95 Civic Blown Gasket or Cracked Head?

I have a 95 Honda Civic that I was having problems with overheating. It would push antifreeze out the coolant reservoir until it was out of coolant. I ended up replacing the thermostat, water pump, fan temp
switch, and radiator cap but nothing fixed the problem. I then started to suspect a coolant leak in the head gasket. I connected an air hose to each cylinder using my compression tester hose. When I put air pressure to #4 cylinder @ TDC, the coolant level in the radiator would rise and spill out over the top of the radiator.
My question is, when I tear into the head gasket, how will I know if it is the head gasket or a cracked head? Will it show signs on the head gasket where it is leaking or will you be able to see a crack in the head?
Also, should I do any other maintanance while I have the head off? The car has 137,000 miles.
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I should also mention the compression on all 4 cylinders was 140-145 psi.
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Then there y'go. That's your smoking gun.

You cannot know until the head is magnafluxed.
Chances are just about 100% that it's simply a failed head gasket. As a general rule, Honda heads do not crack.

Replacing the valve guide oil seals would be an excellent idea, if you don't mind spending the money.
--
Tegger

The Unofficial Honda/Acura FAQ
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Doug and Rene Brand wrote:

gasket!
hondas _rarely_ crack heads.

how new is the timing belt? and as tegger says, stem seals are good too.
if doing this work yourself, DO NOT use abrasives to clean the head or the block. that includes scotchbrite. use only a blade to carefully clean. it takes time! abrasives, no matter how you try to avoid it, accumulate under the rings and quickly ruin compression and dramatically increase oil consumption. avoid having the head skimmed too unless it's warped. and i bet it's not.
allow plenty of time - this is an all day job if you're going to do it carefully and well.
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The timing belt is brand new. That is one of the things I replaced when replacing the water pump.
I was wondering maybe I should swap out the motor for a lower mileage engine or v-tec engine. The compression on this motor seems a little low at 140psi compared to other 1.5's with 180-200psi. It doesn't use any oil but it does have rod slap when cold outside. I was thinking maybe I should swap it out with a JDM import 1.5 VTEC engine with 40,000-60,000 miles for around $600. Just a head gasket kit will run $120-$150, if that is all I need.
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I wouldn't be concerned about the compression since the numbers are consistent across the cylinders; it just isn't designed for premium gas. The piston slap is more worrisome and is a good reason to think about going JDM. But just to be sure: it is piston slap (quiets down in about five minutes) rather than an exhaust leak (quiets down in about one minute)? If so, JDM sounds attractive in your situation.
Mike
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Doug and Rene Brand wrote:

doesn't make a lot of difference at operating speeds. compressions on both my civic and crx are "low", but they both run great, the civic particularly.

it's piston slap. it's not necessarily a problem. my 2000 civic did it from about 20k and that thing was babied.

good question. personally, i lean towards replacement. changing the gasket, and doing a good job of it, is long hard work. shops do it because the long labor hours are profitable. and they routinely use abrasives. and they routinely skim heads. and they shrug off the subsequent failures with a "don't blame me, the engine was already shot" attitude that is as ignorant as it is annoying.
unless i had a special reason to preserve a particular engine, or had a lot more time and no money, i would replace the motor. these low mileage jdm motors are cheap and work just great. a whole motor swap takes a good deal less time than the head prep.
your problem with the vtec conversion is wiring in the vtec solenoid. if you don't already have that motor, you'll need to upgrade the ecu and engine electrics accordingly. it's non-trivial doing that. it's not hard, and there's plenty of resources on the subject [checkout boomslang.com] but it's still non-trivial. done right, it's worth the effort though.
good luck.
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The engine I have now is a D15B7 1.5 liter 16 valve. What will the milaage difference be between a JDM 1.5 VTEC versus what I have?
http://www.honda-tech.com/zerothread?id 11708

do with this type of engine swap is to bypass the VTEC oil pressure switch. Is that true or do I need to get a VTEC ECU brain box?
Also, what is OBD1 and OBD2?
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The engine I have now is a D15B7 1.5 liter 16 valve SOHC. What will the mileage difference be between a JDM 1.5 VTEC versus what I have?
http://www.honda-tech.com/zerothread?id 11708

do with this type of engine swap is to bypass the VTEC oil pressure switch. Is that true or do I need to get a VTEC ECU brain box?
Also, what is OBD1 and OBD2?
And what is the difference between a 1.5 VTEC-E economy and a 1.5 VTEC?
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the ECU needs the right programming for VTEC.

OBD2 had a lot more sensors to more accurately pinpoint problems. Like 2 O2 sensors

different cam profiles. VTEC-E is optimized for economy,not power.
--
Jim Yanik
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Doug and Rene Brand wrote:

that's wrong - do /not/ "bypass" the pressure switch. you have two sets of cam lobes - one for high revs, one for low. if you don't switch the cams, you'll be stuck on one or the other, with sucky performance at one end of the range, depending on how you're switched.

ideally, you need the vtec ecu - it has a higher red line than the non-vtec as well as the right switchover programming. but if you don't use one, you can also use a rev sensitive switch to handle the cam for you. google this group as the same question came up a few weeks ago.

you have obd1. stick with it.
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What is the best way to find an ECU for a D15B VTEC or D15Z1 VTEC-E?

The P28 and P72 ECU's state they are for a 1.6 liter VTEC engine. Are the JDM 1.5 liter VTEC's actually USDM 1.6 liter VTEC engines?
This is getting more confusing.
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Doug and Rene Brand wrote:

the no-worry road is to just do a straight replacement. plug and play. and it's going to be better than what you have now.
if you swap for vtec, for ecu's, you'll probably need a u.s. version rather than jdm to pass smog. you can get them from junk yards occasionally, by far the cheapest way to go! but generally not since all the "2-ner" crowd mean they get picked clean pretty much immediately. in that case, you'll be looking at ebay or craigslist and paying a lot more.
regarding d15z1 vs. d16z6, it depends on whether you want performance or economy. iirc, the d15z1 is the economy motor. either way, you probably need the correct ecu to get the right injection map.
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