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Car Won't Start After Replacing Headgasket

Old 08-05-2018
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Car Won't Start After Replacing Headgasket

Hi all,

I have a 2005 Honda Civic EX.It had been overheating after going at highway speeds and there was visible black gunk in the top of my overflow tank. I drained the coolant and there was oil in it.

I have since completed a head gasket replacement job but upon trying to start my car for the first time it would not start. It will turn over like it should but never actually starts. Despite filling the engine with oil the red oil light continues to show when I have the key turned. The red battery light also shows but I checked the battery voltage and it is fine. Below is a picture of my dash:

f

I had the cylinder head worked on at a machine shop so I don't see that being an issue here. I also followed an extensive guide on youtube to help me do this so I don't believe that I missed anything. I have not rechecked the timing again but I definitely checked it before I put the belt on and everything appeared to line up correctly. I'm really at a loss here...

Last edited by Kochel17; 08-18-2018 at 12:17 PM.
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Old 08-06-2018
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Re: Car Won't Start After Replacing Headgasket

After about 30 seconds of cranking your oil pressure light should turn off.

If it’s not going off, possible you mixed up sensor connection? Otherwise something went wrong with head reassembly and your not building oil pressure....

I don’t even put the spark plugs in before I verify I can get oil pressure by cranking first on a head removal.

Alternator, are you 100% positive you cleaned and tightened the two main mounting bolts? Not the wingnut.

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Old 08-06-2018
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Re: Car Won't Start After Replacing Headgasket

Warning lights are supposed to be on. Engine has to run before they go out on their own.


Got correct timing?
Got compression?
Got spark? Got fuel? Got wet plugs? Dry plugs?
Got fault codes?


Youtube is NOT a service manual.
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Old 08-08-2018
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Re: Car Won't Start After Replacing Headgasket

Here's my current update. I checked the compression today and got the following numbers:

Cyl 1 = 66, 66 psi
Cyl 2 = 115, 65, 65 psi
Cyl 3 = 70, 75 psi
Cyl 4 = 72, 88, 105 psi

I think for the higher psi's I must have cranked the engine a little bit longer but I cannot remember exactly. I know for a fact that cranking for around 5 seconds gave me all my values between 65-75 psi. Now, note that this was done on a cold engine since my car is not able to start to warm up first. In my opinion these values still seem too low to me...

The next thing I checked was whether the spark plugs gave off a spark. I did this by leaving them attached to the ignition coils but then grounding them to either the exhaust manifold or the engine head. I saw absolutely no spark on any plug. My next move was to take my plugs inside and test them with a multimeter like in this video here:

ALL plugs failed 2 out of the 3 checks. From visual inspection it looks like some of the ends of the plugs have been dirtied. I am wondering if this issue was not in fact the original issue but an issue that developed as I continually tried to start the car the first and second days. I believe my fuel was flowing as when I removed the spark plugs today I could see a bit of shiny reflection on the top of a piston or two which I suspected to be fuel. I'm wondering if so much fuel got in there and fouled all my plugs. What do you think? I plan to get at least one new plug to test as well outside the engine.

I have a pretty busy next few days but still want to check the timing and also verify that the fuel is in fact flowing at startup. Some questions I have though are: Would bad timing somehow cause the low compression I'm seeing? If not, what exactly could be the cause of the low compression? (Compression averaged 175 across all four cylinders before I started the head job).


Slumpertcivic, the oil light is still on but I'm assuming what ezone mentioned is correct. I did not clean the alternator mounting bolts but am positive I tightened both.

ezone, my plugs should have been dry but had a little something on them. I have no fault codes but am wondering if that's simply because I can't start the car for it to read any yet.

Last edited by Kochel17; 08-18-2018 at 12:17 PM.
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Old 08-08-2018
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Re: Car Won't Start After Replacing Headgasket

I also forgot to mention that when I did the compression test I did go ahead and remove fuse #6 (https://troubleshootmyvehicle.com/ho...-hood-fuse-box) from under the hood and fuse #17 (https://troubleshootmyvehicle.com/ho...-dash-fuse-box) from under the dash. I kept these fuses out as well when I went to test my plugs for a spark because I didn't want more gas pouring into the cylinders. I may be wrong, but I don't see keeping these two fuses out causing a problem with the ignition system.

It may also be worthwhile to note that on a few occassions of trying to start my car the car actually doesn't turn over and I hear a clicking noise coming from behind my glove box along with some flickering of the lights on my dash. This only happens seldom however.
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Old 08-08-2018
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Re: Car Won't Start After Replacing Headgasket

Cyl 1 = 66, 66 psi
Cyl 2 = 115, 65, 65 psi
Cyl 3 = 70, 75 psi
Cyl 4 = 72, 88, 105 psi

(Compression averaged 175 across all four cylinders before I started the head job).
You did a compression test right before teardown and got 175? Or was that test done weeks before it overheated and died?
Something is surely BORKED now.




Remove valve cover and upper timing cover.
Confirm all marks (as per a real service manual) to determine if cam timing is seriously incorrect. Correct timing as needed.
Make sure cam pulley bolt was tightened and the pulley has not stripped its indexing dowel or keyway.
Check rocker shafts were correctly installed and tightened to spec (a machine shop may have loosened or removed all this so they can mill the head flat).
THEN ceck and adjust valve clearances to proper spec.
.
Remove standing fuel from all cylinders.
Oil the cylinders to help restore ring sealing ability.
Put a towel over the plug holes. Crank it over without any spark plugs to "blow out excess oil".
Recheck compression. It had better be back up to 175 plus. If not, you've got a huge problem.
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Old 08-09-2018
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Re: Car Won't Start After Replacing Headgasket

Without oil pressure I would not even go any further...
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Old 08-09-2018
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Re: Car Won't Start After Replacing Headgasket

Originally Posted by Slumpertcivic View Post
Without oil pressure I would not even go any further...
That's the least of his concerns right now.
It doesn't need oil pressure if it doesn't run.
Residual lube cling plus minor oil flow during cranking is plenty for his needs right now.

Once it can run on its own then he can figure out if the idiot light turns off.

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Old 08-18-2018
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Re: Car Won't Start After Replacing Headgasket

Originally Posted by ezone View Post
You did a compression test right before teardown and got 175? Or was that test done weeks before it overheated and died?
Something is surely BORKED now.
I did the compression test very shortly before teardown and got 175. The car never actually died. It continually showed overheating issues but ran fine aside from that. I just realized that I was not holding the throttle open during the last compression test I did. After holding the throttle down I now got:

Cyl 1 - 140 psi
Cyl 2 - 45 psi
Cyl 3 - 0 psi
Cyl 4 - 0 psi

What the heck happened to my other three cylinders? This makes no sense. Nothing has changed except me rolling my car 15 feet forward to get it back into the garage. I am doing the compression test with the valve cover off but that shouldn't matter as far as I know. When I crank while testing cylinder 1 I can audibly hear a nice thumping sound however with the other three that is not present whatsoever. I even went back and tested cylinder 1 again afterward and it still read around 140. I don't understand how the other three went from reading around 70 to almost nothing or nothing at all. I have not yet checked the rocker shafts or valve clearances.

As far as the timing, I checked it and it looks darn near perfect. From other things I've read I'm wondering if it's my crankshaft position sensor that is causing the no spark.

I checked the fuel injection and that's working fine.
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Old 08-18-2018
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Re: Car Won't Start After Replacing Headgasket

I just laid 4 small towels over each of the spark plug tubes. Cyl 1 and 2 blew off, 3 and 4 didn't move at all. How is there suddenly no air moving in there?

I also put the valve cover back on just for the heck of it. Readings are still the same though.

Last edited by Kochel17; 08-18-2018 at 01:22 PM.
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Old 08-18-2018
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Re: Car Won't Start After Replacing Headgasket

Did you put a couple tablespoons of oil in the cylinders?
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Old 08-19-2018
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Re: Car Won't Start After Replacing Headgasket

Cyl 1 - 140 psi
Cyl 2 - 45 psi
Cyl 3 - 0 psi
Cyl 4 - 0 psi
That's one helluva problem.


Did you see this in my earlier reply:
Check rocker shafts were correctly installed and tightened to spec (a machine shop may have loosened or removed all this so they can mill the head flat).
THEN check and adjust valve clearances to proper spec.






A leakdown test would usually be used to figure out where the loss is going.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago
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Re: Car Won't Start After Replacing Headgasket

What did you end up doing to fix your car? I have a very similar issue with my Civic. It won't start after changing the head gasket, and it seems to lack compression.
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Re: Car Won't Start After Replacing Headgasket

You have to give more info to get any help.

Originally Posted by ezone View Post
Got correct timing?
Got compression?
Got spark? Got fuel? Got wet plugs? Dry plugs?
Got fault codes?
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Old 2 Weeks Ago
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Re: Car Won't Start After Replacing Headgasket

Originally Posted by BoggisBunceBean View Post
What did you end up doing to fix your car? I have a very similar issue with my Civic. It won't start after changing the head gasket, and it seems to lack compression.
I gave up and took it to my mechanic to fix. Turned out that two of my valves were bent which happened during my diagnosis when my timing accidentally went out due to a rag getting caught underneath the belt (long story). So, I'm not sure what the original issue was sorry.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago
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Re: Car Won't Start After Replacing Headgasket

Crap, same issue, changed the head from a running car, head was a rebuild. Previously my car seriously overheated and stopped running. The head change was good. One thing that might have messed me up was hooking up the tensioner spring AFTER I aligned everything up. Compression test as follows;
! - 140
2 - 115
3 - 85
4 - 160

Now if the timing is off, wouldn't the compression be off as well due to valves opening and closing?


When I turn the car over it doesn't even miss fire. ill have to heck for spark as well.
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Re: Car Won't Start After Replacing Headgasket

Damn plugged CAT. Gutted it out and all is good. Figured since I blew a **** tone of coolant through my exhaust it might be it. Just loosened up the exhaust manifold and abracadabra it runs. Now to chase why I'm in limp mode. Pulled the codes and I get the damn Manifold pressure sensor. Wasn't there before.
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