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99lude Head Gasket

 
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Old 03-12-2014, 09:32 AM
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Icon2 99lude Head Gasket

I have a 99 Honda Prelude Base Model H22A, I recently discovered that I have blown my head gasket, i took it to the shop and the guy told me it's going to be about $1500. I don't know anything about head gaskets but eventually I want to upgrade my car and replace all the parts with performance parts because all the parts are original and things are starting to wear down. My question is, can I get a performance head gasket, what are all the parts included in that, like could I get bigger headers? Any help or insight would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
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Old 03-12-2014, 07:24 PM
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Re: 99lude Head Gasket

May as well post it here for everyone to see, also :D

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Originally Posted by DR1FT3R024
I have a 99 Honda Prelude and I found out that I blew the head gasket so I need to replace it. The shop told me $1500 but im not paying that. I don't know anything about head gaskets. Is there such thing as a performance head gasket and what are all the parts I will be replacing when I replace the head gasket? Are there certain parts I could get like bigger headers or something, if I'm going to replace the parts, why not upgrade them too.
To start, download the Honda Prelude service manual from here on PZ (All Gen. Prelude Service Manuals). That will have all the written instructions you'll need to follow. I'll summarize them here for you how I did mine (1995 h22a1), but keep in mind that with you having a 1999 Prelude, there may be some slight differences so be sure to do as much research as possible to make sure you're getting the full picture..

What kinda budget are you running, and how adept are you with engine work? It's a pretty straightforward, step by step procedure for the most part, but that doesn't mean you can just start taking it apart, put it back together and call it a day. A head gasket change has some 'fragile' details to it. As for the headgasket itself, you'll hear a lot of good about Cometic head gaskets with different thicknesses to them, but you'll hear the most about Honda OEM. My best friend has an Integra pushing just under 500whp on 25psi of boost, and is using a regular Honda OEM head gasket. For that reason, I also went OEM on my build.

When you're ready to begin, drain all the oil and coolant. For the coolant, you can be clean about it and just drain from the petcock on the bottom of the radiator to let gravity do the work. There are also hoses running in the back of the motor that are connected to your firewall, so you may want to crawl under the car and have a look to see what you need to disconnect. Be careful disconnecting the hoses, there's always a little more coolant left in them. You'll also be in this area if you choose to take the intake manifold off. Doing so will make things easier.

You will need to disconnect the header and the intake manifold, both of which have gaskets you'll want to replace. Rosko Racing makes a thermal IM gasket I recommend. The header gasket is a metal crush gasket, nothing really special about it. If you decide to get a new header, it will come with a new gasket. Don't bother wasting money on a DC or Megan header. They will look nice but they will not help with power gains. A HyTech replica will be the best bang for your buck at around $350 but it IS a COPY of a great piece, so expect a couple weird things with it here and there. Vibrant also makes a very good header but is a little more expensive. I've heard fitment is a bit better than the HyTech, also. For an intake manifold, look into a Euro-R setup from Rosko Racing as well, or if you prefer to keep your stock one, see if BlackTrax is still doing porting work. Unless you were gonna turbo, I wouldn't recommend a Skunk2 IM. It's a good piece but works better with a forced induction setup.


To get to the head gasket, you will need to remove the valve cover (which you'll need another gasket for upon reinstallation), disconnect the distributor, take the timing belt off the cam gears (depending on your maintenance history, you may want to also consider a timing belt change since you'll be there), remove the cams to get access to all 10 head bolts, and you will need to unbolt the head using a specific pattern that you will follow to prevent warping it;

h22 head bolt torque specs - Honda-Tech


After the head is off, find a local machine shop and have them perform a pressure check and also have them check to see if it needs to be resurfaced. While it's out, you have the opportunity to replace the valve seals which I would do, or even upgrade the whole thing; valves, springs, retainers, cams. Anything other than cams, I would let the machine shop perform the work (including valve seals).

When you reinstall the head, you can use the same head bolts but supposedly they stretch over time, and I've never seen anyone recommend reusing old bolts. Either buy a new set of Honda head bolts or go with ARP head studs, which will not stretch like the bolts do. Don't forget to tighten down the bolts/studs in the proper sequence, in three stages- ARP recommends tightening to 90ft/lb in three stages so what you will do is tighten all 10 bolts in sequence to 30lb, then go back and do them all in sequence to 60lb, and then once again to 90lb. You will need a torque wrench to do all the tightening so that you don't strip or warp anything.

Getting the engine timing back in spec is the last really important thing you need to do. Also a whole different topic. So once again we return to my first question- How adept are you with engine work?

Depending on what upgrades you perform, you will also need to look into tuning. Cams especially. You can get away without tuning for a new header and intake manifold, but the car won't benefit from them quite as much.
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