There are four different tests that are done to test for blown head gasket. And I can tell you from personal experience that each one of them something that the do-it-yourself'er can do without having to take it to the shop.
In this tutorial, I will explain each one of those for tests so that you can figure out if your 2002, 2003, 2004, or 2005 2.4L Honda CR-V has a blown head gasket or not
Contents of this tutorial at a glance:
You can find this tutorial in Spanish here: Cómo Probar El Empaque De Cabeza (2002-2005 2.4L Honda CR-V) (at: autotecnico-online.com).
Symptoms Of A Blown Head Gasket
A blown head gasket is usually the direct result of severe engine overheating condition. Although not always.
The head gasket design on your 2.4L Honda CR-V is designed in such a way that it will fail all on its own. In other words it doesn't matter how well you take care of the engine so that it will never overheat, this type of head gasket design will eventually fail causing your Honda CR-V to overheat as you're driving down the road for no apparent reason
And when the head gasket on your 2.4L Honda CR-V is blown, the engine will usually not start. In some cases, the head gasket doesn't get blown, it just fails causing the engine to overheat when you drive the vehicle on the road.
If your 2.4L Honda CR-V has a blown head gasket, you'll see one or more of the following symptoms:
- Your Honda CR-V is overheating. You've confirmed that the engine is not overheating because of a failed engine cooling system component (like the water pump, radiator fan motor, thermostat, etc.)
- White smoke is coming out of the tail-pipe and it smells like anti-freeze being cooked.
- Your Honda won't start. You've confirmed that the ignition system and fuel system are not behind the problem.
- The engine oil is thick and looks like coffee with too much creamer.
TEST 1: Engine Oil The Color Of 'Coffee With Too Much Creamer'
The very first test that we're going to do is to check the condition of the engine oil that is sticking to your Honda CR-V's 2.4L engine oil dipstick.
Basically what we're trying to find out is if the coolant has mixed with the engine oil. If this has happened, the end result will be that the engine oil in the current case will look like coffee with too much creamer.
So if you pull out the dipstick on your 2.4L Honda CR-V and the engine oil looks like coffee with too much creamer, you now know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the head gasket is blown.
Let's get started:
Open your Honda's hood and pull out the engine oil dipstick.
What you're looking for is to make sure that the engine oil IS NOT mixed with coolant. If the engine oil is mixed with coolant, it'll be the color of 'coffee with too much cream'.
What color is the engine oil?
1.) Is it a creamy tan/off-white color?
2.) The engine oil will be its usual normal color.
Alright, let's interpret the color of the engine oil:
CASE 1: The color of the oil is a light tan, like coffee with too much creamer. This result confirms that your Honda's head gasket is blown.
CASE 2: The color of the engine oil is normal. This is the correct and expected test result.
The next test is to see if the coolant is being shot out of the radiator (with its cap removed) when the engine is cranked. For this test go to: TEST 2: Coolant Shooting Out From Open Radiator.