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Hi there,

My Honda Odyssey 1996 model broke down the other day. My boyfriend was driving it and he said at the bottom of the road the check engine light came on. He drove uphill and put the car into reverse to park and the engine shut down and smoke appeared from the bonnet. He checked the coolant overflow and there was nothing inside. Leaving the car to cool down for a while he returned a few hours later and the car did restart. We then checked the oil and all looked normal. We then checked the inside of the coolant overflow and the top of the engine coolant and there is an odd brown sludge. After some research, I am suspecting that it needs a coolant flush but i was just wondering what you guys thought? I am hoping to minimise the cost of repair. Any advice would be appreciated!
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This is a classic symptom of mixing incompatible coolants. I'd suspect there's a leak somewhere, since the recovery tank is empty. This of course would necessitate adding coolant periodically. And it looks like the wrong type was used.

In order to get all that crap out, you'll need to carefully flush the system several times with clean water before attempting to refill the coolant.

What is the history of the vehicle? Has someone been adding coolant?
 

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Did you just acquire your van? How many miles on it? If it were me, I'd change out all the fluids, then you can keep record & know it was done, instead of guessing or waiting for failure. Are you in the States? your car looks like a right hand steering model.
 
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