WARNING: DO NOT KEEP DRIVING THIS CAR IF IT IS OVERHEATING!! GET IT FIXED IMMEDIATELY. This should be common sense.
A lil history: The 1987 Honda Accord is the first year they made the body style with the flip-out headlights. I've owned 3 Accords of this vintage. 2 '89 2 door coupes DX and now my '87 4door LX. All bone stock (Some people like to customize these, not me). The first '89 I owned was a 5-speed and very very responsive as far as performance and engine power, and had over 350,000 miles on it when I sold it. All it needed was a CV joint.
The second '89 Coupe I owned was an automatic, not nearly as responsive power-wise as the 5-speed, but decent, sold that one with over 210,000 miles on it, no problems at all except a rusted muffler. Amazing gas mileage on all of them.
NOW onto the car I am reviewing - my 1987 Accord 4door LX Automatic. This car is slow as a dog, not sure if it's the extra body weight as compared to the 2-dr's or if the '87 has less HP than the '89, but MAN it's SLOW. Scary on the freeway trying to merge.
I've had more problems with this one than the other 2. It began overheating shortly (5k miles) after purchase (auction car, buyers beware). My mom kept driving it anyway even with smoke pouring out of the hood; she just kept adding water. Finally talked her into fixing it, had to have a very expensive cooling-system fix, think it was the intake, for over $600. The car no longer runs hot.
But by now it's too late. The car ran fine (still does actually), but now its days are numbered. Since being driven so hot, the car has developed a main knock (not a rod knock, something else like the bearings). When it first starts cold, you hear a light "growly" knock and the engine now sounds growly when you give it a little gas or go uphill. The sound goes away at a steady speed. This never happened until it was driven while overheating, which I am sure is the cause of this problem. I'm honestly surprised it still runs at all.
So I am babying it, no long trips, trying to keep the RPMs low and coast in neutral whenever possible, and despite the terminal engine problem, it still runs great around town (except it idles very roughly at a stoplight, but I just throw it in neutral till the light turns green and it's fine). Any input on the rough idle would be appreciated, maybe a sensor? No idiot lights are on.
ANYWAY, point is I could have got 200,000 miles out of this car if it wasn't abused and driven hot, and now I'll be lucky if she runs another 15 or 20k. REAL lucky. Moral of the story - Take good care of your car and it will take care of you. Abuse it and you'll pay. I'd still recommend an Accord to anyone, but make sure the last owner took care of it, DON'T buy it at an auction, and DON'T drive it while it overheats.