Under the valve cover - '09 Acura CSX 107k

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Okay, I recently changed spark plugs, I was planning to check valve adjustment at the end of oil change interval, but I had some time to kill this weekend. Also I've gotten a new tool (3/8" M12 Stubby and ratchet) so that I can try while working on my car.

I bought this car in May 2017 at 63k miles. I used VWB 5w30, Napa 5w30, PYB 10w30, PUP 5w30 x 2, PUP 0w20 x 2, TGMO 0w20, and currently M1 5w30 EP, respectively. First three OCIs were very short as I didn't know service history of the vehicle, but I usually keep OCIs around 10k kms (6k miles). So I am not really brand loyal, I like to try different brands but I'd definitely go with any decent brand if I find a great deal.

For the record, almost all exhaust valves were tight (one was too tight), and 2-3 intake valves were loose, others were fine. Glad that I checked. This car is not even driven hard, but if it was an SI or any kind of performance oriented 8k+ rpm K20, I would have done it earlier.

I also changed valve cover gasket, it was not in a bad condition, but wanted to change anyways as it's 12 years old. Changed it with Felpro gasket, I hope it lasts as long.

Here are some pictures.

Photo 2021-02-02, 15 11 59.jpg
Photo 2021-02-02, 15 11 42.jpg
Photo 2021-02-02, 15 11 31.jpg


Interesting vtec system. It disables 1 intake valve per cylinder for better fuel economy, and no vtec in the exhaust cam. It's good to see there is no scoring on cam lobes, just a little discoloration.

Before you say anything: I cleaned the dirt thoroughly (where cylinder head meets with the intake manifold) before I started adjusting the valves to avoid contamination.

Thanks for your time.
 
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For the record, almost all exhaust valves were tight (one was too tight), and 2-3 intake valves were loose, others were fine. Glad that I checked. I also changed valve cover gasket, it was not in a bad condition, but wanted to change anyways as it's 12 years old. Changed it with Felpro gasket, I hope it lasts as long.
If the Felpro is made of the same stuff as the J-Series ones are, it won't. They're junk. One of the few things other than the oil pump O-rings that I insist on being straight from Honda/Acura. Mine didn't make it 12 months before it was weeping out of the covers again. When I pulled the gasket out it was worlds harder than when I put it in. Probably halfway between brand new, and 10-year-old OEM gasket hard.

Good looking top-end. How many miles?
 
If the Felpro is made of the same stuff as the J-Series ones are, it won't. They're junk. One of the few things other than the oil pump O-rings that I insist on being straight from Honda/Acura. Mine didn't make it 12 months before it was weeping out of the covers again. When I pulled the gasket out it was worlds harder than when I put it in. Probably halfway between brand new, and 10-year-old OEM gasket hard.

Good looking top-end. How many miles?

Thanks, it's at 107k miles.

It was slightly harder than the old one. I kind of regret changing it. Oh well, live and learn.

8th gen Civics with any type of K20 engines suck when it comes to basic maintenance because you have to take off front cowl, plastic trims before you reach to cylinder head cover. Another example: If you want to change oil filter, good luck removing it without taking off the front right wheel, or you have to get underneath (which I hate when it's on jack stands) and try to reach it from the bottom (it looks directly towards the firewall). So it's not easy to work on generally, unlike most Japanese cars.

Worst case scenario, I'll have to take it off again and swap it with OEM gasket.
 
Thanks, it's at 107k miles.

It was slightly harder than the old one. I kind of regret changing it. Oh well, live and learn.

8th gen Civics with any type of K20 engines suck when it comes to basic maintenance because you have to take off front cowl, plastic trims before you reach to cylinder head cover. Another example: If you want to change oil filter, good luck removing it without taking off the front right wheel, or you have to get underneath (which I hate when it's on jack stands) and try to reach it from the bottom (it looks directly towards the firewall). So it's not easy to work on generally, unlike most Japanese cars.

Worst case scenario, I'll have to take it off again and swap it with OEM gasket.

Yep, no big deal, just your time. Be different if you were paying a shop to do it. Not like it will spew oil everywhere, it will just eventually start weeping and irritating you.
 
That’s the cleanest I’ve ever seen an engine that old. And I think the gasket will be fine. The only gaskets I use are Fel-Pro and I’ve never had an issue yet ever.

The problem with a lot of Honda/Acura VC gaskets is that the covers and bolts are specifically designed that they bottom out. You snug them down and you cannot squish the gasket any more even if you torque the heads right off the bolts, so if the gasket shrinks up even a little, it leaks. The Fel-Pro gaskets harden much quicker than the OEM ones and leak quicker and there's nothing you can do about it. You can't just snug the bolts up a little more and roll with it.
 
The problem with a lot of Honda/Acura VC gaskets is that the covers and bolts are specifically designed that they bottom out. You snug them down and you cannot squish the gasket any more even if you torque the heads right off the bolts, so if the gasket shrinks up even a little, it leaks. The Fel-Pro gaskets harden much quicker than the OEM ones and leak quicker and there's nothing you can do about it. You can't just snug the bolts up a little more and roll with it.
Oh ok that’s good information to know. I figured Fel-Pro would of been the OEM provider for the gaskets but I guess not.
 
That looks very clean. I’ve done a few valve adjustments on those engines...back is a little bit of a pain to adjust but the front is not bad.

Looks great though! I usually see these things with a lot more varnish, but those are great little engines and it should last you a long time.
 
Very clean top end, looks to be well taken care of. I believe it was a great idea to remove the valve cover and adjust the valves sound like it was needed. I have had very good results with Fel Pro gaskets in the past.
 
So,any favorites out of all the oils you've tried?

Actually, I have no favorite one, and this engine sounds/feels fine with all of them. This car's MM is extremely conservative (it usually goes to 15-0% less than 5k miles) and I feel like the reason why it is so clean is that the previous owner followed the MM. If I really have to pick one, that'd be PUP/PP as I feel like it runs slightly less noisy and smoother, and they are regularly on sale.

I almost never followed MM. After few quick OCIs, I tried to keep the OCI at 10k kms (6.3k miles) - which is easier to remember and still pretty conservative OCI for low rpm eco-spec K series.
 
Actually, I have no favorite one, and this engine sounds/feels fine with all of them. This car's MM is extremely conservative (it usually goes to 15-0% less than 5k miles) and I feel like the reason why it is so clean is that the previous owner followed the MM. If I really have to pick one, that'd be PUP/PP as I feel like it runs slightly less noisy and smoother, and they are regularly on sale.

I almost never followed MM. After few quick OCIs, I tried to keep the OCI at 10k kms (6.3k miles) - which is easier to remember and still pretty conservative OCI for low rpm eco-spec K series.
Interesting that you mention that,because out of all the oils I’ve tried in my Accord,I too find PP runs the smoothest.
 
Goes to show that using a good synth oil with a filter at the proper OCI is more important than "what brand/type of X should I use?" Oils are so good now and they keep getting better.
 
Thanks, it's at 107k miles.

It was slightly harder than the old one. I kind of regret changing it. Oh well, live and learn.

8th gen Civics with any type of K20 engines suck when it comes to basic maintenance because you have to take off front cowl, plastic trims before you reach to cylinder head cover. Another example: If you want to change oil filter, good luck removing it without taking off the front right wheel, or you have to get underneath (which I hate when it's on jack stands) and try to reach it from the bottom (it looks directly towards the firewall). So it's not easy to work on generally, unlike most Japanese cars.

Worst case scenario, I'll have to take it off again and swap it with OEM gasket.
Looks very clean for 107k. On Gen 8's with the 1.8L you can remove the valve cover without removing the cowl. You have to remove the rear bolts, fuel injector connectors and a few other items by feel. It is definitely doable though. I have never worked on a 2.0L in that generation so I am not sure if the same would apply.
 
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