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Possible head gasket issue, I am stumped - turbo b16

Possible head gasket issue, I am stumped - turbo b16

 
Old 06-12-2018, 07:04 AM
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Default Possible head gasket issue, I am stumped - turbo b16

Good day All,

I've been reading on this for quite a long time and consulted my machine shop and the internet to no end.

The forums information seems to say 80% it's the head gasket.

Here is my story:

166k mile b16 in a em1.

Car ran fine for 3000 miles, but burned oil, knew it was probably the rings, I wanted to turbo charge it. I've built several cars in the past, mainly turbo nissans, engine swaps etc been doing this for about 15 years now.

I rebuilt the engine in car with flexhone tool, oem honda water pump, thermostat, eagle rods, npr 10:5:1 pistons NPR head gasket, I copper sprayed the gasket got another spare head that was in better condition (b16 vtec head) I had the head resurfaced, pressure checked, new valve seals installed the works by a trusted machine shop. (arp head studs torqued to 80 ft/lbs and followed torquing sequence)

Drove the car for about 2000 miles like this naturally aspirated, no problems.

I then turbo charged it, basic ebay turbo setup. Got a base tune on dyno, drove to my tuner (jmills) and the car did great until it hit 10psi for the 3rd time and then the head gasket blew. It pushed coolant into the overflow and eventually was blowing coolant lines off. I drove it home like this as it would only push coolant out in boost.

Took the head off, got a honda oem head gasket this time (no copper spray), The NPR head gasket that I was replacing blew on 2 or 3 compression rings on the head gasket., reused the arp head studs appeared fine. Brought the head to the machine shop to get checked over, they said it was still straight and true and the reason it blew the head gasket was from the copper spray I used, they were upset I used that and said never to use it, had them machine down the 2 alignment dowel pins in case that was the cause.

The deck looks clean without any gouges that a finger nail can get caught on, anyway got the head gasket back together, fired car up (this week) arp's reused and torqued to 80ft/lbs. Go to bleed the coolant, heat on car lifted up, I can't get small little bubbles out of the coolant once the thermostat opens (lower hose hot/warm). I drove to work and back car has heat and holds temp fine. Let it sit overnight and then bled the coolant again, no bubbles in coolant again until thermostat opens, very tiny bubbles but consistently appearing.

Thought to myself well it will blow the radiator cap or a coolant hose if I take it out and boost it, so that is what I did with an empty overflow attached to monitor if it's pushing coolant all. Boosted the car about 10 times to 10psi throughout the rev range and kept the revs up, got back checked overflow, no coolant was pushed to the overflow.

I am stumped, is there a pinhole leak on the head/deck or something else, the block from when I did the rebuild I can tell is not cracked.

Radiator is a mishimoto, tried a new mishimoto cap but they most have the same tension.

Any help or guidance is appreciated thank you!
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Old 06-12-2018, 12:07 PM
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Default Re: Possible head gasket issue, I am stumped - turbo b16

You can use copper spray on the oem Honda gaskets but not NPR or Cometic gaskets. Use of copper spray is based upon the material of the head gasket, not just the fact that it is a head gasket.

you also need to make sure that the car is slightly elevated in order to clear out all of the bubbles that are within the coolant system. Using a Lisile (sp?) yellow funnel will also be of more assistance than anything.
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Old 06-12-2018, 12:28 PM
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Default Re: Possible head gasket issue, I am stumped - turbo b16

car is up in the air each time I bleed, granted not by a lot, but it is up.

Ah about the copper spray. I thought the black nitrile stuff is all that is needed to seal the head up.

If this engine has another issue like this, I am going to CSS my spare b16 and o ring the damn thing and build it with my spare b16 head I have also on the side and hopefully avoid head gasket issues forever. Going to open cap tonight, it's been sealed since the car was run this morning to see if pressure is still in there. I have heard this might be an indicator or not of head gasket issues, I have heard both ways it's hard to get good guidance on the internet I find, low barrier to entry.

Thanks again for your help!
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Old 06-12-2018, 12:57 PM
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Default Re: Possible head gasket issue, I am stumped - turbo b16

Originally Posted by Cupajoe View Post
car is up in the air each time I bleed, granted not by a lot, but it is up.

Ah about the copper spray. I thought the black nitrile stuff is all that is needed to seal the head up.

If this engine has another issue like this, I am going to CSS my spare b16 and o ring the damn thing and build it with my spare b16 head I have also on the side and hopefully avoid head gasket issues forever. Going to open cap tonight, it's been sealed since the car was run this morning to see if pressure is still in there. I have heard this might be an indicator or not of head gasket issues, I have heard both ways it's hard to get good guidance on the internet I find, low barrier to entry.

Thanks again for your help!
I'll clarify a little. I was the front end has to be elevated (with the back end being lower) to get the right siphoning effect.
Let's just solve one thing at a time first.

Going CSS isn't going to help you if you're not getting the basics over with first. How many times have these ARPs been used? How is the threading of the bolt holes themselves? I've had to TimeSert engines that have had stripped bolt holes (NO HELICOIL) when I've had continual head gasket issues.

Don't worry about future plans. one thing at a time.
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Old 06-12-2018, 01:24 PM
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Default Re: Possible head gasket issue, I am stumped - turbo b16

I'll raise the car front a lot tonight and try, it was raised slightly each time, not jacked up way high though compared to the rear.

Bolt holes on block are good, arp studs thread in (hand tight) no problem and I follow the 20/50/80 (whatever the exact numbers were) and torquing sequence each time. They all feel the same when they torque down.

ARP head studs I bought new off ebay from a seller with good reviews for 150 or something new and this is the second time I've used them. I checked them the next morning for 80 ft/lbs of torque and they hit that right on the money again with no retorque, I cleaned the holes on the block and used a slight amount of arp lube on this side and a larger amount on the side where the nut goes with the spacer.

Cylinder 4 on the head did have some slight marring - missing material near the valves where it should have been flat, brought this up with the machine shop they said that wouldnt matter, so took their word for it. Head gasket does not touch there though.

The block has never been decked. Slight scratches on it, but again cant fit a fingernail in them and those scratches do not cross all the way over the sleeves tow here coolant sits. I did drain all of the coolant out of the block when I did the head gasket this time. To clean old gasket off I used a 3m blue plastic sponge and brake clean, this time around (the 2nd time) the head and deck were still clean from the 1st job, and the copper spray and black material on the npr gasket could be wiped off with the hand. Using just regular 50/50 antifreeze.

Check out this video at 18 minutes, you get to see the first time the head gasket went ha ha.

Thanks again I'll let you know if pressure is still in the system tonight when I check on it and if it bleeds out all bubles being lifted way up.
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Old 06-13-2018, 06:14 AM
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Default Re: Possible head gasket issue, I am stumped - turbo b16

Came home last night to car after it was sitting all day, opened radiator cap (hoses were soft/no pressure) and cap didnt release any pressure, they were rock hard when I left that car that morning with hot freshly bled coolant in system and radiator cap on.

Bled coolant again for a long time last night, with car jacked way up, heater on high etc, left radiator cap off with no leak funnel full of coolant to let the car bleed anything else out as it cooled down. Came back to it about an hour later and the funnel was empty and all coolant went back into radiator, let it sit with cap off overnight as well.

Still getting bubbles and black stuff in coolant possibly the black stuff on the head gasket? This is the 3rd or 4th time I've bled the coolant and I usually let it sit with no radiator cap on to let it expel any bubbles that maybe in the system. Radiator cap is new mishimoto, radiator is mishimoto.

Drove it to work didn't overheat but after driving hoses are ROCK hard. Overflow has about a teaspoon of fluid in it after it was freshly empty this morning.

Video attached of what it is doing:


If you look closely, there are always very small champagne bubbles in the system.

At this point I think it may be:
- (this is a stretch) bad radiator hose in system letting in air? They are all original except upper and lower.
- bad head/deck seal
- water pump sloshing bubbles in system even though it has 10k mile and is oem
- coolant boiling?

Car has no leaks, oil or coolant.

Last edited by Cupajoe; 06-13-2018 at 06:50 AM.
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Old 06-19-2018, 08:30 AM
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Default Re: Possible head gasket issue, I am stumped - turbo b16

retorqued head studs to 80 ft/lbs as I set to originally. They were all still tight a couple turned a minute amount. then brought up torque to 85.

now just driving it and monitoring.

The walbro fuel pump I had died on it, got another may explain why it was running like garbage for a while runs great now.

getting it retuned thursday so far not pushing coolant but im not beating on it as it's on stock injector/ecu till i get retune.
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Old 06-19-2018, 12:35 PM
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Default Re: Possible head gasket issue, I am stumped - turbo b16

how much ignition do u drive at full boost?
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Old 06-19-2018, 01:24 PM
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Default Re: Possible head gasket issue, I am stumped - turbo b16

I dont know, my tuner adjusted it to 16.5 I believe, I'll ask Thursday when I get a clean up tune.
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Old 06-19-2018, 01:38 PM
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Default Re: Possible head gasket issue, I am stumped - turbo b16

What are the chances it has a small crack on the sleeeves?
Our german friend might have a point.
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Old 06-19-2018, 02:55 PM
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Default Re: Possible head gasket issue, I am stumped - turbo b16

Itís a b16 they have thicker sleeves when I replaced head gasket after it initially blew- the head gasket had 3 areas that leaked head side.

got head clearance checked again and was fine so attributing it to copper spray. Been cruising it around itís fine now but hoses are rock hard but itís not pushing coolant, not overheating, not holding pressure once it cools down in coolant system

I dunno time will tell here
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Old 06-20-2018, 12:09 AM
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Default Re: Possible head gasket issue, I am stumped - turbo b16

please ask for some information! too much ignition kill headgasket easily
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Old 06-21-2018, 09:28 AM
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Default Re: Possible head gasket issue, I am stumped - turbo b16

Put it back on dyno today for fine tuning, cold idle, hot restart, cruising afr.

Did fine.

Did about 3 power pulls and didn't push coolant. Drove it home boosted it on the way did fine. It's hot here around 100 degrees (nc) so not trying to beat on it too much.

Anyway I guess it's good for now and it was just my paranoia who knows.

Thanks again.
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Old 06-21-2018, 10:59 AM
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Default Re: Possible head gasket issue, I am stumped - turbo b16

Here it is on dyno today 7psi spring instead of the stiffer spring that was making it go 11-12psi on stock map.

I have a mbc on the way and will increase boost to 10psi.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2u7B...ature=youtu.be
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Old 07-11-2018, 06:52 AM
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Default Re: Possible head gasket issue, I am stumped - turbo b16

update, car has 1k miles on it all is good.
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Old 07-11-2018, 09:26 AM
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Default Re: Possible head gasket issue, I am stumped - turbo b16

It sounds good too.
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Old 07-14-2018, 05:02 AM
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Default Re: Possible head gasket issue, I am stumped - turbo b16

Dont drive with the overflow tank emty.. The motor sucks coolent back in and out when the water expands and shrinks during heat cykles.. The most likely would be a leak somewhere.. A common place is the o-ring from the coolent pipe under the intake mani that goes ether in to the thermostat housing or the waterpump housing.. A friend of mine had exhaustmanifoldstuds penetrating into water passages in the head..

As many new oem cars do they have "bars leak" radiator leak stopper from factory in the coolant system just for making sure.. I have actually sealed leaks from the bottom of sleeves permanently with that. It is a great product. A friend of mine uses it on diesel trains as well.

Also mishimoto is a chinese brand.. Look into the radiator cap and make sure it is sealing. Look for seat area for the cap etc.. Do a pressure test of the complete system with coolant and everything. Clamp the hose to the overflow tank and ad pressure.. Start small with about 0,7 bar or 10psi or so.. Go to about 1,5-2 bars.. 20-30 psi if needed.. Check for leaks.. If you canīt find a leak that way do it without coolant and spray joint etc with soap water and look for bubbles.. Just be careful with pressurised air..
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Old 07-14-2018, 05:06 AM
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Default Re: Possible head gasket issue, I am stumped - turbo b16

This is a very good post really.
Our sweedish fellow knows.
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Old 08-01-2018, 01:38 AM
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Default Re: Possible head gasket issue, I am stumped - turbo b16

Check for Coolant bypass hose. The hose that goes from head to thermostat housing. I have seen another B16 (NA) which blew head gaksets repeatedly. Now fixed after coolant bypass was properly routed. Earlier it was kind of dummied out.
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Old 08-03-2018, 06:37 AM
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Default Re: Possible head gasket issue, I am stumped - turbo b16

that hose is setup correctly, I think car is ok it has been holding up thanks for the help!
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