I recently bought a whole bunch of parts for my CRX, one of them being a OEM head gasket (part # 12251-PM5-S02). After receiving the head gasket I was searching online and found this information about Honda Service Bulletin #97-047 :
The applicable portion is under the second heading entitled "HEAD GASKET LEAKS" where it mentions the D15B2 engine.
Basically what it says is this :
1. If you are replacing a head gasket that has failed (which I am) that you should use a new head gasket (part # 12251-P01-004) as well as new headbolts (part #90005-PM3-004).
2. If you are replacing a non-leaking head gasket during a routine engine repair on these 1988-95 engines, using an original-style head gasket along
with the old head bolts is acceptable.
My question is this..........
Which head gasket should I use?
If the original head gasket that was on there was faulty from the beginning why are they saying that it is OK to use the same part again? That would imply that the design of the gasket is not at fault but something else, possibly the block?
On a Honda motor that you aren't going to make more than stock power with you usually can be fine with reusing the OEM head bolts. It's not the best thing to do, but I've gotten away with doing it before. If you do decide to install new ones, I would go with ARPs instead since they are reusable and only cost a little bit more than the OEM ones.
As for the headgasket, make sure it's a multilayer metal gasket, and it should hold fine. DO NOT use a copper gasket (one layer, copper color).
I believe as well that there is no definite up/down, but I'm going to look at the extra HG I have in the basement for my d15z1 and see what it says. - Just checked. Looks like my gasket isn't the same on both ends, so for mine, it will only fit one way. When you take off the old one you should be able to see what way it goes pretty easily.
While you have the head off I would get it (and possibly the block) checked for straightness and get it shaved to be flat in case it's not perfect. Good insurance that's cheap to do, especially if the head gasket DID blow.
On the never-ending quest for better gas mileage...