'01 Civic EX Head Gasket Oil Leak

My '01 Civic EX commuter car (294,000 mi @ 110 mi/day) has developed a head gasket oil leak on the passenger side of the engine, in the area right behind the water-jacket. If I stay below 3000 rpm, the leak is
minimal, but if I drive it hard I quickly get oil all over the transmission casing front and rear side.
A Honda dealership mechanic showed me the leak using dye in the oil and ultra-violet light..we had to use an inspection mirror to see into this hard to reach area.
Another private mechanic recommended trying some un-named stop-leak chemical before getting into what may be a $1000+ repair. I've never hear of a gasket repair chemical to be added to oil, and so I'm kind of sceptical of this. Is there such stuff ?
The car otherwise runs great, with no indications of oil in the cooling syste. I'd like to get another 100,000 miles on this car, but would the cheap stop-leak chemical solution hold for so long ?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

DO NOT put that stop-leak goop into your engine. That would be /very/ foolish.
This sounds more like a simple valve cover gasket leak. If it were truly the head gasket, you'd be more likely to lose coolant than oil.
Check out the valve cover gasket, then make sure the leak's not actually coming from the oil filter or oil cooler.
I'm not sure what you mean by the leak being "behind the water-jacket". The water jacket is below the head, and it surrounds the entire block. Any leaks will be ABOVE the jacket, not "behind" it.
--
Tegger

The Unofficial Honda/Acura FAQ
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Thanks for your comments. The leak appears to be at the head gasket, on the passenger (starboard) side of the engine. If you follow the transmission/engine block interface up to the top (90-degrees), you'll be in the leak area. There is a water jacket (my lingo) attached to the head which the radiator hoses couple that makes access/visibility to this area nearly impossible.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Would this be the upper rad hose inlet stub and its two mounting bolts?
If so, is the leak from ABOVE the stub or BELOW the stub?
--
Tegger

The Unofficial Honda/Acura FAQ
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 02/08/2010 11:25 AM, Zorro_2k wrote:

that sounds like a v-tec solenoid leak, not head gasket. very common.

i would question the logic of a dye test in this situation - the source of the oil should be obvious. you only use dye in oil when trying to distinguish /which/ oil is leaking, like in a gooey mass, whether it's transmission, steering or engine, but even then, oils are colored differently to aid identification.

sure, if you don't mind gumming up your lubrication channels also. it's the kind of thing you use if you're a sociopath trying to ditch a car you know to be a dud and get some sucker to pay a "good car" price for it.

in addition to fixing the solenoid, i would consider a change of the brand of oil you're using. my old car used to leak furiously, then stopped after i changed brand to one that had better seal conditioners in it. mobil 1 and castrol gtx work well for me in that regard.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I use Pennzoil 5W-20...have since I got it in Jan 2001, 294500 miles ago.
I've replaced the V-Tec spool valve gasket, but not the solenoid gasket (between the triangular shaped surfaces on top of the spool valve). and I do see some slight leakage from that area but certainly not as much as I get under strong accelleration. Valve cover gasket was just replaced in december when I had a leaking cam-plug and also leaking spark plug tube grommets (those o-ring type gaskets) replaced
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 02/09/2010 01:00 PM, Zorro_2k wrote:

so try a different brand that has better seal conditioners!

logically, the only thing that's going to leak more "under strong acceleration" is something in the v-tec circuit. check to make sure this is the case vs simply leaking more in the ordinary cam circuit at higher revs, which you would expect because oil pressure rises with rpms.
one more thing - a very small leak can pass an astonishing quantity of oil if not fixed. and even a few drops of oil can look like a whole lot spread thin over a hot engine. i say check into your "slight leak" before bothering with anything else.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Jim, can you be more SPECIFIC as to WHICH brand has better seal conditioners (a factor I have never heard taken into account when selecting and oil to use).
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 02/10/2010 11:31 AM, Zorro_2k wrote:

i already have, but you snipped it. google this group for more details - this topic has been discussed a number of times.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Ah...I found it in your previous post...mobil 1 or gtx. Well, I'll try some gtx at the next oil change, as in my experience mobil 1 would be even MORE prone to leakage/use in high mileage engines, and go to 10W-30 vs. the 5W-20 as the engine has considerable mileage (about 295K). I don't need 5W in Florida anyway.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

Motorsforum.com is a website by car enthusiasts for car enthusiasts. It is not affiliated with any of the car or spare part manufacturers or car dealers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.