Refreshing an 02 Civic EX - Honda Civic Forum

Refreshing an 02 Civic EX

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Refreshing an 02 Civic EX

Hello all, new to Hondas and the the forum. My oldest stepson was gifted a Civic for his first driver and we are going to freshen it up to hopefully make a reliable daily driver. He gets his license at the end of the year so we have some time. He will be out in the garage turning wrenches and hopefully learn some things in the process, im sure I will as well.
The car is an 02 civic ex, sedan, auto, 251K. We were told the car was overheating and blowing the cap of the overflow, so HG is most likely blown. I drove the car a few minutes home...got hot but not pegged, no heat, suspension and steering needs work. Needs front tires. Shifts well, stops well. Needs some exhaust repair as well. The car is pretty clean and looks decent though so we will throw some money and work at it.

Shortly after getting it home I determined the fans were not kicking on, so I jumped the plug for the fan temp sensor in the thermostat housing and they ran constant. So a faulty fan switch is what was likely the cause for the initial overheating problem. The coolant smells of exhaust and is a bit dark, exhaust blow most definitely. Once the cooling system was full I did have heat for a bit but after a few test drives lost heat and coolant was overflowing again, that is all I need to know about that. Did a compression test and had right around 170psi all across, so bottom end should be good.

I would like to keep it under 1K total...
HG, TB, WP, incidentals(probably deck the head, valve job?)
Possibly the Radiator
Suspension, Steering, Alignment(struts, LCA's, BJ, TRE, Sway links)
Front tires( maybe all four)
Check brakes and fluid
Trans Fluid change
Exhaust repair
Drivers rocking seat repair


We got started tearing into it yesterday. Initial plan is Head Gasket, Timing Belt, Water Pump. And all the stuff that goes along with that(plugs, fluids, filters, belts). Got a decent amount of disassembly done, hardest part was the intake side. The electrical stud broke off the alternator so I guess a new alternator is in order. I was amazed to find the drivers side balljoint did not have a nut on the bottom, I cant believe I drove it like that!!!

Going to order some parts tonight, mostly RockAuto and Ebay. I will try to buy decent quality but cant justify buying OEM everything for this car, Id have way to much money in it.

Here are some pics...












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Re: Refreshing an 02 Civic EX

The lack of a nut on that balljoint is frightening,
Strongly suggest getting oem parts for the head gasket, timing belt, tensioner, and water pump
and use oem fluid for the trans.
Just take the head to a good machine shop and see what they recommend.
We've had people post on this forum that the aftermarket headgaskets and timing belts fail extremely prematurely sometimes less than 1k miles.
Alternator you're better off getting on from a scrapyard rather than getting a crappy rebuild from a parts store.
Other than that car looks good you and your son should have some fun with it
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Re: Refreshing an 02 Civic EX

Discolored coolant likely from some “stop leak” type product put in by PO.

Valve train looks too clean.
Either they changed that oil weekly, or it’s been pulled out and cleaned up prior.

Maybe they repaired head gasket leaking once, and now that’s it leaking again they gave it away.

Indeed a fun project.
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Re: Refreshing an 02 Civic EX

plugs, use the OEM NGK (can be from parts store).
Leave the radiator in for now, no need to try and can be done later.
sad to say, but i pulled the head with the intake in it - there was no need to remove it before pulling the head... Should help on putting back if you install the intake on the head out of the car.

the absence of the nut in the ball joint is... nuts!

EX? I see the VTEC solenoid there
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