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How to Replace a Water Inlet Heater Hose on a 1998 Honda Accord

May 14th, 2015 · No Comments

Replacing a Heater Hose on a 1998 Honda Accord

It seems to be an odd thing, but when I have some car trouble and I think I can fix, I tend to feel a little good about being able to repair my own car – not to much though, I hate having car troubles, but I like being able to fix it, learn something new and possibly help someone else by sharing my experiences.   In this post I describe how I replace a heater hose or specifically a water inlet hose on a 1998 Honda Accord.  The term heater hose is a generic term which refers to any hose which connects to the cars heater, this particular hose is called the water inlet hose.   The water inlet hose provides a route for the hot coolant mixture from the engine to get to the heater in the cabin and provide heat as needed.

Steam Coming From the Engine

Recently I arrived at work and when I got out of my car I noticed a jet of steam coming out from under the side of my hood and wheel well.  After things cooled off a friend and I went to take a look – I discovered a heater hose which ran from the engine block to a connector leading to the fire wall had some damage near the connector on the engine.  I filled the car up with water and carried a few extra jugs for my trip back home later that day.  Normally this would not be something you would want to do because you could risk damaging the car further, however this turned out to be a slow leak and I was monitoring the temperature gauge on the way home.  Sometimes you can clamp off a leaky heater hose and safely drive the vehicle, however because of the location of the break, clamping this one off was not an option.

Replacing a Water Inlet Heater Hose

Later, after having gotten the new heater hose, I started the repair job of replacing a water inlet hose on my 1998 Honda Accord.  I removed the breather tube to get better access to the hose.  Once the breather tube was off I could get better access to the rear hose clamp and used needle nose pliers to move the clamp off the connector and then loosened that end of the hose.  The front end of the hose was a bit more tricky,  I tried for a good while to get the front hose clamp off and loosen that end of the hose, but it was just too tight.  I had to take off the distributor to be able to get in there to release the heater hose from the engine block

Removing the Distributor

The distributor cap is held in place by three small screws, you can use a phillips screwdriver to get at them, but a small socket with the appropriate extensions works better.  Once I got the cap off and inspected it, I thought it would be a good idea to replace the distributor cap and rotor also.  I still didn’t have room to get to the heater hose clamp, because I needed to remove the whole distibutor housing to get enough room.  Now that the distributor cap was off I took a pencil and marked the position of the rotor.  I marked the position of the rotor on the housing so that when I put the distributor housing back on, it will go on easily and I wouldn’t have to turn the rotor to try to get it to line up.  After this was done I took out the two bolts that hold the distributor housing to the engine, then pulled the distributor off of the engine.  I now had access to the front clamp on the heater hose.

Installing the New Water Inlet Hose

Once I had both ends of the heater hose loose, I began to replace it with the new hose, I didn’t just pull the old hose off and then put the new one on, doing it that way would have splilled a lot of radiator fluid.  I pulled off one end of the hose and held it up to minimize fluid loss and got the clamp off, then loosely reattached the hose to the connector.  Then I put the clamp on the new hose.  I then did the same thing to get the clamp for the other end of the hose.  Once I had both clamps on the new hose, I took one end of the old hose off and connected the new hose in place – holding up the loose ends to minimize coolant loss.  This particular hose runs through a somewhat small area beneath a wiring harness and is held in place near the middle by a snap in clamp.  I needed to release the old hose from this clamp and pull it out from under the harness and pass the new hose back under the harness and make sure it is securly held in place.  Once this was completed I was able to swap out the other end of the hose on the engine.  I then moved the clamps back in place with my pliers, I found that channel locks worked better reattaching the hose clamps than did the needle nose pliers.

After the hose was back in place I began to put my distributor back on taking care to make sure it was lined up correctly with the marks I had made earlier.  I then installed the new cap and rotor  The rotor has a screw on it’s underside – removing this screw will allow you to remove and replace the roter and then put the screw back in.  I was then ready to put the new cap on.  I did not move the spark plug wires at first, but after the new cap was in place, I moved the spark plug wires to the new cap one at a time to make sure each one stayed in it’s correct position.  If your get your spark plug wire positions mixed up, your vehicle may run poorly or not at all.

I also had a little extra trouble with this job, one of the distributor cap screws had broken off inside of the distributor housing.  I was unable to get it out with some screw-extractor tools, the ones I had were not long enough to reach the screw beause the housing blocked the drill chuck.  I ended up having to use a regular drill bit to drill out the screw.  Usually when something like this happens you will need to either tap a larger diameter hole for a new screw or use a bolt with a nut on the other end, I was lucky, my threads were still good enough and I didn’t have to do either.


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Tags: 98 Honda Accord · Auto Maintenance · Tools

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