I'm starting this thread for anyone who has enough GUTZ to attempt a Head Gasket Replacement. I'll give the reasons and also tips and tricks I used while doing mine. Hopefully anyone having any of the problems I experienced will be able to determine if they need to do this or have it done.
"This will be a work in Progress because it is such an intense repair so bare with me as I have little time each day to post."
I'll start by giving the symptoms that led to this major repair
1. Temperature gauge going all the way to hot, then suddenly dropping back to normal. "Every day"
2. Engine idles irratically;up&down;fast then slow; during cold starts. Especially in the morning.
3. No Heat. Then heat only after symptom #1.
4. Traces of coolant in the engine bay. Mainly on top of the radiator fan cover.
I went to the Acura dealer and here is how they beat me over the head, stole my check book, then had me begging to do it all over again.
1. They told me to bleed the air out of my coolant system. Did this 10 times with no improvement.
2. Suggested I get a new radiator. I replaced it myself and after 4 hours of work(because I had no garage at the time), it happened all over again. Basically I threw away a perfectly good radiator.
3. Told me it was a water pump problem so I had them do the timing belt and water pump which cost over $800.00. A day after I drove off .....it started all over again.
4. A month later coolant leaked right into the passenger floor. Had the stealer I mean dealer change out my heater core. Can't remember but it was 500 or more $$$. What tha F.......! Drove off Tuesday and behold back there on Wednesday Temp Gauge up and down, idle crazy, and sure to happen again if I don't find the real problem, a busted heater core.
5. After I took it back complaining like h*ll. The manager was nice enough to offer me $1000.00 off of the head gasket job which he originally quoted for $3000.00+
. I'm like O.K. who is the genius certified mechanic who diagnosed my problem the 1st time I came in? Which mechanic in these 20 pictures on the wall here do I have to thank for wasting my money and time? I grabbed my keys, ran over the manager, dumped a quart of anti freeze on the mechanic, and did a Michael Knight right through the garage door!!!!
No seriously I told him he was CRAZY and left never to return to that place again!!!
Now to the D.I.Y.........Took a lot of tools and Balz to do it but my Legend is one fast azz new gasket having Beauty right now. Also did water pump so I'll post instructions 4 that as well. Here we go.......
NOTE: DO AT YOUR OWN RISK. I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY DAMAGE YOU DO TO YOUR VEHICAL AS A RESULT OF THIS REPAIR. THIS D.I.Y. IS ONLY TO BE USED AS A REFERENCE GUIDE IN CONJUNCTION WITH YOUR OWN EXTENSIVE RESEARCH AND MECHANICAL ABILITIES FOR THIS JOB.
ALSO IF I POST A LINK FOR PARTS REFERENCE I AM NOT PROMOTING THAT COMPANY. I'M JUST GIVING A POINT OF REFERENCE. SHOP AROUND FOR YOUR BEST PRICE PLEASE!
All that being said if you have a garage, a good assortment of tools, a lot of patience, and some good mechanical skills, you should be able to complete this job with no problems. Just take your time, pay attention to what you are doing, and do it right the first time. Aprox time to complete for a 1st timer. 48 -72 hours. If it takes you longer don't worry, you can't rush perfection. That ACURA LEGEND is a work of art so take your time........
Latest quote I got for this job was $1700.00. It end up costing me about $1000.00. Oh and I get to keep all the x-tra tools I bought
I made a stupid mistake that cost me $200.00 but I'll talk about that later. Would have been $800.00.
Must have tool set:
a) IMPACT WRENCH
b) AIR WRATCHET
c) AIR HAMMER (FOR RUSTED EXHAUST BOLTS YOU NEED TO BUST)
d) METRIC IMPACT SOCKET SET
e) IMPACT SOCKET ADAPTER SET FOR ALL SIZE WRENCH TO SOCKET SIZES
f) IMPACT UNIVERSAL JOINT ADAPTER (FOR HARD TO REACH BOLT ANGLES)
g) AIR DRILL (ANY DRILL WILL DO THOUGH)
2. SPECIALY TOOLS
a) CRANKSHAFT PULLEY (HARMONIC BALANCER) HOLDER TOOL( If doing water pump and/or timing belt)
b) TORQUE WRENCH
c) 1/2" SOCKET SIZE BREAKER BAR
d) LONG IRON PIPE TO FIT OVER BREAKER BAR AND 1/2 INCH WRATCHET FOR XTRA LEVERAGE. (FOR CRANKSHAFT PULLEY BOLT)
e) A GOOD SHOP LIGHT.
f) ABRASIVE PADS FOR DRILL. (FOR REMOVING STUCK ON GASKET MATERIAL.
g) DREMEL TOOL WITH FLEXIBLE SHAFT (get wire brush set for cleaning. Polishing set optional.)
h) ZIP LOCK BAGS AND A BLACK SHARPIE MARKER ( ORGANIZATION OF NUTS AND BOLTS IS A MUST)
i) Chilton and or ACURA service manual. I have both.
j) Masking tape for labels.
k) Plastic BINS for larger parts.
l) Wratchet style oil filter wrench tool.
m) Magnetic Antenna screw getter thing. A MUST! drop a screw or socket down that engine compartment without it and you'll be sorry.
3. BASIC TOOLS
a) Good metric socket set with all size extensions and adpaters.
1. Most used sockets for this job from most to least are 10mm - 12mm - 14mm.
b) 1/4 ; 3/8 ; 1/2 wratchets.
c) FLOOR JACK AND JACK STANDS! DO NOT GET UNDER YOUR CAR WITHOUT JACK STANDS. (I STRESS USE THE STANDS AND PROP THE JACK ON SOMETHING UNDER THERE...JUST TO BE SAFE.)
d) Needle nose and basic pliers.
e) Standard and phillips head screw drivers.
f) A good metric wrench set. I had flared end and s shaped hard to reach wrench sets.
CHEMICALS and CLEANING:
b) Carb cleaner
c) easy off oven cleaner
d) Simple Green
e) SOS pads
f) Household Wire Brush
ENGINE BEFORE WORK BEGAN "What a dirty mess"
I'm going to say this one time only. As soon as you Take off your bolts, screws, brackets, etc.. , place them immediately into labeled zip locks or plastic bins and store them neatly. You will thank me later.. Hit up the dollar store and get a bunch of stuff to store your parts. Work smarter not harder.
I. Disconnect the battery terminals.
1. Check your ceiling height in your garage. Your going to need to stand the hood straight up and out of the way. This includes the x-tra height you will need to jack the car. Give yourself at least 8ft or more. If you don't have this headroom you will need to remove the hood completely. This will also save your back.
2. Remove the 4 10mm bolts that hold the hood supports to the hood, not the body. 2 on each side located about 1/2 way up the hood. Lay the supports down and prop the hood straight up using rope or some other clever support. Run the rope through the hood latch bracket for safety and attach the ends to something in your garage. I used the garage door guide assembly to attach it to. Be creative with your lighting you need plenty of room and focused lighting to see down in there. A hanging shop light hooked on string that you can slide from side to side would be perfect. That's what I did.
3. Jack the car up enough so you can get underneath where the exhaust manifolds attach to the y pipe. One on each side. Use jack stands so the front of the car is up in the air. (PLEASE USE YOUR EMERGENCY BRAKE AND STICK SOMETHING UNDER THE REAR TIRE(S) TO PREVENT ROLLING. DON'T BE STUPID!)
4. Now that you have plenty of room to work under the car. Remove the plastic shield under the radiator. 10mm bolts. There are a lot of them so find them all. Plastic anchors in there as well. Get them out of there so you'll have complete access to the radiator. Drain the oil and coolant. Remove the oil filter after draining and replace with new. If you don't know how to do this please stop here because it doesn't get any easier. Screw the oil plug back into the engine because you won't need to remove it again. Tighten but don't over do it.
5. Since your working under there grab your impact wrench, a 12mm impact socket, impact extension, and universal impact joint. Spray the exhaust bolts coming from the head pipes with WD40. let em sit for a min or 2 then impact them off of there. Make sure you seat the socket on the bolts clean so you don't strip them. You'll see why you needed that universal joint here. If you strip them or can not get them off, use an air hammer with chissel attachment to fracture the bolts "NOT THE SCREWS DO NOT DAMAGE THEM YOU HAVE TO PUT NUTZ BACK ON THEM" You may want to try a nut breaker tool if you are not comfortable working with an air chissle. Choose your weapon wisely.
6. (If your not changing the timing belt or water pump you will not have to remove the radiator. Skip this part.) Last thing under the car to do is remove the bottom coolant hose to radiator as well as transmission coolant lines to radiator. Grab your pliers for those clamps and a screwdriver to work the transmission hoses loose from the radiator. The've been on there a while so they will be stubborn. Wear some gloves to prevent slips that slice your hands up. Same thing for coolant hose just use a socket for the clamp screw. Can't remember the size. Maybe 8mm??? Can't recall.
7. Back to the top of the car. Remove the stabalizer bar and upper radiator hose completely.
8. Remove the plastic fuel rail covers 10mm.
9. Take a 17mm socket or wrench and a shop towel, wrap the towel around the fuel line to catch fuel, then loosen and remove the fuel line bolt and washer. Move hose out of the way towards windshield in towel. NO SMOKING PLEASE.
10. Disconnect all 6 ignition coils from wiring harness(Press Tab till you hear a click then pull) and unbolt them. Remove and take care in storing them. I even put them in order as to return to original locations. If you think you will not remember, now would be a good time to start labeling your harness with tape and markers( I didn't do this for this step but use your own judgement).
11. Remove the 4 nuts that hold the fuel rails down 2 on each side. 10mm.
12. Move on to removing the battery and mounting plate. The horn is connected to this plate so unbolt it as well but leave it connected to the harness.
13. Open the fuse box and unbolt the 2 power lines that connect with 10mm/phillip head screws. Unbolt the fuse box from the car frame. Push it towards where the battery was. It still has the wiring harness connected to it so leave it be. You just need to move it to get the left valve cover off.
14. TAKE THAT STUPID AIR FILTER ASSEMBLY FROM THROTTLE BODY TO FENDER OFF THE CAR AND THROW IT IN THE F'N TRASH! LOOKS LIKE SOMETHING YOU CONNECT TO YOUR TOILET! TAKE THE MONEY YOUR SAVING ON THIS JOB AND BUY AN AFTERMARKET INTAKE. I GOT A RM RACING INTAKE FOR $190.00. SEARCH THE WEB AND FIND ONE THAT'S RIGHT FOR YOU. I HAVE A TYPE II WITH TCS. YOU MAY HAVE A DIFFERENT SET UP. READ MAN, GET TO KNOW YOUR RIDE'S SPECS BEFORE ORDERING ANYTHING
. O.K. SAVE THE THING TILL YOUR DONE JUST IN CASE YOU NEED IT FOR CLAMPS AND STUFF. OR JUST NEED SOMEWHERE TO THROW YOUR BEER TOPS. IF YOU HAVE A LEAKING GUTTER SPOUT, STICK THAT THING UP THERE, IT'LL PROBABLY WORK.
15. Remove the throttle and cruise control cable cover. Remove the cables from the bracket. They slide right out once you take the tension off them. Figure it out. Remove the 3 10mm bolts that hold the bracket. The bolt underneath is hard to get to. Not sure if that one is 10mm or not. I didn't take that 3rd bolt out until I lifted the intake manifold. I bent the bracket a little so don't do what I did.
16. Now comes the hard tedious part. Starting from the 4 major electric connections on the passenger side close to the windshield, remove all the main wiring harness connectors. Do this all the way to the drivers side. You do not have to disconnect the fuel injectors. What we are trying to do here is move the main wire harness out of the way of the engine. There are plenty of screws and connections. Be careful and do a good thourough job. Do not damage any connectors take your time and look around. You will find them all. AAgain the idea here is not to take it completely out of the car but to move it out of our way. There is a ground connection attached to the right side valve cover. Now is a good time to label a bag valve cover and put that nut in there. It's a 10mm. CAUTION: The fuel injectors pull right out of their ports easily. There are rubber seals on top of hard plastic seals. Do not lose those plastic seals. The rubber ones come in the head gasket set to replace but the plastic ones do not. Remove them individually and put them away. Do not bang the injectors around. Be very carefull when repositioning them for anything!!!!!
Here is a pic.
17. Once you get that harness out of the way now comes more tedious work. Start by removing the two 10mm bolts that hold the metal vacuum tube rail and breather hose to intake manifold. It's on the right(passenger) side of the engine. They are bolted to the valve cover. Disconnect all the vacuum hoses (pliers and flat blade screwdriver a must. They are stubborn. Put some gloves on.) from these rails at the front and rear of engine. The idea here is to free up the intake manifold for removal. (LABEL THEM) Take the two coolant hoses going into the heater core off as well(pic below). I'm talking about everything connected to that intake back there. Look around for em. I like to leave my clamps on my hoses. The ones in the front are easier to get off cause they are clearly visible. Once you have all the vacuum hoses disconnected remove the metal vacum rail completely and the breather tube. Store them somewhere safe.
Continued below .. Ran out of space in this thread.