Car running warmer after head gasket change - Honda Civic Forum



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Old 04-20-2017   #1
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Car running warmer after head gasket change

Hey, so I've been working on my girlfriend's 2000 civic LX. She claims that the temperature gauge hovered slightly over cool before the head gasket change. Now it's about halfway up and I've only driven it up to about 45 mph with no noticeable increase in temperature.

I changed the head gasket, milled the head, timing belt, adjusted the valves, water pump, went back in to change the cam seal, radiator, and thermostat - making sure to put it in on the right side, I noticed in a video that someone said to make sure it lines up with the grooves on the thermostat, I did not do this (makes me believe this could be it). Mechanical timing is spot on, ignition timing hasn't been checked yet. Car idles around 700 still, no fluctuation. Haven't seen either the condenser or radiator fans come on.

So, after all this, I needed to get rid of oil so I flushed the coolant system about 5 or 6 times with DI water (only drained the radiator). After the final flush, I filled it with Type II. Still runs warmer than what my girlfriend says. I opened the overflow when the car was warm to see if the system was pressurized and nothing happened, turned the radiator cap and I won't tell you why I know its pressurized, but it is. I performed a block test for 5 minutes and passed. I then did one with a friend pressing on the gas at about 3000 rpm and it passed.

Is this temperature reading normal/what do you guys think?

Last edited by ZachCivic; 04-20-2017 at 10:41 PM.
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Old 04-20-2017   #2
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Re: Car running warmer after head gasket change

Half way seems a little high... In my '03 I pretend that the oil temp symbol is floating on the needle... a bit under half way. You don't personally know what it looked like before the change... you never had a reason to look after all!

If you think it could be the thermostat, you can at least check to give yourself some peace of mind. IF the grooves weren't lined up then the flutter valve (or whatever you call the thing that lets air bubbles escape) could be in the wrong position, causing an air pocket.

Speaking of air pockets, did you bleed the system on an incline?

The fans don't turn on... ever? Do they at least work when the AC is running?

Have you considered getting an OBDII reader? I use a cheapie bluetooth one with an app on my phone. It lets me monitor my temperature in real time.
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Old 04-20-2017   #3
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Re: Car running warmer after head gasket change

I've had the car on ramps so I've been bleeding it on them, is this a problem?

and I haven't seen either come on even with the AC full blast - still blows cold though.. haven't run it more than 20 seconds to check though. I might check the fam voltage and breakers. I was told it's normal not to see them come on.
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Old 04-20-2017   #4
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Re: Car running warmer after head gasket change

I've been meaning to get an obd II, I've just been watching my wallet decline a lot lately and have been reluctant. I suppose I should if I'm gonna get it anyways lol
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Old 04-21-2017   #5
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Re: Car running warmer after head gasket change

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Originally Posted by ZachCivic View Post
I've had the car on ramps so I've been bleeding it on them, is this a problem?
Nope, that was what you should have done.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ZachCivic View Post
and I haven't seen either come on even with the AC full blast - still blows cold though.. haven't run it more than 20 seconds to check though. I might check the fam voltage and breakers. I was told it's normal not to see them come on.
Yeah, sounds like a plan. The fan should be running the WHOLE time the AC is on. Gotta keep up the thermal transfer!

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I've been meaning to get an obd II, I've just been watching my wallet decline a lot lately and have been reluctant. I suppose I should if I'm gonna get it anyways lol
I think my OBDII adapter was like $20 and there is a trial version of the app. The full version was $7 or 8$. Not expensive unless you need the money for food. Then again, you need the car for money...
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Old 04-21-2017   #6
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Re: Car running warmer after head gasket change

Get the scanner or app that can read live engine data. Operating temp can be anywhere from the thermostat rating up to the temp at which the fan is supposed to kick on. Higher temps are possible with heavy loading.



Old thermostat could have been below spec or out of spec.
New thermostat could be rated a little higher than the old one.

Ground strap attachment to the head or valve cover (and its ability to conduct electricity) can make a difference in how the gauge reads. Yes, seriously.

Late timing can cause elevated running temperature.

Radiator fan and condenser fan are totally separate, as the radiator and condenser are side by side instead of stacked.

Condenser fan MUST run whenever the compressor clutch engages.

Straighten out the thermostat installation. It's pretty much about the jiggle pin is supposed to be at the top or within the little notched area if it has one in the housing.
Check the ground wires attached to the stat housing. Clean, shiny metal for good contact, and tight.

Make sure the radiator fan can run when its connector is jumped.
It can take a damn long time for the radiator fan to run on a good day, simply because of where the fan switch is located in the flow circuit.....a slight breeze blowing thorough the radiator can reduce or negate the need to run the radiator fan.

NEVER EVER REMOVE THE RADIATOR CAP FROM A HOT ENGINE
Pretty sure the owners manual and every decent service manual on the planet mentions this somewhere. 2nd degree burns (or worse) are no joke.
Relieve pressure first or wait until system has cooled before opening.
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Old 04-21-2017   #7
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Re: Car running warmer after head gasket change

Just reset the thermostat and it decreased a bit. I'll try adjusting the ground - I just think it may need a better bleed; gonna try that out tomorrow after I purchase a funnel... sigh

yeah, the radiator cap was a dumb mistake, 9 hour shift with no lunch today lol

Last edited by ZachCivic; 04-21-2017 at 02:33 AM.
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Old 04-21-2017   #8
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Re: Car running warmer after head gasket change

Bled it. Still warm. Gonna check the ground Sunday and adjust ignition timing though I marked the distributor before I worked on it. I suppose I could have moved ignition timing when perfecting mechanical timing. Fans work.
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Old 04-22-2017   #9
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Re: Car running warmer after head gasket change

You only see "warmer" in a flaky 17 year old gauge.


Pick up a scanner app (or scanner of any sort) and read live PCM data to see what it thinks the ECT (coolant temperature) really is.
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Old 04-23-2017   #10
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Re: Car running warmer after head gasket change

Just adjusted ignition timing (it was on point) and bled it for about 45-60 minutes. Still around the same, here's a pic at the bottom. Purchased an OBD II to hook up to my phone that should be here in a couple days. Drove it about 15 miles on the highway and it didn't fluctuate at all, so after consulting some google images of Civic temp gauges, I'm not sure I should worry about this. It's below halfway
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Old 04-23-2017   #11
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Re: Car running warmer after head gasket change

Gauge needle looks like it's about where I'd expect it to be.
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Old 04-24-2017   #12
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Re: Car running warmer after head gasket change

everything I read here
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZachCivic View Post
Hey, so I've been working on my girlfriend's 2000 civic LX. She claims that the temperature gauge hovered slightly over cool before the head gasket change. Now it's about halfway up and I've only driven it up to about 45 mph with no noticeable increase in temperature.
Seemed normal. Hovering above cool is unnatural for a car at normal operating temp. Needle sitting at or below halfway is normal.

The picture OP just posted verified it for me.

Move along people, no issues to be found. lol
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Old 04-24-2017   #13
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Re: Car running warmer after head gasket change

Appreciate the consultation, guys. This is my first job beyond replacing an alternator belt, so I've been over thinking doing something wrong. Stoked I got it right. Thanks again.
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Old 04-24-2017   #14
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Re: Car running warmer after head gasket change

No worries, we've all been there and that's what we're here for. Stick around and you'll learn a good bit. When I first joined this forum, I was only able to change my oil and brake pads. Fast forward to 2012, I disassembled a spare engine, pulled my engine, and swapped the bottom end, all from my driveway.
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