99 Honda CRV burnt valves/cylinder head

My 99 CR-V has lost compression in cyl #3 and now #4, 40 and 30psi respectively. Still runs, about 10mpg or less local, 14 highway. No HP, forget fifth gear unless I’m drafting someone downhill on the highway. I’ve got 228k on this otherwise nice vehicle. CEL reading misfire codes galore. Anyhow, should I trust one of these outfits that will send me a rebuilt head with my returning the core or should I pay some local a bunch more for the rebuild?

I bought a rebuilt cylinder head for an Escort from eBay. It was just a machine shop in WV. I looked at the feedback and all of that. I get the trepidation, but I guess I figured I actually had more info about them than anyplace else. Aside from that, I don’t even have a local machine shop that will do a cylinder head. So…I went ahead with it. It’s been a good 70K miles or so. I haven’t had any trouble with it. Just make sure that if you do an online order it’s not from someplace in Nigeria or something. The most important thing will be some way to access reviews and what their return & warranty policies are like.

The receipt and return was wildly easy, btw. The head came from UPS ready to install. The old head went right back in the box with their supplied shipping label and I just had to arrange to get back to UPS. There was no waiting around after pulling the head. All in all I’m happy with the way I did it.

I stay local for a repair like this.

If there’s a problem with the replacement head, you don’t have the hassle with return shipping and waiting for a replacement or refund.



Are you 100% sure the valves are burnt?

Tight valve lash will lead to low compression

Tight valve lash that is ignored for too long will lead to burnt valves

In any case, if the rest of the car is in fine shape, I’d consider getting the head rebuilt. I’d be tempted to have a local shop do it, in case problems arise

By the way, is the price difference huge?

Have you made some calls?

May we assume you’ll be installing the rebuilt head yourself?

Thanks, I’m looking into local options but… Don’t want junkyard but I’ve gotten a couple of pretty expensive quotes for having the thing done. Just that one online price was reasonable with a 12month unlimited mile guarantee. I think the brothers said on a recent show to get a rebuilt one and just “drop it in” without messing with the valves and all except for adjusting once the head was installed. Gotta do the water pump and timing belt too though.

Not 100%, just mostly from what I’ve read about this year CRV and symptoms along with the compression. I’ve also gone 70k without an adjustment. Will valve lash cause that much loss of compression?


Those quotes you mentioned . . . did you tell the shops that you would be bringing them the head only, versus the whole car?

I agree with you about the junkyard heads. Stay away from them. The guides and seals might be no good, among other things

No. It’s kind of a tight market around here. The shops I’ve talked/been to want to do everything themselves. I live in Rochester MN, there’s a few shops in the Twin Cities I could pull the head, bring it to, go back and get or ship I suppose, meantime I’ve got no car. There’s a couple more shops I’m going to try and then there’s word of mouth…

Give a call to Headwerks in Bloomington.


Okay. What do you know about them?


You sound like the kind of guy who knows what he’s doing

That said, I say remove the head yourself and bring it somewhere

Don’t you have a friend or relative who could lend you a car for awhile?

I’d spend the money on a (fairly cheap) valve adjustment before I put out the BIG $$ to replace the head.

I agree. If I’m not mistaken, Honda doesn’t use shims, so that valve adjustment would literally only cost as much a new valve cover gasket, provided OP did the work himself

Anytime I need head work done that’s where I go. They do only what has to be done.


I suppose, but as I am not a betting man I would still put money (ha) on some of the valves themselves being burnt up.

Keep in mind that if some valves are out of adjustment that any adjustment that brings the compression up may be a short term fix; especially if any exhaust valves are tight.

It doesn’t take many miles for an exhaust valve face or seat to suffer microscopic damage. Over time that microscopic damage will grow due to leakage of exhaust gas and compression will drop again after the valves have been adjusted.

As an analogy, think of an earthen dam with water trickling over the top through a tiny rivulet. At some point in time that rivulet will enlarge and become a gusher…

I just emailed Headwerks so we’ll see what they say.

I bought a rebuilt one (from an Integra) on eBay for $300 back when I had a burnt valve at 175k. At 271k now and doing ok. Big job for my first time but it actually ran when I got it back in!