How to Replace Head Gasket on a Honda

Need to know How to Replace Head Gasket on a Honda? Changing a head gasket on a Honda is a fairly complex job, but by no means impossible. Honda's seldom need this repair and generally give a good account of themselves. You need a full day, some patience and a good range of tools.

  1. First off, it generally helps to remove the hood from its support brackets. Pop the lifters and remove the four bolts.
  2. Remove all of the associated pipework from the radiator (the system should be drained first) and remove the electrical connectors to the cylinder head and/or the wiring which will get in the way. Label the wires so you don't get mixed up when refitting everything.
  3. The cylinder head is a heavy piece of equipment, so sometimes it is easier to remove the intake manifold. Be careful that coolant will still be in the cylinder head and the manifold.
  4. Remove the rocker covers six bolts. On Hondas with a D series engine, the cylinder head can be removed without taking the camshafts out. On a B series the camshafts have to be removed before the cylinder head will come off.
  5. Unbolt the header and the AC fan, if you have AC fitted.
  6. Set the engine to top dead center (TDC) on cylinder one. Take the park plug out, fit a screwdriver or pencil in the hole and turn the crankshaft by hand until TDC is reached. Lock the cam gears in place using a cam gear locking tool.
  7. Slide off the timing belt, make sure not to move the crankshaft or cam gears during this time.
  8. The cylinder head bolts can be found deep inside the cylinder head. They need to be removed half a turn at a time, in a sequence. Start at the middle and work your way outwards, criss-crossing backwards and forwards, so the cylinder head does not warp. Label the cylinder head bolts from where they came from.
  9. It is possible to lift the cylinder head up by yourself, but an extra pair of hands will help. Make sure no hoses, pipes or wiring will be in the way
  10. Clean the deck of the bottom end of the engine, using alcohol and a dry cloth. Check the cylinder head with a metal rule for straightness. It is said that getting it refaced is beneficial to ensure the new head gasket has a secure fit. Clean up the cylinder head using degreaser.
  11. Ensure there is no grease, then fit the new head gasket, use pencils to keep the gasket on straight. Honda recommends not to use the cylinder head bolts again as they are stretch bolts. Use motor oil on the threads to ensure a good fit and so they torque up correctly.
  12. Torque up the new head bolts in sequence and in stages, 22ft-lbs, then 53ft-lbs. Reconnect all of the wiring, coolant hoses and the timing belt. Fill the radiator and leave the cap off. Run the engine for 20 minutes to bleed air bubbles out of the radiator.
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