Thanks for allowing me my first post and apologise, in advance, for its length. I have a '98 Acura CL 2.3 with A/T and 135k mi. For starters, I recently bought the car with little or no maintenance history. However, I believed the timing belt/water pump had never been replaced. Also, I discovered the A/C was not working well. With this in mind, I decided to take the car to a Honda Dealership to have it checked out and estimate the repair costs. Bottom line, the estimate was $2500 including the A/C repair with more than half the cost associated with the t-belt/leak repairs. Here's what I was told during a 'show and tell' inspection/discussion with the mechanic...before doing ANY work on the car:
Timing belt/water pump likely never replaced (135k mi). Lower timing belt cover, oil pan, valve cover, and something called the "spool valve" showed evidence of oil leaks. The oil pan and valve cover gasket were obviously leaking which is pretty simple and straight forward. However, the evidence of oil leaks from the 'spool valve' (mechanic pointed to its location near the EGR valve) and timing belt cover are a bit more troubling to ME.
Spool valve: - Mechanic showed where oil was leaking but said it wasn't a real difficult repair. I'm assuming a gasket replacement. Also, I'm assuming the 'spool valve' is the 'solenoid valve'??? What is it's purpose??? How difficult is it to DIY ???
Lower timing belt cover: - Mechanic said (without doing any work), leaks could be coming from cam & crank seal. Also, mechanic quick to point out replacing the cam and crank seal might not be enough to address the oil leak problem. He said "we might have to replace the GEAR DRIVE" (about $285 for part) since you can't buy just the seal itself. As best I understood, the "gear drive" is either part of the oil pump system or it relates to the rear balance shaft. PLEASE HELP ME UNDERSTAND!!!!!
I don't want to throw $2500 (a/c repair, timing belt/water pump, miscellaneous oil leaks) at this car ONLY to find out later there are other COSTLY leaks needing to be repaired. I decided NOT to let the dealership make the repairs but instead, take it to an independent mechanic (hopefully much cheaper).
So, my questions are...what other possible seals (e.g. rear main) should I inspect/address? What is the "gear drive" and why can't I buy the seal that's associated with it without spending $285??? Will the independent shop stumble upon the possible 'gear drive' leak issue while doing the timing belt/water pump replacement??? Is there a HUGE problem with using aftermarket parts since I'd be surprised if I keep the car another 60k mi??
As for the A/C, mechanic could only say the system was way over-pressurized (which he corrected) but was uncertain as to the final cost of repair saying: "May replace expansion valve, condensor, and receiver/drier BUT may have to go further... like taking out the DASH to complete the repair." WHAT'S UP WITH THE DASH COMING OUT??????
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