www.autozone.com has free repair guides. They appear to be identical to
Chilton's. You put in your car's info and follow the links. It's not PDF
format, so it is quicker.
http://www.honda.co.uk/owner/workshopmanuals2.html also has a free online
manual for the 89 Prelude. The instructions ultimately are in pdf format.
The good ol' shadetree test: with a cold engine, remove the radiator cap and
pinch the overflow tubing closed. Start the engine and place the palm of
your hand over the radiator opening. If you feel steadily rising pressure or
(more ominous) pulsations against your palm the head has to come off to fix
it... warped or cracked head or bad head gasket. Fortunately, if the car
hasn't seriously overheated you would probably be looking at the gasket
failing. The cracked head is the least common.
Here's one problem that many techs overlook. Quite often Honda designed
coolant passages into the intake manifold to keep it warm. Sometimes these
develop a pin hole leak into the intake runner such that it draws antifreeze
into the combustion chamber. This symptom is difficult to diagnose as it
tends to mimic a failing head gasket or head, i.e., there's abundant white
acrid smoke in the exhaust but there's no coolant in the oil. Sometimes the
leak into the intake runner is worse depending on engine temperature. In
any case, you'll want to carefully check all of the intake runners to make
sure that you don't see any white streaks of dried antifreeze running
towards the cylinders. If you do find this indicator, then you'll need to
replace that part of the intake manifold.
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