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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all, long time lurker first time poster. I'm Brian, a curmudgeon in East Tennessee with a chronic grease addiction :p

I've got a '01 Civic lx coupe MT that, by the VIN, should have a D17A1 block in it but it doesn't. So I have two questions for y'all. I dont know the history of the car earlier than 170k(now at 210k).

1) Have any of y'all heard of a non-VTEC cylinder head(SOHC, no valve timing) bolted up to a VTEC block(a D17A2 block) from the factory or do you think someone did a block swap before it came to me? They did a great job if it was replaced, it looks like a factory build with Hondabond and all other OEM clues there.

2) Is the head gasket actually different between the A1 and the A2? Is there any actual difference between the A1 and A2 block itself?

I've got a blown HG and since I have an A2 block and an A1 style head, I want to make sure I get the right gasket without having to buy two!

Any help or other thoughts would be much appreciated!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Sam, thanks for the response. After much more research, yes, it's now obvious to me whoever replaced the engine before I bought it just put in an entire D17A2 VTEC as a fully assembled engine. I thought the vtec had a dohc in the D17 but now I know different. The head is a pmr-ha-3 which is the mating vtec head to the vtec A2 block. The two connections on the vtec "spool valve" on the head are just not connected to anything since my model(the LX) and its wire loom have no connections for vtec.

This raises the question? What is the vtec system's at rest state? The car has no drivability or acceleration issues and does well at interstate speeds though it seems the r's wind a bit higher than I'm used to for a car in 5th at 70mph. shrugs I've got to assume the failed or at rest state of the vtec system is the increased lower end torque mode. I also wonder if the non-vtec ecu in the car has a hard time compensating for the mismatch between engine characteristics and computer? Idk but I doubt it would account for a blown head gasket. I think it just blew due to high mileage, a few minor overheating events and perhaps driving style. *shrugs again, thoughts?
 

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93 4d lx, z6,ported, port matched, compression bumped, balanced, manual swap
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They may have locked vtec into 4 valve mode, which essentially makes it operate like the a1, and with the a1 intake manifold and catted exhaust manifold it probably is just fine afr and ignition timing wise, the head gasket went cause the d17 is pretty much made of glass, one hot day stuck in traffic after pulling a hill and it's done, my wifes 03 is due for its 4th head gasket at 270,000 miles and I think I'm just going to grab a junkyard long block, rebuild it and swap it in.
 

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93 Civic HB SI, 95 Civic HB CX
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the d17 is pretty much made of glass, one hot day stuck in traffic after pulling a hill and it's done
My buddy has been driving around his 02 civic with an overheating condition for likely 3 years since I first saw it show signs.

The first time I saw it act up, I was riding with him and noticed his cooling fan never shut off after riding for just a minute, temp gauge was pegged very fast.

I said "hey, these engines are very sensitive to overheating, you likely have a blown head gasket".

His response was "its been doing that forever, car has never let me down. AC works great!"

Dumbass lol, but hes not wrong, the damn car is still running with that condition to this day, radiator hoses as rock hard as Thanos getting it on.

He won't let me look at it haha, ignorance is pure bliss in this case!

But if it was my car, it would have left me stranded 3 years ago lol
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
After exaustive reading I've come to understand how the vtec operates on the A2. It's a bit foreign to me. I'm used to the cam phaser style systems.

I'll have a close look at the valve control when I get it apart. I would think it must be pinned. I dont imagine it would run as good as it has with only 12 valves operating throughout its power curve but who knows!

I see the hg is the same for both heads but the gasket set itself certainly isn't. I'll order a hg kit for an '01 ex(non egr A2) and that should do the trick.

I am considering a MLS gasket instead of organic or synthetic. However, I also read an article saying mls gaskets require very tight deck flatness tolerances or they fail. What do y'all think? What do these lil' squealers prefer? I've only ever used oem hg's.

My searching has found these heads want 49 lb/ft in 3steps on the [new] head bolts. Sound right to y'all? Seems a bit light to me but then again I was a SBC guy in a previous life ;p

Knowing what I know now after a couple few days of research, man I wish I'd bit the bullet and swapped the hg as a matter of course when I did the timing belt/water pump change last summer! What a doh moment!

Anyway... thanks for all the help fellas!
 

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93 4d lx, z6,ported, port matched, compression bumped, balanced, manual swap
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My buddy has been driving around his 02 civic with an overheating condition for likely 3 years since I first saw it show signs.
My wifes blew last spring, it runs great, doesn't overheat until it pushes enough coolant out through the actual rad hose lamination, and yeah the ac will freeze you out in under and hour when it's 115°f
I see the hg is the same for both heads but the gasket set itself certainly isn't. I'll order a hg kit for an '01 ex(non egr A2) and that should do the trick.
Pick the gasket set for the manifolds you have, if you are running the lx(a1) manifolds get the lx gasket set, if you have the ex(a2) manifolds get the ex set. The felpro MLS gasket has 2 options, pick the one that states field repair, its coating is thicker and designed to up the deck flatness limit, also id stay away from the felpro bolt set, spend the extra 60 for oe honda bolts.
 
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