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How bad is my block?

Old 05-06-2014, 01:18 AM
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Join Date: May 2014
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Default How bad is my block?

I'm sort of a noob at internal engine repair but I bought a 96 accord for basically scrap value that wasn't running. Symptoms indicated head gasket was blown, so I decided to attempt to change it. After several days I finally got the head pulled, and it's sleeping at the machine shop tonight. My question is, how do I determine if the block is even good enough to put the head back onto it? There is a tiny bit of rust on one wall of the pistons that are down right now. I can't see the other two because they're up and I don't want to get the engine off of TDC. I'm assuming this is not an inspection that can be done visually, instead it needs special equipment? Just wondering if there are any major things I should look for and also if removing the water pump will drain what's still left in there after draining coolant and oil. It's pretty nasty and there was a lot if coolant in the oil, so I'd like to get it all out and start fresh.
Old 05-06-2014, 08:29 AM
shipo's Avatar
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Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Southern New Hampshire
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Coolant in the oil is never a good thing, so while the block itself may be decent shape, the engine bearings, which tend to corrode and disolve when exposed to coolant, may be basically gone. I'm thinking you have two courses of action here:
  1. Pull the oil pan and PlastiGauge the bearings to see if they're still serviceable, or
  2. Buy a used engine in decent shape from a bone yard and replace your entire motor.
Old 05-06-2014, 11:36 AM
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Usually a bad head gasket car will start unless the bottom end was ruined. Turn it by hand, does it spin easily? I would start with cutting the oil filter apart to see if there is metal it in.
Old 05-07-2014, 09:34 AM
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Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 8

The engine turned fine from the crank pulley before I took the head off. No problems there. I'll pull the oil pan since the car is already up on jack stands and it shouldn't be too hard to get to. I really don't want to spend more money on an engine. I have an f23 in my wrecked 2000 but I can't swap them because the 96 isn't wired for vtec. The 96 body is also in pretty bad shape and I bought it mostly to take apart and practice major surgeries. I don't plan on ever owning a different kind of car so I figured it would be good to learn how to do all this myself. I'll check the bearings. Thanks guys!
Old 05-07-2014, 09:37 AM
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Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 8

Oh and I don't have the oil filter that was on it when it was running. The guy I bought it from changed it right in front of me when I bought the car. He said it was running fine before he let it sit for a few months. Not sure why the HG would have blown from sitting there not running, but that's just what he said. I'm starting to doubt the validity of his claim.
Old 05-08-2014, 06:33 PM
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Just a few comments-

The head is off so no worries on spinning the engine over. Note/mark the crank "key" to block location - #1 is the belt end of the engine.

Coat the cyl's - and or the top of the pistons- with oil or your choice of the usual lubes (WD, PB, ect). Clean the one cyl of rust with a scratch pad (3m makes them along with other companies) - light pressure, you want the rust not the metal. Do each cyl trying to leave a slight "cross-hatch" pattern on the cyl walls.

Use plenty of lube as you go and clean anything off the top of the pistions. Heck I'd even use cleaner (carb) to wipe down the walls - be sure to drain the oil after.

There is a block drain bolt on the back side of the block you can use to drain it (the block)

If you are that worried, well get the head back on - timing belt, adjust valves and all of that jazz. Don't put the covers back on. Start the car or do a compression test and leak down. If all of that works out.

Then go for new timing belts (timing/balance shaft), idlers and water pump. Check all of the seals while there (cam, crank, balance) and the oil pump o-ring for sign of leaks.

IMHO - the F22 is a well built engine and can take a bit of abuse and keep going. So I would not throw in the towel until you try.

If it all goes bad, just find a vtec PCM for your car (96 or 97 with the same trans) - bone yard or internet. Then slap the F23 in there and run just a few wires for the vtec and call it a day.....ok there are a few other small things to work out but it is not that bad/hard of a swap.
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