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Old 02-15-2009, 09:14 PM   #1
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Bad head gasket on 98 civic?


My girlfriends 98 civic(102K) is losing coolant. I am adding almost a quart every 3 or 4 days. No puddles under car overnight. The car runs rough when started cold after sitting over night, I am assuming because one of cylinders has coolant in it. After about 30secs or so it smooths out and goes to normal fast idle. Some white smoke in morning, but its cold here in morning & she parks outside. Check engine light comes on then goes out. I am assuming due to coolant fouling an oxygen sensor in exhaust. One garage told me it needed a tune up to fix one cylinder not firing, and they changed radiator & thermostat. They told me that it was clogged & coolant wasn't circulating. The car only runs hot when it gets low on coolant. I changed plugs, wires, cap, rotor. It still runs rough when started cold. She recently had water pump change w timing belt. I told the garage to pressure test it. I am assuming the car didn't need a radiator. Does she have any recourse with them, i will not take it there if it needs a head gasket repair. And does it sound like a bad head gasket?

Thanks for any feedback.

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Old 02-15-2009, 09:27 PM   #2
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Bad head gasket on 98 civic?


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Originally Posted by dbldee20 View Post
is losing coolant.
No puddles under car overnight.
The car runs rough when started cold after sitting over night, I am assuming because one of cylinders has coolant in it.
After about 30secs or so it smooths out and goes to normal fast idle. Some white smoke in morning, but its cold here in morning & she parks outside. Check engine light comes on then goes out. I am assuming due to coolant fouling an oxygen sensor in exhaust. One garage told me it needed a tune up to fix one cylinder not firing, and they changed radiator & thermostat. They told me that it was clogged & coolant wasn't circulating. The car only runs hot when it gets low on coolant. I changed plugs, wires, cap, rotor. It still runs rough when started cold. She recently had water pump change w timing belt. I told the garage to pressure test it. I am assuming the car didn't need a radiator. Does she have any recourse with them, i will not take it there if it needs a head gasket repair. And does it sound like a bad head gasket?

Thanks for any feedback.
My 94' Civic passed the compression test but #1 cylinder was burning antifreeze. The plug was wet. The head gasket looked damaged in the vicinity of #1 plug.
I had to stop the car after 15 minutes each time because I was afraid the connecting rod would break trying to compress water.
Mine would start OK but then run rough. It had a "wet intake manifold" but checking it didn't show up any coolant where it wasn't supposed to be.
White smoke everywhere.
I also spent $130 on a valve that passes coolant and intake air but that also didn't show up any coolant where it wasn't supposed to be.

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Last edited by Yoyizit; 02-15-2009 at 09:29 PM.
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Old 02-16-2009, 01:11 AM   #3
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Bad head gasket on 98 civic?


Have a mechanic run a 'block check' its a blue fluid that turns yellow or green if combustion gasses are detected in the cooling system. If your mechanic doesn't know what a block check is, or doesn't have one, find another mechanic.
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Old 02-18-2009, 10:42 PM   #4
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Bad head gasket on 98 civic?


Couild also be a cracked head or block. Any competent mechanic should be able to perform a simple leakdown test, and tell you exactly where the cylinder pressure loss is coming from.

Another way to tell is look at the tubes in the radiator. Typically, when a head gasket fails, the cooling system can't handle the additional pressure, and the tubes in the radiator will become oval shaped, versus the usual round.
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Old 02-19-2009, 12:21 AM   #5
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Bad head gasket on 98 civic?


When you changed the plugs what ever cylinder was or is leaking coolant the plug should have been much cleaner looking then the others..

Last edited by gotboost; 02-19-2009 at 12:44 AM.
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Old 02-19-2009, 08:14 AM   #6
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Bad head gasket on 98 civic?


thanks for the input guys, the head gasket is bad. a friend is going to fix it this weekend.

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