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Old 01-27-2011, 03:57 PM   #1
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Default Crazy Problem with d16y8, I think it may be headgasket.

Ok so here it goes. I've been searching forums for weeks now and done every test I know of. Just want to get some confirmation before i tear down my engine to replace the head gasket.

Sorry for the book here but i've searched and done everything I found and i'm at my wits end.

I have a 1998 civic ex with 288,000 miles on it. At 265,000 it spun a rod bearing. I pulled the engine and took it to a machine shop. Had a new crank, rod bearings, pistons, oil pump, water pump, timing belt, head gasket and all new seals put in it. They put everything back together and set the timing. They also primed the oil.

I got it back, installed it with almost all new hoses, the main ones anyway and a few of the small ones.

I drove it for about 3 weeks about 90 miles a day. Everything seemed fine, then one day on the way home it overheated. Turned out my heater core was leaking all in my floor board. So I replaced the heater core, something I never want to do again.

Got it back on the road and drove it about a week, over heated again, this time it was my radiator, it cracked at the top front right in front of the spout for the radiator cap, so I replaced it.

Drove it another couple of weeks, then i noticed that after driving if for some distance when I go to start it, its harder to start than normal. Kind of like its not getting gas or something, I have to give it gas to get it started, then it starts fine. but only does this when its warm and after it sits for 10-15 minutes. If i stop then start right away it starts fine.

This whole time my carpet on the drivers side has stayed wet like i'm leaking from the heater core. And i've looked everywhere and can't find anything coming from the heater core. Just ripped the carpet out and the firewall on the driver side is soaked, not the passenger side though. Not sure if it just hasn't ever dried out or what.

It started to over heat again one day but quickly went back to normal. But anyway, i rented a pressure tester for the coolant system. Found that both sides of my upper hose needed tighted and the top of my lower hose needed tighted. then I pressured it up to about 18lbs and it stayed there for about 45 mins, didn't leak anything. Pressure tested my radiator cap and it popped at 15lbs. Compression checked and had 190-200psi across all 4 cyl.

So I take it to the local goodyear shop to get a block check done to see if I'm getting any exhaust in my coolant system. I drove it about 10 miles to get there. It sat for about 15 minutes, then the mechanic pulled in it the garage. I siphoned some of the antifreeze out of the radiator and started it, it blew antifreeze everywhere. He said he didn't need to do the block test because he knew exhaust was getting into the coolant system for it to blow like that. I called the machine shop and they said it would do that anytime its hot. not sure on that one so i tried it myself and got the same result.

So finally i bought a block test kit with the fluid tonight. I started my car and started checking when it was cold, threw warm, then when it was up to temp and the fluid never changed. So I drove it about 3 miles down the road and back. Got it in the garage, stopped it, pulled the radiator cap, then started it (which cause a massive spray of antifreeze), then i hurried and tested with the block test kit. The fluid changed color to a light green/yellow. I changed the fluid in the tester and tested again after the car had been idling for about 10 minutes and the new fluid would not change.

A couple of other things, i've never noticed fluid coming out of my exhaust this entire time and i've checked. tonight i did have some but it really just looked like condesation, didn't have any sweet smell and was crystal clear.

So should I just go ahead and bite the bullet and try replacing the headgasket?

Any help would be greatly appreciated. I just don't know if I'm over looking something.
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Old 01-27-2011, 08:06 PM   #2
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Default Re: Crazy Problem with d16y8, I think it may be headgasket.

well since you overheated the engine you can safely assume that mechanic would not warranty it.
i never seen coolant splatter everywhere with engine on while it was cold.

when the engine is cold the thermostat is fully closed to alow the engine to warm up quicker.
once the engine is warm at normal temperature the coolant moves quicker throught the system to keep the engine temp constant, so it probably would sprinkle from your radiator once its hot.


leakdown test would check if you have some compression issues.
compression test shows the compression, the leakdown shows if the chamber is airtight and stays that way.
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Old 01-28-2011, 09:25 AM   #3
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Default Re: Crazy Problem with d16y8, I think it may be headgasket.

raverx3m,

It would not have overheated though if the mechanic had put the headgasket on right and set it to the right torque specs. It didn't ever peg out during the overheat, it just got maybe 3/4.

It also did not splatter out when cold, only after I drove it down the road and back about 4 miles or so. Then after I shut it off, removed the radiator cap, then restart it, i blows everywhere, not just a little splatter.

Thanks.
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Old 01-28-2011, 04:01 PM   #4
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Default Re: Crazy Problem with d16y8, I think it may be headgasket.

thats what i mean. your heater core was leaking, thats not the problem with engine.
" then one day on the way home it overheated. Turned out my heater core was leaking all in my floor board"
the engine overheated because of the heater core. if i understand you correctly theres more problems in the car than juse engine.

the seals or any other parts are not meant to operate above their normal temperature range.
so even if you overheated it once it will still do damage, might be minimal damage but it will be there even if it seems to work fine.
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Old 01-28-2011, 07:31 PM   #5
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Default Re: Crazy Problem with d16y8, I think it may be headgasket.

fix the heater core first or bypass it then drive it then report back to us. I've blown the side out of a hose before and over heated once before and the head gasket and head were fine.
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Old 01-28-2011, 10:10 PM   #6
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Default Re: Crazy Problem with d16y8, I think it may be headgasket.

my wife overheated her honda probably more than 10 times. finally blew the silicone seal on the waterpump, replaced that and it still drives a year later no problem

it is eating oil and still leaking coolant somewhere but it passed the emissions and no white or blue smoke. one of the seals is still leaking i just dont want to deal with it now. probably rear main.

when i pulled the head of the engine with 2 broken rods, the headgasket was still not blown.

when i pulled the head off the other engine that had bad oil pump andbad bearings the head gasket was in one piece as well




as for the splattering.

WARNING: DO NOT open the radiator cap while the engine is hot! Even if the cooling system is leaking, the coolant will be under considerable pressure -- especially if it is low and coolant is boiling inside the engine


btw have you checked your radiator cap?
The radiator cap actually increases the boiling point of your coolant by about 45 F (25 C).
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Old 01-28-2011, 10:18 PM   #7
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Default Re: Crazy Problem with d16y8, I think it may be headgasket.

Have you tried a different thermostat. Possibly part of the problem.
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Old 01-31-2011, 03:35 AM   #8
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Default Re: Crazy Problem with d16y8, I think it may be headgasket.

Thanks for everyone's suggestions. I replaced the head gasket this weekend along with the intake gasket both with OEM honda parts. So far so good. It already has a lot more power. I'm thinking maybe the machine shop did not torque the headgasket per the directions. Once I had the head off, i could tell coolant had been leaking into cylinder 1 because it was clean as a whistle while the other 3 had normal exhaust build up, etc. Even my spark plug threads all the way up were clean on cyl 1 while the other 3 were dirty. Just to be safe, I'm going to do the block check test after driving it home tonight. But hopefully this fixed it.

As for the water in my floor board. After I removed the carpet, I'm not seeing any more antifreeze. The fire wall lining is still wet, but I don't think it could dry out from the first blowout with the carpet still on it. I will keep an eye on it and post back. If I do notice more, I'm definitely going to bypass the heater core for a while and see what that does, it'll have to get a little warmer out first though.

Thanks again.
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Old 01-31-2011, 04:54 AM   #9
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Default Re: Crazy Problem with d16y8, I think it may be headgasket.

Even though you've basically got this sorted out I figured i'd add a little. Often (with Honda's especially) the exhaust gas will push the coolant back through the cooling system, and a lot of times if you have a rad that's already not in great shape it'll blow up, same thing with heater and rad hoses and potentially the heater core.
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Old 01-31-2011, 01:37 PM   #10
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Default Re: Crazy Problem with d16y8, I think it may be headgasket.

The cooling fan relay and the coolant temperature switch are a common cause of overheating on Civics. The coolant temperature switch can be intermittent (causing all sorts of head scratching), and the relay can eventually stick open due to the design plus wear. I'd pull the temperature switch, boil it and check the operation should read open (fan off) until around 180 degrees and then should close and show continuity (fan on). Do that several times to try and rule out the intermittent part. Also check the resistance on the coolant temperature sensor cold and hot. As for the fan relay, I just change it... it's cheap and possibly had an engineering change/redesign.
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