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Do i need to re-do my headgasket?

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Do i need to re-do my headgasket?

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    Do i need to re-do my headgasket?

    i have a high compression b17. i installed the engine a week or two ago and its been running ok. the other day, i noticed that i was overheating on the freeway. it got to 3/4 of the way on the cluster before i pulled off. once i got to where i needed to go, i saw that i was missing coolant i assumed it boiled off as i saw nothing out of the ordinary. i also noticed that the thermostat never opened. later that day, i changed the thermostat and rewired my fan to run all the time. since then, i've noticed a bit of steam coming out my tailpipe in the mornings and in the evenings. however, when driving back from work (in the afternoon) i don't see any steam coming out of the tailpipe. the exhaust feels moist but i cannot see any steam. i also haven't noticed any water loss since then (i am still running water and no coolant). i bought another headgasket just in case.

    beeing that i see some steam in the mornings and the evenings but not in the afternoons, and that i have noticed any water loss, should i start looking at changing the headgasket again? should i do a compression test also? or should i put some antifreeze in it to see if i get any weird smells from the exhaust?

    btw, there is moisture in the tailpipe but it is not pouring out or anything. it seems that whatever moisture is in there is stuck in the sebring tailpipe tips and steaming out of there...

    thanks in advance!

    #2
    First off, a compression test should be done anyway to give you an idea of the health of the new motor. Some steam in the mornings/evenings is normal.

    It sounds to me like you might have air trapped in your cooling system instead of a headgasket leak. Air bubbles can totally stop coolant flow and will make the car overheat. Getting all the air out can take quite a while, but it's cheap to do so might as well rule this out as an issue.

    If that doesn't fix I would do a leakdown test to confirm or rule out the headgasket.

    Comment


      #3
      Yeah, Gil, so far you've posted nothing that would make me think your head gasket is bad. Head gasket failures on b series engines are really rare.

      Some "steam" from the exhaust is going to be normal depending on the conditions, so don't let that fool you. Like the OP said, I'd make sure there is no air in the system. How did you go about filling and removing air in the first place?

      You also mentioned your thermostat did not open... That should have been your number one concern regarding the overheating. Have you pulled it out and tested it? You should rewire your fans to be normal, it's a waste just to have them on all the time. If you have them wired that way to remedy a problem then you're putting a bandaid on a more serious issue.

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        #4
        i changed the thermostat that same day. i had to rewire the fan since it seemed to be working for a second and then it didn't... one of my ongoing electrical problems! i am trying to fix that, though. the only reason i thought the steam wasn't normal was because i'd never noticed it on my other engine. at least not consistently in the morning or night. maybe it's extra humid out?

        at this point, the car is not overheating. i was trying to airbleed the system but the SI head does not have an air bleeder fitting that i am aware of... colin, do you think you'd be around tonight so that i could come by and pick that plug thing up?

        thank you both for your advice!

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          #5
          Ah, you have the water neck w/ the bleed screw. Did you run the car to operating temp and wait for the fans to come on all while you had the radiator cap off and were watching the water level? That's a good way to "burp" the system. You need to make sure the thermostat opens up and gets the water flowing through the whole system and you should be able to get all the air to come out through the top of the radiator.

          I've got a work dinner to attend tonight. I'll probably be around for a little while around 6-7pm but just long enough to get ready before dinner. After that I probably won't be back till 9pm or so.

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            #6
            ah, no worries. maybe next time then.

            yes, i ran it for a while as you mentioned. hopefully that was enough!

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              #7
              The steam coming out of the tail pipe in the mornings and evenings is due to condensation forming on the cold pipe as the warm exhaust gases pass through the pipe. That's why you see water droplets on a cold mug of beer on a warm/hot day. You probably are not finding it in the afternoons since the pipe has already been warmed up by then and condensation will not form on it when the warm exhaust gases pass by. That condition is well pronounced in cars in cold regions. But Long Beach...has it been a bit colder than normal down there (sorry for being a nob, but it's cold up here thirteen months of the year)?

              Comment


                #8
                yea, i understand the condensation part of it... i have just never seen it so pronounced ... it has been a little colder in the mornings. there is a dymorphism (coldish mornings, warm to hot days, coldish nights)between the day and night as of late. maybe it is the engine characteristics that are creating more steam than i am accustomed to seeing?? i'm gonna try and put some antifreeze mix in now and start testing the exhaust smell....

                that and the engine is puking oil from somewhere close to the distributor!!! aggh with this car!

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by gilcontr View Post
                  i have just never seen it so pronounced
                  This opened something from my memory vault. A long time ago, my parent's Mitsubishi Galant's 4G32 engine's head got warped for one reason or another so we had to shave the head down to usable specs (increasing compression in the process). After we put the engine together, I recall the engine seemed to run hotter than it used to. Not much, but the temp needle seemed to be positioned more to the right than before. Don't know if the increased compression is making your motor run hotter and therefore causing the steam/condensation to be more pronounced.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    you can get some die from a parts store put it in ur coolant wait a couple days and put a black light to it and you will see if you are leaking ne thing

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by torralba View Post
                      This opened something from my memory vault. A long time ago, my parent's Mitsubishi Galant's 4G32 engine's head got warped for one reason or another so we had to shave the head down to usable specs (increasing compression in the process). After we put the engine together, I recall the engine seemed to run hotter than it used to. Not much, but the temp needle seemed to be positioned more to the right than before. Don't know if the increased compression is making your motor run hotter and therefore causing the steam/condensation to be more pronounced.
                      Interesting, I had 20 thousandths shaved off my GSR head and I'm running a 2 layer headgasket, no difference in the temp at all

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Also, Gil, my favorite way to bleed air from the cooling system is to use a radiator funnel. I don't know what they're actually called, I think one might be called zero spill or something.

                        Basically it's a kit that you can buy at most auto part stores for like $30... you get a big funnel and some fittings that replace your radiator cap. Hook it up, fill the funnel like 1/3 with coolant/water, and just let the car run. Sometimes it takes a long time to get all the air out. I like this method because you don't get coolant spilling out everywhere and you can also leave the car unattended for a while instead of standing over the radiator the whole time.

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                          #13
                          ok, there is much more steam coming out of the tailpipe... not a giant cloud but i was able to clearly see it when stopped. it kinda looks like the headgasket now... i guess i know what i'll be doing this weekend

                          Comment


                            #14
                            do a compression test first.

                            Is it an oem head gasket? Did you do the proper torque sequence? Did you do the proper tightening in steps?

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                              #15
                              it is a felpro gasket. i thought i did everything i was supposed to do. torqied in steps too. i did have problems with my crappy torque wrench during the install, though even used copper spray... i heard i was supposed to retorque a few days after? i didn't do that it was working out ok up till that day. i guess i'll get to doing that compression test. i just can't believe that all that steam would be normal. no oil in the water or vise versa so i guess that's a good thing.

                              Comment


                                #16
                                hey gil

                                you should not have that fan on all the time ur cooling the engine way to much causing it to run in safe mode.


                                sorry but gil or Colin do u guys happen to have a ls/b20 crank laying around on the cheap tossed a rod bearing time to rebuild
                                thatblkguy
                                Inactive Member
                                Last edited by thatblkguy; 15 May 2009, 04:14:40.

                                Comment


                                  #17
                                  Originally posted by thatblkguy View Post
                                  hey gil

                                  you should not have that fan on all the time ur cooling the engine way to much causing it to run in safe mode.


                                  sorry but gil or Colin do u guys happen to have a ls/b20 crank laying around on the cheap tossed a rod bearing time to rebuild
                                  really? thanks for the tip! i don't have a crank but i think i know someone who does. i'll ask them and try to get back to you with that.

                                  Comment


                                    #18
                                    Gil, after all this time of hearing me rant and rave I thought for sure you'd spring for an OEM gasket! Chances are the felpro is OK, but I don't take risks like that anymore, it's not worth it.

                                    Copper spray!!! Argh. I don't know much about that stuff, all I know is the Helms manual does not call for it. Trust the Helms above pretty much all else. Like I said, I don't know much about that spray and how it works, but you used something the Helms does not call for and that throws a variable in there. That could be your culprit if it is truly leaking.

                                    If it is determined that the gasket is leaking it would also be worthwhile to check the block and head to make sure the surfaces are nice and flat.

                                    I've never heard of that "fan on = safe mode" thing before. Anyone care to ellaborate and explain WHY? I doubt that fan being on would cause the engine to run cooler. The thermostat would just close and keep temps up. And if it cools the bay down a bit, then that's just like a lower ambient temperature. As far as I know the engine doesn't go into safe mode just because ambient temp goes down a few degrees.

                                    Comment


                                      #19
                                      Originally posted by Colin View Post
                                      Gil, after all this time of hearing me rant and rave I thought for sure you'd spring for an OEM gasket! Chances are the felpro is OK, but I don't take risks like that anymore, it's not worth it.

                                      ...

                                      what? felpro is badass!!! i've always used it in my domestic cars and it has always worked beautifully!! that and copper spray!! i heart copper spray!!! only thing is that they seem to skimp on the copper a little nowadays. i guess i'll look around for machine shops to see if i can get it checked out. i can never find a local one!!!

                                      Comment


                                        #20
                                        You can't necessarily take anything you learned while working on older domestics and translate it into working on a Honda...

                                        Helms doesn't mention spray, I wouldn't use it. Again, not sure if that is your problem, or if it could be (cause I've never used that spray before) but if it does turn out to be your problem it won't be the first time I've seen people do things they do all the time on other cars and have it work out miserably on their Honda. FSM FTMFW! I still read through that thing for just about any project I'm doing on the car.

                                        Comment


                                          #21
                                          when u leave the fan on it causes the motor to run in closed loop which in turn causes the ecu to dump more fuel and knocks back ign timing since the engine never reaches normal operating temps. just like at first start up (safe mode). at least this is what I learned in class does it count on hondas IDK

                                          Gil

                                          If you want u can come by my school sat or Sunday and you can do a leak down test

                                          Comment


                                            #22
                                            cool! what time could i swing by?

                                            Comment


                                              #23
                                              Im in class from 8 to 5 so anytime lunch from 12 to 1

                                              6265107392-ryan

                                              Comment


                                                #24
                                                actually, i'm just going to replace it seeing as i know that it is already the problem. thanks for offering! you are badass!!!!

                                                Comment


                                                  #25
                                                  hmmm...... not to be a know it all....... but that safe mode theory can be proven wrong. yes true that the car will run in closed loop mode until the motor runs at a certain operating temperature, but what ultimately decides closed loop or open loop mode is the o2 sensor. if that detects that the exhaust gases are spitting out the right amount of o2 then it will throw it into open loop. having ur fan on with "ignition on" or with "on" just causes closed loop to last longer during start ups, whether its morning or nite........ just depends on the operating temp. starting up first thing in the morning isn't much different as starting up at night after the car has been sitting for hours. you'll know when u are in closed loop by the higher rpms due to more fuel being throw into the motor to help it warm up faster.

                                                  there are "tools" that will tell u if u are in closed loop or open loop. i dont' remember what the tool is called but other tools can also aid in determining if u are in closed or open loop. i think an egt is one of them, or is it air/fuel meter. probably the latter.


                                                  regarding the copper spray, it should ONLY be used with headgaskets that do not have that lil silicone lining that goes around the bores n such. either way that copper spray is just a "band-aid" and shouldn't be used. if the head or block isn't warped, and is also nice and clean (scraped up old materials or debris), then just using a new oem gasket (or like the kind gil uses =P ) should be fine as long as the proper steps and measures are performed.

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