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Hi and thank you in advance, I have a 2005 honda civic ex, everything stock. My engine temperature gauge has been fluctuating, mostly in city, on highway it stays in the middle range. Here is what I already did. 1.) Changed the thermostat, burped it. 2.) Changed the radiator cap, burped it. This worked for a while. 3.) Checked for leaks, but did not find anything.

After driving the fluid escapes from the radiator and the overflow tank overfills.

After letting it cool, when I open the radiator cap there is lots of air/pressure build up and while I open the cap the fluid gushes out of the overflow tank cap.

When I fill up the radiator the gauge stays normal for about a week of driving and after that it starts fluctuating again.

What would be the next logical thing to check? Radiator/headgasket. Or should I bring it to a mechanic at this point.

thank you

  • Have you tried flushing the radiator? – GdD May 27 at 16:20
  • I have not but I will try this next and refill it with OEM honda coolant. – Margol May 27 at 16:42
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The problem is, you have the D17A2 engine with a bad head gasket. These are notorious for this problem. It usually happens when there is the "green" coolant used instead of the Honda "blue". Whatever Honda did with these engines, it doesn't play well with anything other than Honda coolant.

As for the fix, you can have the head gasket changed, which normally fixes the issue. I had an '03 Civic LX (with the D17A1) with the same exact problem and the same exact symptoms. When I went to change the head gasket, I found there were bigger problems with the engine (namely the camshaft was looking pretty bad) so I picked up a JDM engine and transplanted, which was actually cheaper than doing the rest of the work.

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  • That's what thought at first but don't see any white smoke or milky oil. It doesn't burn any oil either. It only has 140k miles on it. – Margol May 27 at 16:49
  • @Margol - Mine was the same without white smoke and no oil in the water. The reason for now white smoke is it doesn't drink it that fast ... it just sort of sips at it. And, just because you have don't have a milkshake (either way) doesn't mean anything. From my own experience and from what I've found on the internet, this is the most likely cause for your issue. The D17A engines are prone to this. I believe it was because of the head gasket material they used during the manufacturing process. When the head is pulled, you'll find one or more pistons are clean, meaning water incursion. – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 May 27 at 18:53
  • K thanks. Will a chemical block tester combustion leak test confirm this? – Margol May 27 at 18:56
  • @Margol - It may or may not. Since the leak is of such a small amount, there's not a large amount of exhaust which comes out from it and into the cooling system. I had mixed results when I tested mine. If you do try it, be aware if you get any coolant into the test liquid, it will change color. It's not an easy thing to do. I had to redo mine several times because I kept sucking up coolant. – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 May 27 at 19:04
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It could be contaminated radiator fluid. To know that is what it is the smell of the fluid is different and its not a dark color. Also, when you change the coolant new it runs good for a while. But then it happens again, and you check the coolant its color is more of a light green again and it has that different smell to it again. You need to get a good alarm system for your car or have your mechanic watched if it happens after he does work on it.

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  • Thanks, I will try a flush and new honda coolant. Will let you know the result. – Margol May 27 at 16:43
  • I don't understand this answer, what does having a good alarm system have to do with coolant?? – GdD May 27 at 16:44

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