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Have an 02 Accord here. I’ve been having a slow oil leak around the distributor area that I’ve ignored for the longest time, to the point where the area underneath is coated with a black mess. One day I finally decided to do something about it, so looked it up and figured it was the distributor O-ring (or so I thought!), so changed that out about 3 months ago. The old O-ring looked fine when I changed it though, but still went ahead and put the new one in. The distributor itself looked fine with no oil stains within it. However, while changing the distributor O-ring, I saw the coolant line behind it was VERY SWOLLEN from the oil spraying on it all this time (looked like it was ready to burst!!!). So the next day took off the distributor again to access that line to swap it out for a new one. To finish I gave that area a good wipe so I can periodically inspect for further leaks.

Fast forward 3 months later, it still continues to leak. I’ll wipe it and a few days later you can see a thin layer of oil begin to build up again. I run my finger underneath where the distributor blade and camshaft meets and there is oil evident. I already changed the O-ring, what else could I look into to stop this leak? Could pulling the distributor unit out again during the changing of the coolant tube the next day have damaged the O-ring? During my oil change it drained about 3.5L, so it didn’t get dangerously low. Can I just continue to ignore it and just fill it up when necessary?

On another note, I am worried that if the oil continues to leak on the new coolant line behind the distributor, it may eventually swell up and require changing again. I am considering to place some sort of temperature & oil resistant tape around that line with the hopes of repelling the oil. So far the best I’ve come across is the self-sealing silicone F4 tape (aka Rescue tape, aka Mighty fixit) that is advertised to handle high temp and resist oil. Any thoughts on wrapping the coolant line with this?

TIA for any advice you can provide!
 

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Are you sure the valve cover is not leaking right next to the distributor?
Another possible cause for the leak could be your PVC valve. If its not working correctly, pressure could be building up inside the valve cover and pushing the oil out past the o-ring or valve cover.
If it is the distributor o-ring, I would try another one since they are inexpensive, maybe from a different supplier.
As you discovered the loss of oil is probably minimal, but it can cause other problem like the hose damage. A covering over the hose may extend its life, but its not fixing the basic problem (oil leak).
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I just changed the PCV valve recently as well, so don't think it would be that. The O-ring I bought was from Honda dealership, though I could try getting another and changing it again.
 

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Mine, my grandmothers, and my cousins 2.3l have been doing it for months, if not years. Mine slowly leaks. When I get the money, I'm just going to have the distributor replaced. At 135,xxx or so miles, it couldn't hurt. It rarely leaks onto the driveway, but it detracts from the look under the hood. I like to keep my underhood so clean you can eat off it, but this doesn't allow that to happen. Again, all 3 cars leak in the exact same spot, grandmas and cousins have had the coolant line burst and spray everywhere. So I'm worried I'm next. So the replacement will be soon.
But I guess I'm just saying you aren't alone in the situation.
 

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Have an 02 Accord here. I’ve been having a slow oil leak around the distributor area that I’ve ignored for the longest time, to the point where the area underneath is coated with a black mess. One day I finally decided to do something about it, so looked it up and figured it was the distributor O-ring (or so I thought!), so changed that out about 3 months ago. The old O-ring looked fine when I changed it though, but still went ahead and put the new one in. The distributor itself looked fine with no oil stains within it. However, while changing the distributor O-ring, I saw the coolant line behind it was VERY SWOLLEN from the oil spraying on it all this time (looked like it was ready to burst!!!). So the next day took off the distributor again to access that line to swap it out for a new one. To finish I gave that area a good wipe so I can periodically inspect for further leaks.

Fast forward 3 months later, it still continues to leak. I’ll wipe it and a few days later you can see a thin layer of oil begin to build up again. I run my finger underneath where the distributor blade and camshaft meets and there is oil evident. I already changed the O-ring, what else could I look into to stop this leak? Could pulling the distributor unit out again during the changing of the coolant tube the next day have damaged the O-ring? During my oil change it drained about 3.5L, so it didn’t get dangerously low. Can I just continue to ignore it and just fill it up when necessary?

On another note, I am worried that if the oil continues to leak on the new coolant line behind the distributor, it may eventually swell up and require changing again. I am considering to place some sort of temperature & oil resistant tape around that line with the hopes of repelling the oil. So far the best I’ve come across is the self-sealing silicone F4 tape (aka Rescue tape, aka Mighty fixit) that is advertised to handle high temp and resist oil. Any thoughts on wrapping the coolant line with this?

TIA for any advice you can provide!
My guess is, like me you need a new distrib. Welcome to the club. The club fee is $316 (ebay) or on-line. $450+ from local dealership. Or get an aftermarket for $100-200. May not last very long, from what I hear.
Key thing to know there are two different type of distributors for the 4cyc and I dont know about the V6.

Best bet is to buy OEM replacement hose and distrib...

Good luck...
 

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1998 Honda Accord EX 2.3L 169,000 miles

I had the identical problem with mine over a year ago. The leak chewed away the coolant hose beneath the distributor and I had the same swelling as yours right at the clamp. I changed the o-ring, wiped every, changed the hose(s), and changed the PCV valve. Last month I noticed oil--like it was sprayed--in the same spot underneath the distributor, just as before but to a lesser degree. I have not changed the valve cover gasket but the leak or spray is minor and I'll just wipe it dry every now and then. I do have plans to change the gasket as it it about seven years old.

I would not cover the coolant hose. Just replace it. You already know how to remove the distributor cap so it would be easy for you. Cheapest insurance you'll ever buy.

Check around the PCV valve and look for the same or excessive oil leak/spray. It may indicate a faulty valve as NEHONDA mentioned causing excessive blow-back pushing out the gas/oil through the gasket and possibly the o-ring. Mine was really dirty at this area before I changed the valve.
 

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Reviving this thread. My distributor is leaking as well with 177k on the odometer, and my heater hose is starting to swell. It is my understanding that the internal seal on the distributor will fail over time, and the external oring may leak, but unfortunately changing the oring usually does not fix your leak. The internal seal is difficult to replace and requires special tools. The only way to really fix this is to replace the distributor and also swap the heater hose when you have the distributor off since the oil that drips onto the heater hose will weaken it and you risk having it burst.

Fortunately, I obtained a low mileage distributor that looks extremely good for free from a friend. The outer oring is still in pretty good shape, but for $3 I will replace it anyhow. I will be buying some new antifreeze along with a new hose and do the job all at once in the very near future. Also replace the PCV valve ($3) while you are doing this job as well to rule out any blow by.

This is just something 6th gen accord owners need to pay attention to when their cars have high miles and address it before you are stranded with a burst heater hose.
 

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Have an 02 Accord here. I’ve been having a slow oil leak around the distributor area that I’ve ignored for the longest time, to the point where the area underneath is coated with a black mess. One day I finally decided to do something about it, so looked it up and figured it was the distributor O-ring (or so I thought!), so changed that out about 3 months ago. The old O-ring looked fine when I changed it though, but still went ahead and put the new one in. The distributor itself looked fine with no oil stains within it. However, while changing the distributor O-ring, I saw the coolant line behind it was VERY SWOLLEN from the oil spraying on it all this time (looked like it was ready to burst!!!). So the next day took off the distributor again to access that line to swap it out for a new one. To finish I gave that area a good wipe so I can periodically inspect for further leaks.

Fast forward 3 months later, it still continues to leak. I’ll wipe it and a few days later you can see a thin layer of oil begin to build up again. I run my finger underneath where the distributor blade and camshaft meets and there is oil evident. I already changed the O-ring, what else could I look into to stop this leak? Could pulling the distributor unit out again during the changing of the coolant tube the next day have damaged the O-ring? During my oil change it drained about 3.5L, so it didn’t get dangerously low. Can I just continue to ignore it and just fill it up when necessary?

On another note, I am worried that if the oil continues to leak on the new coolant line behind the distributor, it may eventually swell up and require changing again. I am considering to place some sort of temperature & oil resistant tape around that line with the hopes of repelling the oil. So far the best I’ve come across is the self-sealing silicone F4 tape (aka Rescue tape, aka Mighty fixit) that is advertised to handle high temp and resist oil. Any thoughts on wrapping the coolant line with this?

TIA for any advice you can provide!
Replace distributor with OEM part to solve problem. Been there done that on my 98 accord 4cyl. with over 130k miles.
 

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Reviving this thread. My distributor is leaking as well with 177k on the odometer, and my heater hose is starting to swell. It is my understanding that the internal seal on the distributor will fail over time, and the external oring may leak, but unfortunately changing the oring usually does not fix your leak. The internal seal is difficult to replace and requires special tools. The only way to really fix this is to replace the distributor and also swap the heater hose when you have the distributor off since the oil that drips onto the heater hose will weaken it and you risk having it burst.

Fortunately, I obtained a low mileage distributor that looks extremely good for free from a friend. The outer oring is still in pretty good shape, but for $3 I will replace it anyhow. I will be buying some new antifreeze along with a new hose and do the job all at once in the very near future. Also replace the PCV valve ($3) while you are doing this job as well to rule out any blow by.

This is just something 6th gen accord owners need to pay attention to when their cars have high miles and address it before you are stranded with a burst heater hose.
I subsequently replaced my valve cover gasket as it was leaking and the engine areas all below the gasket have been bone dry. As stated before I did change my $2 o-ring and my leak has all but stopped. I wipe a clean white napkin under the distributor every month or so and I see a trace of oil. Not enough to drip and not enough to worry me. You can change the distributor if it's a good size leak on your car, or live with it if minor or just a trace as in my case.

Also, don't neglect the fact that you could have accidentally nicked the distributor surface/shaft area where the o-ring meets (prying with a screwdriver, etc). A minor scratch will allow a leak. I didn't do it, but I wish I had used high temperature sealant when doing my $2 o-ring. Perhaps you can do this on your replacement o-ring as extra insurance.
 

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Same issue here, @ 210k miles. I need to park her and take care of a few items over the holidays. Time to start gathering parts.


I see most people do not recommend the aftermarket ones. Does this include the Hitachi’s on Ebay?

It's hard to pay 200 plus for a car with 210K miles, or just try the aftermarket at half price.
 

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Same issue here, @ 210k miles. I need to park her and take care of a few items over the holidays. Time to start gathering parts.


I see most people do not recommend the aftermarket ones. Does this include the Hitachi’s on Ebay?

It's hard to pay 200 plus for a car with 210K miles, or just try the aftermarket at half price.
The original one that came off my car is labeled Hitachi as well as the one that went on. Hitachi is OEM for LX/EX 4 cyl.
 

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Reviving this thread. My distributor is leaking as well with 177k on the odometer, and my heater hose is starting to swell. It is my understanding that the internal seal on the distributor will fail over time, and the external oring may leak, but unfortunately changing the oring usually does not fix your leak. The internal seal is difficult to replace and requires special tools. The only way to really fix this is to replace the distributor and also swap the heater hose when you have the distributor off since the oil that drips onto the heater hose will weaken it and you risk having it burst.

Fortunately, I obtained a low mileage distributor that looks extremely good for free from a friend. The outer oring is still in pretty good shape, but for $3 I will replace it anyhow. I will be buying some new antifreeze along with a new hose and do the job all at once in the very near future. Also replace the PCV valve ($3) while you are doing this job as well to rule out any blow by.

This is just something 6th gen accord owners need to pay attention to when their cars have high miles and address it before you are stranded with a burst heater hose.
Anyone reading this in the future, the first paragraph in jb1331's post best summarizes the extremely common problems with our distributor cap and the leaky coolant hose directly underneath as a result of either a fauly o-ring or bad internal distributor cap seal. We're not all able to get a practically free distributor cap as jb1331 did, so I'd start out by changing the hose and $2 o-ring and see if it works. If not, change the distributor cap...and in that regard I'd suggest only use an OEM one at that as anything aftermarket will start causing ignition and oil leak problems sooner than later.

Has anyone successfully used hondabond or another sealant when replacing the $2 external o-ring? Please share your thoughts! I have not tried this yet but plan to do so on a pending job in the next few weeks.
 

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99 Accord I4, 121K miles.
Oil was dripping under the distributor onto the heater hose and the hot oil has softened the heater hose.
There was enough oil dripping to deposit a small oil stain on the ground.

The valve cover was replaced 30 K miles ago so it was less likely to leak yet.

I suspect either the external O ring (P/N 30110-PC6-005 ) or the internal seal (no P/N ) is bad.
If the internal seal is bad, then a new distributor housing (P/N 30105-PAA-L01 ) is the cheapest option at $175+shipping&handling from Majestic Honda dealer
or $224.28 + tax at my local Honda dealer.

To eliminate the internal seal as the likely suspect, I removed the black plastic distributor cap and saw no fluid inside. That was a good sign, which implied the external O ring was the more likely culprit.

I bought the distributor O ring for less than $2 from the local Honda dealer and replaced the old with the the new.
When I pried off the old O ring with a small flat blade screwdriver, the O ring was brittle enough that it cracked apart. Clearly the O ring needed replacement ASAP.
I used no sealant when I re-attached the distributor to the engine.

I will drive for a day or two and monitor for leak. If it continues to leak, I may have to re-seat the new O ring and hoping that will stop leaking.

I wanted to replace the softened heater hose too, but decided to wait because it was a lot more work than I was willing to do at the time.
So, I cut a piece of radiator hose and wrap it around the heater hose to protect it from the hot oil possibly leaking from the distributor.
Hopefully the softened heater hose will last for a long time.
 

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Wow, I4 engine distributor is much more expensive than V6: $160 for the whole V6 distributor assembly + S/H on Majestic.
 

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99 Accord I4, 121K miles.
Oil was dripping under the distributor onto the heater hose and the hot oil has softened the heater hose.
There was enough oil dripping to deposit a small oil stain on the ground.

The valve cover was replaced 30 K miles ago so it was less likely to leak yet.

I suspect either the external O ring (P/N 30110-PC6-005 ) or the internal seal (no P/N ) is bad.
If the internal seal is bad, then a new distributor housing (P/N 30105-PAA-L01 ) is the cheapest option at $175+shipping&handling from Majestic Honda dealer
or $224.28 + tax at my local Honda dealer.

To eliminate the internal seal as the likely suspect, I removed the black plastic distributor cap and saw no fluid inside. That was a good sign, which implied the external O ring was the more likely culprit.

I bought the distributor O ring for less than $2 from the local Honda dealer and replaced the old with the the new.
When I pried off the old O ring with a small flat blade screwdriver, the O ring was brittle enough that it cracked apart. Clearly the O ring needed replacement ASAP.
I used no sealant when I re-attached the distributor to the engine.

I will drive for a day or two and monitor for leak. If it continues to leak, I may have to re-seat the new O ring and hoping that will stop leaking.

I wanted to replace the softened heater hose too, but decided to wait because it was a lot more work than I was willing to do at the time.
So, I cut a piece of radiator hose and wrap it around the heater hose to protect it from the hot oil possibly leaking from the distributor.
Hopefully the softened heater hose will last for a long time.
Another nice write up and summary of this well documented problem (no wonder there have been over 4,000 views on this topic.) That's a good idea to wrap another hose around it. Did you clamp the second hose down? Personally, I would have found the extra time and replaced the $5-7 hose when you already had the distributor out and out of the way, but I know you said you didn't have time. The hose is going to fail on you more sooner than later, and probably at the most inopportune moment at that. But that's a novel idea of using another hose over it to stop or slow it down until you can get to it.
 

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Wow, I4 engine distributor is much more expensive than V6: $160 for the whole V6 distributor assembly + S/H on Majestic.
Agreed.

Both parts perform basically the same function.
Both parts made by Hitachi.
It's difficult to understand the $160 difference.

The more risky alternative is the buy the I4 dist. from ebay for $82,
or $120 (shipped from China).
 

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Another nice write up and summary of this well documented problem (no wonder there have been over 4,000 views on this topic.) That's a good idea to wrap another hose around it. Did you clamp the second hose down? Personally, I would have found the extra time and replaced the $5-7 hose when you already had the distributor out and out of the way, but I know you said you didn't have time. The hose is going to fail on you more sooner than later, and probably at the most inopportune moment at that. But that's a novel idea of using another hose over it to stop or slow it down until you can get to it.
Thanks for the feedback.

I didn't have to clamp down the 2nd hose. The heater hose has an elbow, so I made the 2nd hose long enough to push against the elbow.
The friction between the 2 hoses prevents the movement.

After one day of driving, I found no oil below the distributor.
So things are looking good after one day.

The heater hose is not really under a lot of pressure. So even though the hose is softer, it is not stressed.
That's my rationale for taking some risk and leave the old heater hose in place for now.

To replace the heater hose, I'd have to remove the distributor and the duct from the air filter to the throttle body.
I will need couple of hours. I'd have to buy a long needle nose plier to remove the clamps and a gallon of antifreeze.

That's the next DIY project.
 

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Thanks for the feedback.

I didn't have to clamp down the 2nd hose. The heater hose has an elbow, so I made the 2nd hose long enough to push against the elbow.
The friction between the 2 hoses prevents the movement.

After one day of driving, I found no oil below the distributor.
So things are looking good after one day.

The heater hose is not really under a lot of pressure. So even though the hose is softer, it is not stressed.
That's my rationale for taking some risk and leave the old heater hose in place for now.

To replace the heater hose, I'd have to remove the distributor and the duct from the air filter to the throttle body.
I will need couple of hours. I'd have to buy a long needle nose plier to remove the clamps and a gallon of antifreeze.

That's the next DIY project.
Mine was not swollen, but it was definately softer. It was the original hose and I am not going to take that risk. I like my cars to be in a state of where I know I can drive it cross country at a moments notice if need be. It was a minor pain to swap since I had to drain the radiator, but doing a radiator flush is a good thing if you have not done it in a while.
 

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Update:

Finally I found a couple of hours of free time to replace the heater hose under the distributor that was swelling from dripping hot engine oil.

I bought the hose from a local Honda dealer for $14.xx which was cheaper than Autozone ($18.xx).
I bought a couple of long needle-nosed pliers to remove/install the spring clamps and a couple of hose grip pliers to remove/install the hose.

I removed the old hose and inspected the swollen section to see if it really needed to be discarded.
In my opinion, the old hose would still be good for a long time if it was protected from further contact with hot engine oil. Since I already have a brand new hose, I proceeded to install the new hose for the peace of mind.

I had to remove the distributor to access to the hose. I was surprised to find that the distributor continued to leak engine oil. I could see 1 or 2 drops a day on the ground.
The inside of the distributor was moist but not soaked with oil, so the internal shaft seal was starting to deteriorate.
If I parked on the street, I would leave the leak alone until it becomes much more than a few drops a day.
Since I have to park in my driveway (HOA rules/regulations) and since I don't like seeing oil stains on my driveway, I will look into replacing the distributor with a new one from Rock Auto:
http://www.rockauto.com/catalog/moreinfo.php?pk=4363515&cc=1355554
It is the least expensive option at this time.
I hope this after market distributor will work as well and last as long as the OEM one.
 
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