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post #1 of 11 Old 03-25-2011, 03:01 PM Thread Starter
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Leaking head gasket.

Alright, so I have a couple of questions about what I'm under the assumption is a leaking head gasket. I'm lead to believe I have a leaking head gasket since I have found oil on my spark plugs when changing them, I have a big green stain on my engine that is getting larger and have to fill up my coolant reservoir tank every few weeks, the car idles erratically (haynes manual says that a leaky head gasket is the only thing that causes that symptom), and I was told as much when I got my oil changed at the dealer most recently.

My first question is what the basic scope of work is when replacing a head gasket and if it's something I could reasonably tackle myself with my repair manual and plenty of time? Another question I have is if anyone could speculate why the dealer might have quoted me 600ish to get it replaced and do the spark plugs with it when the usually costs I see around the internet is at least a thousand?

My accord is a 99 EX v6 coupe. Also if it's helpful I haven't noticed any oil in the coolant and otherwise the car ran fineish up until recently. When I went to go to the store the other day it just wouldn't idle right it kept jumping up and down from 1k down to around 250 RPMs it got even worse in reverse. I didn't end up actually driving the car that day though. Just prior to that my check engine light came on but I didn't get a chance to get it checked yet.

Thanks in advance to anyone who can offer me a little advice on my situation.

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post #2 of 11 Old 03-28-2011, 05:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lcawor View Post
Alright, so I have a couple of questions about what I'm under the assumption is a leaking head gasket. I'm lead to believe I have a leaking head gasket since I have found oil on my spark plugs when changing them, I have a big green stain on my engine that is getting larger and have to fill up my coolant reservoir tank every few weeks, the car idles erratically (haynes manual says that a leaky head gasket is the only thing that causes that symptom), and I was told as much when I got my oil changed at the dealer most recently.

My first question is what the basic scope of work is when replacing a head gasket and if it's something I could reasonably tackle myself with my repair manual and plenty of time? Another question I have is if anyone could speculate why the dealer might have quoted me 600ish to get it replaced and do the spark plugs with it when the usually costs I see around the internet is at least a thousand?

My accord is a 99 EX v6 coupe. Also if it's helpful I haven't noticed any oil in the coolant and otherwise the car ran fineish up until recently. When I went to go to the store the other day it just wouldn't idle right it kept jumping up and down from 1k down to around 250 RPMs it got even worse in reverse. I didn't end up actually driving the car that day though. Just prior to that my check engine light came on but I didn't get a chance to get it checked yet.

Thanks in advance to anyone who can offer me a little advice on my
situation.

is the car puffing white smoke out the tailpipe? is there fluid on the overflow tank resembling a chocolate milkshake? when you pull the oil dipstick is there coolant in the oil? The oil on your plugs,that can be caused by dryed out valve cover seals, the little donut seals that seal your plug tubes and the valve cover, they come in the valve cover seal kit, it happens on most hondas they dry out, and oil goes down into the plug tube, and sometimes if there is enough oil down there, that will cause an erratic idles becuase that particular plug submerged in engine oil wont fire or fires inadequetly due to the oil getting in your electrical connection at the plug. does the car have any other symptoms? and does your check engine light blink when its doing this erratic behavior? im thinking your cel code will be EGR related or a p300-306 for cyl misfire.


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post #3 of 11 Old 03-28-2011, 02:15 PM Thread Starter
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No white smoke, no sweet smell while running, the oil and the coolant are dirty but not mixed with each other in either place. I have noticed the cel blink a couple of times when the car idles really erratically on a start up. The only other real symptom that I have never really been able to tie to anything is while driving sometimes the car will kind of cap it self and not accelerate any more unless i let off the gas and get back on it hard. I don't mean at absurd speeds or RPMs either, it can happen at 30, 40, 70, or 85 but it always kind of sicks at around 3k RPM.
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post #4 of 11 Old 03-30-2011, 11:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lcawor View Post
I'm lead to believe I have a leaking head gasket since I have found oil on my spark plugs when changing them,
This means you (probably) need new spark plug seals. Pretty sure it's/they're #5


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Originally Posted by lcawor View Post
the car idles erratically (haynes manual says that a leaky head gasket is the only thing that causes that symptom), and I was told as much when I got my oil changed at the dealer most recently.
There are multiple reasons besides a leaking head gasket that can cause erratic idle.

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post #5 of 11 Old 03-30-2011, 06:26 PM
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How many miles?

A leaking head gasket causing an erratic idle? It depends on how bad. Burn that Haynes manual and buy a factory set of Helm's manuals.

Where's the green stain? If it's on the driver's side of the motor, on the forward side, dripping down along the transmission, check the water crossover gaskets. They are very prone to leaking on 3.5s, I've not seen a 3.0 leak, but its possible. These look VERY much like a front cylinder head, head gasket leak.

The surging idle is probably a stuck IAC.

The oil on the plugs, (if external) is as mentioned plug tube seals. Has the car ever had a valve adjustment? When that's done, replacing the gaskets and seals are a given. This tells me that it's never been done. I hope you put new HONDA wires on the car, as the oil will destroy them in short order. (if it has wires)

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post #6 of 11 Old 04-02-2011, 04:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fredsvt View Post
Where's the green stain? If it's on the driver's side of the motor, on the forward side, dripping down along the transmission, check the water crossover gaskets. They are very prone to leaking on 3.5s, I've not seen a 3.0 leak, but its possible. These look VERY much like a front cylinder head, head gasket leak.
(if it has wires)
Crossover as in the tube in the valley?

Maybe coincidence but when I switched to type 2 coolant a year ago, a leak developed at the large gasket behind my EGR valve. It was hard to pinpoint and dripped on the trans. Funny how in the parts diagram they call it "nippon leakless." It's stopped leaking on it's own for whatever reason. Someone on another forum had a leak here too.

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post #7 of 11 Old 04-02-2011, 07:39 PM
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The crossover is the casting that goes between the heads. (the one the EGR valve bolts to)

Honda calls is a "water passage". The pipe that runs down the valley, goes into this casting. When you pull the crossover off, you can pull that pipe out and change the oring going to the block that leads to the back of the water pump.

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post #8 of 11 Old 04-03-2011, 05:01 PM
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Gotcha. Here's my dribble (seen inverted through the Barbie-looking mirror). Is this where the 3.5's leak too? If you don't see the trail coming from the bolt below the EGR I could see how it's mistaken for a head gasket.
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post #9 of 11 Old 04-03-2011, 07:12 PM
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That's the leak. Unusual for a 3.0. The coolant runs down along the head/block joint and SOOOOOO many are misdiagnosed as a head gasket leak on perfectly good motors.

If you decide to do it, 2 gaskets, and the large o ring for the pipe that goes into it, or both large o rings should you decide to change the inner one.

Once the crossover is out, it's really easy to do the thermostat.

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post #10 of 11 Old 04-04-2011, 08:12 PM
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Well my car has gremlins so it's not that unusual. I keep telling myself the same thing my old boss said when we'd b*tch about the airplane maintenance, "But... Look at all of the things that do work." Anyone want to go for a plane ride?

Thanks for the repair advice, it's on the back burner since I think the gremlins recently set me up with vapor lock or the Shell station gave me a deal on ethanol.

Wonder what happened to the OP, lcawor?

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post #11 of 11 Old 04-14-2011, 03:05 PM Thread Starter
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Been real busy for the past couple weeks and I appreciate all the responses.

I forget exactly how many miles but its somewhere between 193-197k.

The stain is pretty much exactly where you described it. I replaced the IAC probably about a 2 years/20k miles ago. If it's ever have a valve adjustment it's before I bought the car, I got it at 162k miles. I did put new wires in when I changed the plugs last.
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