (only trans), but the trans oil was fine. They went down as far as they could go without completely breaking down. Nothing was found. So the only possibility was that the block was cracked. Therefor oil and coolant had access to each other. This is apparently not a common problem, but they have seen it twice. The symptoms were identical. The problem with this is that unless you break the engine down, you wont see this. So, kinda stuck.

    Anyway, I was able to get a used engine (same) with 40k. They are swapping engines as now. Cost me 2k for engine and install (guess not bad). Hopefully Ill get better details when they pull old engine. Ill try to add to this discussion.

  8. #7
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    Wow, that is suprising...and scary. I have an 05 with a hair more miles...i would have run it to the ground before I dropped a new motor.
    Side note- I keep scouring CL for Ody parts and the Washington Dc page has atleast one used motor for sale for $500 if it is not too late...but your shop may not warranty an engine you bring in yourself.

    Good luck and keep us posted.

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