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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 21 Sep 2006, 09:58 pm
Greyjaei
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Opinion please; Blown Head Gasket?

Car info:
92 Honda Civic DX
340k(engine rebuilt at 300k)

About a week ago my engine troubles started.
Was driving home when the engine temperature shot up, checked the
coolant and there was none there.
Refilled it, took it to a mechanic friend, he said the Thermostat
wasn't working, which was resulting in the coolant being boiled off.
Seemed reasonable, changed that, coolant hasn't been dissappearing much
or at all since then. (timing belt is going, can't drive it around much
to check)
WAS going to get the belt changed, but the mechanic at the place I took
it to was pretty convinced I had a blown head gasket or cracked head.
All he did was take off the valve cover, didn't do any compression
tests etc.

There seems to be no coolant in the oil pan, and no oil in the coolant.
But the inside of the valve cover is covered in this brown sludge.

I'm not sure what to do.
Is it definitally a blown head gasket/cracked head?
Could that brown sludge have formed inside the valve cover any other
way?

Not really willing to dish out the 1500 to repair the head gasket right
now, or the 3000 to repair the head. Want to be sure of where I go from
here and would appreciate any opinons. The car is a really nice ride
and I'll be sorry to see it go.

Here are a couple pictures of the valve cover and lifters etc
http://i36.photobucket.com/albums/e15/Greyjaei/2.jpg
http://i36.photobucket.com/albums/e15/Greyjaei/1.jpg

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  #2 (permalink)  
Old 21 Sep 2006, 10:18 pm
Michael Pardee
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: Opinion please; Blown Head Gasket?

"Greyjaei" <greyjaei@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:1158893919.785977.61770@i42g2000cwa.googlegro ups.com...
> Car info:
> 92 Honda Civic DX
> 340k(engine rebuilt at 300k)
>
> About a week ago my engine troubles started.
> Was driving home when the engine temperature shot up, checked the
> coolant and there was none there.
> Refilled it, took it to a mechanic friend, he said the Thermostat
> wasn't working, which was resulting in the coolant being boiled off.
> Seemed reasonable, changed that, coolant hasn't been dissappearing much
> or at all since then. (timing belt is going, can't drive it around much
> to check)
> WAS going to get the belt changed, but the mechanic at the place I took
> it to was pretty convinced I had a blown head gasket or cracked head.
> All he did was take off the valve cover, didn't do any compression
> tests etc.
>
> There seems to be no coolant in the oil pan, and no oil in the coolant.
> But the inside of the valve cover is covered in this brown sludge.
>
> I'm not sure what to do.
> Is it definitally a blown head gasket/cracked head?
> Could that brown sludge have formed inside the valve cover any other
> way?
>
> Not really willing to dish out the 1500 to repair the head gasket right
> now, or the 3000 to repair the head. Want to be sure of where I go from
> here and would appreciate any opinons. The car is a really nice ride
> and I'll be sorry to see it go.
>
> Here are a couple pictures of the valve cover and lifters etc
> http://i36.photobucket.com/albums/e15/Greyjaei/2.jpg
> http://i36.photobucket.com/albums/e15/Greyjaei/1.jpg
>


See my response to Hendersauce's post, "Need some DIY input to replace a
headgasket on my 93' Civic DX" earlier today.

The sludge is mostly the result of too much time between oil changes - see
http://tegger.com/hondafaq/sludge/index.html

I'm not sure I understand why the mechanic removed the valve cover if he
suspected a head gasket or head problem.

Mike


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  #3 (permalink)  
Old 21 Sep 2006, 10:42 pm
Greyjaei
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: Opinion please; Blown Head Gasket?


Michael Pardee wrote:
> "Greyjaei" <greyjaei@gmail.com> wrote in message
> news:1158893919.785977.61770@i42g2000cwa.googlegro ups.com...
> > Car info:
> > 92 Honda Civic DX
> > 340k(engine rebuilt at 300k)
> >
> > About a week ago my engine troubles started.
> > Was driving home when the engine temperature shot up, checked the
> > coolant and there was none there.
> > Refilled it, took it to a mechanic friend, he said the Thermostat
> > wasn't working, which was resulting in the coolant being boiled off.
> > Seemed reasonable, changed that, coolant hasn't been dissappearing much
> > or at all since then. (timing belt is going, can't drive it around much
> > to check)
> > WAS going to get the belt changed, but the mechanic at the place I took
> > it to was pretty convinced I had a blown head gasket or cracked head.
> > All he did was take off the valve cover, didn't do any compression
> > tests etc.
> >
> > There seems to be no coolant in the oil pan, and no oil in the coolant.
> > But the inside of the valve cover is covered in this brown sludge.
> >
> > I'm not sure what to do.
> > Is it definitally a blown head gasket/cracked head?
> > Could that brown sludge have formed inside the valve cover any other
> > way?
> >
> > Not really willing to dish out the 1500 to repair the head gasket right
> > now, or the 3000 to repair the head. Want to be sure of where I go from
> > here and would appreciate any opinons. The car is a really nice ride
> > and I'll be sorry to see it go.
> >
> > Here are a couple pictures of the valve cover and lifters etc
> > http://i36.photobucket.com/albums/e15/Greyjaei/2.jpg
> > http://i36.photobucket.com/albums/e15/Greyjaei/1.jpg
> >

>
> See my response to Hendersauce's post, "Need some DIY input to replace a
> headgasket on my 93' Civic DX" earlier today.
>
> The sludge is mostly the result of too much time between oil changes - see
> http://tegger.com/hondafaq/sludge/index.html
>
> I'm not sure I understand why the mechanic removed the valve cover if he
> suspected a head gasket or head problem.
>
> Mike


Sorry, the Mechanic was removing the valve cover while going to change
the timing belt, but he stopped because of the sludge, he was pretty
sure it was coolant mixed with oil.
Is there anyway for coolant to get into the valves without it being a
blown head gasket or cracked head?

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  #4 (permalink)  
Old 21 Sep 2006, 11:29 pm
Elle
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: Opinion please; Blown Head Gasket?

I had the privilege of recently seeing the old oil from a
car with a blown head gasket. It looked exactly like what
filled up the valve cover in photo 1 that you linked. It's
the consistency/thickness of a milk shake, and
brownish-green, as described at many web sites.

Sludge that forms due to a lack of regular oil changes seems
to me to be more black in color; more tar-like. (OTOH, I
recognize Michael as an expert here... )

From reading here, and working with a friend's car this past
summer, the oil-in-the-coolant and coolant-in-the-oil
indications do not seem to always appear. My friend's Civic
was experiencing regular overheaing. Ultimately she had to
have the coolant tested for exhaust products at the local
dealer. That nailed it. Her 99 Civic, about 115k miles,
needed a new head gasket. Years before she had had one
overheat episode. But it might have just been the very hot
summer this year that put too much strain on the gasket.

If the car is not overheating, then from what you say, I
guess I'd change the oil and monitor for a few weeks. Or
consider having the coolant chemistry tested for something
like $50.

With the recent overheat episode, I would not be optimistic.

"Greyjaei" <greyjaei@gmail.com> wrote
> Car info:
> 92 Honda Civic DX
> 340k(engine rebuilt at 300k)
>
> About a week ago my engine troubles started.
> Was driving home when the engine temperature shot up,
> checked the
> coolant and there was none there.
> Refilled it, took it to a mechanic friend, he said the
> Thermostat
> wasn't working, which was resulting in the coolant being
> boiled off.
> Seemed reasonable, changed that, coolant hasn't been
> dissappearing much
> or at all since then. (timing belt is going, can't drive
> it around much
> to check)
> WAS going to get the belt changed, but the mechanic at the
> place I took
> it to was pretty convinced I had a blown head gasket or
> cracked head.
> All he did was take off the valve cover, didn't do any
> compression
> tests etc.
>
> There seems to be no coolant in the oil pan, and no oil in
> the coolant.
> But the inside of the valve cover is covered in this brown
> sludge.
>
> I'm not sure what to do.
> Is it definitally a blown head gasket/cracked head?
> Could that brown sludge have formed inside the valve cover
> any other
> way?
>
> Not really willing to dish out the 1500 to repair the head
> gasket right
> now, or the 3000 to repair the head. Want to be sure of
> where I go from
> here and would appreciate any opinons. The car is a really
> nice ride
> and I'll be sorry to see it go.
>
> Here are a couple pictures of the valve cover and lifters
> etc
> http://i36.photobucket.com/albums/e15/Greyjaei/2.jpg
> http://i36.photobucket.com/albums/e15/Greyjaei/1.jpg




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  #5 (permalink)  
Old 21 Sep 2006, 11:47 pm
Greyjaei
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: Opinion please; Blown Head Gasket?

Thanks, I like that idea, Coolant testing, I live in kind of a
back-water place though, wonder if we'll have it

Elle wrote:
> I had the privilege of recently seeing the old oil from a
> car with a blown head gasket. It looked exactly like what
> filled up the valve cover in photo 1 that you linked. It's
> the consistency/thickness of a milk shake, and
> brownish-green, as described at many web sites.
>
> Sludge that forms due to a lack of regular oil changes seems
> to me to be more black in color; more tar-like. (OTOH, I
> recognize Michael as an expert here... )
>
> From reading here, and working with a friend's car this past
> summer, the oil-in-the-coolant and coolant-in-the-oil
> indications do not seem to always appear. My friend's Civic
> was experiencing regular overheaing. Ultimately she had to
> have the coolant tested for exhaust products at the local
> dealer. That nailed it. Her 99 Civic, about 115k miles,
> needed a new head gasket. Years before she had had one
> overheat episode. But it might have just been the very hot
> summer this year that put too much strain on the gasket.
>
> If the car is not overheating, then from what you say, I
> guess I'd change the oil and monitor for a few weeks. Or
> consider having the coolant chemistry tested for something
> like $50.
>
> With the recent overheat episode, I would not be optimistic.
>
> "Greyjaei" <greyjaei@gmail.com> wrote
> > Car info:
> > 92 Honda Civic DX
> > 340k(engine rebuilt at 300k)
> >
> > About a week ago my engine troubles started.
> > Was driving home when the engine temperature shot up,
> > checked the
> > coolant and there was none there.
> > Refilled it, took it to a mechanic friend, he said the
> > Thermostat
> > wasn't working, which was resulting in the coolant being
> > boiled off.
> > Seemed reasonable, changed that, coolant hasn't been
> > dissappearing much
> > or at all since then. (timing belt is going, can't drive
> > it around much
> > to check)
> > WAS going to get the belt changed, but the mechanic at the
> > place I took
> > it to was pretty convinced I had a blown head gasket or
> > cracked head.
> > All he did was take off the valve cover, didn't do any
> > compression
> > tests etc.
> >
> > There seems to be no coolant in the oil pan, and no oil in
> > the coolant.
> > But the inside of the valve cover is covered in this brown
> > sludge.
> >
> > I'm not sure what to do.
> > Is it definitally a blown head gasket/cracked head?
> > Could that brown sludge have formed inside the valve cover
> > any other
> > way?
> >
> > Not really willing to dish out the 1500 to repair the head
> > gasket right
> > now, or the 3000 to repair the head. Want to be sure of
> > where I go from
> > here and would appreciate any opinons. The car is a really
> > nice ride
> > and I'll be sorry to see it go.
> >
> > Here are a couple pictures of the valve cover and lifters
> > etc
> > http://i36.photobucket.com/albums/e15/Greyjaei/2.jpg
> > http://i36.photobucket.com/albums/e15/Greyjaei/1.jpg


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  #6 (permalink)  
Old 22 Sep 2006, 02:22 am
Matt Ion
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: Opinion please; Blown Head Gasket?

Greyjaei wrote:
> Michael Pardee wrote:
>
>>"Greyjaei" <greyjaei@gmail.com> wrote in message
>>news:1158893919.785977.61770@i42g2000cwa.googleg roups.com...
>>
>>>Car info:
>>>92 Honda Civic DX
>>>340k(engine rebuilt at 300k)
>>>
>>>About a week ago my engine troubles started.
>>>Was driving home when the engine temperature shot up, checked the
>>>coolant and there was none there.
>>>Refilled it, took it to a mechanic friend, he said the Thermostat
>>>wasn't working, which was resulting in the coolant being boiled off.
>>>Seemed reasonable, changed that, coolant hasn't been dissappearing much
>>>or at all since then. (timing belt is going, can't drive it around much
>>>to check)
>>>WAS going to get the belt changed, but the mechanic at the place I took
>>>it to was pretty convinced I had a blown head gasket or cracked head.
>>>All he did was take off the valve cover, didn't do any compression
>>>tests etc.
>>>
>>>There seems to be no coolant in the oil pan, and no oil in the coolant.
>>>But the inside of the valve cover is covered in this brown sludge.
>>>
>>>I'm not sure what to do.
>>>Is it definitally a blown head gasket/cracked head?
>>>Could that brown sludge have formed inside the valve cover any other
>>>way?
>>>
>>>Not really willing to dish out the 1500 to repair the head gasket right
>>>now, or the 3000 to repair the head. Want to be sure of where I go from
>>>here and would appreciate any opinons. The car is a really nice ride
>>>and I'll be sorry to see it go.
>>>
>>>Here are a couple pictures of the valve cover and lifters etc
>>>http://i36.photobucket.com/albums/e15/Greyjaei/2.jpg
>>>http://i36.photobucket.com/albums/e15/Greyjaei/1.jpg
>>>

>>
>>See my response to Hendersauce's post, "Need some DIY input to replace a
>>headgasket on my 93' Civic DX" earlier today.
>>
>>The sludge is mostly the result of too much time between oil changes - see
>>http://tegger.com/hondafaq/sludge/index.html
>>
>>I'm not sure I understand why the mechanic removed the valve cover if he
>>suspected a head gasket or head problem.
>>
>>Mike

>
>
> Sorry, the Mechanic was removing the valve cover while going to change
> the timing belt, but he stopped because of the sludge, he was pretty
> sure it was coolant mixed with oil.
> Is there anyway for coolant to get into the valves without it being a
> blown head gasket or cracked head?


I can't really think of how it would get in there if it WAS a blown head gasket,
unless it was just leaking from the water jacket into the crankcase or an oil
feed, in which case you'd should signs of it on the dipstick as well.
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  #7 (permalink)  
Old 22 Sep 2006, 04:19 am
Greyjaei
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: Opinion please; Blown Head Gasket?

That's! what I'm trying to get to the bottom of
Matt Ion wrote:
> Greyjaei wrote:
> > Michael Pardee wrote:
> >
> >>"Greyjaei" <greyjaei@gmail.com> wrote in message
> >>news:1158893919.785977.61770@i42g2000cwa.googleg roups.com...
> >>
> >>>Car info:
> >>>92 Honda Civic DX
> >>>340k(engine rebuilt at 300k)
> >>>
> >>>About a week ago my engine troubles started.
> >>>Was driving home when the engine temperature shot up, checked the
> >>>coolant and there was none there.
> >>>Refilled it, took it to a mechanic friend, he said the Thermostat
> >>>wasn't working, which was resulting in the coolant being boiled off.
> >>>Seemed reasonable, changed that, coolant hasn't been dissappearing much
> >>>or at all since then. (timing belt is going, can't drive it around much
> >>>to check)
> >>>WAS going to get the belt changed, but the mechanic at the place I took
> >>>it to was pretty convinced I had a blown head gasket or cracked head.
> >>>All he did was take off the valve cover, didn't do any compression
> >>>tests etc.
> >>>
> >>>There seems to be no coolant in the oil pan, and no oil in the coolant.
> >>>But the inside of the valve cover is covered in this brown sludge.
> >>>
> >>>I'm not sure what to do.
> >>>Is it definitally a blown head gasket/cracked head?
> >>>Could that brown sludge have formed inside the valve cover any other
> >>>way?
> >>>
> >>>Not really willing to dish out the 1500 to repair the head gasket right
> >>>now, or the 3000 to repair the head. Want to be sure of where I go from
> >>>here and would appreciate any opinons. The car is a really nice ride
> >>>and I'll be sorry to see it go.
> >>>
> >>>Here are a couple pictures of the valve cover and lifters etc
> >>>http://i36.photobucket.com/albums/e15/Greyjaei/2.jpg
> >>>http://i36.photobucket.com/albums/e15/Greyjaei/1.jpg
> >>>
> >>
> >>See my response to Hendersauce's post, "Need some DIY input to replace a
> >>headgasket on my 93' Civic DX" earlier today.
> >>
> >>The sludge is mostly the result of too much time between oil changes - see
> >>http://tegger.com/hondafaq/sludge/index.html
> >>
> >>I'm not sure I understand why the mechanic removed the valve cover if he
> >>suspected a head gasket or head problem.
> >>
> >>Mike

> >
> >
> > Sorry, the Mechanic was removing the valve cover while going to change
> > the timing belt, but he stopped because of the sludge, he was pretty
> > sure it was coolant mixed with oil.
> > Is there anyway for coolant to get into the valves without it being a
> > blown head gasket or cracked head?

>
> I can't really think of how it would get in there if it WAS a blown head gasket,
> unless it was just leaking from the water jacket into the crankcase or an oil
> feed, in which case you'd should signs of it on the dipstick as well.


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  #8 (permalink)  
Old 22 Sep 2006, 07:59 am
Michael Pardee
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: Opinion please; Blown Head Gasket?

"Greyjaei" <greyjaei@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:1158896558.507323.78160@e3g2000cwe.googlegrou ps.com...
>
> Michael Pardee wrote:
>> "Greyjaei" <greyjaei@gmail.com> wrote in message
>> news:1158893919.785977.61770@i42g2000cwa.googlegro ups.com...
>> > Car info:
>> > 92 Honda Civic DX
>> > 340k(engine rebuilt at 300k)
>> >
>> > About a week ago my engine troubles started.
>> > Was driving home when the engine temperature shot up, checked the
>> > coolant and there was none there.
>> > Refilled it, took it to a mechanic friend, he said the Thermostat
>> > wasn't working, which was resulting in the coolant being boiled off.
>> > Seemed reasonable, changed that, coolant hasn't been dissappearing much
>> > or at all since then. (timing belt is going, can't drive it around much
>> > to check)
>> > WAS going to get the belt changed, but the mechanic at the place I took
>> > it to was pretty convinced I had a blown head gasket or cracked head.
>> > All he did was take off the valve cover, didn't do any compression
>> > tests etc.
>> >
>> > There seems to be no coolant in the oil pan, and no oil in the coolant.
>> > But the inside of the valve cover is covered in this brown sludge.
>> >
>> > I'm not sure what to do.
>> > Is it definitally a blown head gasket/cracked head?
>> > Could that brown sludge have formed inside the valve cover any other
>> > way?
>> >
>> > Not really willing to dish out the 1500 to repair the head gasket right
>> > now, or the 3000 to repair the head. Want to be sure of where I go from
>> > here and would appreciate any opinons. The car is a really nice ride
>> > and I'll be sorry to see it go.
>> >
>> > Here are a couple pictures of the valve cover and lifters etc
>> > http://i36.photobucket.com/albums/e15/Greyjaei/2.jpg
>> > http://i36.photobucket.com/albums/e15/Greyjaei/1.jpg
>> >

>>
>> See my response to Hendersauce's post, "Need some DIY input to replace a
>> headgasket on my 93' Civic DX" earlier today.
>>
>> The sludge is mostly the result of too much time between oil changes -
>> see
>> http://tegger.com/hondafaq/sludge/index.html
>>
>> I'm not sure I understand why the mechanic removed the valve cover if he
>> suspected a head gasket or head problem.
>>
>> Mike

>
> Sorry, the Mechanic was removing the valve cover while going to change
> the timing belt, but he stopped because of the sludge, he was pretty
> sure it was coolant mixed with oil.
> Is there anyway for coolant to get into the valves without it being a
> blown head gasket or cracked head?
>

More often coolant in the oil makes it milky looking, because the leak is
not often small. Sludge normally comes from condensation of the water vapor
from combustion blow-by; every gallon of gasoline produces approximately a
gallon of water in the form of vapor when it burns. A little of it always
mixes with the oil, and if the car isn't driven long enough at a time the
"oil" can actually become up to a third water. Sludge time!

If there is coolant in the oil you will probably also see oil in the coolant
(oil is forced into the coolant when the engine is running, and coolant is
forced into the oil when the engine is cooling off). That is easy enough to
see, even in tiny quantities - it floats on the top of the coolant in the
radiator and the reservoir.

Mike


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  #9 (permalink)  
Old 22 Sep 2006, 08:07 am
Michael Pardee
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: Opinion please; Blown Head Gasket?

"Elle" <honda.lioness@nospam.earthlink.net> wrote in message
news:3FJQg.752$o71.483@newsread3.news.pas.earthlin k.net...
> From reading here, and working with a friend's car this past summer, the
> oil-in-the-coolant and coolant-in-the-oil indications do not seem to
> always appear. My friend's Civic was experiencing regular overheaing.
> Ultimately she had to have the coolant tested for exhaust products at the
> local dealer. That nailed it. Her 99 Civic, about 115k miles, needed a new
> head gasket. Years before she had had one overheat episode. But it might
> have just been the very hot summer this year that put too much strain on
> the gasket.
>

Definitely - failure from the combustion chamber to the coolant passages is
pretty common. I imagine it has something to do with extremely hot gasses
under high pressure hammering on it ;-)

> If the car is not overheating, then from what you say, I guess I'd change
> the oil and monitor for a few weeks. Or consider having the coolant
> chemistry tested for something like $50.
>
> With the recent overheat episode, I would not be optimistic.
>

That's the part that worries me, too. Even a single serious overheat can
warp the head (and it's not just a Honda thing), causing the middle to lift
up from the gasket. The repair is the same as head gasket replacement with
the addition of having the head planed at a cylinder head shop or machine
shop. In any event, the head will have to be checked for flatness and should
be looked over by an expert before reinstalling, if you (the OP) do have to
remove the head.

Mike


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  #10 (permalink)  
Old 22 Sep 2006, 08:25 am
RickaTTic
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: Opinion please; Blown Head Gasket?

The head gasket is most likely torn or burned and also there may be a tiny
crack in the engine block or warping due to heat. The Civic's have been
having a lot of these types problems and I personally know someone who had
to replace the engine in his 98 because of a crack. Because of other
problems he had to sell the car and lost a whole bunch of money in the
long run by doing the repairs. The Hondas are not the only make cars
suffering these type problems and it seems the auto companies have
cheapened engineering and quality of parts to save a few cents here or
there.
I would recommend you ditch the car as is by selling, maybe give to
donation to Red Cross or something like that and get a tax deduction. Use
the money you would have spent on the repair and then buy or lease a new
car. Try to buy an inexpensive car and run it into the ground.
It's sad but cars with these types of problems usually become deep money
pits. Other's may disagree but that has been my experience with both
foreign and american branded cars.
Good Luck to You,
Rick


On Fri, 22 Sep 2006 09:07:57 -0400, Michael Pardee
<michaeltnull@cybertrails.com> wrote:

> "Elle" <honda.lioness@nospam.earthlink.net> wrote in message
> news:3FJQg.752$o71.483@newsread3.news.pas.earthlin k.net...
>> From reading here, and working with a friend's car this past summer, the
>> oil-in-the-coolant and coolant-in-the-oil indications do not seem to
>> always appear. My friend's Civic was experiencing regular overheaing.
>> Ultimately she had to have the coolant tested for exhaust products at
>> the
>> local dealer. That nailed it. Her 99 Civic, about 115k miles, needed a
>> new
>> head gasket. Years before she had had one overheat episode. But it might
>> have just been the very hot summer this year that put too much strain on
>> the gasket.
>>

> Definitely - failure from the combustion chamber to the coolant passages
> is
> pretty common. I imagine it has something to do with extremely hot gasses
> under high pressure hammering on it ;-)
>
>> If the car is not overheating, then from what you say, I guess I'd
>> change
>> the oil and monitor for a few weeks. Or consider having the coolant
>> chemistry tested for something like $50.
>>
>> With the recent overheat episode, I would not be optimistic.
>>

> That's the part that worries me, too. Even a single serious overheat can
> warp the head (and it's not just a Honda thing), causing the middle to
> lift
> up from the gasket. The repair is the same as head gasket replacement
> with
> the addition of having the head planed at a cylinder head shop or machine
> shop. In any event, the head will have to be checked for flatness and
> should
> be looked over by an expert before reinstalling, if you (the OP) do have
> to
> remove the head.
>
> Mike
>
>




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