Removing the pistons

OK...I have another newbie question. I was able to remove the head off my 92 accord thinking that maybe my head gasket was blown. The head gasket actually looks in pretty good shape. I will replace anyway. Now,
the thing I would like to do is take the pistons out and inspect/replace the rings, clean out, etc...Is this possible without removing the whole engine and turning it upside down as the manual states. Could I do it from the bottom if I removed the oil pan? Any info would be appreciated.
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crankshaft has to come out to get the pistons out the bottom.
If you don't have something known to be seriously wrong with the pistons, for the love of your sanity leave them be. They are fine if you aren't burning a lot of oil, and disturbing them will only make things worse. Honda rings typically last the life of the car if you change the oil regularly and don't make the engine "ping." If they need work it has to be done properly, and that means big bucks.
Since the head is off, take it to a machine shop - preferably one that specializes in cylinder heads - to have it checked for flatness and to have the valve seals replaced. When you put the head on, be sure to follow the instructions regarding cleanliness of the mating surfaces, tightening sequence and torque. The head gasket and manifold gaskets must be replaced any time the head is removed.
Mike
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Michael Pardee wrote:

True if you want to get them out the bottom side of the block, but since the head is off most folks would take them out through the top (in my experience, Hondas rarely have a ridge at the top of the cylinder). Typically, you just need to pull the oil pan and then remove the rod caps. The pistons can then be removed by tapping on the rods with a wooden handle such as a hammer handle). The caps need to go back on the same connecting rod they came from so, if you do this, mark them with a metal scribe as you take them out and also mark the rods.

Agreed, it might be best to leave them alone unless there's a known problem. Once you take them out, you should replace the rings and the rod bearings. It's a lot of work and extra expense and, if it's not done right, then it could make things worse, much worse.
In addition, if don't take the pistons out, then you'll want to put some ATF on the top of the pistons to prevent the deposits in the ring grooves from drying out. Use just enough to cover the tops of the pistons and remove it before you put the head back on. Using the ATF will help prevent the motor from burning oil after you get the head back on the block.
Lastly, one thing that I'm curious about is why the head was pulled in the first place? Also, my rule book says to replace the thermostat when you do the head unless it was recently done (using OE parts).
Eric
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Thanks guys for your responses. I meant if I could push them up from the bottom.
Long story short as to why I took the head out is because I was leaking coolant into the engine (somewhere) as I was burning it. In addition when I'm driving and stop at a light, for instance, when I try to get going is like it has no power to get going. I accelerate and it just goes very, very slow. I thought I had a blown head gasket, but now that I took the head out the head the gasket actually looks OK, so now I'm thinking I may have a broken ring or something like that which is making me lose compression thus the slow power. Since I already went through the trouble of taking the head out I thought if I could do it without taking the whole engine out I might as well take out the pistons and inspect/replace the rings.
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Duarte wrote:

Pistons with broken rings will move from side to side with pressure applied on the top. Broken rings can be the result of detonation (pinging) and/or excessive ring land wear.
Another note... If a head is removed on a high mileage car (150K + on a Honda), oil consumption can be expected to increase (assuming that rings are not replaced) due to block distortion when re-torquing the head. This is a result of the old rings losing their seating characteristics. Don't ask me why I know this (G).
JT
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