So I have a 2002 Honda Civic Lx.
I’m not really too shabby with this car thing.
We have changed my thermostat. My dad has replaced one of the hose.
The system has been flushed.

I don't know what's my next step. The thermostat out into the car looked a little different then the one took out of the car? I don't know if that's an issue.

Another thing the car would not seem to get hot when I wasn't driving. The moment I started driving it would cook down.

Does anyone have a resolution to this?

  • how many miles are on the car? has the catalytic converter ever been changed? did you have the radiator checked for flow? have you had it checked for vacuum leaks?...need more information than you provided Commented Jun 28, 2018 at 23:45
  • Are the radiator fans working?
    – Moab
    Commented Jun 29, 2018 at 0:38

2 Answers 2


I just replaced a D17A1 in my '03 Civic which is the same engine in your car (1.7L, non-VTEC, SOHC). The main reason I changed it out was because it was continually overheating, but you may not need to go that far with yours.

First, if you didn't get a thermostat from Honda (and they aren't cheap in comparison to a Gates - for me it was $38 vs $7), it's what the car uses and doesn't like the aftermarket ones.

You also need to be running the blue A3 Honda coolant in it. Regular coolant will cause issues with the cooling system.

If you have the right thermostat, and the engine was properly purged of air, you probably have a leaking head gasket.

If the conditions for the cooling system are, as long as you are topping the coolant off daily, the engine will not overheat, then you most likely have a slow head gasket leak, most likely into a cylinder. This is a very common malady for this engine. On my car it was cylinder #3. I could tell for sure once I got the head off as the piston head was really easy to clean off, while the the other three had a little cake of carbon on the crown. Here's what it looked like after cleaning them off:

enter image description here

It starts with #1 on the right. I used a rag to clean the piston crown off for #3, while I used a scraper on the other three.

Anyway, if you are handy, the job really isn't hard to change out the head gasket. It should solve the issue as long as there's no damage from the overheating (like a warped head). You'll need a complete upper end gasket set as well as a set of head bolts. While you're at it, change out the timing belt and water pump (if you haven't done it lately) since you're already in there. I also changed out the clutch while I had it apart.

As for why I replaced the engine, when I tore it down, I realized the camshaft was in pretty poor condition. It wasn't smooth like it was supposed to be. I bought a JDM replacement engine for it, which is a D17A VTEC version, though I'm running it without VTEC. It was cheaper to purchase this JDM engine with about 50k on it, than it would have been to buy all the parts to replace the cam and rockers. My car has 162,000 miles on it for reference. I think the car has been exhibiting this kind of behavior for a while now.


Have you looked at whether the radiator fan is coming on when the coolant temperature gets hot enough? You can feel the upper radiator hose getting hot when the thermostat opens because the water pump will start circulating the hot coolant to/from the radiator. If the fan does not come on shortly after that point, then it could either be the fan is dead or the fan temp switch is dead.

If you have a multi-tester, you could check for continuity on the fan or you can hook it up directly to a 12V source (be careful not to cause a short) to see if it runs. If you don't have continuity or it doesn't run, then it's dead.

You can also test the fan temp switch for continuity with a multi-tester. Some people take it off and put the tip of the probe in boiling water then test to see if you can get continuity. You can find several YouTube videos on this. Boiling water is at 212F, a normal thermostat opens at around 185F. The fan temp switch is normally open but will close when it gets to the right temp. If you can't get continuity at 212F+ then the fan temp switch is dead. The switch is usually located close to or right next to the thermostat.

Of course, obvious disclaimer/warning, don't do any of this while the engine is running!

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