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Took my car to a shop and I honestly don't think they are the best even though they seemed like they knew what they were talking about. Long story short they did a head gasket repair, replaced the water pump and timing belt, and changed the oil. Shortly after that I had some radiator hoses blow so ended up replacing those and doing a coolant flush with a new radiator because there was a bunch of gunk in the coolant. Went to change the thermostat today and I have a bunch of oil in the coolant still/again, what else could I check? I keep finding things about the head being warped but I don't know how to check for that plus now I am broke :(

Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated, thank you so much in advance

  • No amount of head gasket repair will correct a warped cylinder head. The only way to check this is removing and cleaning the head, and checking the mating surface with a machinist's straightedge or a dial indicator mounted in a milling machine. – SteveRacer Jan 24 at 11:16
  • Does the oil show signs of mixing? – rpmerf Jan 24 at 12:43
  • I was obviously low on oil but there appears to be no water mixed in with the oil. Somebody suggested taking the heater hose off and putting a hose in the radiator to do a complete flush but that was already done after the head gasket repair once a few months ago. – Nick Carnahan Jan 24 at 21:22
  • I will be taking it to a shop tomorrow that has a payment plan type thing because I have a feeling this isn't going to be cheap. – Nick Carnahan Jan 24 at 21:23
  • I am unfamiliar with this specific motor. Some car motors, however — such as the VW inline-4 in my Jetta — have a coolant/oil heat exchanger, to help warm the oil after startup, and limit its temperature after the motor has thoroughly warmed. If this Accord motor has a heat exchanger, and that heat exchanger has failed, oil will appear in the coolant. A heat exchanger might exist within the radiator, or as a separate part on the motor's exterior. – David Jan 25 at 17:01
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My suggested course of action would be to take the car to another workshop and ask them to perform two tests; a compression test and a leak down test. Ask them to provide you with the results. It won't cost much but will tell you conclusively if you have an issue with the cylinder head gasket.

If it transpires that there is an issue, I'd speak to the first workshop and see if they'd be willing to effect a warranty repair or offer some reduction to rectify the problem. If they are agreeable and do the work, explain that you will have the car compression tested again once they've completed the job.

During the replacement of a head gasket, a vital step is to ensure that the block and head mating surfaces are both perfectly clean, straight and crack free. It is critical that this part of the job be carried out with near surgical precision. The mating surfaces should be cleaned in a way which will not damage the surface in any way.

One method of checking flatness is to use a feeler gauge and a straight edge. If any evidence is seen that the cylinder head is out of true, it must be skimmed back to flat at a machine shop. A pressure test of the cylinder head also needs to be undertaken to ensure that there are no hairline cracks anywhere. If cracks are found, a machine shop may be able to weld them up or a new, refurbished or good second hand cylinder head will have to be sourced.

If the original shop either skipped any of these steps or did not re-assemble the head/block in a sufficiently clean environment or in a sufficiently careful way this may lead to the replacement gasket failing to seal. Alternatively, the new gasket may be faulty. You'd expect a decent workshop to compression test a reassembled engine but the hoses failing shortly after repair would ring alarm bells with me.

Hopefully some of this is of some use to you.

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When you get a head gasket replaced, you are replacing the seal between the main engine block and top cylinder head. These pieces "mate" together and the seal sits in between. This seal keeps the oil and coolant separate among other things.

Over time though the engine block or cylinder head can get warped (not flat). This warp can be very slight and may not be visible to the naked eye. You will need a perfectly flat and parallel surface (surface plate or milling machine) and a dial indicator to find the exact nature of the warp.

To fix this, machine shops can use their milling machine to mill the mating surfaces perfectly flat. You're right that this is not usually cheap, and it usually take some time to do (ie. not an afternoon). But if this is your problem getting the surfaces milled will be your only answer.

Hope this sheds some light on exactly what your problem means and the fixes available.

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