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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I have a manual 05 EX with about 210k on it. Had it for a little over a year and it's been great, and I hope to keep breathing life into her for many years to come. Right now I'm having trouble with a misfire that was caused by tight exhaust valves that have since been returned to factory specs. My mechanic told me to drive it a little longer to see if it got better or not. He mentioned it could be a burnt valve or just excessive carbon build up. I also asked what he would charge in case I did need a valve replacement and he rough quoted me $1200-1500 for a valve replacement. I don't have that kind of money sitting around, so I'm looking to do this myself. I was hoping that I could find some information about removing the head and all the torque specs required for the reinstall but haven't really been able to find much. I don't have a service manual, and I'd like to save as much money as possible to get my baby girl running smoothly again. So if anyone can help me find a thread that I'm missing or give me some information about the whole process of a valve replacement it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
 

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I know someone is going to chime in to disagree, but IMO you should not attempt this job without a service manual. It's a cheap investment in your maintenance future.

If you can't find a paper manual for your model year from H&A or Helm Inc., you can buy an electronic copy (bewared of pirated versions) from a vendor such as Rock Auto.
 

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Before you do anything, you should do a compression test and a cylinder leak down test. You need to determine if this is caused by leaking valves or something else.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
My mechanic did a compression test before and after the valve adjustment. Before: 1,3,4~150 2~50
After: 1,3,4~150, 2~115
Haven't done a leak down test, but I don't see how it would tell me anything else. If there's a burnt valve it would read poorly anyway. I'm also experiencing a slight coolant leak and have seen some bubbles in my reservoir so it could be a bad gasket too. I have a replacement daily so it won't bother me too much to open it anyway.

I also am trying to get a service manual, and would prefer to get a hard copy over an electronic copy. Helms is out of stock and I would like to get this done as quickly as possible.
 

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Yep, you likely don't need to do a leak down test since the compression did change after the valve adjustment. If it had stayed the same, you would want to do it to rule out rings.

Your plan to pull the head seems like a good one.

Get the hard copy from Rockauto. It's the same as the Helm.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
So I just ordered mine from RockAuto and it should be here Friday.

Once I get the head off should I send it to a machine shop to get it looked over? Or could it be as simple as replacing the burnt valve, lapping, and putting her back together again? I plan to clean and relap all valves, and change valve seals regardless, but I would very much like to save where I can.

By the way if anyone knows a good shop on the north side of Nashville please let me know.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Will it cause issues with the head being smoothed out and the block not? I wouldn't think so, but then again I'm no master mechanic.

Also, are there any special tools I will need to do this? I saw something about some 50mm hex piece or something and I was hoping someone could confirm that along with anything else so I can go ahead and buy them. I'd love to get started this Friday when my SM arrives so any foresight is greatly appreciated!
 

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Will it cause issues with the head being smoothed out and the block not? I wouldn't think so, but then again I'm no master mechanic.
Not as big an issue since the head is aluminum and the block is iron. The head is way more likely to warp if you have an overheat. The main reason I am concerned is because you mentioned seeing bubbles in your expansion tank.

You do have a torque wrench right?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
I do not personally own one, but do have access to some.

Side note: Are there any other parts I should consider replacing/servicing (not necessarily on the head) that would be easier to access while the head is off and at the shop?
 

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Well...you have to use a torque wrench to properly torque down the head so you need to get one. The sequence of tightening will be in the manual.

Consider replacing the water pump if you have never done it.

Others may chime in on if it's worth replacing the timing chain at the same time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
So I looked at rock auto and the Fel-Pro set was really expensive and also had gaskets for things I won't be needing like a turbo/supercharger. I went to a site I recently found and I can get my water pump, head gasket set, head bolt set, and a new exhaust valve for $136.45. The brand is DNJ; I've never heard of them but saw some decent reviews for them so I figured I'd give it a shot. Won't be purchasing until Saturday (probably) as it won't get here until Monday anyway. Also, here's the links so you can tell me if I'm being really dumb:

Exhaust Valve - http://www.partsology.com/dnj-ev216...0a3-k20z3-k23a1-k24a1-k24a2-k24a4-k24a8-k24z1
Head Gasket/Bolt Combo - http://www.partsology.com/head-gasket-set-with-head-bolts-hgs228-hbk216-dnj
Water Pump - http://www.partsology.com/dnj-wp228-water-pump-k24a4-k24a8

I've also never taken anything to a machine shop before, let a lone a head so I have no idea what to ask for, and what to leave out. Obvious answers are checking to make sure the seat of the head is flat, checking valve guides and the springs for proper tolerances but just about anything else I'm pretty much in the dark.

P.S. Thank you babock for all of your help so far, it's greatly appreciated and I don't know what I would do without you. You sir, are a gentleman and a scholar.
 

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Personally, I would only use the Fel-Pro head gasket or OEM.

I would also only use an OEM waterpump or Aisin. Aisin is the OEM vendor.

There is so much labor involved. Why take a chance with a head gasket that won't seal properly. Trust me...you don't want to take the head off a second time. I have replaced dozens of heads in my life. I always use Fel-Pro and nothing else. Never had one problem.
 

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Element Valve Job

@ MrCookenstein, so how did that valve job come out?
I'm going to be doing the same with my daughter's '05. Also #2 ex valve seems to be leaking.
Any words of advice now that you've been down this road?

The shop that I was going to use wanted $18K + parts just for the labor of r&r the head. Plus another $200 to the shop that will do the actual valve job.
Guy at the 1st shop also mentioned it's a 50/50 chance that doing a valve job on an engine with 200K+ miles could cause a failure in the bottom end. Anyone have this kind of problem?

I wasn't planning to replace the timing chain/tensioner/guides... If anyone would like to chime in on that, any recommendations for brand? I see rockauto sells a reasonably priced set by ITM for about $100. Little worried by the "90 day warranty" though, also not sure if it would arrive in time.
 

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2003 Honda Element Sunset Orange Pearl 2WD Automatic 135K Miles I Love It!
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Hmm, don't see an edit button, correct $18K to $1.8K.
Whew! For $18K you could just buy yourself a nearly new low mileage whole Element! (LOL!)

But, even $1.8K just to R&R a cylinder head sounds really high!

You may be better served getting a second opinion!
 

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If you're not able or up for doing the work yourself, I'd say it's more cost effective to swap your engine for a good low mileage used one. I don't personally believe that rebuilding a head will accelerate or make you more prone to lower end problems but $2k is a lot for a valve job and if you track down a lower mileage used engine, I think you'll get it done for cheaper, presumably have less overall issues that you might have with your current engine (unless you know history and condition well).
 
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