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Eastern USA Local discussions for those in the Eastern USA. (Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maine, Washington, DC. New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia)

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Old April 11th, 2020, 06:29   #1
ttcheung
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Sudbury, MA
Fuel Economy: 45mpg
Default Looking for a machine shop near Metrowest

Hello, I am reaching out to find someone / some shop who can / will resurface an engine head. I have a 1991 Honda Prelude Si with a blown head gasket; I have cleaned off the head's sealing surface, put a straight edge on it, and have not seen any warpage. Problem is, I used a brass wire brush to clean the sealing surface, and did not know this would create micro-scratches that'd compromise head gasket sealing capabilities. I'm not sure if the cleaning I've done is okay, and that's why I'd like to get it checked.

I was originally going to drop the car off at a shop to get the gasket replaced, but nobody would touch the car, citing they don't do head gaskets or that they won't touch 30yr-old cars, even if rust-free.

Thanks in advance.
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Old April 11th, 2020, 08:02   #2
pdq import repair
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Is it a 2.0, or 2.05 SI, they are different in just about every way so be sure when ordering parts.
I have been working on Honda cars since the very beginning (in America) and headgaskets have been an issue especially in the early years. I have done hundreds of them, especially during the headgasket recall years.

Micro scratches are not a big issue although poor refinishing or deeper scratches can be an issue on the multi layer steel gaskets. I don't remember if they went away from graphite gaskets on the Prelude in '90 like the Accord or not.

On the earlier graphite design, if the headgasket blow was caused by overheat issues, you will have a repeat blow as many times as you care to experience unless you replace the head with a new one, or one that has not experienced a severe overheat. If you could find a knowledgeable temperer like the Boeing engineer that we found, he may be able to repair it's disrupted metallurgical structure. Mere refinishing or truing the head if warped is not enough in these cases.
I no longer mess around with Hondas as my own cars due to fragile engines as compared to others, (except maybe Subaru).
If you have a multi layer gasket and the head is warped less than .004" you might get lucky. On a side note, aftermarket gaskets are a no-go regardless of all else unless you can get a good Japanese one made by the company for Honda, like Stone or ishino brand. I have seen aftermarket gaskets not even get out of the bay before blowing bubbles in the radiator, only to have to be redone with original.
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Old April 12th, 2020, 07:58   #3
gmenounos
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Watertown, MA, USA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ttcheung View Post
I was originally going to drop the car off at a shop to get the gasket replaced, but nobody would touch the car, citing they don't do head gaskets or that they won't touch 30yr-old cars, even if rust-free.
You might try these guys: https://www.yelp.com/biz/century-aut...achine-waltham

They're not afraid to work on 40ish-year-old heads:

https://bimmerlife.com/2018/07/08/re...rtha-so-close/
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Old April 23rd, 2020, 11:39   #4
ttcheung
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Sudbury, MA
Fuel Economy: 45mpg
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The replies are much appreciated. The block is a 2.0, and the head is a 2.1. The head gasket used was for the 2.0, and from reading the Prelude forums, the 2.0 gasket is too small and damages the gasket due to the gasket itself protruding into the combustion chambers. The 2.1 (2.05) gasket is the appropriate one on these "hybrid" setups. Further, the head bolts, a good number of them, weren't that tight.



The engine did not overheat. I ultimately took it to an automotive machine shop in southborough and the guy did a nice job resurfacing it. The machinist noted, by the sealing surface textures, that the head must've previously been resurfaced on a belt sander. He also noted that the sealing surface wasn't even parallel with the valve cover gasket side!


I've used a tooth brush as well as this plastic bristle detailing brush along with brake cleaner to get the graphite gasket residue off the block side.. I have purchased an MLS gasket from Cometic.



Despite Honda head bolts being the re-usable type, I had wanted to buy some new ones. However, nobody seemed to carry replacements, so I checked the old ones for elongation as well as thread pitch; it seems that all is still good.
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Old April 23rd, 2020, 11:50   #5
ttcheung
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Location: Sudbury, MA
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btw, that was a pretty good story. I have an old M3/4/5 and was welcomed to the world of New England rust when I bought it and didn't check all the high-risk rust areas. There are also a lot of autobody shops who won't repair rust, as they said it's just liability....
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Last edited by ttcheung; April 23rd, 2020 at 12:04. Reason: added more verbiage
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