Car 1: 08' Lexus IS-F
Car 2: 91' 3.5 Hybrid Turbo
Car 3: 92'Yukon/06'Trailer
iTrader Score: 12 reviews
Re: My Blown Headgasket story
Originally posted by Jetdoc I don't want to bore everyone with yet another BHG tragedy but I belive someone may benefit from my perils. I bought my 92L a couple of years ago w/160k on it. I've done all required maintenance and servicing on it myself. I am a senior aircraft mechanic by trade and keep all my vehicles in top condition. The only thing I was reluctant to do was change the coolant due to reading so mony posts about "air in the system", "overheating problems", ect. I didn't want to disturb a perfectly good system.
I decided I had to change the coolant and purchased a gallon of Prestone "extended life" DEXCOOL on the reccomendation of the parts store. The existing coolant(put in before I bought it) in my car was red in color so he reccomended this coolant. I drained and flushed the old coolant and put in the new coolant. I bled the air out of the system per the shop manual. About 1 week later my wife and I were on the way to the Casino and it overheated. I pulled over, let it cool off, filled it with water and continued on our way. The temp was normal for the rest of the trip. While the cap was off I noticed what appeared to be mud/sludge substance in the radiator that wasn't there before I changed the coolant. The next day I went straight to Honda and bought 2 gal. of the 50/50 coolant, drained and flushed the radiator several times, put the Honda coolant in and bled the air out. A few days later my wife tells me the temp gauge is acting strange( creeping up then quickly back down,no heat) just like all the other overheating posts. The upper radiator hose was hot, lower was cooler and coolant kept being pumped into the overflow tank. I must have bled it 15 times. I bought an Acura thermostat, replaced it, no help. Purchased an OEM replacement radiator, installed it, no help.
Ok, at this point i'm thinking what the $%&*, it can't be a BHG, it runs perfect, compression test normal, none of the classic BHG symptoms. One thing I noticed was when the temp needle creeped up to hot, if I put it in d3 and brought the rpm's up to around 3500 the needle would come back down, but only back down to mid range. When operating normally the needle should be(92L) 1 needle width above the second white mark from the bottom.
I came to the conclusion that the problem was either a bad water pump or BHG. I tore it down to the water pump, the pump showed signs of normal wear and tear. The only thing left was the head gasket. I got a quote from a local shop for $1500. If I do it myself the parts would cost $500 plus what I've already spent on the radiator, therm., and coolant. I decided I would attempt it myself having done this type of work on several other vehicles in the past, plus save around $1000. Well, 3 weeks and about 30 hrs of labor later I finished the job. I have never cursed a car so much in my life. This was the most difficult auto repair I've ever done. I could have changed 3 DC10 engines with less pain. Everything that had to come off had 3 things blocking it that had to come off. I didn't help that it was 95 degrees and humid. The installation went a lot smoother and to my astonishment it started and ran smooth thie first time. Do not attempt head gasket replacement on this vehicle unless you have an extensive mechanical background and a good set of tools. I would have gladly paid the $1000 if I would have known. The damage to the head gasket was very slight, #6 cyl lower side. The only thing that stood out was that the #6 cylinder piston and head was cleaner than the rest. It didn't have as much carbon build up.
parts: gasket kit $259
water pump $165
timing belt $50
knock sensor $80 I broke it(%*&*)
REGULAR PRESTONE $7
bloody hands and knuckles $priceless
She runs great at 217k. Now I know why an Acura is an Acura. Quality built and engineered(except for the head gasket). My guess is Acura thinks if you can afford to own one you can afford to have someone else to repair it.
Update: Looking back, while troubleshooting the overheating problem, when I tried to bleed the air out it I noticed this. Opened bleeder, filled with coolant until steady stream of fluid came out of bleeder. Tightened bleeder, started engine and let it warm up until the fans came on. As the air would
burp out of the coolant I would top it off again until full. **The air would never stop burping out, about every couple of minutes it would bubble out a little air.
After changing the head gaskets I bled it once and did not have the continious burping problem.
Well it starts to get really easy and exciting after the 8 time of pulling, putting, dismantling and ripping apart.
Ive got the HG teardown down to 3 hours and the whole engine out in 4. The energy to put it all back together in the same day is another story.
Car 1: 1992 Legend L 265k Black(sold) 1994 Legend LS 175K Green 1967 NOVA SS Bolero Red
iTrader Score: 1 reviews
DV8, After the fact I realized there were several things I could have done different to make the job easier, I'll do better next time. But honestly I would rather not do this job again but I can if I have to.
I have a question for you. Do you think it would be easier to pull the engine to do the HG job? I heard, at the factory, the Legend body was installed on the frame/chassis with the engine allready installed on the frame. After doing the HG job I believe it.
People are often reluctant to pay for good advice but rarely follow free advice.
Thank you Jetdoc for your elaborate description of your problem and Josh and the others for your informative posts. I bought a '91 Legend coupe this summer and I was delighted to find the car among all of the used cars I had searched. I bought it to replace a '91 Mercury Tracer with the Mazda 1.8L DOHC that I had totaled (after racking up 301,000 miles) during the last snow of the '92-'93 season. When I bought the car it seemed tight and with only 142000 miles it had half the miles of my Tracer. I had been happy with the Legend until one morning while warming up the tach went erratic and I was afraid it was a BHG. I drove the car that morning and the tach returned to normal after I started driving. Perhaps a few weeks went by without troubles when one morning on the way to work the temperature spiked quickly. I stopped let it cool and slowly drove to a gas station. I replaced lost fluid and took it home. I noticed a lot of sludge in the overflow case which looked like oil. I cleaned it out and drained the system and did a few flushes with water only and it seemed ok but the temp kept creeping up to hot then decreasing as I drove. The oscillation didn't seem to be related to engine load as I cross a few small mountains in my commute so I thought perhaps sludge was blocking my thermostat and occasionally plugging the opening. I obtained a new thermostat and replaced the old one. The overheating got worse so I just pulled out the thermostat and continued with the water flushes. Since I had just bought the car in Aug. I thought perhaps someone had poured oil into the overflow case by accident or on purpose. There was no owner's manual with the car and the dealer said he had bought it at auction so I had no real history to go on. During this time I had ordered a Haynes manual and it pointed out the problem with air bubbles in the cooling system. Once I pulled the thermostat I never had the erratic tach problem anymore. Since the weather got colder I drained and refilled the system with the low toxicity antifreeze-water mix, and the color of the antifreeze when I bought it was green. I looked at the expansion case this past weekend and it looked like it was full of a water oil mixture again, but the oil on the dipstick looks good although low. The seal on the radiator cap is not correct so the fluid expands into the case but does not get siphoned back into the radiator when it cools. I reasoned the oil tends to float to the top of the radiator then overflow into the case. I was looking for a garage to replace my BHG in the MD/PA/WV area when I stumbled upon this website and the legend.org site which linked me back to your post for BHG.
I want to thank everyone here for their posts on this subject and the costs and pains associated with this repair. From the work I have done so far on my Legend some things have been easy to do oil changes, air filter etc. but when I changed the spark plugs I couldn't get the coil/boot combo off of the last plug nearest the driver because of the strut tower brace (?) being in the way. I hope that plug has been replaced at some time over the last 13 yrs, but I'll get it done with the BHG as well as the timing chain, water pump, belts hoses oil seals etc. I paid about $1000 less than the blue book value so I thought I had $1k to play with but I am considering trading it in. It's a nice car so I'll investigate the costs first.
Does anyone recommend a garage for replacing a Legend BHG in the area in or around MD? I saw a post recommending Ohio.
If you have a lift, I find it easier to remove the entire drivetrain with the rack and cradle, trans diff etc. I drop it on a pair of sawhourses then lift the body off. At this point you can work on anything you need without fighting.
Car 1: 3.5L 1991 LS Coupe 5 Spd Blk/Blk
Car 2: 1999 Acura 3.5RL
Car 3: 2004 GMC Sierra Z71
iTrader Score: 5 reviews
Originally posted by PSA If you have a lift, I find it easier to remove the entire drivetrain with the rack and cradle, trans diff etc. I drop it on a pair of sawhourses then lift the body off. At this point you can work on anything you need without fighting.
This is why I'm investing in a lift for my garage at home. The hardest part about the whole HG job is removing the exhaust Y pipe, the exhaust manifolds, and those damn EGR tubes from the rear of the heads. Everything else is right there and fairly easy to get to.
i have seen that dex-cool coolant turn to a thick mud like substance in about six or seven of our company vehicles in the last year alone. these are new cars with less than 50k on most of them. the only way we found this out was the mud (soup) well call it was laying in the block and rusted THROUGH the freeze plugs. the warranty was up on the vehicles and my company was sol, even though the coolant was factory installed and was 150k mile coolant and didnt last 55k. use the green stuff. (quote partially borrowed from dr. peter venkman; ghostbusters,nyny) i changed accordingly ......... IF THE FLUIDS GREEN, THE ENGINES CLEAN!
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