Finding an 89 Prelude head (or engine) that's any good will be difficult,
and its likely to need more or less the same work as getting your head
reconditioned (ie surface grind, valves reseated, valve guide replacement or
inserts etc). You have to factor in the costs of shipping a head or engine
from whereever, and cross-border costs as well if applicable. These extra
costs can easily be in the hundreds of dollars.
Have you had the head examined by a machine shop? OK, you have some bent
valves: these can be replaced. Valve guide tips may be cracked, but these
can be safely cut off in most cases. A decent machine shop can do the
reconditioning, fit the valves, springs and cam(s), providing you with a
complete assembly ready to drop on the block.
Only if the head is cracked or warped, or has been previously resurfaced
such that an additional resurface is not possible, will you need a
A machine shop may also have sources of replacement heads.
Don't even think about getting another head and dropping it on without
reconditioning: it's a total waste of money and time, cause you'll have to
do it all again in a few months, or worst case, immediately.
I had a "low mileage" engine from Japan dropped into my '89 Prelude Si a few
years ago. Same thing happend - timing belt snapped doing 60mph before I
could have it changed the following month. Bent valves. Started to nickle
and dime me so I finally broke down and bought a new car.
The shop I took it to picked up the engine for me. Otherwise, you can do a
google or yahoo search and find places that have them.
Fun car - interior was still in very good/excellent condition, but started
picking up rust on the back wheel weels and a few other spots.
Try Google or Yahoo! and good luck!
If the rest of the engine is in good condition, e.g., it doesn't burn oil,
then just pull the head and replace the bent valves. There's usually no
need to replace the head. Note that you will need to lap the new valves in
to make sure that they seat well (be exceedingly meticulous about removing
all traces of lapping compound afterward). Also note these older engines
have a peculiar problem when the head is pulled. That is, they often start
burning oil afterwards. It's believed that this is due to the crud in the
piston ring grooves drying out and preventing the rings from seating
correctly. The best way to avoid this is to put a small amount of ATF in
the cylinders to cover the top of the pistons once you remove the head.
This will keep things from drying out. Be sure to remove the ATF from the
piston tops before the head is reinstalled. You should also consider
replacing the valve stem seals when you have the head off. Only use Honda's
OEM seals if you want to avoid problems further down the road.
By the way, when you replace the timing belt, it's a good idea to also
replace the water pump, timing belt tensioner bearing, and cam & front crank
seals. The front seal can be a pain in the ass at best to replace. The
best way to do this is to cut out a rectangle from a clean plastic pop
bottle and use it as a sleeve wrapped around the seal journal of the
crankshaft. Slide the seal over the sleeve (make sure that there's grease
on the inner lip) and remove the sleeve. Then get a flat washer that's
about the same size as the seal and use it as a seal driver to carefully tap
the seal into its bore with a hammer and punch. Tap the washer gently
holding the washer against the seal and be sure not to get the seal
crooked. Note that if you tap directly against the seal, then you will
damage it. This is nearly unavoidable, that's why I always use some type of
seal driver. Honda makes seal drivers specifically for this purpose but
they're a bit expensive. I've found that a large flat washer (usually
called a "machine washer" at the hardware store) will suffice as a
substitute. Lastly, the cam seal is less of a pain but you should also use
the plastic sleeve. After you get the cam seal into position, it can
usually just be pushed into its correct position by hand (for example by
carefully using the blunt end of a socket extension bar and there's no need
to tap it in with a hammer).
One final thought, a factory service manual for your car can be obtained
from http://www.helminc.com . It's a great investment especially since you
plan to be doing so much work on your vehicle.
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