93 Honda Civic DX Hatchback - 1.5 engine 16 valves


I have just replaced the head gasket on my 93 Honda Civic for my car keeps overheating. Before I replaced the head gasket I thought it was the thermostat. That didn’t seem to take care of the problem. I have checked the radiator for leaks, changed the oil, changed the spark plus. The head gasket went on great and my car is running on 3 cylinders now. I went to test drive the car and it overheated way into the red zone. It’s never done that since I had the car. Tonight I’ll be checking to make sure water is circulating. Any suggestions?


Did you check the flatness of the head before reinstalling it? Did you thoroughly clean the head and block surfaces and check for erosion grooves? Did you torque the head bolts in the correct sequence?

If you’re only operating on three cylinders…what’s the fourth plug look like? Wet?

If you overheated it way into the red zone during the first drive after installing the headgasket, and it’s now operating on three cylinders, then you’ve done something wrong in the installation and have probably now warped the head.


Check the radiator for corroded fins, from the rear with the shroud pulled away. See if your plug wires are on correctly. CW means clockwise and CCW weans counter-clockwise for the direction of rotor rotation. The timing may be too far advanced.


I’ve got a lot of suggestions, but to take a few at a time…

You state it’s running on 3 cylinders. Do you mean this literally as in 3 of 4 or figuratively as in generally running like a slug?

If it’s the former pull the plugs and examine the tips. They should all be tan in color.
If it’s the latter then have you set the ignition timing properly with a timing light? The test plug must be jumped when setting the timing. If the timing is severely retarded the engine will run badly and will overheat.

A clogged catalytic converter can also cause a poor running engine and overheating. In some cases it can overheat badly enough to cook an engine.
Converters can be checked with the help of a vacuum gauge.

There’s some more stuff but it would help to know if you have one particular cylinder dead or if this is a general “runs bad all over” type of thing.