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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi all. A little while back my timing chain tensioner failed while I had the car on blocks for a few weeks while I worked on a clutch replacement. This allowed my motor to lose its timing and it would no longer run, but it took me another week of troubleshooting to figure out what was going on. In that time I probably turned the motor over about 100 times using the starter motor while I was trying to troubleshoot, but at no point when the motor was out of time did it run on its own power. At this point I decided to tow the car off to a shop to get a professional opinion (the first and last time I'll ever send this car to a shop). After a week and $300 in flat towing costs they told me they scoped the motor, found evidence of valve/piston damage, and that the car wasn't worth working on due to its mileage. Ok, fair enough, I got the car back in the garage and figured I had nothing to lose so I ordered myself an engine hoist. Today I finally got the head off of the block to take a look inside to see the damage and now I'm confused. See the pictures below. Either I don't know what I'm looking for here, or the shop I went to did less than nothing and took my money when they decided my car wasn't worth working on. At this point I'm about to put the motor back together, get the timing sorted out, and check compression but I wanted to get some feedback from folks here first.

Long story short, do the pictures below show any indication of piston or valve damage? Is there anything else I should be looking out for?
Automotive tire Rim Automotive wheel system Synthetic rubber Auto part
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
No worries dusterdude but I believe quite the opposite. Virtually all automotive engines today are interference engines. They are lighter and more compact and are therefore more efficient. Fortunately, Honda uses timing chains instead of timing belts and they are supposed to last much longer and rarely if ever break but I have no hard evidence of this yet I believe this to be true. Here is a list of Interference and Non-interference engines. I cannot verify the accuracy of the list I linked to.

Did the shop take off the head? If not, how in the hell did they scope the engine. Through the spark plug hole? Seriously, how much can you see that way. Did they show you evidence of their findings. From your pictures, I see no evidence of piston contact with valve. If there was, you would see scarring on the pistons and I don't see any there or on the valves either. There is some carbon build up but I think this is normal and not a real big deal. Pistons, rings, valves and valve seats are much harder than carbon residue. If any breaks off it should just be blown out the exhaust.

I do see something on this image in the upper right along the outer edge but I can't tell what it is. You should check it out. https://www.8thcivic.com/attachments/20221120_144953_hdr-jpg.247452/

What I do not see is any clear evidence of pistons and valves crashing. Investigating this further would involve checking the connecting rods for any damage especially if they are aluminum. Aluminum does not spring back and a damaged aluminum rod will almost certainly fail at some point with catastrophic results like a big hole in your block. Crank shaft would need to be checked for straightness and any damage to the journals. This requires someone who has the right tools and knows what they are doing. I know of good crank machinists in Michigan if you are anywhere near by. Not sure if they do Hondas but I don't see why not. Not sure how valves are checked for being bent. If problems were found a full valve job might be in order. New valves, springs, guides, and machining valve seats. All this requires highly specialized expensive machines. Serdi is a top brand. If no problems were found, cylinders should probably be honed and pistons re-ringed.

So, maybe at low revs, no damage was done. So there you have it. If it was mine, I would probably slap it together and go for it. Worse that can happen is you end having to buy a used engine, maybe a low mileage JDM engine. Doing all the work I described would probably cost much more. Up to you though. And remember, I am just a self-educated shade tree mechanic. ;)

Proceed with caution. A seized engine is serious.

HTH
Thanks so much for the reply. No, the shop definitely didn't pull the head. They claimed they just scoped through the spark plug hole, but I'm dubious if they even did that much at this point. I think at this point I'm just going to re-assemble and test my compression and go from there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
you were working on the clutch, & then the motor wouldn't start? you know there is a switch on clutch pedal that stops the motor from starting if the pedal is not depressed (with the switch in adjustment ?) you turned motor over 100 times without firing .
Trust me, I am aware of that. I toubleshot that switch and just about everything else you could think of before I actually pulled the valve cover off and confirmed that the timing was off, which is actually pretty easy to see just by looking at the timing alignment marks of the cams.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Re-assemble like you said and do a compression test on all 4. Can't really tell valve damage just by looking at it so your answer will come up by doing a compression test. If I were you I would throw in new valves and associated hardware since its already apart. Might need to resurface the head but depends on how good your surface is. Obviously throw in a new head gasket from Honda.

Nice to hear that a K24a2 swaps are much cheaper than a factory K20z3.

Also would buying a used head be an option for you?
Honestly, even used heads for the k20z3 are pretty pricy. You can find a low miles k24a2 on ebay for right around $1k, while a decent k20z3 is closer to $2-3k just due to it being less common (I imagine). Even a clean k20z3 head is closer to $1k by itself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
What’s the game plan for this now? Planning to drop the K24 in?
I think I'm just going to reassemble everything and as long as it has decent compression I'm just going to try to put it back in the car and see what happens. I'm currently just waiting on a few replacement sensors that I broke during disassembly.
 
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