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So, after only 17,000 miles + 2 years, I had a Honda head gasket fail. This happened as I was changing valve stem seals..used 110 psi air to hold valves in place, thought the gasket could take it, but after a minute or two I heard bubbling in the radiator..not good! After re-assembly and test drive, the oil smoke had stopped but now coolant steamed out that side (#1 cylinder). After head removal, obvious problem..the head gasket dissentegrated where bare & coolant touches it..the gasket was porous and eroded away from contact with coolant (silicate free).

Haven't tore down the left side head yet, but expect to find the same



My theory: the OE Honda gasket may have been up to 30 years old (purchased from Service Honda, appeared to be real OE gaskets) and suffered from old age deterioration, couldn't handle the coolant chemically, or the high air pressure steadily for a few minutes..also, I installed these OE gaskets with K&W coppercoat liquid sealer, like the shop manual recomended..could that have undermined the gaskets at a molecular level?



Now I'm considering using Vesrah brand aftermarket head gaskets (made in Japan or China?), anyone used them with success? (I've used them on Toyotas, no problem) At least maybe they're made in this century, not prone to the old age syndrome (like I am). And at leasthalf thecost of OE gaskets ($46 + each).

Any comments would be appreciated...

Carsh



:stumped:
 

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I'm surprised that it would decide to go at that time. Perhaps the lack of temperature had something to do with it.



I've never heard of any manufacturer recomending using any sealant on the head gaskets. Everyone including the Honda manual for my 83 say clean and dry with no dressing. My head gasket blew 500 miles from home in June. Hopefully I can finally devote the time to reassembly this weekend. I had the heads cleaned, seats and valves faced and the head shaved at a local machine shop. The warpage was past the Honda spec. The gasket that was in her was probably the original and there didn't appear to be any dressing on it.



I'd check the heads for warpage before reassembly.



As far as supplier goes I'd beleive that any company that's been in the business for a while would have good products.



Clean all the threads and use the moly paste on them.





:readit:
 

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The sealant shouldn't have made any difference; I've used it on autos with no failures. As was previously mentioned, I would check the heads for warpage. If they are completely flat and you torque them in the proper sequence and the proper amount on a "step up" process (30% for all then start over and go 60 % for all and then start over and go 100% for all) you shouldn't have a problem.
 

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fgh wrote:
I'm surprised that it would decide to go at that time. Perhaps the lack of temperature had something to do with it.



I've never heard of any manufacturer recomending using any sealant on the head gaskets. Everyone including the Honda manual for my 83 say clean and dry with no dressing. My head gasket blew 500 miles from home in June. Hopefully I can finally devote the time to reassembly this weekend. I had the heads cleaned, seats and valves faced and the head shaved at a local machine shop. The warpage was past the Honda spec. The gasket that was in her was probably the original and there didn't appear to be any dressing on it.



I'd check the heads for warpage before reassembly.



As far as supplier goes I'd beleive that any company that's been in the business for a while would have good products.



Clean all the threads and use the moly paste on them.





:readit:
I don't know what you mean by "faced" but Honda vales are not to be ground as per the factory manual. They can and should be lapped however.

steve
 

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I replaced a few head gaskets in four cylinder 'Wings in my old shop. Some of them leaked because the owner installed the head bolts dry. Lubing the under side of the bolt head and threads with moly-paste will increase the clamping pressure at the same torque a good bit compared to installing the bolts dry or greased. It's also a good idea to recheck the bolt torque after the engine has been operated for 50 hours or so, some times the head seems to settle on the gasket a little bit.
 

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exavid wrote:
Some of them leaked because the owner installed the head bolts dry. Lubing the under side of the bolt head and threads with moly-paste will increase the clamping pressure at the same torque a good bit compared to installing the bolts dry or greased.
+1 on lubricating the bolts. An accurate torque wrench, and CLEAN, CLEAN surfaces.

I said it twice.:action:
 

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Thanx all for your comments...

I am going to try the Vesrah head gaskets, installed dry...

heads are good and flat (re surfaced) and will moly-up the bolts..



The original head gaskets lasted 90K miles & 30 years...

I swear the replacement OE gaskets I purchased & changed 2 years ago must have had an age issue...the coolant flowing against the gasket dissolved & erodeda lotof it away, leaving it porous and almost "see-through"...

the 30 year old gasket didn't even have nearly that much erosion to it..



Carsh
 

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Carshandco wrote:
Thanx all for your comments...

I am going to try the Vesrah head gaskets, installed dry...

heads are good and flat (re surfaced) and will moly-up the bolts..



The original head gaskets lasted 90K miles & 30 years...

I swear the replacement OE gaskets I purchased & changed 2 years ago must have had an age issue...the coolant flowing against the gasket dissolved & erodeda lotof it away, leaving it porous and almost "see-through"...

the 30 year old gasket didn't even have nearly that much erosion to it..



Carsh What brand antifreeze are you using ?
 

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Prestone extended life and Peak extended life anti-freeze are silicate free which is good news to GW waterpumps. Most any anti-freeze that doesn't have that in it is fine.
 
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