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My 2004 Honda Civic has been having some puzzling cooling system issues. The car would slowly start to overheat, giving me enough time to pull over and shut the car off with one exception. When the hood was lifted, it was evident that coolant had built up pressure resulting in coolant blowing out of the reservoir. It's worth noting that the heat in my car would become cold, there would be an awful burning smell, then the gauge would start to creep up. Occasionally, the temperature would return back to normal before getting three quarters of the way up to maxing out the gauges. My SO is a hobby mechanic. He has replace the following parts (in order): both radiator hoses, thermostat, cooling fan fuse, and the radiator (which did have some holes in it). I also have new radiator and reservoir caps. There is no coolant in the oil to indicate that the head gasket is bad, but that's the issue that we are leaning towards. The professional mechanic hasnt physically looked at the car, but he seems to want to replace the water pump, the head gasket, and the timing chain (even though that was done fairly recently) based off of all of this information. Does this seem like a reasonable course of action? Does anyone have any other ideas/advice? I bought this car off of my SO's grandparents after a relative passed away. It has about 140000 miles on it, 4000 of which I have put on it since purchasing it in November.

  • Which Civic model is this? The D17A1 (non-VTEC) used in most anything but the EX model (uses the D17A2 VTEC version ... though it may suffer the same issue) has issues with overheating at some point in their life. It seems to be systemic, though I don't know why. My '03 Civic LX has the same issue, though it eats a little bit of coolant each time I run it. Once the fluid in the radiator gets low enough, it will start overheating. As long as I keep up on the fluid, no issues. I'm planning on a JDM engine swap as they are relatively cheap. – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Feb 11 '18 at 13:01
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Find a different 'professional' mechanic - one who would actually LOOK at the car before giving you a shopping list of what needs to be changed.

I'd be inclined to consider the water pump - and that's pretty simple to diagnose, once you're in front of the vehicle.

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