Last post on May 10, 2013 at 10:50 PM
You are in the Honda Civic
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Honda Civic, Auto Repair, Engine
#31 of 43 Re: Sounds like it [dslynx]
Aug 16, 2011 (11:49 am)
I read your messages about the overheating problems and I was wondering if you think this solution would work for my issues as well. I have a 03 Civic that is well maintained. Last year, I began having issues with it overheating if the car was stalling for more than a minute. The cooling fan switch had locked up, causing the cooling fan to lock up as well. I had both replaced immediately. About six months after, the same problem began again. The thermometer had corroded in the radiator so that was replaced, along with the radiator cap and I had a flush service. Now, the same issues is happening again. Once I drive the car for about 30 minutes it will overheat if stalled. It doesn't do it unless I have been driving for a while. I took it to the shop today and they said I need a new radiator but after reading these posts I am afraid that will still not fix the problem! Any advice would be great, I am a college student on a limited budget and I'm frustrated after spending over $500 to still have the same issues.
#32 of 43 Hard to say [mrc1217]
Aug 16, 2011 (12:05 pm)
Well, it really depends on if the issues previous were really a problem or not. If your fans stop working, they need to be replaced. If your thermostat was actually sticking, it needed to be replaced. If the thermostat was actually corroded (did they show it to you?), then you can only imagine what the inside of the radiator looks like, and it is probably true that the radiator needs to be replaced. Now, if you were having this issue, and replacing the thermostat had no effect (as in my case) and the water pump, and the radiator cap, etc. Then yes, you probably have a blown head gasket. But, from what I can tell, your system sounds like you had some bad/old anti-freeze that was corroding the metal causing the water not to circulate properly. Now, it's easy to say just buy the stuff and poor it in, follow the directions and see what happens, but if you need to have your radiator replaced after that, you will have wasted the money, as they will have to drain the current fluid containing the product.
So, my personal opinion, based on a corroded thermostat, is that your radiator is most likely corroded as well, which is reducing it's ability to cool the fluid. Just be happy that they haven't suggested the water pump.. that's a very expensive repair!
#33 of 43 Head Gasket Leak
Aug 28, 2011 (7:26 pm)
Well, I took it to a different repair shop because I did not have a good feeling about the radiator being a problem. He determined that I do in fact have a leak in the seal of the head gasket. The mechanic previously worked at a Honda dealership but runs his own shop now focusing on mainly foreign made cars. He said he has been seeing this problem show up in many Hondas around the same age as mine (03) and the dealerships are beginning to see them as well. He said Honda embosses the head gasket, which is good in theory... but with wear and tear and heating and cooling of the engine over time to causes the seal to wear off. So, now I am looking at spending $700 for a new head gasket. Do you think this steel seal product will work to seal the leak? The car runs fine for now and doesn't overheat unless it has been drive for around an hour and then sits idle for more than a minute. I am watching the coolant levels and bought 50/50 to add when needed. So I guess right now the head gasket isn't completely blown, just not functioning correctly. Thanks for your insight!!
#34 of 43 Honda civic head gadket
Aug 29, 2011 (5:17 am)
Well, mine was the head gasket too. As I'd mentioned the radiator, 3 thermostats, fan switch, numerous flush fill and pressure tests, etc had all been replaced. 4 days in the shop and $1100 later the car had a new head gasket. Great for a few weeks then repeated hesitancy when accelerating on the interstate on an 8 hour drive. Another $300 and 3 days later, a new vtech unit to regulate the oil pressure. The mechanic says the vtech failure is unrelated to the new gasket. I'm not so sure. Now the car runs really loud. And the acceleration feels different.
#35 of 43 Re: Head Gasket Leak [mrc1217]
Aug 29, 2011 (9:32 am)
I had all the symptoms that you're describing that resulted in a blown head gasket. This commonly happens to the 01-04 Civics. Talk to any Honda mechanics and he/she can confirm this. The symptoms are....
- car temp gauge fluctuating
- coolant shooting out of the coolant reserve tank
- heater in car sometimes work and mostly does not work. If heater is turned on, car temp gauge can rise fast
- coolant reserve tank cap blown off due to the high pressure from overheating. This will happens when things got really worse meaning that it is time to stop driving your car and have it worked on.
- internal of radiator disintegrating meaning that the coolant is so hot that it starts to break down the plastics inside your radiator. You can tell by removing your radiator cap and look inside the radiator lip and you'll see it it turned into white color. Same goes for the plastic portion of the radiator cap as well. This also happened as things got really bad and you need to stop driving your car and have it worked on.
I have a 2004 Honda Civic LX. Mine had all of the symptoms above so I recruited my friend's help and I ended up replacing the head gasket. Found out that my #4 cylinder is leaking after removing the head by seeing the white residue left behind on the valve. Also replaced the head cylinder because I waited too long to replace the head gasket and allow my car to get worse, which resulted in the cylinder head getting warped. I got a complete re-manufactured head cylinder and http://www.headsonly.com for $300 bucks including shipping both ways (you need to return the core). You also need to replace the following when you do this.
- new spark plugs. Get the original NGK plugs. I got them for $10 each at my local O'Reilly Auto Parts store. You need 4 of these
- spark plug seals
- cylinder head cover gasket
- cylinder head plug (Honda PN# 1253-P72-003)
- cylinder head studs (Honda PN# 90026-PE0-000, 92900-08032-1B and 92900-08050-1B). You can reuse these if you have a stud remover to remove these from your old head cylinder.
- camshaft oil seal (Honda PN# 91213-P2F-A01)
- thermostat (Honda PN# 19301-REA-305)
If this is the first time you're replacing the head gasket, you can reuse your old cylinder head bolts since the torque on these are not too high. There are 3 torque stages. The first is 14 ft-lbs, 2nd is 36 ft-lbs & 3rd is 49 ft-lbs. This torque specs only apply to model years 01-05 Civics.
This should cost you under $1000 to do the work. I would strongly suggest that you replace the radiator cap (Honda PN# 19045-PAA-A01) as well. You may need to replace the radiator if it is damaged from the overheating. You can get one with free shipping for about $80 each and some on eBay are selling for under $60 with free shipping.
This is also a good time to change your timing belt (Honda PN# 14400-PMM-A02), water pump (Honda PN# 19200-PLM-A01) and timing belt tensioner (Honda PN# 14520-PLC-335) if you haven't done so or it is time for replacement. Reason for this is because since you have the head cylinder removed along with other items such as the alternator, etc.... might as well as get it out of the way to save cost and time down the road. You can get a timing belt from O'Reilly Auto Parts that is made by "Gates". The timing belt you get at the Honda dealership is the same belt made by "Gates" with the Honda logo on it. You just pay a much cheaper price at O'Reilly Auto Parts or your local store.
Do your best to buy genuine Honda parts as much as possible such as thermostats, water pump, belt tensioner, especially the head gasket. I would suggest against going with any steel seal product because it is not a long term solution. You wan to do this the right way and eventually it has to be done. You don't want to wait too long and find out later that you have to replace the head cylinder and worst case the cylinder block as well.
My Civic had about 185,300 miles on it when I had the head worked on. It has been running fine since. Good luck....
The above described are applicable to model year 01-04 Civics.
#36 of 43 Re: Head Gasket Leak [vorlons]
Sep 21, 2011 (9:17 pm)
This thread has some really great ideas well thought out solutions. Let me add a twist.
I have a 2000 Honda Civic LX. I have been noticing a signifigant loss of oil between regular oil changes. I recently was told that my radiator had oil in the coolant. It looks like the oil is entering the coolant but the coolant is not entering the oil. I have no smoke from the exhaust. A few weeks ago I attempted, several times, to flush as much of the oil out of the cooling system and refill with a 50/50 solution. The coolant seemed to at least stay cleaner than berfore.
Forward to yesterday. I was driving home from work about 45 miles in medium traffic and 95 degrees outside. Thermostat started to increase from what I consider normal in about last 10 miles. I was just shy of hitting the red zone.
I waited for the car to cool off and found resevoir empty and refilled radiator with about 1/2 gallon of water (auto store was already closed). This morning I drove 35 miles to work, no problem. On the way home, in 95 degree weather again, the thermostat was about to go into the red zone. I was able to get a gallon of 50/50 coolant and it took a bit more than half the bottle. There is no leak I can see below the engine although the hood area right above the resevoir had condensation.
I have seen some posts about a possible manufacturing defect in the block that may be allowing the oil into the cooling system. Anyone have any thoughts on my issue?
#37 of 43 Re: Head Gasket Leak [zoooropa]
Sep 26, 2011 (8:25 am)
What you have is an early symptom of a blown head gasket. It is exactly what I experienced with my car at the early stage of the problem. You'll see oil residue in your coolant especially in your coolant reserve tank. Your only option is to replace the head gasket before it gets worse and you end up getting the cylinder head warped. If you continue to drive like this, you'll end up filling in more coolant and you'll find that the pressure in the cooling system will build up and you'll see coolant pushing out of the coolant reserve tank when the temp gauge goes up. Fix it now while you can before its too late that you have to replace the entire head unit. You may as well replace your thermostat when you replace the head gasket because the extreme temp from overheating may damaged the rubber parts on the thermostat.
Also.... continuing driving and letting the car overheat will damage your radiator because part of the radiator is made out of plastic, it can only handle so much heat for a limited duration period. To find out if your radiator is damage because of this, take off the radiator cap off when it is safe to do so and look inside the radiator and inspect the inner lip. If you see plastic breaking off from the inside by the white coloring, you'll definitely need a new radiator and a new radiator cap. Good luck....
#38 of 43 weird cooling system issue
Sep 16, 2012 (7:40 pm)
i have a 2003 civic ex 1.7ltr vtec sohc. the cooling system is building up too much pressure pushing coolant out of radiator into overflow bottle. i pressure tested system which passed with no issues. if i let the car sit and idle its perfect, runs in normal operating temp, awesome heat, fans cycle, no problem. if road tested for 15 minutes or more i start loosing coolant in the way explained prior. t stat replaced and system flushed and burped to remove any air pockets. the only thing i can think of causing this issue is either a bad radiator cap or bad head gasket. im leaning toward rad cap because there is no white smoke from tail pipe indicating im burning coolant and engine oil is crystal clear telling me that the coolant isnt mixing with my oil. i could use an outside perspective on my issue, any help would be greatly appreciated. -THANX-
#39 of 43 Re: weird cooling system issue [bconover]
Sep 17, 2012 (4:34 pm)
Well, It's been a year since I posted on this thread. But, to answer you concern about the head gasket and not seeing white smoke, that was the same case for me. No white smoke, no oil in the coolant. What I was able to see is bubbles in the coolant. If you take the radiator cap off, and let the car idle, do you see bubbles?
But, since I am here, I will update this thread on my Steal Seal "fix". After using the product and my issues going away, I drove the car for about 6 months, and then parked it for the last 6 months. I have begun driving it again for the past two weeks and have noticed that I am getting the bubbles in the radiator again, but luckily it hasn't been an issue (overheated) yet. But, I can only imagine that it will become an issue as the exhaust leaking into the coolant will build the pressure till it blows the hose off of the overflow.
I'm actually disappointed that this seems to be a common issue with our Honda's and can only imagine what has gone wrong with a company that (from my research prior to purchasing it brand new) had an excellent history with the Civic series. I guess they all make lemons from time to time and they have lost my trust. And to think, I laughed at the Hyundai dealer when he suggested I purchase a Hyundai over the Honda. I guess I know who had the last laugh now.
#40 of 43 Re: weird cooling system issue [dslynx]
Sep 17, 2012 (8:10 pm)
Finally done, problem finally fixed and fixed properly. This is what I did to resolve the problem. I listened to my gut and flow tested the radiator. Turns out it wasn't flowing at 100% due to some sort of blockage. Replaced radiator, purged system and drove & drove & drove until there was no doubt at all. Tomorrow I'm gonna cut my old radiator open and find out what the hell it is that clogged it up. Im sure it won't be the normal coolant sludge build up so the only thing that'll make me happy is if I found a diamond ring clogging my rad.