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Few questions for some gear heads here

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Few questions for some gear heads here

I just picked up a high mileage 06 civic super cheap but the engine runs pefectly. 240k! However, power is good, gas mileage is good, idle is smooth, did a compression test and getting 190psi accross all 4 cylinders.

I got my hands on a used head with 80k on it so im going to swap that out just because i have it and am going to replace the clutch, too, since the kid i bought it from had no idea how to drive it.

SO! My questions to you honda aficionados-

A) Even though these cars have a timing chain, at 240k should i replace it anyway since ill be in there?

B) One thing that im really considering is piston rings and rod bearings since ill have the head and tranny already off the block. The rings are totally fine atm since my compression is good and i don't burn oil but I'm not sure if they are something prone to failure on these engines at this high of mileage. Plus it's a "while I'm here" thing. Has anyone done rings on the 1.8L engine? Pain in the ***?

C) Are the head bolts on this car the torque to spec type? Or are they the ones that need to be replaced.

If there are any other quirks i should know about please let me know. Thanks!
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Re: Few questions for some gear heads here

Why swap the head if it runs great?!? I would just leave everything and drive it as is.
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Re: Few questions for some gear heads here

Just because i was able to get my hands on a low mileage head for cheap. Plus at 240k i imagine the valves, seals and rings are on borrowed time
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Re: Few questions for some gear heads here

Originally Posted by Aerose91 View Post
Just because i was able to get my hands on a low mileage head for cheap. Plus at 240k i imagine the valves, seals and rings are on borrowed time
Just having a head that will fit is NOT a good enough reason for swapping it IMO.
You're also likely to create all new problems.


Try doing a valve adjustment. That's periodic maintenance.

Check oil and coolant regularly. Drive it several months, put a bunch of miles on it, see how much oil it consumes. Or leaks.
See if it gives you ANY legitimate reason to take apart anything on the engine.


Compression test only checks compression rings, it cannot tell you anything about the oil control rings. They could be missing completely and compression numbers would still appear perfect.
If it comes down to a time where you actually do take apart the engine, you can measure and evaluate the chain at that time. (these don't seem to eat chains like one of our other engines)
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Re: Few questions for some gear heads here

Originally Posted by ezone View Post
Just having a head that will fit is NOT a good enough reason for swapping it IMO.
You're also likely to create all new problems.


Try doing a valve adjustment. That's periodic maintenance.

Check oil and coolant regularly. Drive it several months, put a bunch of miles on it, see how much oil it consumes. Or leaks.
See if it gives you ANY legitimate reason to take apart anything on the engine.


Compression test only checks compression rings, it cannot tell you anything about the oil control rings. They could be missing completely and compression numbers would still appear perfect.
If it comes down to a time where you actually do take apart the engine, you can measure and evaluate the chain at that time. (these don't seem to eat chains like one of our other engines)
what new problems would arise from putting a lower mileage head on that has been reworked?

at 240k you dont think it's worth attacking this stuff for preventative maintenance?
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Re: Few questions for some gear heads here

Originally Posted by Aerose91 View Post
what new problems would arise from putting a lower mileage head on that has been reworked?
Anything you touch.
at 240k you dont think it's worth attacking this stuff for preventative maintenance?
Replacing a cylinder head that has no problems is not considered preventive maintenance IMO. There are more productive ways to spend that money.


Is the block original to the car? Check the VIN tag on the back of the block. That's about the only thing I would worry about.
Other than cracking the block (very well known and documented issue, but only a small percentage actually do it), the 1.8 "R" engine has been pretty damn reliable.
I personally have not had to pull a head off for any reason to do with the head itself, and I've been taking care of these cars since they were new.
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Re: Few questions for some gear heads here

Originally Posted by ezone View Post
Anything you touch.

Replacing a cylinder head that has no problems is not considered preventive maintenance IMO. There are more productive ways to spend that money.


Is the block original to the car? Check the VIN tag on the back of the block. That's about the only thing I would worry about.
Other than cracking the block (very well known and documented issue, but only a small percentage actually do it), the 1.8 "R" engine has been pretty damn reliable.
I personally have not had to pull a head off for any reason to do with the head itself, and I've been taking care of these cars since they were new.
I aporeciate the insight. How many miles do you think thus engine can get on stock valves/seals/rings/rod bearings? At 240k should i not be thinking about those? Its the original block, btw. Im aware of the cracking issue but this car seems fine and has never overheated
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Re: Few questions for some gear heads here

Originally Posted by Aerose91 View Post
I aporeciate the insight. How many miles do you think thus engine can get on stock valves/seals/rings/rod bearings? At 240k should i not be thinking about those?
I would not touch anything until and unless there's a reason to do it.
Bearings depend on oil. They should last unless or until there has been too much oil neglect. Hondas are not known for bottom end problems (unlike some other manufacturers).




Every case is different.
Much depends on the care that was given before you got the car.
It will take time and miles to discover if it has any issues worth addressing.

Rings/consumption you really can't predict or assume. Some do, others don't.
Also, modern engines don't necessarily respond to old school thinking the way old school people expect.


I see high mileage cars frequently and their conditions and issues vary greatly.
Some are still in great shape even with super high mileage.
I see other cars absolutely trashed before they go out of warranty, and destroyed before 100k.

Someone had to do something right if they got that car to almost a quarter million miles.


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Re: Few questions for some gear heads here

Yah im not sure how well it was maintained but all the diagnostics ive done come up really good. Especially the gas mileage and compression being right where they should be.
Maybe ill rebuild this other head I have just as a project and should a problem arise in the future ill have it. I like doing stuff like that.
Once i get the new clutch in I'll drive it for a while and keep an eye on the oil consumption like you said. Do you think it would be worth putting in an oil pressure gauge? Anything else i should look out for?
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Re: Few questions for some gear heads here

You gonna drop the subframe and drop trans out the bottom?
I drop the entire drivetrain out the same way for block replacement (haven't done one in months though). If I ever had to pull just the head on one, I might drop the entire drivetrain out to do it LOL

Do not open the hydraulic line for the clutch, they can be a huge pita to bleed the air out. Unbolt the slave and move it aside.
Use Hondas MTF when you install and fill the trans. I think 2 quart will fill that one.

Same for coolant (you should be on the 5 year/50k schedule if it's blue), use Hondas type-2 coolant, it is already premixed.
Water pump failures (leaks) almost dropped off the radar when Honda switched to this as factory fill.
If someone dumped in anything else, all bets are off.

They aren't known for bottom end problems, so oil pressure is not something I (personally) ever worry about. If you put a mechanical gauge in, all that tubing is just adding potential for leaks and disaster.
Low oil pressure will cause VTEC related codes usually before the oil pressure idiot light is on....but the cause of a vtec code is typically a bad pressure switch, low oil level, or a restricted oil filter.

Make sure the radiator fans work. At that mileage I'd say to check those regularly. Check coolant hoses (including all the small ones) and all that. If it ever overheats for any reason, you may end up needing that spare head.

Check suspension, ball joints, bushings, sway bar links, etc.

I mentioned adjusting the valves in a previous post.

You had the spark plugs out, were any bad looking? Showing evidence of oil consumption?
Correct brand/type? Correct plugs wear so dang slow, they might outlast the engine as long as they don't get fouled.

Like any other car, they have their own particular set of quirks and expected issues. But the engine itself, aside from the well known block issue, has been quite reliable IMO.
I don't bother to remember issues, I just try to help with diagnosing and fixing when problems do crop up.

See your owners manual for more maintenance stuff.

Check links below, make sure it is up to date on its recalls, this is important
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Re: Few questions for some gear heads here

Originally Posted by ezone View Post
You gonna drop the subframe and drop trans out the bottom?
I drop the entire drivetrain out the same way for block replacement (haven't done one in months though). If I ever had to pull just the head on one, I might drop the entire drivetrain out to do it LOL

Do not open the hydraulic line for the clutch, they can be a huge pita to bleed the air out. Unbolt the slave and move it aside.
Use Hondas MTF when you install and fill the trans. I think 2 quart will fill that one.

Same for coolant (you should be on the 5 year/50k schedule if it's blue), use Hondas type-2 coolant, it is already premixed.
Water pump failures (leaks) almost dropped off the radar when Honda switched to this as factory fill.
If someone dumped in anything else, all bets are off.

They aren't known for bottom end problems, so oil pressure is not something I (personally) ever worry about. If you put a mechanical gauge in, all that tubing is just adding potential for leaks and disaster.
Low oil pressure will cause VTEC related codes usually before the oil pressure idiot light is on....but the cause of a vtec code is typically a bad pressure switch, low oil level, or a restricted oil filter.

Make sure the radiator fans work. At that mileage I'd say to check those regularly. Check coolant hoses (including all the small ones) and all that. If it ever overheats for any reason, you may end up needing that spare head.

Check suspension, ball joints, bushings, sway bar links, etc.

I mentioned adjusting the valves in a previous post.

You had the spark plugs out, were any bad looking? Showing evidence of oil consumption?
Correct brand/type? Correct plugs wear so dang slow, they might outlast the engine as long as they don't get fouled.

Like any other car, they have their own particular set of quirks and expected issues. But the engine itself, aside from the well known block issue, has been quite reliable IMO.
I don't bother to remember issues, I just try to help with diagnosing and fixing when problems do crop up.

See your owners manual for more maintenance stuff.

Check links below, make sure it is up to date on its recalls, this is important
Thanks a lot, man that's all really helpful. I crawled around underneath and all ball joints, CV boots, toe rods, sway bar bushings etc look really good. When i pulled the spark plugs they had a little carbon on them but nothing crazy. The kid i bought it from put iridium plugs in there so i may replace with coppers to see if it increases my MPG.

Yup, am going to drop the tranny out the bottom, same as i did on my prelude. Question- you say don't open the clutch hydraulic line. Why is it so hard to bleed? I'm wondering if my clutch disengagement issue could possibly be CMC. I adjusted the pedal and was able to get it to just barely disengage but after a couple hundred miles it wouldn't disengage again. I bled the slave but that didn't help so I'm considering replacing the CMC to see if that's the issue before i drop the tranny. Is it really hard to get air out if i replace it?

Since I have the ear of a honda tech, if you don't mind..

1)I already bought the coolant, lower radiator hose, MTF fluid and power steering fluid at Honda to do a flush tomorrow. Was going to buy a water pump just as a preventative measure, think that's necessary?

2)I have the 1.8l non VTEC, does this engine have a preference of synthetic vs dino oil? Will springing for the Mobil 1 stuff make her last a little longer? Also, where is this engine prone to oil leaks? So i can keep an eye out. I bought a rear main seal to replace with the clutch just to be safe.

3) Do you know what brand the OEM struts are? Mine are a little spongy, they probably need replacing but i don't want to break the bank or make a crazy stiff ride- this is a daily driver. Im also fine with reusing the coils

4) Do you know what the spec.s are for valve adjustments?

5) This car has that annoying clear coat peel but it's an 06. I think it's way past warranty recall but do you know of any of that may still be covered?

Thanks again man, this helps a lot



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Re: Few questions for some gear heads here

Originally Posted by Aerose91 View Post
Thanks a lot, man that's all really helpful. I crawled around underneath and all ball joints, CV boots, toe rods, sway bar bushings etc look really good. When i pulled the spark plugs they had a little carbon on them but nothing crazy. The kid i bought it from put iridium plugs in there so i may replace with coppers to see if it increases my MPG.
Iridium is correct, but were they correct number NGK or Denso? . Copper is not correct, and copper are 30k interval plugs.

Plugs do not gain you fuel economy, unless you had misfire problems caused by plugs in the first place.

Why is it so hard to bleed?
because it's trying to push an air bubble downhill. Some people just have a horrible time with it for some reason. Others don't.
Personally, speed is time and time is money: unbolting the slave is far quicker than dinking with trying to bleed it later on.

I'm wondering if my clutch disengagement issue could possibly be CMC. I adjusted the pedal and was able to get it to just barely disengage but after a couple hundred miles it wouldn't disengage again. I bled the slave but that didn't help so I'm considering replacing the CMC to see if that's the issue before i drop the tranny. Is it really hard to get air out if i replace it?
That's up to you. Also, pedal pushrod clearance adjustment is critical.
Since I have the ear of a honda tech, if you don't mind..
I'm not really a tech, I just play one on TV.
I mostly clean the toilets at a car dealer.
1)I already bought the coolant, lower radiator hose, MTF fluid and power steering fluid at Honda to do a flush tomorrow. Was going to buy a water pump just as a preventative measure, think that's necessary?
Do what you want, but I would not want aftermarket.
My personal opinion is No water pump unless it's actually a problem. (FYI The new short block comes with a water pump LOL)
We don't even stock that water pump at my dealer because we never sell it. In fact, the only pumps we stock are the ones we MIGHT upsell with a timing belt maintenance.
The only time I remember having one of those pumps off it ended up with broken bolts that galled and stripped or snapped coming apart. (this is akin to what I meant about all new problems)

I'd also not do anything with the fluid services until you get the clutch issues straightened out. I dump all the PS fluid out when I drop a subframe out because I leave the rack on the subframe. .

Fix problems first, maintenance second.

2)I have the 1.8l non VTEC, does this engine have a preference of synthetic vs dino oil? Will springing for the Mobil 1 stuff make her last a little longer? Also, where is this engine prone to oil leaks? So i can keep an eye out. I bought a rear main seal to replace with the clutch just to be safe.
It's got VTEC, but it's for fuel economy not power
You can spend on the M1 if you wish, but IMO it's not necessary (and I would not if I had to pay for oil LOL) Again, not known for bottom end problems.
5w20, dealers typical oil is regular or semi syn, but still a high quality.
Honda lists 0w20 is also acceptable for that engine, and ours is full synthetic..... if you are in a cold area it may help. (all 0w20 is considered semi-synthetic or better because it starts with high quality base stocks). You may or may not change oil consumption rate with 0w20 oil too. Remember what I said about old school thinking.


Oil leaks...rubber gaskets (valve cover, vtec solenoid)

and the breather baffle on the back of the block, and the timing tensioner triangle cover were the most common points, both of those seal with RTV.
At a quarter mil, anything could leak.

3) Do you know what brand the OEM struts are? Mine are a little spongy, they probably need replacing but i don't want to break the bank or make a crazy stiff ride- this is a daily driver. Im also fine with reusing the coils
Not off the top of my head. kyb comes to mind but not sure. Vendor may be stamped on the strut somewhere too. Search the forum, pretty sure this has been asked in the past.
4) Do you know what the spec.s are for valve adjustments?
After converting spec to SAE and rounding to common feeler gauge sizes,
in .007-.009"
ex .009-.011"
Since Hondas valve clearances generally tend to tighten as they age, I always shoot for the large end of the spec., and they aren't noisy when I do it.

Rule of thumb: Noisy valves are just noisy. Tight valves burn.
5) This car has that annoying clear coat peel but it's an 06. I think it's way past warranty recall but do you know of any of that may still be covered?
AFAIK 7 years was the limit, it's expired now.


Did you check your VIN for needed recalls yet?
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Re: Few questions for some gear heads here

So, it rained the past couple days and i wasn't able to get much done but i did flush the coolant and unfortunately the green stuff came out

So, drained it (the block drain plug was fun) and refilled with the blue stuff. Now I'll keep a close eye on the levels. I wiped everything clean underneath it and when i got under there again this morn it looks like a small oil leak. It's showing where the tranny bolts onto the block but im not sure if that's just where it's dripping to. I didn't see it running from anywhere higher. I tried to upload a photo but it wont take


When the rain stops ill do the valve adjustment and probably clean the throttle body. Now that im driving it more im keeping a close eye on the oil levels so i can see if this leak is anything significant. Where is the VTEC solanoid?

Otherwise this thing runs well. Quiet, idles smooth, power is good. Im content with it so far. The only other thing i noticed was a faint smell of exhaust in the cabin one day while i had the heat on. I took it to a muffler shop and they got under it to feel & listen for anything and he said everything looked fine so I'm not sure what that is. It was only in passing though.

i hope I'm not cursing myself here but when i was laying under the car the tranny looked fairly accessible, like less of a headache than my old prelude was (fingers crossed).




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Re: Few questions for some gear heads here

the vtec solenoid is probably what's leaking, it should be on the back of the head, near the trans side of the engine
random google pic of a vtec solenoid:

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Re: Few questions for some gear heads here

Sweet, imma checl it out. Thanks. That is just RTV sealent? No gasket?
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Re: Few questions for some gear heads here

no it has gaskets
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Re: Few questions for some gear heads here

One of the gaskets isn't really found in the Honda parts catalog.
Search forum for posts with TWO part numbers for the VTEC gaskets from Honda.
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Re: Few questions for some gear heads here

I think i found my "oil leak". I was laying under it and following the leak upward the only place above it is the slave cylinder and the hydraulic line screwed into the bottom of the slave was dripping. So, today I'm replacing the slave in hopes that that may solve the clutch disengagement issue and fix the "oil leak".

Hey @ezone, any tips on bleeding this clutch system? I know it's notoriously difficult. Also, do you recommend any type of top end treatment? Every time im in the dealership i see BG44K and other cleaning products around there. I've always been leary of adding liquids to the air intake system like the seafoam spray but im not sure if this is something dealerships may do. Good idea on a high mileage engine?
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Re: Few questions for some gear heads here

and the hydraulic line screwed into the bottom of the slave was dripping.
FIRST step would be to simply tighten the fitting.
See if leak quits.

(assuming someone just recently replaced that slave and didn't get it tight enough)

Hey @ezone, any tips on bleeding this clutch system? I know it's notoriously difficult.
Search forum
Also, do you recommend any type of top end treatment?
Not unless there's a damn good reason to, but that's JMHO.
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