New headgasket AGAIN

Hey, guys, this is second time that this happened to me.
I used to happy owner of Integra with 220,000 of mileage.
Couple of months back, I replaced CV axle and MTF in tranny. On the two hour long trip, I noticed my engine was overheating. I stopped my car, let it cool and refill it with water. I unscrew the radiator cap(carefully) I and noticed that small bubbles were coming up.
I rented a block tester from Autozone and discovered that these bubbles are exhaust gases.
So I ordered Japanese head gasket and bolts kit and took the head to machine shop to check for cracks. Me and my buddy had rebuild everything back to how it was.

Car ran like a dream for about a months. However, about two weeks ago I noticed that car would start up with more hesitation(3-4 cycles before it would actually start after keyturn). About a week ago I noticed that engine would also start somewhat rough. It all culminated when I was stuck yesterday with plumes of white smoke coming out of the exhaust pipe. The engine shook violently as if was running on one cylinder. It wouldn’t hold idle either.
Then today engine would start normal, however, I didn’t drive it anywhere. I didn’t want to risk. The white smoke was still coming from the pipe.
Sparkplus: #1 and #2 looked cleaner than ashy #3 and #4.
I tested a sample of oil from the engine. I put several drops of oil on the aluminum foil and put a lighter under it. Oil began to splatter indicating that the was water in the oil. I also noticed that every time I shut down my engine, I hear hissing noise for another 5 seconds after engine is completely off.

So at this point I am baffled. I am not sure what to do. I am thinking about replacing the all the injectors to test the theory that old injectors would leak and destroy head gasket while car is parked. I am not really aware of any leaks from my injectors.

I am preparing to reorder the $100 gasket kit and take the head by the machine shop again(another $100).
I will take any advices to help me to troubleshoot this issue

If you do some googling you’ll find not many people recommend those cheap gaskets , especially the head gaskets .


$99 for all of that stuff . . . don’t take this the wrong way, but that’s way too cheap

if it smells too good to be true, it probably is

Translation . . . if you paid $99 for all that stuff, the quality is probably garbage

As for that machine shop, did they clean up the head . . . ?!

Did they make sure it isn’t warped beyond specs, and if it was warped, did they “clean it up” to bring it within specs. By the way, after doing that, they’re supposed to measure the head thickness, to make sure it isn’t too thin.

Did anybody put a straightedge on the block? Is the block aluminum?

Can I assume your coolant level is dropping, and you can’t see any external leakage?

What year is this Integra? Has it been well maintained? Is the body in decent shape?

Is it even worth saving?

If you need major engine repairs, or even another engine, I’d say it’s probably not worth fixing

By the way, did you replace the cap and thermostat? Have you verifed that the electric fans are even working?

Did you check both the engine block deck and cylinder head for flatness?

What about inspection of head bolt hole threads and proper tightening of the head bolts?

What about flatness of intake manifold flange and the surface of the cylinder head where the intake mates up?

Fuel injectors are not ruining the head gasket.

Gents, thank you for reply. Machine Shop cleaned the head and checked it for warpage. Aluminum Block was checked with the straight edge. I didn’t observe any external leakage after I fixed the ruptured bypass hose.
This is 1995 Acura. New paint is about 2 years old. Clutch was done year ago. Overall is the decent shape. The only stop is the headgasket at this point.
I have replaced thermostat and cap.
Fan turns on at about 1/3 of the way between Cold and Hot. Runs for about a minute.

Head bolts: I did a visual inspection of the hole’s threads. We didn’t “chase” it. I guess we should have. As for tightening, we used a tightening diagram and tightened it to the spec using torque wrench.

Use a high quality gasket set this time . Felpro gaskets are good .

What about the intake manifold surface? Isn’t there a coolant port near one of the intake runners?

I cleaned the intake manifold surface and put in a new gasket

Good ideas above. Consider to purchase a replacement head gasket at an Acura dealer. Besides a defective head gasket the first time around, maybe you didn’t get it positioned correctly. It isn’t that uncommon for a diy’er to install a head gasket 180 degrees backwards, back to front. So double check on that.

And it may be that you aren’t tightening the head bolts in the correct sequence. They usually have to be tightened in a certain order, and in rounds of ever increasing tightness. Seek out the published shop procedure for this if you don’t have it, geared to you make/model/year/engine. That would appear in the factor service manual for example.

As suggested above, if the holes the head bolts go into have any debris at the bottom, or the threads are problematic, that could cause this symptom.

Suggest while doing this to replace the thermostat, and check it in a pot of water on the stove to make sure it opens at the correct temperature and correct opening dimension. And pressure test the cooling system and radiator cap.

Edit: It’s possible for head gasket-like symptoms to be caused by other ways in some engines, like a faulty intake manifold gasket. Don’t know if this applies in your case, but worth checking. The most likely way a head gasket fails is from the cylinder to the coolant, which causes the bubbles you saw before and it makes the coolant very acidic which is something you can check with a chemical test kit. If you don’t have indications of cylinder leaking into the coolant path, consider that this isn’t even a head gasket problem at all.

Edit part 2: You using new replacement head bolts, right?

I recall seeing head bolts in that picture

Guys, thanks for help.

What do you guys know about Evergreen bolts? Evergreen HB4011 90-01 Acura Integra GS LS RS 1.8L SOHC B18A1 B18B1 Head Bolt Set: Automotive Evergreen HB4011 90-01 Acura Integra GS LS RS 1.8L SOHC B18A1 B18B1 Head Bolt Set: Automotive
I figure that every time I doing head gasket - I have to replace the bolts just like the first time. Because of the bolt stretching and they don’t thread the same way

This is just my personal opinion but I wouldn’t be afraid to use those bolts but I wouldn’t use Evergreen gaskets . I have an engine that I’m considering installing a different set of heads on & I was considering one of those ebay gasket sets . After doing a lot of online reading I found that a lot of people have problems with those cheap gasket sets , especially the head gaskets . I know that name brand gaskets cost a lot more but I came to the conclusion that one place you don’t want to cheap out is on head gaskets .
If your head bolts are TTY { torque to yield } you’re not supposed to reuse them . From what I understand if the torque specifications say xx lbs & xx degrees the bolts are TTY . I just used x’s in place of whatever your specs are .

Maybe look for another engine?Because,personally,I wouldnt trust this one now.

Some other tips. Make sure the block deck and cylinder head surface are SURGICALLY clean. This means using acetone and a lint-free cloth to make sure ANY residue possibly on the mating surfaces are removed. You want to make sure that there is no contaminants to compromise the sealing surfaces of the head gasket. And, always use a high quality head gasket. I like Fel-Pro, and Honda OEM is also a good choice. Also, use good quality head bolts and chase the threads. Any debris in the bolt holes will alter the torque reading and may lead to improper clamping force on the heads.

Thank you, guys!

I just bought Nippon head gasket, which OEM material used at Honda/Acura factory

I didn’t chase bolts initially which was my mistake. I think I will go with Evergreen set of bolts.

Head was cleaned in the machine shop where it was milled, pressure tested and cleaned. I didn’t remove residue with acetone from block or head, just cleaned BLOCK surface from remnants of gasket and lightly sanded with fine sandpaper.

Rig up a shop vac to vacuum out the bolt holes of debris.

Or maybe better to ask: How do you pro’s get the holes clean after chasing? Vacuum? Or blow them out with pressurized air?

Just in case I had to replace the head gasket in my boat a few times, tuned out there was a defect that formed in the cylinder wall causing the head gasket failure, jb weld did not fix it.

I would steer clear of those cheap parts from E-Bay…Gaskets or bolts.
The only parts from E-Bay that I’d ever use surely wouldn’t be parts that are critical to the workings of the engine or tranny.
Maybe some tail light lens’s, wiper blades, floor mats, or a stereo.

Like the sign at the feed mill “our price for good clean oats is market price…If you want the cheaper ones that have already gone through the horse…let us know”.

Things like this I would prefer that my local parts store sell me.

I’d hate to have an inferior gasket, that may not last long. I don’t like to redo work like this in the near future.
And I won’t trust some cheap head bolts that may not take the torque. I’ve never snapped one off, but have loaned tools to two people last year that did break a head bolt.
Note that I did not offer to help!!!


I would suggest that you compare all of the openings in the head gasket with the openings in both the head and block to make sure that the gasket fitment is correct.

did u use a sanding block to keep from gouging head surface? I would use a 18" 2x4 wrapped with sheet sandpaper. Use diagonal X strokes.