Engine Cooling problem
1993 Honda Civic 4 cyl Two Wheel Drive Automatic 145000 miles
Well maintained 1993 honda Civic Dx 145K miles suddenly overheated a bit in highway and after a week or so the coolant foaming out (if removing the radiator cap or checking the reservoir). I noticed loosing some coolant. The coolant was tested for HC and I was told that the head gasket is burned. The car was running very smooth and there was no coolant mixed with the oil or no white smoke from the exhaust.
The mechanic bought a FelPro head gasket kit, removed the head and sent to the machine shop with the seals… The mechanic called me and said that I am lucky. The head looked very clean and the gasket was a bit discolored (slightly burned). He orders the timing belt, water pump, radiator, hoses, belts, distributor cap, rotor, spark plugs and wires. He gets the head back and put them together. He finds out the car is making some funny grinding noise (he thinks it is from the drive belts tightened to much) and white smoke from the tail pipe and engine does not run very smooth. He claims the engine was running fine until he took it for spin.
The head was taken out and was sent to another machine shop. They pressure tested the head and everything is ok, but they recommend the valve job. The head was only surfaced at the first machine shop.
The mechanic calls me and ask for additional $300 before the 2nd machine shop could start and would not give warrantee any longer for the work. He has measured the block with straight head and it is 2-2.5 mill which he says it is marginal and the machine shop says this is the last work they could do on this head as it is getting thin.
While there is a good chance that we put the head back and see the same problems. I am left with a big dilemma. Using the same head, buying another used head, or buying a used engine? I need a car for 2-3 years and money is a big issue.
Appreciate your help.