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98 Honda CRV Head Gasket - Is it blown?

My CRV started steaming at the stop light yesterday. I immediately pulled over and had it towed to the dealership.

It was as I suspected - the radiator hoses.

$325 to change those! They then called me to tell me the head gasket had blown and they have to grind the head and replace it. Bringing the bill to $1200. First can this blown head gasket ruin my engine by mixing in the oil? How do I know that this is in fact what happened? The car had been running perfectly. Is this extra $900 a common price to do this repair? Oh and the car has 164,000 with all scheduled maintenence done as required.


  • edited October 2010
    Did it actually overheat? Or did you just pop a hose?
  • edited October 2010
    If it overheated then yes, your head gasket may have been compromised and the repair is necessary. How do you know this actually happened? You can believe the dealership or choose not to believe them and have the car towed to another shop for a second opinion. $900 for a head gasket replacement with having the head machined is a pretty good deal.
  • edited October 2010
    As soon as I saw the steam I noticed the temp guage going up but it only made it midway before I parked and turned off the car. I have decided to tow it to another shop for an opinion. A shop by the way that has good reviews on this web site. Foreign Tech in Plantation Florida. Otherwise I have no idea if it did blow or not.
    By the way. My dad reminded me of an old test to see if the coolant mixed with the oil.
    Taste it. A drop of the oil would taste sweet if the coolant had gotten in there.
    Thanks for all the help.
  • edited October 2010
    I'll bet money the head gasket is ok. Based on what you've told us, there's no way it overheated.

  • edited October 2010
    There are a number of tests for a head gasket. Compression test, vacuum test, hydrocarbon test, inspection of the spark plugs and engine oil, cooling system pressure test, etc.
    Any or all of them should be used to eliminate any guessing on this problem.

    Coolant has a sweet taste but it's very debateable as to whether it could be tasted while mixed with motor oil.
    I hope you're aware that coolant can sickness or even death in quantity and used motor oil can cause cancer.
  • edited October 2010
    I've always heard that coolant tastes sweet, but it has never tasted sweet every time it's gotten in my mouth...It's more bitter, pretty gross.
  • edited October 2010
    Yeah, don't try the taste test lol...
  • edited October 2010
    Thank you,
    I spoke to the dealership this morning and it seems they have done these tests. When I quoted them Foregn Techs prices, which were less they did come down $100 and gave a rental car for two days. They did the compression test and inspected the engine oil. They are confident that this is what needs to be done. I'm going with it.
  • edited October 2010
    If the oil looks good and the coolant's good, I'd just drive it until an actual symptom shows up. CRV's have good engines not known for head gasket problems. Just watch the temp gauge closely.

  • edited October 2010
    good job pulling over and stoping.. Did the dealership say for sure why they knew the HG was shot. They are probably saying the HG needs to be replaced based on the fact that the car came in with a hose that was disconnecting.
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