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Smithers 02-09-2013 09:00 PM

2000 Prelude New Head Gasket
My used Honda Prelude had been neglected in the past by it's previous owner. I don't race it around but I do accelerate smoothly around just because the car is pretty quick. I always let it warm up before driving away and run synthetic oil. We got the car when it had about 110K on it and 4K later the headgasket let go. I knew something was wrong with the engine because the car didn't get very good fuel mileage at all. I just figured the fuel injectors might not be flowing so well. I used some Techron fuel treatment and always ran Chevron premium fuel in it. I haven't owned the car to be able to tell if it helped at all but the Prelude always started up really quick and ran super smooth.

I had the car towed to my friends shop for dissasembly. I would usually tear it down myself but I am strapped for time and they got the head off in one evening for me. I'm about to post what I found.

Smithers 02-09-2013 09:31 PM

Here we go. Symptoms: poor MPG and bad head gasket! duh :)

Disappointed? Not really. I knew what I was getting into buying this car. I knew the car had problems when I bought it so I offered what I thought it was worth. I got the car cheap because it was neglected and this is what happens. I knew this would happen. As with every poor machine I pick up for cheap I use moments like this to rebuild it better than new! This is the fun part! Now let's have a look. Read this picture and think about what's going on.

White or light colored exhaust valves? = High temps, lean condition, slight oil leak. High temps are usually a result of a lean condition. The seats of the exhaust valves were all beat to hell. = Lots of combustion leakage. Now how about the oil leak? By wiggling the valves left to right my machinist showed me how bad the valve guides were worn down. They were TOAST. There should be no play at all in the guides. At that point oil will get past the valves but the minimal oil burns off before it gets past the cat. All of this adds up to less performance and worst of all... the MPG was very low for this car. I'm really happy to see that everything can be fixed and it will be as good as new. And we took it up a notch and my machinist had not problem getting some more flow out of the head for me.

What's the fix? Looking at the exhaust valves once they were removed you could tell they were past their prime. New exhaust valves are in order as well as new springs. With a high revving engine my machine pro has seen abused valve spring break. We didn't take the chance of re-using them. No way. Also ADJUSTING THE VALVES is something that MUST be done on these engines every 30-40K I've been told. It's pretty easy to do and it's a cheap way to make sure your engine is performing as good as possible. No matter how good your exhaust and intake and all your other mods are... if you're valves aren't adjusted they don't mean squat.

Before the cleaning:

Smithers 02-09-2013 09:33 PM

Some more dirty shots:

This is the oil drool you get from a Honda when your distributor oil seal starts leaking. And it will eventually:

Smithers 02-09-2013 09:37 PM

Now here is where the fun starts! I'm a clean freak not because I can't stand oil or dirt. I just like to see the aluminum and the steel underneath all that dirt and grease. At the shop they cut down through all of that to prep all the parts for the measuring and machining. Here is the work of art just after the bead blasting treatment.

Smithers 02-09-2013 09:46 PM

Now that the new valves and springs are on order time to go back to the shop and get to work cleaning up engine parts in the meantime. The whole left side of the engine was covered in oil from the leaking distributor seal. I'm sure there was some valve cover leaking going on but you really couldn't see anything but dirty oil before I cleaned it up.

It does look kinda dirty still but that's nothing a high pressure wash and some engine degreaser can't handle. The piston tops do look like they got a little hot but just enough to keep them clean from carbon buildup so it's not all that bad. And I SURELY had my friends drop in a brand new radiator. I don't even want to play around with a 100K radiator! No way toss that old POS. A new one is cheap and I'm not going to take any chances. I actually already replaced the hose that goes to the heater core on and off valve that you see towards the back there. I just drove to a friends house and saw water leaking underneath from that hose. All it took was a knife to cut off the leaking end that goes to the block and then I put it back on so I could drive home to fix it. They always leak at the ends on my past Honda and Acura cars.

Smithers 02-09-2013 09:54 PM

Then I brought out some long brushes to get inside the intake manifold to remove some residue. I carefully flushed debris away from the fuel injectors as well.

And don't worry I got down deep all the way through the intake manifold to clean every bit of carbon film that sticks to the intakes. Not that it will give me any power or anything but it's nice to have them back to being clean just like they were on day one.

Smithers 02-09-2013 09:58 PM

Now that my cleaning job is complete it's another day and time to go check on the cylinder head over at the other shop. I was happy to find that the head was all done and just in time for the weekend. Awesome! Check this out:

Clean inside and out!

Smithers 02-09-2013 10:03 PM

Everything is super tight and to spec. I can't wait to see how this car runs now. I was warned that if this car chirped the tires before it's going to spin them now. :D That's what I like to hear.

Smithers 02-09-2013 10:05 PM

I immediately dropped off the head to the race shop told em to have it rollin by Monday or there would be problems. :)

Larzfromarz 02-10-2013 07:41 AM

Stuff that thing in bike frame.....

Smithers 02-11-2013 10:03 AM

It's called a Suzuki Hayabusa. You aren't living if you haven't tried one yet!

Smithers 02-13-2013 09:54 AM

Everything is all put together at this point and they are doing some fine tuning on it this morning. I cleaned some of the grunge off of the accessories and components earlier and the guys kept the ball rolling and really detailed the rest as they put it together. The H22 is looking good these days.

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