2002 honda accord possible head gasket problem

Hello guys i have a couple question i was recently involved in a collision last weekend which was memorial weekend and from the damage that i can see it is probably going to be totaled.

Now my question is i have been looking on craigslist for another vehicle from 98-02 honda accord i have found a 2002 honda accord and the guy wants $1100 dollar but there is a catch he says it wont start and that he thinks it a possible head gasket from what i can see the car looks intact no body damage and it is a 5 speed EX model which means it has a sun roof and leather interior now the one that i wrecked was a LX model 99 5 speed which i had done some modification to like first i had full exhaust, high catalytic converter, dc header, short ram air intake, lowering springs and 2 of my favorites mods where i install a big sound system and i had done a 4 lug to 5 lug conversion and went from rear drum brakes to disc brake now the cons that my car had were that obviously it might be totaled now but also i used to burn about a quart of oil every 400 miles now i know thats bad piston rings but i was always on top of that and made sure my oil was always topped off and since i knew that, that could possibly end the engines life one day i purchased another used engine with about 120k and i was slowly rebuilding with new water pump, oil pan gasket, valve cover gasket, distributor seal and gasket, and many others so pretty much it was ready to go for when my engine finally gives up…

so i am wondering should i invest in this other car its only $1100 dollars and i will be doing all the work myself and also if it is not jus the head i have a almost rebuilt engine jus sitting in the garage and i do have a whole other car i can take parts off of jus in case it might be a bad fuel pump, relays, ignition, spark plugs, wires, anything my car used to run jus fine actually i can still start it now it jus dont move because i think i broke the passenger cv axles and tie rod…

any advice would be greatly appreciated


here my honda

West coast cars have rust free bodies. Or at least much less rust than Midwest/east coast cars. Sounds like you work on stuff so a simple head gasket job should be easy.

WOW…Not a Single mark of Punctuation in that entire Blob of words. LOL… I can barely make out what you are asking but I think I get the jist of it. So you wrecked your vehicle…and want to know if you should buy ANOTHER wrecked vehicle so that you can install a used engine that, in your words you “Rebuilt”? By rebuild, you meant this… “” rebuilding with new water pump, oil pan gasket, valve cover gasket, distributor seal and gasket, and many others “” Basically NONE of what you listed here constitutes a Rebuild of ANY Engine. The parts you listed will basically do little to nothing to ensure a long or healthy life of that “New/Used” engine…and this is the engine you will be using in the newly purchased 1100 parts vehicle?

UGH… I don’t think you are going about any of this correctly. If you want to buy the 1100 vehicle…then be prepared to do the Cylinder Head Job and Everything else that would go along with it… Like the T-Belt and all the Gaskets etc. I wouldn’t rely too much on that other used engine you are “Rebuilding”…Since your rebuild is nothing of the sort. I would just leave the other used engine out of the picture if possible and focus on the original engine of the 1100 dollar car.

Now if you purchased the 1100 vehicle hopefully you will do all the cylinder head work it needs and simply drive it after you repair it. I wouldn’t rely on this other used engine UNLESS you actually do a PROPER Rebuild on the thing…Anything less and it really wouldn’t be worth all the hassle with a questionable power plant. Unless you had been able to drive the vehicle while the used engine was still running so you can at least know how it ran etc…

I’m not sure how to answer your question. IF you know how to Properly Rebuild an engine and do all the work yourself. Its not unusual to buy a vehicle that has mechanical problems, repair it and drive it. I do this all the time actually…but I know what I am doing. I DO NOT think you should buy this vehicle if you cannot do the repairs yourself and don’t know how to take an engine down and rebuild it. All you will be doing is burying yourself in a lot of work and money for repairs. I guess it all depends on your skill level. Like I said…I do this stuff all the time…its easy when you know what you are doing…like anything else I suppose.

You need to ask yourself if you can handle the engine work first. Because your new used engine is not rebuilt and you may be trying to install a junk engine in a Junk vehicle. If this were me? I would simply buy the broken car…repair the engine that is already under the hood…and motor on down the road. I wouldn’t go about it in the way you outlined, no.


@Honda blackbird, I saw a comma in there somewhere.

I too agree that what the OP describes as a rebuild is nothing of the sort.
New bearings, rings, cylinders honed, new oil pump, head reworked and valves ground, timing belt/chain replaced, are more of a real rebuild.

If you do want to get into the $1100 car, be sure the engine even turns over. A know a guy that bought one like that and the motor was so seized from the coolant mix in the oil that it couldn’t even be turned over with the head removed.


LMFAO I didn’t know this was a forum where I had to be an english major if that is the case maybe I should have went to college instead of joining the military for 13 years…lol… nope I wouldn’t change a thing college just ain’t for me. But anyways back to the subject at hand.

As for some of those question Blackbird had about the used engine in my garage. Well when I went to purchase the engine from the owner it was still in the vehicle and it ran perfect purred like a kitten and the odometer did read just above 120k miles. He also did say he was the only owner and mentioned that he had never done the timing belt and yes I have one sitting in a box somewhere in the garage which I will be change if I end up using that engine.

I know this isn’t really a total rebuild more like a preventive maintenance and cleaning up but its half way there the only things i didn’t take apart was the block and the head because like I had mentioned it was running perfect it wasn’t burning oil or making any knocking sounds. I just wanted to make sure I cleaned up all the little leaks it had around the valve cover, oil pan and distributor.

I will be checking out the car I’m hoping Monday to make sure it turns but if it doesn’t turn over I still have that very clean engine that was cleaned up NOT totally rebuilt by me.

A question . . .

Is this “spare” 1999 engine the exact same engine as in that 2002 Accord for $1100 . . . ?

Will it drop in and start up, without any changes?

Will you be able to use ALL of the model year 2002 emissions components?

Will the model year 2002 PCM work with this 1999 engine?

If not, it may be a big problem, depending on where you live

It is 3 model years older, that is why I’m asking. After all, manufacturers often change engines, before changing the body style

OK…so you did get to experience the other engine while it was in the other vehicle. Thats good…at least you know its relative health status. A good starting point. I believe the 99 and 02 are the same generation of Accord so the motor should be a drop in…even the wire harness should be the same…You can look up those details on any of the HondaSwap sites…they have very clearly documented what engine will go in which vehicle and what it needs in order to do the swap. I do believe those are the same Gen vehicle, of course check me on that though. In Honda Land, same Gen means a straight swap…which is nice n easy.

Knowing the other engine is good…and after making sure its a relatively easy swap…you just need to decide if you are able to do the work. See if you can repair the other vehicle as it sits…if not…do the swap.

With a known good spare engine…and a possibly repairable spare engine, all you need to know is if you have the skills to do the work…


well an issue has came up I went to check out this vehicle today and I was checking it all out once I opened the hood and looked at the code on the engine block I realized that it was an F23A4 which is the ULEV engine that honda put in some of those accords.

The engine’s that I have are F23A1 now I gave the guy an offer of $900 for the car and he said he would do it, but the issue is that engine has it been done before, meaning has someone took out an F23A4 and replaced it with an F23A1 I have been doing some research and people say I would have to change ECU which I do have from the donor car.

Also the guy did say he sure its just a head gasket because he has no compression…

Since your old engine is toast, 400 miles per qt of oil and the car engine in the new car is probably toast.
He says it won’t start and needs a head gasket, I would plan on a new engine factored into my cost, to make it good. Now after factoring in a new engine with no test drive could be transmission, bearing, brake etc. problems, and I think at that point a used checked out and with good mainenance might be a better buy.

Here’s how it works on my state . . .

Whatever engine was available for the car’s model year, you’re allowed to have it in the engine bay, and still be legal for smog purposes

For example, if 2002 Accord had both the F23A4 and F23A1 as options, either would be fine

however, if F23A1 was not an option for 2002 model year Accord, there maybe a problem, if and/or when the smog guy catches that discrepancy

yes the F23A1 was an available option for the 2002 model the only real difference is that I can see is the A4 is ULEV and A1 is non-ULEV, also I have read that the ULEV engine has 2 catalytic converters and the non-ULEV has 1 cat but i can pull my exhaust system out of my car to be able to use my F23A1 that I have sitting in the garage that ran perfect before i pull it that this engine does not burn any oil what so ever.


Virginia takes it one step further, going by the VIN, if it had a 2.4l 4cyl it will not pass with any other engine even if it was an option for that car. For example my 2002 Camry was available with either a 4 or 6 cyl. If I replaced the the 4cyl in mine with a 6cyl I fail. So much for engine upgrading in my case.

coronafamilia wrote:
LMFAO I didn’t know this was a forum where I had to be an english major

If you want people to help you for free, common sense says that you make it as easy as possible for those people to do that. Many people who might be able to help you aren’t interested in wasting time sorting through that jumble of words. I know that I’m not. Good luck.

I would never pay more than scrap valve ($500 in this case) for a car I can’t test drive.

I’m not worried about passing smog, what I worry about is can this be done swapping to a different engine I have an ECU, wire harness, full exhaust system.

I know i can’t test drive the car but for $500 I can even get a decent paint job and the paint on this car is in great condition except for the hood (clear coat pealing off) which I can take it to a local shop and get it resprayed to match the rest of the car.

My prior vehicle which is sitting on my drive way has $4k dollars damage to the front right passenger side so pretty much the hood, fender, cv axles, tie rod, right passenger door, front bumper, sub frame, and radiator support are all toast but the rest of the car is in awesome shape.

If I could talk him down to $500 that would be awesome but he is firm on the $900 which is better that $1100.

You must live in CA… That smog test makes me cringe all the way over here in PA


“I’m not worried about passing smog”

Makes me think OP lives in a state with absolutely no emissions testing of any kind . . .


LOL yeah I know smog testing is crazy here but I think it is a waste of money because I have been hearing that they want to pass a bill where if the car is 15 yrs and older you can op out of getting a smog, but for now its just rumors, and you can find shop that you can pay a little extra and bam smog passed.

Georgia has a 25 year limit. Then it becomes an antique.