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How to Replace a Honda Accord I4 Head Gasket (1998-2002)

Hardlymoving writes about the do-it-yourself maintenance and repair of Asian cars.

Honda Accord F23 with removed cylinder head, ready for a new head gasket.

Honda Accord F23 with removed cylinder head, ready for a new head gasket.

How I Knew My Head Gasket Had Failed

After I warmed up the engine, I found my Accord's exhaust pipe was billowing out white smoke, and the coolant was bubbling in the coolant reservoir tank. I added coolant to my radiator, and started the car with the radiator cap removed. Then coolant immediately shot out of the radiator filler neck—a clear indication of head gasket failure. Later I found a crack in the radiator. My cooling system had overheated to the point of head gasket failure.

Did this or something similar happen to you, as well? Read on to learn more.

The Honda F23 2.3L I4 Engine

The repair pictured below was done on a Honda F23 2.3L I4 engine—the engine also used in the '98-'99 Acura CL, '98 Odyssey, and '98-'99 Oasis.

Before You Decide to Replace the Head Gasket

Before you decide to replace the head gasket, consider the following:

  1. Replacing a head gasket is time-consuming. So after you remove the cylinder head, you should determine whether the engine block mating surface is warped by more than .002 of an inch. If it is, a new gasket installation may not fix the problem. Consider performing a complete engine swap or block replacement instead.
  2. The pistons must be checked for cracks. If there are cracks, consider an engine swap or block replacement.
  3. Once the cylinder head has been removed, have an automotive machine shop check it out for cracks, good valve seal, and warping of the mating surface and the block deck. Fortunately, the head I removed was only slightly warped. The machinist milled (shaved) the head by .001 to make the mating surface flat.
  4. If you decide to invest the time and effort involved in replacing the cylinder head, consider also replacing the water pump, thermostat, timing belt, intake and exhaust manifold gaskets, timing belt tensioner pulleys, valve cover gasket, spark plug seals, and accessory belts. Do it now and save the time and expense of having to do so in the future.
  5. Allocate around 16 hours of your time to complete the job, maybe even more. That includes time spent working on the car as well as time spent cleaning your parts, obtaining special tools and replacement parts, and dropping off and picking up the cylinder head from the machine shop. But keep in mind that doing it yourself instead of bringing the entire job to a repair shop may yield better quality results. Some repair shops will do anything to get the job finished as soon as possible.
  6. Have you ever replaced a timing belt and the water pump on an overhead-cam car? On these cars, a head gasket replacement effort is a timing belt job, except three or four times more difficult.

Tools Needed

I will assume that you have a complete metric tool set with sockets that fit 1/4", 3/8" and 1/2" socket wrenches with extensions, box- and open-end wrenches, screwdrivers, and so forth. Whatever you don’t have you’ll have to buy at your local tool supplier or online.

Just to give you a major heads up, you will also need:

  • a ½” 14 mm metric spline socket for the head bolts,
  • (perhaps) a torque angle gauge,
  • a 3/8" drive torque wrench
  • an electric or air-powered impact driver
  • 2 ½” breaker bars
  • at least one hydraulic jack
  • a good penetrating oil
  • silicon spray for the rubber components

Parts to Buy

  • New Torque-to-Yield (TTY) head bolts like this one
  • Multi-layered steel (MLS) head gasket or a kit like this one
  • Valve cover gasket
  • Valve cover / spark plug seals
  • Intake manifold gasket
  • Exhaust manifold gasket
  • Exhaust-manifold-to-exhaust-pipe gasket
  • Thermostat
  • New hoses, based on condition
  • Various other coolant-related gaskets, based on condition
  • Silicone-based gasket sealant and maker
  • Timing belt or a timing belt kit like this one
  • Timing belt tensioner bearing
  • Balance shaft belt
  • Balance shaft tensioner bearing

I also highly recommend that you obtain a technical repair manual—from Haynes, Bentley or the manufacturer—to cross-reference with what I’ve done. When it came time to torque down the nuts and bolts for the cylinder head and the intake and exhaust manifolds, I referred back to the technical manual for torque specs, as well as the torque sequence.

The photos below are a combination of before and after dis-assembly and re-assembly steps. If I missed a photo during dis-assembly, I would use a photo during the assembly process to explain a dis-assembly step. It’s difficult at times to stop whatever you are doing to take a photo.

Before You Start

Set aside an area in your garage to place removed parts in the order they were removed. This includes the nuts and bolts. Although this will add time to your work effort, the re-assembly of your parts will go much more quickly. Eliminate the guesswork of what nut or bolt goes with what part. Don’t mix them up in a coffee can!

Also, consider taking "before" and "after" photos. A picture goes a long way when trying to figure out what goes where during the re-assembly process.

1. Set up the Job

Raise the driver’s side wheel and support the car with a jack stand. Disconnect the positive battery terminal, and drain the coolant at both the engine block and radiator. Dedicate an area where you can set down removed parts in the order in which you remove them.

Raising the driver's-side wheel in preparation for removing it.

Raising the driver's-side wheel in preparation for removing it.

2. Remove the Crankshaft Pulley Bolt

Remove the wheel to expose the crankshaft pulley. Remove the pulley bolt with either an impact driver or a pulley holding tool—I recommend the pulley holder tool listed here.

Pulley holder tool for Hondas

Pulley holder tool for Hondas

Breaker bar with pulley holder attached

Breaker bar with pulley holder attached

3. Prepare to Remove the Pulley Bolt

Insert the pulley holder tool to the crankshaft pulley and attach a long ½" drive breaker bar (like the one below) to the holder. Then, rotate the crankshaft pulley with another ½" socket wrench with an attached ½" extension and socket until the breaker bar is secured against the ground from moving. Since the crankshaft bolt may be torqued up to 180 lbs, use a jack stand to support the ½" drive extension for another breaker bar when applying force to remove the crankshaft bolt. I found my jack stand wasn't high enough, so I added a wooden block to gain the extra height.

Supporting the 1/2" extension to the breaker bar

Supporting the 1/2" extension to the breaker bar

After removing the pulley bolt

After removing the pulley bolt

4. Remove the Belts

Loosen the belt tension on both the power steering pump and alternator, then remove the belts.

On the power steering pump, there are two bolts—one on the top right and the other on the bottom left. After loosening them, push down on the pump to relieve the tension.

Loosen the top bolt that the alternator rotates on, followed by the nut on the bottom of the alternator bracket bolt. When loosened, rotate the adjustment bolt (which turns into the bracket bolt) counter-clockwise, and push down on the alternator to relieve the belt tension.


5. Remove the Side Engine Mount

Support the engine from canting with a hydraulic jack when the side engine mount is removed. To prevent damage to the oil pan, place a flat piece of wood between the oil pan and the hydraulic jack.

Remove the ground strap followed by the two nuts and one bolt. In addition, you need to loosen the nut that’s in the middle of the bracket, since there’s a small rotating metal bracket underneath that must be turned before pulling off the mount.


6. Remove the Spark Plug Wires, the Valve Cover Bolts, and the Valve Cover

What coolant mixed with engine oil looks like:  milkshake!

What coolant mixed with engine oil looks like: milkshake!

7. Remove the Upper Timing Belt Cover

Now, there are only two bolts that need to be removed. Detach the alternator wires recessed within the cover, then pull up and out to remove the cover. Remove the oil dipstick as well.


8. Align and Remove the Crankshaft Pulley

Set the number-one cylinder to top dead center (TDC) and remove the crankshaft pulley.

You should rotate it counter-clockwise. If the spark plugs have been removed, you can grab the crank pulley with both hands and rotate it. Another method is to re-insert the crank pulley bolt back into the crankshaft and rotate it clockwise until you have alignment. Then, with a quick snap of the socket wrench, loosen the bolt back off. Align the rightmost notch on the pulley with the V-shaped alignment indicator on your timing belt cover. You can use a toothpick dipped into white paint to mark the notch on the pulley.

Crankshaft pulley aligned at TDC

Crankshaft pulley aligned at TDC

9. Remove the Lower Timing Belt Cover

Work around the perimeter of the lower cover, then remove each of the retaining bolts. In addition, detach the wire housing recessed into the right-hand groove of the belt cover.


10. Paint Alignment Marks on All Pulleys

Apply paint marks on your camshaft pulley, crankshaft, and balance shaft pulleys for re-assembly alignment. If the camshaft is off by one cog when you put things back together, that will completely screw up a timing belt replacement. The camshaft pulley sprocket will have a stamp indicating "up." Apply white paint dots to the other pulleys line them up with the engine block.

Camshaft marks

Camshaft marks

Crankshaft marks

Crankshaft marks

Counter-rotating balance shaft marks

Counter-rotating balance shaft marks

11. Remove the Timing Belt Tension Bearing Bolt, the Timing Belt, and the Balance Shaft Belt

After the pulley tensioner bolt has been removed, remove the spring from the timing belt tensioner bearing and balance shaft tensioner bracket/arm. I removed the side engine mount for easier viewing.

The timing belt tensioner bearing and the balance shaft tensioner bearing are connected together on one support shaft. The balance shaft tensioner bearing is covered by the tensioner bracket.

Timing belt, counter-rotation balance shaft belt, and tensioner pulleys removed

Timing belt, counter-rotation balance shaft belt, and tensioner pulleys removed

12. Remove the Power Steering Unit, Alternator, Alternator Bracket, and Power Steering Bracket

Next, remove the power steering unit, alternator, alternator bracket, and power steering bracket—in that order.

The power steering bracket cannot be removed unless the alternator bracket is removed first, since the bolt holding the lower part of the power-steering bracket is covered by the alternator bracket.

Removing the alternator.

Removing the alternator.

Remove the alternator bracket.

Remove the alternator bracket.

Removing the power steering bracket.

Removing the power steering bracket.

13. Remove the Exhaust Manifold

Now, you'll need to remove the exhaust manifold.

Disconnect the O2 sensor leading out of the manifold. Then, remove the three bolts securing the heat shield onto the manifold. Detach the manifold from the cylinder head and exhaust downpipe.

Removing the heat shield

Removing the heat shield

Removing the exhaust manifold

Removing the exhaust manifold

Exhaust manifold removed

Exhaust manifold removed

14. Remove the Distributor and All Other Connected Components

Remove the distributor, the air filter box to the throttle body tube, the upper radiator hose, the upper heater core to the cylinder head hose, the throttle cables, the throttle body, the intake manifold plenum, the fuel connector and various electrical fittings, and the vacuum hoses.

15. Remove the Fuel Injector Rail and Injectors

Next, remove the fuel injector rail and the injectors.

Two nuts secure the rail to the injectors. After removing these nuts, begin wiggling and pulling on the rail. Do not pull on the rail on an angle—try to pull straight out. Either the injector(s) will stay attached to the rail or stay recessed in the cylinder head. Don't lose the injector O-rings.

Intake manifold without injectors or rail.

Intake manifold without injectors or rail.

Injector rail with attached Injectors

Injector rail with attached Injectors

16. Remove the Cylinder Head With the Camshaft and Intake Manifold Attached

Remove the bottom mounting bolts secured to the intake manifold. One bolt is for the manifold support bracket, and the other two are for the switch brackets. I chose to remove the oil filter to get a better view of what I had to deal below the intake manifold.

Now, loosen and remove the cylinder head bolts and remove the cylinder head with the intake manifold attached. After the head is off the block, you can remove the camshaft pulley with an impact driver. In my case, it wasn’t on too tight and came off without a problem.

Loosen the head bolts in the sequence outlined in a repair manual. Do not loosen the bolts beyond ¼ turn during the initial release of tension on the bolt. You must use a 14mm spline socket.

I decided to remove the cylinder head with the intake manifold attached. First off, working under the car with limited lighting was a hassle. Also, the thought of getting below, then above, then below the car, and so forth during the intake nut tightening sequence seemed like a lot of hassle, especially when I could do it when the head was off the block.

So, using a step stool, I climbed into the engine compartment and positioned myself so I could get both leverage and control. There are no photos of this step here since I did this entire repair with no assistance.

Before attempting to remove the head, move the plastic wire protector for the fuel injectors out of the way. There are also various attachment points that need to be disconnected. Once this is done, you can move the wire protector out of the way so it won’t be an obstruction when removing the head with the attached manifold.

17. Send the Cylinder Head to an Auto Shop

I sent the cylinder head to an automotive machine shop for crack testing, valve condition testing, and testing for warpage. The valve cover, intake manifold, and plenum were also steam- and pressure-cleaned. Fortunately, the head was only slightly warped, which required only a .001 milling (shaving) to flatten the mating surface.

The cost of all this shop work came out to less than $100.

18. Prepare for Re-Assembly

The block deck surface must be true (completely flat) and free of any debris before mating the head with the block. Do not use any tool (like sandpaper) that could scratch the block deck. Although the roughness average (RA) is supposed to be around 30, which is almost a mirror finish, the automotive machinist told me that the current condition of the deck (it was from the factory) should be good enough. Just make sure that the surface is free of oil and debris. I used a combination of 0000 steel wool and ultrafine polishing compound to clean the block deck.

19. Attach the Intake Manifold to the Cylinder Head

Attach the intake manifold with the new gasket to the cylinder head. Then, torque each nut per the manufacturer’s specifications.

Cylinder head with intake manifold attached.

Cylinder head with intake manifold attached.

20. Install the Cylinder Head

Lubricate the TTY head bolt threads with 30-weight oil, including the head with the washer.

Remove any oil from both the cylinder head and the engine block deck with acetone or any other non-oil-containing oil solvent. Chase the bolt hole threads for any obstruction. Then, blow out any debris in the bolt holes with compressed air.

Now place the new head gasket on the block. The gasket I used was FelPro’s PermaSel MLS.

Ensure that the camshaft position is set to cylinder one top dead center. The groove in the camshaft for mounting the camshaft sprocket should be pointing up, and both the intake and exhaust rocker arms should be loose.

To ease alignment of the cylinder head TTY bolt holes with the gasket and engine block holes, place two oil-free bolts on the back left and right bolt hole-corners of the cylinder head. Angle the head on the block, aligning the two bolts that are protruding from the head with the holes in the engine block. After the head is mounted, jiggle and twist the TTY bolts to ensure that they cleared the head gasket. Do this for each of the ten bolt holes. (The bolt hole in the back center of the head uses the extra long bolt.)

After alignment, remove the old bolts and twist in the new bolts, hand-tightening each bolt with a 14-mm spline socket attached to a ½” extension. You may have to tilt the cylinder head and hold it forward to offset the weight of the intake manifold.

New Head Gasket with Cylinder Head ready of installation.

New Head Gasket with Cylinder Head ready of installation.

21. Torque the TTY Cylinder Head Bolts

Torque down each head bolt to 22 lbs, using a torque wrench with the manufacturer’s outlined torque sequence. Make sure you place white paint dots on each of the bolt heads before angle torquing each bolt at 90 degrees or 1/4 turn. Repeat this task three times for each head bolt for a total of 270 degrees or ¾ turn.


22. Re-Attach the Fuel Injectors

It may be easier to remove each injector from the fuel rail and insert them back into the intake manifold one at a time. Apply a small amount of silicone spray to the injector O-ring to ease the process. Then, press the injector rail against all of the injectors. Two rail retaining nuts can now be screwed on and one rubber tube attached to the intake manifold.


23. Re-Attach Cooling System Components

Re-attach the thermostat housing components, the oil pressure sensing unit, and the EGR valve.

Replace any cooling system-related O-rings, if they appear worn, or apply silicone gasket making material on the outer edges to obtain a good seal.

24. Re-Attach the Intake Manifold Plenum

Mount the intake manifold plenum onto the intake manifold and connect all fittings. Upon completion, attach the throttle body and connect all fittings.


25. Attach the Exhaust Manifold

Install the exhaust manifold with new gaskets. Then, attach the heat shield and torque according to specifications. When you are done, attach the electrical connection for the O2 sensor.

New exhaust manifold gasket

New exhaust manifold gasket


26. Replace the Water Pump

Most new pumps come with a new O-ring. Clean the mounting surfaces and bolt on the new pump, finger-tight. Alternate the torque on the bolts during installation.

Water pump location

Water pump location

New water pump compared to old

New water pump compared to old

27. Install New Timing Belt Components

Ensure that the camshaft and crankshaft paint marks are aligned.

  1. Install the new idler pulleys. Position the timing belt idler pulley to allow the most slack on the belt during installation.
  2. Install the new timing belt starting from the crankshaft counterclockwise.
  3. Move the camshaft sprocket one cog if you're having difficulty slipping on the new belt. Reposition the sprocket after the belt has been installed. Relieve tension from the pulley bolt to allow the belt tension spring to remove belt slack.
  4. After installing the timing belt, temporarily remove the balance shaft pulley to ease the installation of the balance shaft belt. Use the alligator clip to hold the leftmost part of the belt in place; then with both hands, apply tension to the bottom portion of the belt by turning both shafts inwards. The white marks should be in alignment. If not, then advance to retard the belt position until they are. At that point, you can mount the tensioner bearing with the bracket and nut.
  5. Attach the balance shaft spring to the balance shaft arm and the spring mount protruding from the water pump. Push down slightly on the balance shaft bearing and let the spring tension allow the proper tension to be applied to the bearing. Tighten the timing belt nut.

28. Attach the Lower and Upper Timing Belt Covers and the Valve Cover

After the timing belt covers have been attached, slide the crankshaft pulley onto the crankshaft. Torque down the crankshaft pulley bolt per the manufacturer's specifications, or use an impact driver.

Apply a little gasket seal silicone on each corner where the valve cover meets the camshaft hump. This will provide a good oil seal.

Timing belt covers attached

Timing belt covers attached

Silicone gasket seal

Silicone gasket seal

29. Mount the Distributor Back Onto the Cylinder Head Camshaft

The mounting of the distributor onto the camshaft may be made easier by first removing the distributor cap from the distributor. You have to push down the heater hose while wiggling the rotor to obtain alignment with the camshaft groove. Before installation, make sure the rotor is pointing to the number one cylinder contact point in the distributor cap.

After installing of the distributor, reconnect the distributor cap, thread the spark plugs back into the cylinder head, and connect the ignition wires. Now, place a little dielectric grease inside the spark plug boots to prevent the boots from fusing with the spark plug.

Re-assembled valve cover, distributor, and ignition wires.

Re-assembled valve cover, distributor, and ignition wires.

Re-attached alternator and power steering mounts, with motor oil dipstick.

Re-attached alternator and power steering mounts, with motor oil dipstick.

30. Re-Attach the Alternator and the Power Steering Pump

After installation, attach either new or existing belts and tension them according to the specifications.

Re-attached alternator.

Re-attached alternator.

Alternator with new belt.

Alternator with new belt.

Re-attached power steering pump with new belt.

Re-attached power steering pump with new belt.

31. Attach the Side Engine Mount

Re-attaching the side engine mount.

Re-attaching the side engine mount.

Job Completion Checklist

You are now done. Here's your final checklist:

  1. Is the battery connected?
  2. Does the engine oil need to be replaced?
  3. Is the engine oil level okay?
  4. Is the power steering oil level okay?
  5. Are all tubes and wires snug and secure?
  6. Is the coolant level okay?
  7. Is the wheel mounted back on the car?
  8. Are the jack stands removed?
  9. Is there any obstruction under the car?

Now, start your car. Let it run for less than a minute, then turn it off. Check fluids.

Restart your car. Check the coolant level again.

Restart your car one last time and let it warm up. Keep a close eye on the coolant temperature. Keep re-checking fluid levels.

Completed head gasket repair job

Completed head gasket repair job

Only Need a Timing Belt Replacement?

Only Need a Radiator Replacement?

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

Questions & Answers

Question: I don't see any oil cooler line's on the original radiator. I bought one and it has two brass fitting for the lines. what do I need to do?

Answer: If no oil cooler lines in the original radiator, then keep the plastic caps on the brass fitting of the new radiation and ignore it.


Kenny Wong-Many on July 30, 2020:

Great detailed work and thank you. I will work on mine.

hardlymoving (author) from Memphis, TN on April 22, 2020:


Maybe you did properly set your timing belt.

Joey on April 21, 2020:

Hi i just recently did a head gasket on a 2003 F23 ULEV engine. Got it all back together and it will not start. Ive tried replacing the cam sensors and distributer and spark plugs dispite them looking okay but it still isnt wanting to start. Its getting fuel and spark but i may have shorted out the altinator wire and maybe fried the ecu. Im just trying everything i know...

allan on November 12, 2016:

Hi allan,

I also encountered the little rough shifting from second gear to first just before coming to a complete stop. It only happens at that time . shifting upwards to 2-3-4 is ok. I am sure the trans has been changed being 348000km and more. Should I worry?? .I am aware that these models were made having faulty trans (for automatic only )after a certain no of kilometers completed when new and that many units were recalled back then by honda

The shift I feel from 2nd to 1st is sort of noticeable can feel the car move little upwards from the front before coming to a complete stop.

Also aware that the price for a new tranny is high and better off putting that money in for a new car.

Manual swap however seems relatively much lower but a headache to do :).

Anyways I plan on using it till it dies as there may be no fix for this current type of transmission. I have already changed the transmission oil once I do not know if draining it again a putting new oil will help + I need to do major servicing as previous owner did not do a service in a long long time. Lots of dirt build up around on the body inside + the person who gave me the engine said i need one thorough servicing. Il see how that works out. Not sure if I will change the trans oil now though .

So far cannot identify oil leaks because of previous oil build up which spilt i think as they were fitting the engine in place. So after the servicing I will be able to know


allan on November 07, 2016:

thanks for your advice appreciate it. I hope there are no leaks .It would be revealed after I service it with the steaming option i.e if there is a leak. I probably need to use it a little more often to get that sorted

thanks again

hardlymoving (author) from Memphis, TN on November 06, 2016:


The problem I encountered with an engine swap was the swapped replacement engine had high mileage which resulted in a bunch of rubber seals that needed replacement due to dry rot (resulting in oil leaks). These seals are cheap but hard to get to with the engine being in the car now. So keep an eye out for oil leaks.

allan on November 06, 2016:

hey hardlymoving.

Well what can i say. She finally died on me while I was driving one day.. Long story so I guess we figured out the problem. The previous owner really did not take good care of the engine cause I used to get these frequent idling issues at times. I remember solving the idling issue by giving it to one of a mechanic I knew. He has tuned it such that he made the rpm little too high (I used to notice when I used to do a cold start) So it used to never idle very low with the a/c on. But eventually the problem came back. So I ignored low idling problems and just drove it as usual.

So one day suddenly It died off for good while I was doing 40km on a busy road. I dint even realise that the engine went off (this used to happen before but car used to eventually start after i put it in parking). The brake felt frozen it was not kicking in there was a car in front of me but some how I pressed hard and the car braked slowly. I braked and pulled over to a bustop luckily and then tried starting it . It would never even crank to 75% of the sound it used to give before. It only cranked for 35-45% of the self start.

I had called two mechs to get two opinions they opened the gasket only to reveal how black and mucky it was inside.It was very mucky and the dirt was like slimmy hard paste. The first mech took off the big black plug from the left side(I have no idea what its called but its connected with all four black spark plugs which in the end connects to the engine on the top.

They looked in started it several times no luck. Both the opinions of the mechs were same

engine needs thorough cleaning and its expensive for the job and no one likes cleaning it cause no one is dedicated in cleaning engines here he said. They both recommended swappinig it (of course i called them to seeat different times to get a proper answer). So since my car was dead + the amount of money i had to spend on taking out the engine and cleaning it was a bomb !!I went with the swap option as it was better than paying double the price and more for cleaning the existing engine

I was recommended by some one a really good garage where they do a proper work and offer good engines. Of course a swap with your dead one. I was given a one with a black gasket vtec 2.3litre cyl. asked him to open the gasket so i could see how clean it was inside. Super clean with litle remains of the previous oil used I could see the silver mechanisms inside and was convinced how good the engine was compared to mine completely black everywhere inside.

So it came up to 416usd with the swap and a new steering wheel tank for the pump.

Car runs smooth feels more responsive no idling issues with the a/c . The mech has done a perfect setting. I just need to check for oil leaks now since I have only a month guarantee

He gave me the engine as it is . very dirtyon the top as it was ust kept in the warehouse for I dont know how many years

So conclusion

spent quite a bit on the accord

new suspensions (aftermarket)

swapped an engine

changed the bushing and all bearings in the front raised the level too

Many people say sell it as honda parts can be pricey sometimes + I have been putting money on it every 2 months and its all come to a big 1,564USD but I really enjoy driving this

so thats some update.

Now all gotta do is service the entire engine and under the hood and maybe I would put a new exhaust and change all the lights as i feel they all old and dim with the indicators blinking too fast on either side.

another fact my mech says(the guy who replaced the engine) that the previous owner did not take good care of the engine and probably also used the wrong oil.

He advised using genuine honda 2000 or 3000 cant recollect but not 5000

anyway thats that. I would love some advise if any precautions I need to take now or know since I have swapped the engine if any that is


allan on August 14, 2016:

thanks for the advice. I will definitely get a second and a 3rd opinion. Will try to see different mechanics and see what can be really done in terms of good repair for the engine.

thank you .


hardlymoving (author) from Memphis, TN on August 14, 2016:


Like going to a doctor and hearing something you don't like, I suggest you get a 2nd opinion ... even a third. If the engine isn't smoking, it's fixable.

Finding a good, honest and competent mechanic can be difficult.

From my experience, and generally speaking, mechanics that say "replace then engine" are lazy. I outsource the more difficult, timing consuming repairs that I don't have time to do to Latinos or Hispanics. They are extremely hard working, know what they're doing, love working on cars under primitive conditions, and charge reasonable prices. They hate ordering parts, however ... so I order the parts for them.

3,48,000 km used engine? He's got to be kidding. better off getting a rebuilt on ebay.

allan on August 13, 2016:

And yea I just saw your comment about "do it your self" I did look up the manual and couple of videos to see how they flush radiator water and put new coolant. I just could not seem to locate the first drain switch and of course the bolt. The second drain switch also I could not get hands on cause the car was too low for me to go under (i know i could have raised it with a jack stand. The first drain switch seems hard to locate which was on the lft side. I think the previous owner did some modification on the engine. Looks very different in terms of set up as to what i see online.

Now I know mechanics will do the best in getting profit out of repairing a car, since he took of the coolant and drained it etc he said he found the engine leaking when he added new oil as he claimed oil was too less. He showed me the leakage . The oil is submerging out around all the sides.Its like grease around the engine.

He said fixing the engine will cost more than getting a second hand one from a cancelled car(i.e including labor work). I know he is eventually gonna make money on my engine if i tell him to swap it with a better one.

he called me after 3 days and said he found a good engine . Now I know my engine is probably good . maybe i dont need to do a swap also . But does rust proofing have to be done to protect your engine over the years ? I mean he says even by fixing the current engine I have It would work well for some months and again it would leak or give some problem or the other . So I thing engine swapping is a decision I would have to make at the end of the day.

What you think in general about a really old engine above 3,48,000km ? AND the previous owner did not take good car of the car

You thing an engine can wear of over time real bad ?. not to forget here there is no rain and only heat mostly like bad heat and humidity in this type of part of the world so no salt and cold weather here mostly

allan on August 13, 2016:

hey hardlymoving,

I have been doing small bits of work on the 98 coupe so far. Just flushed the radiator at the garage and cleaned the reservoir tank as it was dirty as ever. It had like choco thick water in the reservoir so I decided why not take off the whole radiator and flush that as well. Put new coollant and the mechanic changed a sensor similar to MAF. I just dont know what part he changed. Its right under the dashboard section after the engine(he says its got something to do with idling issue when car is jerking sometimes violently with the air conditioner) . He claimed there was so much carbon build up he cleaned and replaced and set the idling to a perfect setting. Car never shakes and seems to be just below 1RPM sometimes with A/C running. Car jerking gone completely. Been using it for a week. No complaints. Only thing I found different is idling in free flow while driving goes a little to fast

hardlymoving (author) from Memphis, TN on August 01, 2016:


do it yourself.

allan on July 28, 2016:

damn!! thats some great advice . So i could do it on my own i guess. I will definitely change parts also

been checking lots of youtube on what you just told me . I just wonder if i could just tell the mechanics to do a full flush and fresh oil after cleaning with such products or can i just do this myself.. its interesting

hardlymoving (author) from Memphis, TN on July 27, 2016:


Typical engine vibrations on high mileage cars are caused by a need for a serious, full blown tune up. This may require new ignition wires, spark plugs, air filter, fuel filter, ignition cap and rotor, valve adjustment, upstream oxygen sensor, mass air flow sensor and PCV valve. Also your motor mounts may be shot. Even with a tuneup, your fuel injectors may be clogged and your intake ports and intake valves may have accumulated too much carbon deposits restricting air flow. Is you MIL (check engine) lamp also on?

Start with the tuneup and you can de-carbonize the intake ports and valves using Lucas Fuel additive with every fill up. May take up to 6,000 miles but I've recommended it on some old Camrys resulting in a very smooth idle, gradual increase in power and fuel economy. 3 ounces of Lucas for every 10 gallons of fuel. Excess internal engine sludge and carbon build up can be dissolved by using Marvel Mystery Oil in your crankcase. Yes, that stuff really works!

In excessive heat environments, there are coolant additives (like Redline Water Wetter) you can buy than can lower coolant temperatures up to 10 degrees. Doesn't seem like much but it stopped the Summer engine knocks on my car when in low rpm's under load.

allan on July 27, 2016:

hi hardlymoving

Its been almost 2 months since I picked up my accord coupe 1998 4cyl model. Have not spent anything yet so far on it. It has 348000 kilometers so far .

I do face vibration issue at times. Now I know many people ask for help on this. I will eventually take it to the garage. I expect this from an old ride. The vibration gets too voilet when deaccellerating to a stop and accelerating from idle. But later it goes after catching speed. It is annoying but I decided this buy so will deal with it. I even switch off the a/c when this happpens as to avoid the car from switching off by itself randomly. It happned twice so far. I dont know if heat has anything to do with it durring the day cause the weather here in the gulf now goes even up to 40 degress with 75% humidity

I wouldent mind paying for an engine swap too provided I get one. Is an engine swap worth it if I get a less used engine ?

willing to spend another 300 dollars on fixing it up

hardlymoving (author) from Memphis, TN on June 01, 2016:


"free" steering is probably worn tie rod ends. The previous owner placed lowering springs (around 1.5") so that the car would look "cool". Unless then struts are designed for a spring lowering setup, the struts will wear out.

Amazon or ebay for headlight replacement kits. I got a new pair for my camry for $45 on amazon.

allan on May 30, 2016:

thanks allot for the advice. I will check on those things. It performed really well on the highway at 100. However I felt the steering is a little to free as i was going above 100(no shaking even till 120 but dint go above 120).

I dont need it for everyday use just to take out every two days .. Do you have any idea on how much will a pair of new headlight sets cost as the old ones are yellowish due to age..(lense supposed to be transparent when new ) Planing on picking up a new pair with light bulbs if necessary

I most probably have to change the front strut springs. The owner said he "reduced them" I dont get why he would do it only on the front, sounds like something's wrong there.

thanks again for the tip.

hardlymoving (author) from Memphis, TN on May 29, 2016:


The thing to worry about with high mileage accords are the front end upper and lower ball joints. When they brake, the wheel kicks out, turns sideways and jams up inside the fender. A real mess. The joints are cheap; however, they're press fitted into their control arms and need to be removed to get to the joints. The lowness of the suspension could be worn strut springs.

Although the engine may be mechanically sound, you have to watch out for minute oil leaks from oil seals such has: camshaft, crankshaft, oil pump, valve cover, distributor cap, transmission, cv axle, etc. But that's common with most old, high mileage cars. Motor oil for cars over 75K miles have an additive that conditions oil seals ... but if the seal is already dry rotted, there's nothing you can do...you have to replace the seal.

allan on May 29, 2016:

great article. I love the patience taken in this setup. Makes it all worth the time. I am planning on picking up a used accord coupe 1998 model . It has been used allot. 340k already. I heard no sounds from the engine and no white smoke too. seems fair but one wil never know until they own one . Seems to have no mounting issues. The only thing that worries me are the front part of the suspensions they seem to be lower like as if the car is lowered on the front only. Its smooth how ever. Should I worry about that ? I hope it gives me 2 years down the line I dont need it for everyday use just here and there

hardlymoving (author) from Memphis, TN on July 02, 2015:


Timing belt yes. Water pump no.

Nalnin on June 30, 2015:

Do I have to pull all that stuff if I am not replacing the water pump or timing belt. Just replacing the head gasket.

hardlymoving (author) from Memphis, TN on June 30, 2015:


Your choice of what tool you want to use. I use the breaker bars and pulley holder tool. My impact driver just doesn't deliver the torque to get the pulley bolt off.

Nalnin on June 30, 2015:

With the breaker bars, do I still need to buy an impact driver? Trying to do this on a budget. My water pump and belts were recently replaced by a shop, so that should help cut costs.

hardlymoving (author) from Memphis, TN on June 11, 2015:

Thanks Ryan ... I could have shortcutted (re-use the TTY bolts) but didn't want to revisit a possible failure.

Ryan in CO on June 11, 2015:

I am a seasoned Honda mechanic and am very impressed with your tutorial. Could not have done it better myself.

hardlymoving (author) from Memphis, TN on May 02, 2014:


Sorry. It's been awhile since I last did a head gasket replacement on a Honda.

Ken on May 02, 2014:

Can you give any more detail on the dowel pins? I'm having trouble figuring out where they go. It looks like one goes under the camshaft sprocket & one in the back corner by the thermostat housing but I'm just not sure.

hardlymoving (author) from Memphis, TN on April 20, 2014:


No. The Camshaft can remain on the head.

Anthony on April 20, 2014:

Do I need to take that cam shaft off the head to have the head inspected?

Imranfaqieh on April 04, 2014:

nice info

rummenigge11 on January 11, 2014:


Benji Mester from San Diego, California on February 25, 2012:

Still, it's nice to have extra detailed info available for the people who want to do more research.

hardlymoving (author) from Memphis, TN on February 24, 2012:

Sure ... but most people wouldn't consider taking on a job like this.

Benji Mester from San Diego, California on February 24, 2012:

Wow, I love your attention to detail and all the amazing pictures. I learned a lot, especially about the thin tolerances that exist. Do you mind if I link to this article from my article for people wanting more info?

hardlymoving (author) from Memphis, TN on November 28, 2011:


If you're serious about doing a head gasket replacement job, I would strongly recommend you get yourself a Chilton or Haynes technical manual for your Honda to cross reference with this article. These books have all the bolt torque sequences outlined and they can be had for around $20.

Mark on November 28, 2011:

What are the bolt torques sequences?

hardlymoving (author) from Memphis, TN on August 04, 2011:

No problem. Glad to be of help.

David on August 04, 2011:

Thanks for all the tips your article is really helping a lot I got a laptop on the roof of this car and I just followed all the step in the pictures and got the head out without running into an obstacle. I be picking up new parts tomorrow. Its lot of work to put everything back. Lets see how it goes gonna have machine shop look at the head.

hardlymoving (author) from Memphis, TN on August 04, 2011:


You can't go by visual inspection. You need to bring the head to a reputable automotive machine shop and have them inspect for good valve seal (compression test), head warpage and any cracks. The article I wrote was for a Honda that overheated. Your situation was for a broken timing belt so there shouldn't be any head warpage or crack problems. I would recommend you have them replace the valve stem seals.

David on August 04, 2011:

I'm gonna purchase new bolts and gaskets but running into a problem I'm confused the head is out but the valve don't show any damage i took it off because the timing belt broke now I'm looking at valves I was expecting a bent valve but they all close and open evenly when turning camshaft, where did i go wrong?

hardlymoving (author) from Memphis, TN on August 04, 2011:

Yes. The the hard part is doing the angle torque of 3 90 degree turns. Make sure you apply the 30W oil before applying torque. Play it safe and use new head bolts - even though they're not cheap. The white dot paint marks on the head bolts will help as well.

David on August 04, 2011:

Its 01 accord lx ULEV 2.3L I'm assuming the torque specification is the same for head bolts.

hardlymoving (author) from Memphis, TN on August 03, 2011:

Hello David,

You can do it. Just don't rush it, take your time and keep your parts separated in the order your removed them.

david on August 03, 2011:

wish me good luck I'm doing this tomorrow

Ruben on March 22, 2011:

Nice article. Keep it up!

Randy on February 12, 2011:

Nice article and photos! I only need to replace my timing belt, but I'll refer to this article anyhow... :)

honda accord alternator on November 01, 2010:

I am having trouble with my altenator. I will try this one tomorrow and probably i will get the result that i need.

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