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Wife Blew head gasket in CAR

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by fire_N_ice, Jul 2, 2009.

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  1. fire_N_ice

    fire_N_ice Member

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    Fluid leaking into # 3 cylinder. So the Mechanic says for them to fix, would cost @ $1000. He just mentioned replace the head gasket. My wife then called the dealer who said there is more to it then replacing the head gasket.Something about sending cylinder sleeves out to a seperate shop to see if there is warping.
    If we do decide to fix, what other issues may have happened to the engine or may happen in the near future that they are not telling us? TIA for replys

    2003 Honda Civic, @150,000+ miles

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  2. cncpro

    cncpro New Member

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    I am not sure of your particular car's requirements but it is often very wise to replace the water pump and timing belt at any time the head comes off. This is because most of the same disassembly is required for all of these parts so they can be real cheap to replace now or real expensive later on... your choice...
  3. fire_N_ice

    fire_N_ice Member

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    another 30000 miles togo for the pump and belt
  4. DAKSY

    DAKSY Patriot Guard Rider Staff Member

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  5. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone Minister of Fire

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    I'd probably swap the engine with one from a junkyard. How good are you with such things?

    If you were closer I'd donate my lift. Get some buddies together on a weekend and make sure there is enough beer and burgers. No, you won't finish it in a weekend but you may get the motor pulled. Drop the new one in over the week and slowly hook stuff up. The next weekend you should be able to start it and begin chasing gremlins.

    Matt
  6. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    If she didn't overheat it before the headgasket blew just get the gasket replaced. Have them check to make sure the head isn't warped while they have it off. If it isn't warped those cylinders are just fine. As far as that goes it only takes a few minutes to stick a micrometer to the cylinders after the head is off anyway.

    Lose that dealer's phone number.
  7. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Any idea how / why it blew? How long has it been blown, and how did you find out?

    If it just went, I'd agree w/ BB, though I'd want to see if I could figure out why - as that might indicate other issues... If it has been blown for a while, you could have other complications...

    - if coolant got in the oil what damage to bearing surfaces has running the contaminated oil done?
    - if oil got into coolant, did that do anything?
    - any damage from exhaust pressure getting into coolant / oil? (overheating, possible damage to waterpump?)
    - damage / warping not just on head, but on engine block as well?
    - damage to piston / cylinder / rings (scoring, excess wear, etc) from fluid leaking into it?

    The list can go on, but it's basically variants on those themes...

    I would suggest looking for any Honda Civic forums and seeing if they mention brand specific issues to look for, or if this is a common failure mode... It is also possible that your best choice in a car w/ 150K on it is to replace either the car or the entire engine as this may be the start of the "bathtub curve" where you start getting more expensive failures than the car is worth.

    Gooserider
  8. madrone

    madrone Minister of Fire

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    +1 on BB's reply.

    DO NOT just add something from a can. These engines can do well over 200k.
  9. drizler

    drizler Minister of Fire

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    I owned a couple honda's for a long time and into old age and high mileage. Great motors, can't beat em just don't overheat em or you are often screwed. That is sort of a blanket statement but it is unfortunately often true due to the combination of aluminum head with aluminum block. That is a bad combination when they get really hot as both the head and block will easily warp. You might get away with a head gasket or find yourself looking at needing a head or even a block. You can't plane an engine in the car if the block isn't true and they don't make a head gasket capable of sucking up the imperfections ( at least for very long). Been there done that so many times with my 89 crx that I practically had a zipper on the thing I changed it so often which at least was fairly easy. I never did get more than 10K out of it between head gaskets. That led me to buying one used and it had the same problem as the first. That was the first time and last I ever bought a motor on someone's word. On the other hand I got a nice 1999 Jeep straight 6 with 55K miles for $900 and it was in the car running so I could see the odometer. Try for one like that if you look locally.
    Best solution is to find a nice running engine in the car at a reputable yard. One in the car so you can see if it has issues. Change out the water pump timing belt and hoses if they have any years on em and the thermostat of course. Not letting them overheat in the first place is the ticket with Honda's. You should change out the radiator too if it is getting shabby as it blowing out will do the same thing and yes mine once blew out the side of the plastic tank for no reason. The other way is to buy a used crate engine out of Japan. The honda parts guy was the one who told me about it. You can get them low mileage and guaranteed for under 1500. They sell a lot of em. OSAKA is one reputable outfit that I see coming across the border nearly every day and there are a couple others that I don't know the name of off-hand. Most have around 50K miles and lopk darn clean for not being cleaned up well.
    The big place to avoid is the dealer. I don't know the vortec engine well and never opened one up but I can safely say it doesn't have sleeved pistons. If you were to get it bored and sleved your cost would go sky high for an engine you can obtain fairly inexpensively in these other ways. Dealers won't go find you a used head if yours is warped either. The one for my 89 was 1300 bucks and I got a used one for 75 so you do the math. Stay away from those guys beyond possibly getting one of those Japanese low mileage mills I referred to before. If you do put in another engine have them put in a new clutch and throwout bearing if they are worn at all so that doesn't have you pulling the engine again.
    If it was mine I would try the KW Blockseal first. What the heck it's well under 10 bucks and if it works great, if not what the heck it was a cheap try. There are some pretty decent snake oils out there that really do work some of the time under the right circumstances and KW is one of em. At worst you won't hurt the engine any more than it already has been. Give it a try and then weigh in the other options if it doesn't work. Good luck to you.
  10. cncpro

    cncpro New Member

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    Any place that would pull the head off and not replace the timing belt regardless of whether it has 30,000 or 100,000 expected life remaining is not a place I'd want to bring my vehicles to...

    The water pump should be up to you but ask for 2 prices... Doing it as part of this job versus waiting for 30,000 miles and having it done then... It will be a huge difference in labor cost...
  11. drizler

    drizler Minister of Fire

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    I agree wholeheartedly, that's just plain stupid. Honda belts on the newer than early 80's cars just love to snap timing belts not long after the recommended times. I snapped 2 of em and I was just loafing along down the interstate both times. I just tossed a water pump last Columbus day and got to spend the day changing it on the side of the road. That was a 350 Chevy truck which is no big whooppy. Do that with a Honda and you can find yourself right back where you are now due to the intolerance of the aluminum block to heat. Honda are great engines , arguably the best made but they won't stand heating up, they just warp and die. Add to it the 180 PSI in those cylinders and you have a hard time keeping a head gasket on them once they have an issue. Treat it like an airplane engine, as though you just CAN"T afford to have it fail. Change out all that old stuff and don't look back. Also change out the thermostat too. I just had mine stick shut on that nice jeep engine with the low mileage (but had been sitting around awhile) 2 days ago. Again no big deal but with a honda it could mean real trouble....................................Maybe I should just buy a horse, no wait I have 3 of em in the yard right now. I aint gonna start riding one of those to work in the winters up here, not in this lifetime.
  12. phil san

    phil san Member

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    Hey- Try this stuff. It actually worked for me - found it on the Honda forums.
    Got a 98 Civic with 196,000 going strong. January noticed white smoke coming from the ehaust. Was dripping and the smell of antifreeze. Radiator overheating and losing coolant.

    Not worth $$$ to do a major repair so spent $45. on STEEL SEAL ( google it ). Realy did not believe the claims and after comparing the producr with similar went with it. Did not fix overnight but about a week later " Back to Normal".

    That was in Jan and about 6,ooo mi ago with city and high speed driving. No coolant loss or smoke. Supposedly fixes all.

    Still don't believe but it worked. Really thought the car was gonzo!
    ps
    was sorta hoping it wouldn't as I would of like a new second car.
  13. fire_N_ice

    fire_N_ice Member

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    Thanks for all replys . We decided to purchase a newer car. Foreign yes, good rep , yes, . We have had a lot more problems with this car in the last several months. this was the latest. We ussually hear " 99% of the time that does not happen to a Honda" well it has. We might of gotten the onethat was one in 10000 bad. she previously owned a honda and it served her well.. . . . . To be continued. . . . after work this evening hopefully.
  14. drizler

    drizler Minister of Fire

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    Not all that many cars make it to 150K without some sort of headache no matter who makes it My daughter's 03 Cavalier is just approaching 150 and I watch it like a hawk. Nowhere near Honda quality by a long shot although it has one of the few good American engines made today. it's just good that I can do most of it myself and know a sideline mechanic who works for next to nothing by modern standards for the uglier stuff. That honda is well worth putting a motor in being an 03 even in the rust belt. Around here used Honda's sell for ridiculous prices, especially ones of that vintage before the sloped nose replaced them. The kids use those like they used to trick out the CRX and Del Sol. Don't give that away just because it doesn't have a functional engine because the sharks will be circling, guys like me who will low ball you then try the bottle of Block seal or live with putting on a new head gasket every year with pleasure. If it were me I wouldn't trust my buddy the dealer either on a reasonable trade in either. I bet you can get a lot more selling it outright on Craigs list if you are willing to wait a bit to recoup you $$$$.
    I am agonizing over using my 90 Cavalier for that CAR program, the one that gives you $3000+ to trade in your old clunker on a new one. Wait and pick off an 09 leftover and get a decent car in exchange for the big discount. I truly HATE to buy a new Jap car and send the money out of the country while at the same time I dread the long term reliability of anything made here. For a guy who keeps his cars that is a big deal to me just like sorting through all the metric and Us sized bolts every time i have to operate. They don't make being loyal easy .
  15. madrone

    madrone Minister of Fire

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    These days, "American" cars have Chinese engines, get built in Mexico with Japanese parts. At least a Honda or Toyota is built in the US, employing American workers. It's more patriotic to buy a "jap" car. Welcome to the new world economy. Happy 4th!
  16. JustWood

    JustWood Minister of Fire

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    This thread title is a real eye catcher. Maybe construed many ways. CAREFULL thread treading is in order, me thinx!
    Where is BB???????????????
  17. JustWood

    JustWood Minister of Fire

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    4th has me realing from 3rd.
  18. JustWood

    JustWood Minister of Fire

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    Bloody hell,,,,,,,,, wait a 2nd,,,,,,,maybe a mary!!!!!!!!!
  19. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Yeah I chuckled yesterday when I saw it. :lol:
  20. drizler

    drizler Minister of Fire

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    I never even noticed that particular aspect. On the other hand anyone getting into such a situation in a Civic.is more than likely going to end up with a sore back or other such malady. I did myself once roll part way down the boat launch ramp because my belt loop got caught on the shifter but that was a 67 Camaro. The seats were a tad larger than a Honda but they didn't recline................................................
  21. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Could be worse, ask Dr. Demento and Wierd Al Yankovitch about practical romantic experiences in a Subaru... :lol: %-P

    Gooserider
  22. tjnamtiw

    tjnamtiw Minister of Fire

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    To check the head for warpage, lay a straight edge diagonally across head and see if any thickness of feeler gauge will slide under it. Then check other corner to corner. Not sure what you are checking with a mike in the cylinders. Wear top to bottom? Find a machine shop to cut head flat again, if you have to.
    They are right too about the water pump and timing belt, if it has one.
  23. tjnamtiw

    tjnamtiw Minister of Fire

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    Oh, and my wife blows her head gasket in the car every time I drive so get used to it! I just turn off my hearing aid.
  24. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Egg shaped cylinders as in warped cylinder liners.
  25. tjnamtiw

    tjnamtiw Minister of Fire

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    Hmmm, learn something new every day. If they warp, then I'm sure rings are gone too, huh? Now I know why I like engines without liners! One more thing that go wrong. At that point, a rebuilt one, like they said, would be advisable.
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