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Old 02-20-2012   #1 (permalink)
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What's the best head gasket sealer?

Looking for opinions on the longest-lasting head gasket repair for a slow coolant seep into a cylinder. K&W seems popular but I get the feeling that more expensive ones like Steel Seal might work better.

Also- Can a "stays-in-the-coolant" be used to prevent the failure of an "add-and-flush" repair? (Like if it's added the day after the "add-and-flush" repair is complete?)
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Old 02-20-2012   #2 (permalink)
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Re: What's the best head gasket sealer?

The best thing is a new head gasket! Those machanics in a bottle just makes things worse in my opinion.
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Old 02-20-2012   #3 (permalink)
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Re: What's the best head gasket sealer?

^Agreed... don't put a can of anything in your car. Replace your head gasket.
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Old 02-20-2012   #4 (permalink)
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Re: What's the best head gasket sealer?

^ ditto

Unless your planning on junking your car in the next year. All those 'stuff in a can' are just band aid solutions. Fix it properly.
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Old 02-21-2012   #5 (permalink)
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Re: What's the best head gasket sealer?

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Originally Posted by Stock 99 View Post
Unless your planning on junking your car in the next year. All those 'stuff in a can' are just band aid solutions.
Yes in fact I bought this car expecting it to be a disposable car because I can't do a real car search until the summer. Look at it this way: suppose I have my mechanic replace the head gasket, the calipers, the rotors, the tires, and do an alignment... Then I've spent $2,500 to $3,000 or more (Boston prices!) on a rust-infested 1993 hatchback that still would have a giant dent in the quarter panel as well as some smaller issues like a broken speedometer and speakers. It just doesn't make much sense to pump all that money into it because even after all those repairs the car itself would still only be worth around $1000.

So my plan is to apply the sealer with the thermostat removed and the heater core bypassed in order to minimize damage, and hope it lasts me into the summer. But if you think I'll get better results by doing nothing at all then I want to hear about it.

Otherwise my question remains: Do some sealers that last longer than others? And I'll add this one too: Do some sealers do less damage than others?
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Old 02-26-2012   #6 (permalink)
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Re: What's the best head gasket sealer?

ALL of that stuff clogs EVERYTHING in your coolant system with black/brown gunk. I doubt anything is going to last till summer except a new headgasket. I know this is not what you want to hear but its true..

Putting that stuff in will make it harder to sell the car.
If you dont care about the car or selling it and its your ABSOLUTE last resort then I would say go for it. But its probably not going to last till summer and you still have a ticking time bomb under your hood.
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Old 03-09-2012   #7 (permalink)
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Re: What's the best head gasket sealer?

Come to think of it, putting a bomb under the hood is starting to sound like a pretty good idea right about now.

After a little research I'm starting to think maybe I could replace the head gasket myself. I think I can devote up to 9 days for the project. I will have to find someone to machine the head if it needs it though. Should I try it?

Anyone know of any good websites or publications which can guide a novice?
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Old 03-09-2012   #8 (permalink)
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Re: What's the best head gasket sealer?

If you never done a timing belt then its quite a challenege. If you have its not too much more work then that.

Search the forums for the Shop manual. Also a Chilton will be a big help.

Head should be sent to a machine shop to be tested and checked for any warpage.
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Old 03-10-2012   #9 (permalink)
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Re: What's the best head gasket sealer?

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Originally Posted by 04 Honda Civic View Post
Head should be sent to a machine shop to be tested and checked for any warpage.
1) Any ideas on how to find a machine shop? (Especially one that won't mess it up?)
2) Will I need to take it to a machine shop even if I detect no warpage using my good quality square?
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Old 03-11-2012   #10 (permalink)
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Re: What's the best head gasket sealer?

Flattening a head is not a big deal for most machine shops but look for one that works on imports - especially Hondas. Use a google search to find them and then call them up or search for them by name on this and other Honda forums.

Replacing a head gasket is not that hard and can be done in 1 day if you have all the parts. One trick is to NOT remove the timing belt. Just remove the cam gear with the belt still on. I use a good bungie cord to hold the belt tight by hooking the gear and stretching the cord up and over the hood hooking the other end on the hood near the windshield. Set the motor at TDC before doing this and make sure the head is at TDC when re-installing.

Your gasket failed for a reason so chances are your head is warped or there's some other defect so check for warpage carefully. Most people recommend using new head bolts or replacing them with ARP studs. Search on this topic to understand why. Some have re-used head bolts with no issues. Overall, you still may end up spending $500 to do the whole job including head work, bolts/studs, new coolant, new oil, new gaskets and seals (head/IM/exhaust/valve cover/valve seals/cam). Good luck.
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Old 03-12-2012   #11 (permalink)
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Re: What's the best head gasket sealer?

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Originally Posted by sql_civic View Post
One trick is to NOT remove the timing belt. Just remove the cam gear with the belt still on.
What's wrong with marking the belt & gears and then just lining up the marks when you reassemble?

Oh- and thanks for the info on finding a machine shop.
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Old 03-12-2012   #12 (permalink)
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Re: What's the best head gasket sealer?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sql_civic View Post
One trick is to NOT remove the timing belt. Just remove the cam gear with the belt still on.
What's wrong with marking the belt & gears and then just lining up the marks when you reassemble?

Oh- and thanks for the info on finding a machine shop.
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Old 03-13-2012   #13 (permalink)
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Re: What's the best head gasket sealer?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Riick View Post
1) Any ideas on how to find a machine shop? (Especially one that won't mess it up?)
2) Will I need to take it to a machine shop even if I detect no warpage using my good quality square?
Phone books/internet. Good idea to get a shop that works on imports.

Its not necessary however putting everything back together just to find that its slightly warped you will be very upset.
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Old 03-14-2012   #14 (permalink)
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Re: What's the best head gasket sealer?

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Its not necessary however putting everything back together just to find that its slightly warped you will be very upset.
Yeah that would be bad. My big hurdle was how to get it there, but my friend says he'll lend me his car if I need it, so that makes it a lot more possible.
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