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thebesthonda
thebesthonda, ASE MasterTechnician
Category: Honda
Satisfied Customers: 3084
Experience:  26 years experience
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93 Honda Accord: leaking oil..the seal and into the distributor

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I have a '93 Honda Accord that has been leaking oil recently. Took it to a mechanic and he said it needs a new distributor, that oil is leaking through the seal and into the distributor - total cost about $380. I have a few questions: 1) how can I be sure that I need a whole new distributor and not just a new O ring seal? 2) Trying to figure out if the price is right.... am I correct in assuming it should just be about an hour of labor? So the price is mostly in the part. I just went online and saw prices for a distributor ranging from $150-$330 (ihttp://www.partstrain.com/store/index.php?VN=4294967146+4294967031+4294966926+&Nr=AND(universal:0)&N=0&Ntt=Distributor) why is that? 3) related, if I do need a replacement distributor is it worth my time trying to find a used one, or is that perhaps too risky?

Thanks in advance... I am new to town so haven't been able to get a recommendation on a mechanic; so this kind of double checking is my best option!
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thebesthonda :

If you have any more questions or need anything please don't hesitate to ask. If the answer I send helps you, please click ACCEPT.

thebesthonda :

Hello. I can help you with this...

thebesthonda :

If oil is leaking into the distributor..yes, you do need a new one...this is very common. My shop has replaced hundreds of these...

thebesthonda :

As for the cost...

thebesthonda :

The prices you are seeing are for after market (non Honda) rebuilt distributors...

thebesthonda :

Honestly, I see a lot of trouble with these...premature failure.

thebesthonda :

I would recommend either one from your Honda dealer, or yes, one from a salvage yard...but you have be careful of these as you may get another leaky one...it's all too common.

Customer :

It seems like it may not be worth the trouble to find one salvage?

thebesthonda :

If you can get lucky and find a good one, you could save some money, but good used ones are hard to find.

Customer :

So, given a new Honda-built, the price I'm guessing is right?

thebesthonda :

Really all you need to resolve your issue is a distributor housing. Honda actually sells this part separate for $169.42. All you have to do is transfer your ignition module, distributor cap and distributor rotor over (takes about 10 minutes)

Customer :

should I recommend this to the mechanic?

thebesthonda :

Yes, it will save you a lot of money and resolve the issue with a genuine Honda part for quality. Your mechanic should charge you no more than 1.5 hours to swap this part. The Honda part # XXXXX XXXXX to make it easier when you call the dealer.

Customer :

ok....

thebesthonda :

Is there anything else I can do for you?

Customer :

mechanic says they won't just install a new housing kit.

Customer :

only a new distributor.

Customer :

wonder if I should call around?

Customer :

they claim that it comes as a whole piece and they can't do it.

Customer :

any thoughts?

thebesthonda :

I would find a new mechanic.

Customer :

OK, I'll see what I can do. Thanks for the help!

thebesthonda :

CLICK HERE to see how simple this is. The distributor housing is pictured at the bottom.

thebesthonda :

Anytime. Please accept and post feedback if I've helped you.

Customer :

Ok.... so just so I understand it more... how is the oil leaking if it just the housing that is the problem?

thebesthonda :

Yes ,the distributor has an internal seal that can not be replaced. When the seal gets worn, the oil will seep into the distributor housing and yes, it has to be replaced...seen it hundreds of times (seriously)

Customer :

No I believe it just trying to understand why only the housing would need to be replaced.. B/c all the other parts should be working fine?

thebesthonda :

The seal is built into the housing itself and can not be replaced without changing the whole housing.

Customer :

ok... got it!

Customer :

Thanks for your help.

Customer :

Hopefully I will find a mechanic that will do the cheaper job.

Customer :

However... I do sometimes have trouble starting on hot days.... it only happens once in a while and I haven't bothered to look into it. But I wonder if the problem could be the ignition module and it WOULD be worth it to replace the whole distributor?

thebesthonda :

My pleasure. No, this is usually a bad main relay under the driver side dash...hang on...

thebesthonda :

Full Size Image

thebesthonda :

There's an image to help.

Customer :

Ok. Sounds like I'll be looking for a fix just to the housing then!

Customer :

THanks again.

thebesthonda :

Anytime!

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