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Old 10-20-2018, 08:24 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Headgasket keeps failing

I have a 98 Honda civic non vtec, I've went threw two head gaskets on the last engine and swapped in a healthy used one awhile back, and now I'm noticing the same thing as the last time. It's pushing the coolant out of the system and into the overflow tank, and when I open the overflow tank it smells like gas and exhaust fumes. I've been checking the oil frequently and it's not milky at all and I won't let it run very hot as I learned my lesson the first two times. The car is completely stock, the only thing I did to it was bypass the heater core when it leaked on the passenger side floor and that's the only thing I changed since before the first head gasket failure, anyone else had this issue that can point me in the right direction? I know sooner or later I'm going to have to replace the gasket again but I would like to fix this issue permanently, each time it was fixed the head went to the machine shop and was fixed by a popular Honda mechanic. Thanks for reading
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Old 10-20-2018, 09:05 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Has the block been checked┐ I don't see how bypassing the heater core would make any difference. I have a b7 the that is pushing water out too. I am going to swap heads next week.
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Old 10-20-2018, 09:36 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Rule of thumb, don't ever simply just change the head gasket. ANY time the head comes off after being clamped down, it warps just slightly due to small localized stresses forming in the aluminum from heating/cooling that finally relax causing the warp once the clamping force from the head bolts is removed. If you got the head shaved once to make it flat, removing it again is NO guarantee it is still flat, especially if the block surface is warped as the head will warp during head bolt tightening to conform to the block warpage.

You need to check for head AND block deck surface warpage with a straightedge and a feeler blade set. The service manual for your engine contains acceptable warpage service limits for both the block and head deck surfaces, most of the times the acceptable limit is .001-.0015". If either of these surfaces are warped to the outer range of the service limits, a new head gasket being installed has the potential of not being crushed effectively as warpage of either the block or the head creates uneven clamp loads over the gasket reducing it's effectiveness.

Also, don't ever swap in a "used" head gasket no matter how healthy it might look. If it has been torqued down, NEVER reuse it. Head gaskets have a one-time crush use, once they get squeezed between the head and block a single time they cannot be reused reliably. They are designed to form to any irregularities of the surface during initial crush, in a single location. Once you remove it, you cannot put it back in place as the irregularities will have changed location and the seal will be compromised.

If this is a non-turbo application, the odds of cylinder liner cracks are very slim but while the head is off give the tops of the liners a glance over to see if there are any kind of hairline cracks that have soot jammed in them. They will look like black fracture marks. Also look for ANY kind of major dings or knicks in the surfaces around the cylinders. If a knick in either the liner or the aluminum around the liner is large enough, the head gasket cannot seal that correctly.

Both surfaces, the head and the block must be completely flat and smooth in order for the head gasket to do it's job correctly. Anything other than flat, your just asking for it to blow out again.
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Old 10-20-2018, 09:41 AM   #4 (permalink)
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That's the only thing that was done to it but I'm gonna go inside the dash and replace it anyway because it's about to start getting cold, I'm eventually going to swap to a y8 head, intake mani and I want to to do the rods and pistons as well to get it ready for boost, but I don't want to keep running into this situation and waste money
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Old 10-20-2018, 09:48 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I'm not completely new to this the head was machined and new arp headstuds went into the old block... last year I got an engine from lkq the car it was in was rear-ended, this block was never opened by me and when I got it I did a compression check after I switched the motor but your right the bottom end could be warped and I'm sure ots not bad as it stands right now because I don't let it get too hot and been keeping an eye on it
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Old 10-20-2018, 08:54 PM   #6 (permalink)
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could be a crack in the sleeve....
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