Question about 1992 Honda Civic

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Head Gasket Install - Blowing White Smoke - Temp change didnt help :(

I know it isnt recommened to change this on your own unless you are a "pro" but with the labour costs I am going to have to give this a shot . I need STEP by STEP instruction on the process.


Please HELP !!

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  • crotty_j Sep 25, 2008

    I have all the tools and torque wrench ! Thanks for your advice and I plan on changing the belts anyways ....why the water pump ?? The thermostat was our first try but that didnt help and has already been done : )

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Your best bet for finding such information is on www.civicforums.com - it's an owner/enthusiast site that has a ton of technical know-how that is specific to the Civic. They have tech sections with step-by-step, photo-referenced procedures for a lot of work and I would not be surprised if they have information such as this. Also, pick up a Hayne's manual for your car (around $20 at a parts store) - their information is good and they have a lot of photos, plus all the torque specs you'll need. Just be sure to follow the instructions to the letter, especially when it comes to torquing down the cylinder head bolts - there's a specific pattern that you must follow.

It's definitely not a job for the faint of heart, but it can be done. You'll need a decent tool set (Sears has mechanic sets for around $100-150 that are more than enough, although you may find you need a specific specialty tool here or there that won't be included). You'll need a torque wrench as well - I got mine at Advance Auto Parts for $44 and it goes to 150 ft-lbs (more than enough for any bolt I've come across on a car). You also may find that a pair of steel ramps, to get the car's front end off the ground, are worth the $25 or so - it can save your back by bringing the engine up to you.

Remember though that when you remove the head, you have to remove the timing belt as well, and anytime you take a timing belt off, I'd highly recommend putting on a new belt and timing tensioner. If it's been awhile since the timing belt has been changed, or if you're approaching a 90k mile interval (90, 180, 270k, etc) you're due anyhow, so you should put in a new water pump, thermostat, and accessory belt(s) as well. There is a reason that the shops charge a lot - it's a lot of work, and if you are proactive with preventative maintenance (like doing the timing belt at the same time), it can cost even more.

Posted on Sep 24, 2008

  • Jeremy Dellow
    Jeremy Dellow Sep 25, 2008

    The water pump is a wearable item and is typically designed to last the length of the service life of the timing belt - for that reason it's recommended that you change it along with the belt. On top of that, replacing it is usually a pretty invasive job and requires quite a bit of teardown, so while you're in there doing the timing belt, you can change out the water pump at the same time and save yourself the duplication of labor that you'd have if the pump were to wear out at a later time. Better to replace one that has 5k miles or so left in it now, than to do all that work, put the car all the way back together, and then have to tear it all apart again two months down the road. It's easiest to just do it at once and get it all over with in one shot, and then not worry about it again for a long time.

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