Let's Talk Turkey --- Head Bolts 'n Stuff

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I was getting ready to spend today overhauling the $200 Honda which has one bad cylinder which I suspect is a broken ring.
At any rate, I have received mixed opinions on the reuse of head bolts
that evidently were a "one use" only type. Especially perplexing was the price wanted for new ones... $16 apiece, seven total required.
The consensus that I have gathered appears to be that reuse is OK as long as the bolts are OK. Two outfits, one a machine shop specializing in racing and the other, a long time independent Honda specialist both suggested after looking at the bolts I have, to give reuse a shot.
Still, I canceled today's overhaul party, (thus allowing thousands of mosquitoes live longer), and may opt to overhaul the FE engine that is currently disassembled and all the internals, (crank, rods, pistons and cylinder wall condition), have been given the OK to proceed. I should be able to reassemble the short block this week and finish it next with the rebuilt head, new timing belt, seals, etc. I also plan on tossing in the extra five speed tranny to replace the current four speed unit and will reseal it as well.
At any rate, any comments?
JT
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Is the head gasket steel sandwiched with teflon, or is it fiber sandwiched with steel?
And what kind of tightening spec does your manual specify?
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Tegger

The Unofficial Honda/Acura FAQ
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Tegger wrote:

??? Appears to be fiber sandwiching steel.

25 ft lbs 1st round and 47 2nd round. Doesn't mention a thing about "one use" bolts.
JT
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The bolts are not "torque-to-yield". You may reuse them.
Typically specific lubrication procedures will be required (or prohibited) to ensure proper torque. So pay particular attention to any such instructions. It's been my experience that it's necessary to lube head bolt threads with engine oil.
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Tegger wrote:

I have always used engine oil but since I'll be working on a Honda block involving disimilar metals, I believe an antiseize grease might be in order. I'm sure that the Honda guy will know what to do. I'm going to put it together over there and let him bill me for a little shop time.
At any rate, I'm sleeping a bit better after chatting with you folks.
JT
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I think you'll find engine oil is specified. Anti-seize will alter the friction characteristics of the thread mating surfaces. Do not change Honda's specification when working with such important fasteners as head bolts.
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wrote:

If the manual gives a torque spec and doesn't mention using new bolts, I would assume they are reused. Is this the official Honda manual?
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z wrote:

Yes.
JT
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Grumpy AuContraire wrote:

If the factory service manual says nothing about needing to use new bolts then I would not worry about it. When torque to yield bolts are used the factory manuals normally are quite clear about the need for new ones.
John
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John Horner wrote:

That's my conclusion.
We'll find out soon...
JT
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Yes.
Honda is quite specific when bolts need to be replaced and not reused.
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Tegger wrote:

It seems that way since nothing is mentioned about replacing bolts along with opinion of a couple of Honda guru's around here of which one was invovled in a lot of racing activity with Gen 1 & 2 Civics.
I should have the whole shebang together by the end of next week.
JT
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I've always reused head bolts, mostly because I hadn't heard of tossing them the first few times I had heads off :-) No problems yet
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Michael Pardee wrote:

I'm tending to agree. Better that the $16 each end up in my pocket. The guy up the road said if a bolt was bad, I'd know it pretty quick during assembly.
JT
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and protected from the elements, it doesn't seem likely they have been stressed in the past. I'm thinking it is one of those things that professionals have to do as part of meeting professional standards but that we amateurs can risk.
Mike
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Grumpy AuContraire wrote:

i'm skeptical about civic head bolts being single use. suggest you check like this - put two bolts end to end and mesh the threads. if it's apparent that the threads have yielded [elongation], then they're single use. if not, then you can safely re-use.
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jim beam wrote:

I am as well. The reason that I've mentioned it is that they are "strange" looking in that have roughly an inch and a quarter of thread, the shank is not smooth buy has a swirling thread-like structure and of course the head requires a special socket which of course I do not have.
Strangest of all, when I bought the original FE, this engine was in place minus the head and sat for over ten years this way. Thankfully, the hood was down and the surface rust that accumulated on the two center holes, (where the pistons were in nearly their lowest positions), cleaned right up.
Turns out the pistons are fine, piston to cylinder wall clearance is well within tolerance, the crankshaft looks like new but it will get new bearings anyway as will the rods.
I think that I'll be on solid ground here and will re-assemble the lower end this week.
The more I look at the setup, the more I respect Honda engineering. It's all quite simple and straight forward.
JT
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Grumpy AuContraire wrote:

you mean like this?
http://img.eautopartscatalog.com/live/A303064570OES.JPG
afaik, that's a retrofit bolt to be used in the event of gasket leakage problems. [it's longitudinally slightly more elastic so the head gets loaded more evenly.]

you will need to re-hone the cylinder bores - not excessively, but to bust the glaze. when you're done, scrub those things for a good long time with a natural bristle brush, and plenty of soapy water. do it thoroughly! reason is that tiny particles of honing abrasive embed in the surface. left there, they abrade the rings and before too long, the motor's toast again. it's very common for machine shops not to do this properly and you can see the results in rebuild lives vs. new motors - 60k miles for a diesel rebuild vs 300k on the original for instance. done right and with appropriate hygiene, there's no reason a rebuild shouldn't last as long as the original.
that goes for /all/ your cleaning operations!
as soon as you're done scrubbing and washing, spray with wd40 to displace water so you get no surface rust.
and remove the carbon deposits in the piston grooves if you're not replacing. carefully! nicked or scratched surfaces reduce your seal. too much abrasion lets the rings float too much. again, hygiene means long engine life. can you not get a cheapo set of new pistons from somewhere? often, these things sit about on a shelf and get sold cheap after a while. there can't be many people running that motor any more so i can't imagine demand is strong if someone's sitting on old stock.
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jim beam wrote:

Yep, but it is also what is shown in the shop manual.

Yes, I've done quite a few over the years.

The ring lands have already been cleaned and cylinders honed. Not even evidence of a ridge even though this engine had 110K on it. I use the old trick to clean the rings, a broken old ring which is even mentioned in the shop manual. (And all this time, I just taught that I was too cheap to buy the tool).
All clearances are within tolerance so it looks like I'm in good shape.
I'm kind of looking forward to this experience. All my previous work was with domestic V8 engines... Mostly Studebaker. I did redo a Honda CL 450 once back around 1980 though.
JT
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Grumpy AuContraire wrote:

ok. i'd re-use. you can always replace later if they turn out to be a problem. but i doubt they will.

good. scrub and clean, scrub and clean....

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