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5 Star Rising

JDM motor question. Block damaged

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So I know I'm on a Z forum and I got a few Zs but this question is about a 2001 Honda Civic Vtec.  I bought the car for cheap to use it as a commuter car. It had a blown head gasket and chocolate milk for oil. When I pulled the head I was obviously expecting a blown head gasket in which it was, but it also has a damaged block with missing material between the cylinders. Can this be repaired or should I get one of those jdm motors pulled from japan that is supposed to have low miles for like $600... Looks like I have a few stuck valves too. Shitty night finding this. Just looking for second opinions.

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Posted (edited)

It's hard to argue with a $500 longblock... https://jdmengineworld.com/product/jdm-d17a-engine-only/

 

Of note, since you're in california, one of these JDM engines wouldn't technically be smog legal because it was never sold in the US (JDM engines are D17A, yours is D17A2). I've seen a few people on Honda forums say they just stamped a "2" after their engine designation, and it's probably never going to be checked anyway since nobody knows you did a swap.

 

I have a JDM B16 in my CRX that I've personally put a little over 50k on with no problems that weren't self-inflicted. I believe the motor to have somewhere around 125k now. My Motor is a 91 and was installed sometime in the early 2000s, so longevity is certainly there.

 

If it weren't for the stuck valves in your case, I'd be tempted to just put the head back with a new gasket and run it, even with that pit between the cylinders, though I think it might have some sealing issues. JB weld?

Edited by ZHoob2004

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Is the spot where the head gasket blew out the same location as where the block has pitting between the cylinders?

 

If so, you can either get someone (or do it yourself) to weld in between the cylinder walls to fill in that gap and then smooth it down...or you can save yourself a ton of time and effort and just get a new engine.

 

How much is your time worth?

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That tiny divot between the tops of the cylinder sleeves probably doesn't matter.  The sleeves do the work.  Look at how thin the material is between the sleeves and the cooling passages.

 

Probably be more clear if you wipe the dirty oil off and put a flat edge on the sleeve ends.

 

The opposing spot on the cylinder head is probably of more concern.

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The spot where the head gasket completely blew apart in the middle is the exact spot where the divot in the block is. Should all the valves be seated in the head when the cam gear is set to TDC? There is a few popping out slightly. The PO said the car used to run rough before the head gasket blew, that could have been that issue. He also said he remembers seeing a brand new head gaskets on the car when he bought it used, as if this is the 2nd blown head gasket. Motor has 188k miles.

 

I bought the car for $700 cause it has a new paint job and new tires, interior is nice, but thought it would just be a head gasket. I called around for motors and one place quoted me $950 delivered, which is more than I want to pay for this commuter car.  My time is in fact valuable.. seems like I have a million things going on. I thought about repairing it, but then thought about the valve issues and also the fact that the repair could fail.

 

I have this thing taken apart in my driveway in which should have been a week turn around now I'm looking at complete motors and would be waiting for them to arrive on top of spending hundreds more than I thought. What kind of metal is the block in the center, can I weld it with my mig welder? Lol.

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If the cams are installed, there will always be some valves open. If a valve is open and its corresponding rocker is loose, then you have a problem. Another way to check is use a wrench on the cam (there should be a spot you can use to rotate it) and rotate it a full turn and check that the valves open and close as they should.

 

Looking at the block again, I would definitely run that as is. Head gasket seals along the rims of the cylinders, that part is just a bit rusted away because of coolant exposure. As long as the valves don't have any problems, just clean it up, check for flatness, and slap another gasket on there.

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17 minutes ago, 5 Star Rising said:

Well the machine shop guy was honest. Said he wouldn't do any head work after seeing these pictures up close. If you look close enough, part of the cylinder walls have deep grooves on the tops not just the cast section in the middle.

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Why would the machine shop guy talk about the head when you showed him pictures of the block and cylinders?   And don't you have a rag or a paper towel even?  Why don't you clean things up so that you can see?  Everything's covered in dirty oil.  And you're talking about welding the tops of the sleeves now.  That's a whole different thing.

 

Anyway, good luck.  There's probably a ton out there on the internet about rebuilding a 2001 Honda Civic Vtec engine, and that type of damage is probably common.  I'd get on a Honda site if you want experienced advice.  There is a proper procedure to follow for evaluating parts during a rebuild, and measurements to take to determine if they can be reconditioned..  Nothing that we've written here really helps you much.  You can't just weld up a thin area like that without warpage.  You'd be wasting time and money even if you could figure out how to separately weld the steel, then the aluminum.

 

That divot in the aluminum, the second arrow, looks like an incomplete casting actually.  Not caused by the HG blowing.  Normal.  Probably the same on hundreds of other blocks.

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Everything CAN be fixed. I had a friend with a rather expensive Italian engine that was made out of unicorn horns or something that had been completely underwater and had MASSIVE pitting everywhere, and he had his machinist weld and smooth on it for a lot of expensive time, and eventually, after throwing enough money at it, it was fixed completely.

 

You have a Honda engine though. Depending on how much you want to spend on this car, and how well everything else works on it, I would either just get a new engine, or scrap the whole car.

 

While throwing a new head gasket on it and hoping for the best will probably work for a while, it seems like you're gonna be right back to square 1 in a while. You said this has already happened before with a new head gasket. I'd hate to take the engine completely apart, only to have it fail within the year or so. You've already got the engine basically out, might as well keep going and put something that's actually gonna work in.

 

...or scrap the whole thing if the transmission isn't great and the interior sucks.

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I will be using this car to commute to work every day on the freeway and I want it to be reliable, if I was to try and weld it I would always be thinking about that thing giving out, being stranded and being back in square one. I was looking on the internet for motors and they were about $750 and up and freight is a pain where I live. So I called the local and ONLY wrecking yard where I live and he has a car with a vtech motor.

 

My car has 188k miles and so does this junk yard car.. it's a gamble to put another 188k stock motor back in my car but at least it doesn't have a blown head gasket "yet" that I can see and it comes with a 90 day warranty. I paid $540 for it out the door.

 

They will be pulling the good motor out of the junk yard car for me. The car wasnt wrecked which kind of freaked me out but it did have a broken flywheel so I'm hoping that was the main issue the PO gave up on the car since they couldn't start it.  Better off with a different motor, not sure what the hell I was thinking about welding the damn thing.  I have (3) 240zs, a 300zx TT, and a 71 Chevelle to work on , but I'm spending alot of time on this little Honda bastard. Hope it runs good.

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2 hours ago, 5 Star Rising said:

I will be using this car to commute to work every day on the freeway and I want it to be reliable,

 

Seems like math and calculations say to just buy another cheap car.  Part out the dead one.

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So I finally i picked up that motor from the local junk yard, they told me it's a good running motor with good compression and it comes with a warranty.  I'm getting ready to start swapping parts on it. I had already purchased a timing belt and water pump, a head gasket kit, and head bolts for the other engine when I thought I was only doing a head gasket job. I could now return most of these parts for a refund but i do know I'm going to change the timing belt and water pump on the new motor.

 

Then I got to thinking about the head gasket. If you guys were in this situation would you crack open the head and change the head gasket on the new motor even though it doesn't need it? Or just install the motor that runs with 188k miles on it? I worry about warping the head when taking it off, or having a bolt break, but at the same time the motor is out and I have the parts to change the head gasket if I wanted. I will probably use most of the parts that came in that head gasket kit for like the valve cover gasket and seals, but then not use the headgasket.  What do you think on fixing something that's not broke? Guess it would be for maintenance purposes since my head gasket blew at the same exact miles that this new motor has. But then again my car could have had cooling system issues that caused it to blow.

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Well wasted part of a Saturday. This new motor from the high priced junk yard is a POS. I told the guy to give me a good motor and check it good because I didn't want to waste each others time bringing it back. "We checked it out it's a great motor, there ain't nothin wrong with this motor". So I get it home and decide to change the rear main seal when I start looking closer and see that this $550 used junk yard motor has been cracked and repaired/welded and painted around the bell housing area. The guy told me that the fly wheel was damaged but the motor was good, I got to thinking why was the fly wheel was damaged at the time but he assured me just to use my flywheel and I would be fine. 

 

If you look at the dates circled in the bell housing it says 4/2018 and its crossed out then 4 months later it says 8/2018 in the same area. Thats telling me that the PO had to bring this thing into the shop twice for the same problem, next the car is found in the junk yard and it's not wrecked.   Something probably not lining up correctly after the case damage, a crank problem or the way everything mounts up could be off center. I already wasted a few hours getting this new motor ready, bought another $75 in gaskets and seals (luckily didn't install them)...I dont want to spend hours putting this damn thing together and back in my car only to have to pull it out again. Its loaded in my truck and ready to go back to the junk yard Monday morning. The receipt says they charge a 25% restocking fee to get a refund, we will see about that..Back to square one.

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