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Need help/advise - head cracked?

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Hi guys, I need assistance as to what to do in my situation.


My 1995 Honda Prelude which has been properly maintained and garage kept took a dump the other day. After making a 2 hour, 120 mile drive to my destination, smoke started spewing out the tailpipe. The trip was uneventful up until this point with no overheating or engine lighting coming on the dashboard. I took it to a highly rated mechanic and was told that more likely than a catastrophic head gasket failure, I had a crack somewhere in the engine block/engine head (whatever the terminology - I'm a bit automotively challenged).


Based on a test he did by cranking the engine with the radiator filled and the cap off, there was no pulsing/spurting of the water as the engine cranked as expected and the water level rose ever so slowly the longer the engine cranked.


He told me this was very very rare to occur in a car such as this and stated it usually happens because of overheating.




* white/bluish smoke from tailpipe

* engine oil reservoir low

* radiator had oil in it (milky coffee colored appearance)


I am trying to gather opinions as to how to proceed since I don't many automotive experts as friends.


The KBB value of the car is between $3000-$3500ish. The mechanic quoted me $2500 to replace the engine - or whatever the fix is. So my questions are:


Is it worth it in the long run in a 15 year old car? I have not had any other major problem or work done recently so I am wondering if other problems are to follow that would require more money be sunk into it.


Some have suggested I sell as is but I probably would be lucky to get $500

I would rather not give up on it so easily as it has been an excellent reliable ride in the 15 yrs I've owned it (only owner)

It has relatively low mileage at just under 119,000.


Any opinions would be greatly appreciated. Keep in mind, I am not automotively inclined so buying used or rebuilt parts and finding someone to install them isn't an option for me.


What would you do? Fix at that high price? Sell at that low price?


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Depending on the condition of the car, particularly if the car is a manual transmission, you will get much more than $500 for it. Preludes in quality shape are highly sought after by enthusiasts.


$2500 really isn't terrible for a motor installed by a professional as long as it is a professionally rebuilt engine or an imported engine. The key issue is that the engine being installed is not just a junk yard pull with a 30 day warranty. Such an engine is not a problem for someone inclined to do their own repairs and services but would not be a wise choice for you based on your description of your automotive skills.


Facing an actual repair cost of $2500 I would not repair it if it were me, but I can swap out my own engines and as such my labor is free. The same repair for me might only cost me $750-$1000 as I also know where to buy complete warranted motors that I can put in myself. For someone that is unable to do that repair themselves it really comes down to the condition of the rest of the vehicle and how well you liked it. If you really liked the vehicle and it is in otherwise good shape $2500 is a lot less expensive than a new car.

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