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Honda Civic Cooling Problems



  • vorlonsvorlons Posts: 6
    I'm very sure that you have a blown head gasket or a wrap head. I had the same problem. I replaced the water pump, thermostat, radiator and the problem did not go away. Lastly, I removed the head and saw that I had a blown head gasket. I also checked the cylinder head with a straight edge and found out that the head was wrapped so it has to be replaced as well. After replacing the cylinder head and head gasket, the problem went away.
  • asheelasheel Posts: 2
    Hi there, I have been reading this forum and I associate myself with a similar problem, but I do require help in diagnosing the problem. I have a 1998 Honda Ballade, my cooling radiator fan does not work but if I apply direct power or bridge the switch then it works which indicates to me that the fan does work, my problem started when I had a water pipe that burst and the car started to over heat, thereafter I replaced the water pipe but then I noticed my fan did not come automatically, I then tested the fan and it worked. I replaced the fan switch on 4 occasions, replaced thermostat and bled the system many times. The fan comes on automatically every time in bleed the system but the next day it does not work, I have replaced the radiator cap as well. It does not loose water. Could this be my head gasket as well? My car has never hit the red line.
  • WOW.....this sounds identical to the situation I am currently dealing with on a 1999 Honda Accord....whats was your fix? Did you get this solved?
  • asheelasheel Posts: 2
    Unfortunately not, I bled the system again, the fan worked perfectly for a 2 weeks until I parked the car and didn't use it for 3 days and then the fan did not come on automatically and now I am back to using a manual method. Looks like this could be a common problem but I cannot solve the issue
  • Losing coolant. However, no visual evidence of leak, no water in oil, no white smoke out of exhaust. Any suggestions as to what is causing this problem? Someone has suggested blown head gasket. Does anyone have any ideas?
  • One good idea is to do a cooling system pressure test prior to any guesswork. You can buy a cooling pump rather cheaply at Autozone, etc or have a shop do it. Putting the cooling system under a few lbs. more pressure than usual will reveal the area of the leak. If no external leaks are found, what you do is keep the system pressurized and then remove the spark plugs one by one, and look for coolant on them---or if the shop has a boroscope, peer into the cylinder itself and look for coolant. If coolant appears on the spark plugs you have a bad head gasket or crack in the cylinder head.
  • So, My friend asked my to look at her car, all I can see from it is that it spit coolant out of the radiator(even after it's been sitting all night) She had a mechanic tell her that she has a cracked head gasket, I'm inclined to agree. Although I'm think it could also be mixture of other problems. There isn't any milky coloring in the cylinders or anywhere else. It just overheats once in a while and has a lot of pressure behind the radiator cap. I also did the spark plug test and got ALOT of bubbles from the radiator. the hoses all seem to be fine. I replaced the thermostat and nothing changed. The fans kick on. Is there anything else I can check to tell if it's the cooling system before I say for sure that it's a head problem?
  • You definitely have a blown head gasket. No doubt about it. I had the same symptom with coolant spitting out of the reserve tank and eventually the radiator because it gets too hot. When the problem started, I replaced the thermostat, water pump, radiator cap and radiator hoping that the problem will go away. Well, it did not and I replaced all these parts twice again! All the parts I replaced are 100% genuine Honda parts. I even purchased radiator vacuum kit to flush out my radiator at least twice just to make sure there are no air pockets inside. I wasted at least 3 gallons of coolant.
    All the steps above did not fix the problem. Hot coolant spits out of the reserve tank and it got hot enough that it melted the mouth of the radiator since the radiator is made of a composite material.

    Finally, I had the throw in the towel and recruit my friend to help. We removed the cylinder head and took a straight edge gauge the cylinder head and block to make sure that it is not warp. The cylinder block is ok, which is very lucky for me. Unfortunately the cylinder head was warped. Had I replaced the head gasket in the early stage, my cylinder head would not have warped. Remember, the problem starts gradually and got worst in under 8 weeks.
    I purchased a complete remanufactured cylinder head from a place called Cylinder Heads International in Texas ( I also purchased a genuine Honda head gasket and head bolts. I didn't have to replace the head bold since we were able to reuse them so I still have the new head bolts that I purchased. At the same time, I also replace the timing belt and belt tensioner. Since you're going to replace the head anyway, it is highly recommended to replace the timing belt and timing belt tensioner. The timing belt is made by Gates. You can get them directly from a Honda dealer or from your local auto parts store. I found out that Honda use the Gates brand and it is the same part as the one from my local store except that I don't have to pay a lot for it by buying it from the dealer.

    Enough said... The entire head replacement process took about 10 hours since the 04 civic that I have is much harder to work with because of the intake manifold compared to my old 92 civic which took me about 3 hours since it has less junk under the hood.

    When I replaced my 04 head cylinder, it had 185K miles on it with the original timing belt. I was surprised that my timing belt last that long but probably because at least 95% of the miles I put on are from freeway driving. So far, my car is at 227K miles and going.

    Here is a note, make sure that you check the valve work on the re manufactured head cylinder. If you need to adjust the valve or redo the valve seats or guides, do so before you close every thing up. Otherwise, your car will end up consuming about a quart of oil every 1500 miles or so because engine oil is leaking into the combustion chamber.

    Also use only 100% genuine Honda parts like thermostat, radiator cap, water pump, timing belt tensioner and especially the head gasket. I purchased an after market radiator and it works just fine. Good luck and I hope I contribute enough information to save some soul from going through the same misery like I do but for my part, it was an educational experience.
  • Thank you so much for this. It should be fun since I've never replaced a head.
  • When you put the head back on, make sure that you tighten the head bolts in the proper order. Most importantly, make sure you torque the bolts correctly. You can go to this site to download the torque specs for the head bolts.

    When you put the exhaust manifold back on, make sure you use anti seize compound for the exhaust manifold in case you need to remove it. Good luck.
  • Is there some kind of step by step for doing this? I really don't want to mess it up.
  • Alright guys I've got a 99 civic ex and it keeps getting hot I replaced thermostat and still was getting hot so I ram without it and still gets hot. Went to replace water pump and was in great condition. My radiator and houses are new so I don't think its them n my fans are on toggle so anytime my car is on so r they. Also spark plugs look great. There is no water in oil either. It runs fine sometimes but after so long it will get hot don't really know what else to do. Someone help
  • I have the same problem on my 99 civic wagon 1.8vti. It overheats and cuts out - the engine sensor cuts the engine... Let it cool off for ten minutes and she's good to go, but only if I run the heating at full blast and keep the revs down.
    My cooling fan cuts in fine.
    I'm not losing any coolant.
    Coolant looks pretty good (color is OK - not brown soup or oily).
    No white smoke / steam in the exhaust that I can tell.
    My cabin heating unit works fine - blows hot air at me.
    What's to do...?
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