03 Civic EX, Supertech HM Full Synth 5W20, 500 mi, post-head gasket change

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97
Location
Midwest
Backstory: I'm the original owner of this 03 Civic EX with the 1.7L VTEC. Back in 04 and 05 I did a couple of UOAs which looked good. We got busy starting a family and doing UOAs kind of got put on the backburner. Fast forward to 2020 and I decide to do another UOA on this car, which I'm still driving daily. I'm now living in a different state and my driving has gone from high mileage highway driving to low mileage short trips -- from 15k miles a year to 4k miles a year. I had no hint that there was an issue, so the timing was good. A coolant leak was detected. I took it to the shop and confirmed, then got the HG replaced. Drove it 500 miles and took a sample to confirm the HG was no longer leaking.

If anyone's interested, the first two UOAs on this sheet were Pennzoil Conventional 5w-20. The third one where the coolant leak was detected was Pennzoil Conventional High Mileage 5w-20. The current one with 517 miles is Supertech Full Synthetic High Mileage 5w-20, which I left with the shop doing the head gasket work. I'm trusting they used it. :)

I'm currently driving with a mix of 93% Pennzoil Conventional High Mileage 5w-20 and 7% Motorcraft 5w-20 Synthetic Blend (what I happened to have in the garage that got me to 3.5 qts). I plan on doing another UOA at 1000 miles, then switching back to Supertech Full Synthetic High Mileage 5w-20 with FRAM XG filters. Assuming a good UOA on the next sample, I'll go back to 2x-year oil/filter changes. With almost exclusive short trip driving, I'm comfortable with ST HM Full Synth + FRAM XG filters twice a year, about every 2000 miles. This baby has been good to me for nearly 18 years and I plan to treat her well for whatever time I've got left with her.
 

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himemsys

Thread starter
Messages
97
Location
Midwest
Here's an image of the UOA for easier viewing:
civic500.jpg
 
Messages
754
Location
Minnesota
Glad everything is back to normal and running well. My family also had a 03 EX that needed a head gasket. Not a huge deal. I believe the 03's were more prone to failure than the 01-02 or 04-05's for some reason.
 

himemsys

Thread starter
Messages
97
Location
Midwest
Glad everything is back to normal and running well. My family also had a 03 EX that needed a head gasket. Not a huge deal. I believe the 03's were more prone to failure than the 01-02 or 04-05's for some reason.
Yeah, I've heard the same about the '03s. While they were replacing the HG, I also had them replace the cam plug, which had been leaking awhile and causing about 1/4 qt per 1000 mi loss of oil.

What's weird is I'm still seeing coolant loss in the reservoir even with a clean UOA. I'm thinking the reservoir itself might have a pinhole because once it gets to just above the low level indicator, it stays there, not going below it. I've topped it back to the midpoint once and it's slowly creeping back to the low level indicator. If I get it up to speed and drive for about 30 min, it will expand and approach the high mark, but overnight it will go back to near the low mark. I'm not too concerned at this point but definitely keeping an eye on it.
 

himemsys

Thread starter
Messages
97
Location
Midwest
Here's a follow up sample. Numbers are going down (look at the PPM/1000 mi numbers in the spreadsheet). I need to look into the high silicon. The air filter is brand new (put in prior to both of these samples) and it's a genuine Honda filter.
03 Civic 031921a.jpg
03 Civic 031921.jpg
 
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