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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello! I'm a 21 year old girl that lovesss my truck, but it let me down recently! I haven't found the solution to my problem specifically anywhere! So let me explain! My 02 MDX (prem pkg with a little over 250,000 miles) started overheating while I was driving. The temp gauge was rising as I was accelerating, even while I was sitting. I was close to my dad's, so I decided to park it there.. when I went to back it up, it cut off completely! There was sputtering as I was trying to back it up. Once I got it backed in, j opened the hood. There was smoke coming from under it and the fan was still going even though the truck was off. I didn't check the exhaust or anything. The smoke was primarily coming from the left side of the engine, closest to where the fuse box is. I left it to cool for most of the day. When my dad came home to look at it, nothing was wrong. It crunk perfectly with no signs of smoke, overheating, or sputters! He put some water in the radiator and I was on my way! But it's happened again and I need help bad !
 

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Sounds like blown head gasket. Look at underside of radiator cap, oil fill cap, and overflow tank. If any of them have a milky looking substance on them, don't drive it. A blown head gasket will cause the milky stuff from oil and coolant mixing. Not something to screw around with, very it fixed. Say smelling exhaust or excessive white smoke from exhaust is another sign of blown head gasket. Good luck

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Everything Bratcop said was spot on. There could be other reasons your MDX overheated, as simple as a hose with a hole in it. The potential mistake (one that a lot of people make) is that they see the temperature going off-scale, and figure "it's only a few more miles to X"... those extra few miles can destroy your engine. If it got so hot that it could no longer run, it's "not a good thing", but hopefully the engineering that went into your Honda V6 is enough to allow you to dodge that bullet. Maybe... just don't continue to drive the car after it tells you it's hot. You WILL be replacing the engine or car if you do.

So check your coolant for the dreaded "milk shake", AND for level. If there is no contamination in the antifreeze, but the level is dropping, find out where it's going. There are a lot of possibilities, but if it's losing the water fast, it's not usually hard to spot. If you're not comfortable looking for that yourself, take it to someone who is. Otherwise, you're going to be spending a LOT of money soon.
 

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Agree w/ habbyguy that more diagnostics indicated before head gasket repair. A simple sticking thermostat could also cause similar symptoms.

good luck
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for all the advice! I'll definitely look into that today! I try to be as hands on with my truck as I can be! Wtbs... is this something that my dad can do? Does it require anything special? I will try to upload pictures as I look at everything with as much detail as possible! I reallyyyyyy appreciate you all !
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Everything Bratcop said was spot on. There could be other reasons your MDX overheated, as simple as a hose with a hole in it. The potential mistake (one that a lot of people make) is that they see the temperature going off-scale, and figure "it's only a few more miles to X"... those extra few miles can destroy your engine. If it got so hot that it could no longer run, it's "not a good thing", but hopefully the engineering that went into your Honda V6 is enough to allow you to dodge that bullet. Maybe... just don't continue to drive the car after it tells you it's hot. You WILL be replacing the engine or car if you do.

So check your coolant for the dreaded "milk shake", AND for level. If there is no contamination in the antifreeze, but the level is dropping, find out where it's going. There are a lot of possibilities, but if it's losing the water fast, it's not usually hard to spot. If you're not comfortable looking for that yourself, take it to someone who is. Otherwise, you're going to be spending a LOT of money soon.
Could it be possible that it is the water pump? My dad said that it was, but he wasn't quite sure. Ive already bought the new water pump kit, but I haven't opened it yet!
 

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There are 3 different things you described.

1) Bad Thermostat
2) Bad water pump
3) Blown Head Gasket.

Did you pull the dipstick to check for 'milk' or look under the cap yet?

You really need to stop using that car and get that checked out, otherwise you go from the $100 fix to a $3000 fix.
 

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If you're going to do the water pump, you'll want to do the timing belt and idlers at the same time (and while you're at it, change out the main radiator hoses and serpentine belt while you're at it). All of that will only add modest parts cost, and virtually no extra labor since all that has to come off to do the water pump anyway.

If I were a betting man, I'd suggest it might be the thermostat. If you're lucky, that is... the other two are "big deals". If it was mine, I'd just change out the thermostat (only a few bucks, but some effort involved) and see if you fixed it. Forbin404 is right - figure it out now while you have the opportunity to fix this problem cheap. Or figure that your next trip in you MDX might set you back thousands.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Everything Bratcop said was spot on. There could be other reasons your MDX overheated, as simple as a hose with a hole in it. The potential mistake (one that a lot of people make) is that they see the temperature going off-scale, and figure "it's only a few more miles to X"... those extra few miles can destroy your engine. If it got so hot that it could no longer run, it's "not a good thing", but hopefully the engineering that went into your Honda V6 is enough to allow you to dodge that bullet. Maybe... just don't continue to drive the car after it tells you it's hot. You WILL be replacing the engine or car if you do.

So check your coolant for the dreaded "milk shake", AND for level. If there is no contamination in the antifreeze, but the level is dropping, find out where it's going. There are a lot of possibilities, but if it's losing the water fast, it's not usually hard to spot. If you're not comfortable looking for that yourself, take it to someone who is. Otherwise, you're going to be spending a LOT of money soon.
Will it still be visible after the truck has been sitting a while ? It's been down for about a month now?
 

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Maybe, though it's a lot more obvious when it's fresh. Once the "milk shake" dries out, it's just a crusty film that doesn't look that different from some of the other stuff that tends to accumulate under the radiator cap, on the dipstick or oil fill cap. The "good news" is that you can always drive the car until it gets hot again and then you'll have fresh froth on those parts (if you have a blown head gasket, that is).

A side note - if you're ever in a situation where the car is starting to get hot, and you don't have the ability to stop immediately, just slam the heater temperature as high as it'll go and turn on the fan full blast. Yes, you'll be uncomfortable as your heater takes over for your radiator, cooling the engine by blowing the heat into the passenger compartment, but you just might save the engine in the process and/or extend your "safe range" by enough to get you to a safe stopping point.
 

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It possible it a bad Thermostat that a cheap fix I would replace that first and it also possible that the radiator is clogged that could be why the cooling system not working causing it to overheat as far as I know I never had a water pump go bad without starting to leak first.
 

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I owned one of these, and it blew a head gasket just like this, over 200k on the clock. Look in the coolant overflow tank. If there is anything other than coolant colored fluid (green, pink, whatever is in your radiator), I'd look closer at oil fill cap. Left behind dried "suds", for lack of better description, in overflow tank indicate blown head gasket.

Another thing to consider, this year mdx had faulty radiators where the trans fluid line breaks inside the radiator mixing tranny fluid with coolant. I suppose this could lead to overheat but usually u notice transmission issues first. Take a pic of underside of oil fill cap, a pic looking into open radiator, and a pic looking into overflow tank and post them if you want more than educated guesses.

Fwiw, I bet head gasket.

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