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Head gasket project -NOW WITH PHOTOS!


F22trainer
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...losing coolant, and no visible traces (any more - see "Big earl's...) :banghead :banghead :banghead

anyone know how to test for leaky head gasket?

I am getting into temp trouble after running long periods on highway...though Friday's jaunt hardly qualifies as that. The leak I discovered was pretty insignificant, compared to the amount of coolant I had to replace...and I've seen nothing on the ground, aside from a long run to the airport and back recently when it overheated and blew coolant all over my new tire from the overflow. It seems like exhaust may be getting past a gasket, and then pumped into the radiator making an air block...that possible? I've been having to burp the thing and add coolant every week for some time now - I did suspect a leak, but have been waiting for one to appear and the coolant sensor doesn't really seem the culprit. When it's topped off and burped - temps' are 165/175 moving - 180/190 at the lights. As soon as I see it get up to 215 or so after a few days driving - I check the coolant and have to add about a quart to the radiator - bottle stays level though - and after t-stat kicks open she burps out the air and I top it off with another quart. I'm having to do this once a week and she doesn't leave any spots on the floor anywhere.

...and how hard is it to change gaskets on the L-98. I've put them on 4 and 6 bangers, but I got no wrench time on a V8.

Andrew, didn't you mention another Corvette Saturday?????????

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Yow.

If yer leakin coolant via headgasket bad ..no .. really bad.. things happen.

Bad like you would be lucky to get home bad.

Coolant into the cylinder head washes oil off rings and cylinder wall (very much vaporizes and steam cleans the cylinder really well) and that piston will attempt to seize .. I say attempt because the crank and rod dont want to stop regardless of how tuff it is to push that piston up and down.. and most of the time the piston comes apart from the push-pull.

Combustion temp and gases into the coolant overheat the car in about a New York Minute. It can and does blow the coolant caps off, push freeze plugs out, and boil the coolant handily.

If yer 'lucky' and its a head gasket leak to the outside of the block away from combustion chambers..it can and will melt a nice channel into the block and heads ..it's HOT yanno? It doesn't take long.

There's a leakdown test that can be done to check compression on each cylinder .. literally been decades since I've done one ..any engine shop can do the deed tho.

-Frank

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You can also have someone pressurize the cooling system and see where it's bleeding down. If it's a head gasket and you're getting coolant into the oil, you'll usually end up with a foamy sludge under the oil cap that looks somewhat like chocolate milk. You can also look at the oil itself, and it should be obvious. If it's going into a cylinder, you'll usually see the white smoke at startup, and it will sometimes foul that cylinder at sartup.

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Hey Michael,

I have a compression tester if you want to try that. I’ll have to find it though; it’s been years since I have had to use it.

Are you blowing any smoke? If so it should be white for a blown head gasket. Check the oil and see if any water is in it. That will tell you right away. If the oil seems milky then I would recommend not driving it or starting it.

Maybe there is an air bubble in the bottom hose. If this happens, it can cause overheating or even boil over which will obviously cause loss of coolant.

Just a couple of thoughts thrown out there for ya’. Hopefully it is something simple. Maybe Chad has some idea of what it could be………

Andrew

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I think I'm screwed...

Daylight exam proved:

Oil looks like it has water in it - dipstick showed "beading"

No smoke on start up, but a loud tappet and exhaust sounding leak were unmistakable - though both went away after about 30 seconds.

doesn't sound like the coolant sensor is going to provide any assistance in repairing this mo fo

I swear - I think I'm might finally START to catch up with life and the SURPRISE!!!!! :nutkick:

Looks like I'll be driving the roomies car, 'course now that mine is taking a dump she'll be heading back to get it and I'll get to compound the problem by figuring out how to add a rental car into the already unaffordable cost of a head gasket replacement and who knows what else......... :rant:banghead :banghead :banghead :banghead :banghead :banghead :banghead :banghead :banghead :banghead :banghead :banghead :banghead :banghead

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Lets get a corvette weekend running somehow, some way. I don't think the gasket itself should be too expensive. ACE labor is free. Some work for drinks and food...but if $$ are that tight, we can make it BYO or donations for that part of it.

As long as it's not next weekend I should be able to help (both days are jammed).

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Lets get a corvette weekend running somehow, some way. I don't think the gasket itself should be too expensive. ACE labor is free. Some work for drinks and food...but if $$ are that tight, we can make it BYO or donations for that part of it.

As long as it's not next weekend I should be able to help (both days are jammed).

Last time I checked a head gasket kit for a small block was in the $180-$200 range. Not THAT bad, but man...What a PITA to replace.

You're going to have to take the top end apart...If there's anything else you want to do (cam change, timing chain change, intake change, etc) NOW would be the time to do it.

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Lets get a corvette weekend running somehow, some way. I don't think the gasket itself should be too expensive. ACE labor is free. Some work for drinks and food...but if $$ are that tight, we can make it BYO or donations for that part of it.

As long as it's not next weekend I should be able to help (both days are jammed).

Thanx Sean...

The head gasket I can afford. Food and drink I could afford

Yeah, money is REAL tight. House will be going on the market by May 1 and Student loans are coming due then as well. I'm so broke I can't afford to pay attention...I thought the tax refund I scrounged would give me some breathing room. I've had more money going out than coming in for well over a year as I try to get my "new career" stabilized and on track. I saw this coming as I transitined into full time flying and hoped it wouldn't come to this, but I've been trying to stick it out as long as possible.

This really :bang :bang :rant sucks...

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The head gasket I can afford. Food and drink I could afford

Yeah, money is REAL tight. House will be going on the market by May 1 and Student loans are coming due then as well. I'm so broke I can't afford to pay attention...I thought the tax refund I scrounged would give me some breathing room. I've had more money going out than coming in for well over a year as I try to get my "new career" stabilized and on track. I saw this coming as I transitined into full time flying and hoped it wouldn't come to this, but I've been trying to stick it out as long as possible.

This really :bang :bang :rant sucks...

You're a smart guy...I think :lol ...I'm sure you'll bounce back. Just let us know when. If your car is undriveable, I can even bring tools. I don't have much in the way of specialty tools, but I do have quite an assortment of "normal" tools, jack stands, creeper, stool, jacks.

Like I said, I'm jammed next weekend, but other than that, things look pretty good.

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Yassir .. intake and heads gotta come off ..no need to get under the car, gasket set and fluids and a buncha rags an spray clean stuff .. heck I replaced a burnt valve in my front yard in years gone by ..back when I had ..like .. tools .. and a front yard :)

-Frank (truly .. just need a Chiltons or some such showin torque values required and tightening sequence to 'do it right')

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Yassir .. intake and heads gotta come off ..no need to get under the car, gasket set and fluids and a buncha rags an spray clean stuff .. heck I replaced a burnt valve in my front yard in years gone by ..back when I had ..like .. tools .. and a front yard :)

-Frank (truly .. just need a Chiltons or some such showin torque values required and tightening sequence to 'do it right')

Normal human reaction to crisis begins with shock and disbelief, acceptance, crisis management and then healing...WTF where did that come from?

Anyway, I think the shock has given way to acceptance and management - the healing will have to begin after I find a way to pay the bill.

But now for some in depth analysis, for which I would solicit your suggestions and opinions...

Fact #1:

I GOTTA GET IT FIXED. It's the only wheels I got but I do have roomie's Malibu until she can get back to pick up her stuff (date unknown, but just let Murphy's Law stand as the known constant) and return to Chicago - she got a right seat job with Republic Air.

Fact #2:

There is a distinct possibility there are more underlying problems - like maybe a cracked head $$$$$$$. Piston / cylinder wall damage - oh the horror...

Fact #3:

I don't know how to manage a tear down and rebuild well enough to have confidence in the job when it's complete, which is where the questions start...though I do have the Helms and Haynes manuals and I could probably stay at a Holiday Inn the night before. Tearing all that stuff down - really doesn't scare me - it's the intricacies of a V8 head, valves, timing, etc. and the possible 1000 errors I might create while disassembling any engine that uses computers with which to govern it's operation,

which leads to fact #4:

The motor has nearly 160K on it. If I have to tear it down - I want it to go back together in the best possible condition, which in this case would almost certainly require things like a valve job. Again, I did one on my OHC 6 cyl with a little help from a good mechanic, but this is way outta my league.

Now, given this scenario - how far do you go? I see an easy $2K just to get it running and reliable, assuming I haven't scored a cylinder wall or have to replace some pistons. In which case, it has just become a total engine overhaul - again, way outta my league and while I would love to do it, lacking time, space, tools and skill is no way to start a project.

So, it looks like I have to either get it to a shop or start the job here - see what I can find as I tear it apart and if all it needs is gaskets, I could send the heads to a shop and maybe have 'em back in a week for reassembly. (please tell me I'm in the ballpark there). If things look really bad during the tear down, then I would have to send it to Joe or Meryl (exotic Muscle) or some other highly recommended shop, on a tow truck along with the parts in a couple of boxes...I'm sure they would love that.

With or without the boxes I see that event unfolding in the image of $5K...

it just keeps getting better doesn't it.

But, with that said, and with the solid potential of already having to secure money from the credit union, I'm wondering "new engine...?"

Which returns me back to Fact #1...time

I think I'm gettin' dizzy.

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I think I'm screwed...

Daylight exam proved:

Oil looks like it has water in it - dipstick showed "beading"

No smoke on start up, but a loud tappet and exhaust sounding leak were unmistakable - though both went away after about 30 seconds.

Water beads could be condensation, not uncommon especially with the warm days and cool nights we've been having. I've seen it before, can also be found in valve covers. Condensation goes away once engine is up to temp. Without seeing a picture of what exactly your seeing it's hard to say.

Check your plugs, or do a complete oil change, that will tell you if your leaking coolant into the motor. If that is your issue, with the amount of water you've lost, it should be obvious.

Loud tap could just be low oil pressure on start up, not uncommon in an engine with the kinda of mileage you've got.

I had a little catch can the would catch water/oil coming out of the pcv valve on my C5, the amount of moisture it would trap was incredible.

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I am no certified mechanic so I cannot answer your questions. There are others here that I'm sure can. But like you said, we cannot say anything for sure until she's apart.

You've been driving her for a bit like this so it may not be too bad. :xfinger

It's your call dude. Just let us know.

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Last time I checked a head gasket kit for a small block was in the $180-$200 range. Not THAT bad, but man...What a PITA to replace.

Not even. Just checked Checker online - $68 for a head gasket set with all of the gaskets needed to do the job - head, intake, valve cover, etc, etc.

It's a "weekend" job, nothing too difficult about it, just time consuming. You do have to face facts though that there is a possibility that it's not the gasket that's blown but possibly a head that's cracked, unfortunately. You won't know until you take it apart.

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Yes. . water beads on the dipstick are not a problem ..it evaporates at engine temps.

Water in the oil, when you pull the dipstick, it's not the black oily stuff you will normally see.

It'll be milky, and when you rub some between two fingers it will feel wrong .. not very 'slick' or syrupy like 'normal' oil, even oil well past the recommended change interval still has that maple syrupy feel to it.. water destroys that.

-Frank aka GE

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Yes. . water beads on the dipstick are not a problem ..it evaporates at engine temps.

Water in the oil, when you pull the dipstick, it's not the black oily stuff you will normally see.

It'll be milky, and when you rub some between two fingers it will feel wrong .. not very 'slick' or syrupy like 'normal' oil, even oil well past the recommended change interval still has that maple syrupy feel to it.. water destroys that.

-Frank aka GE

I'm with ya there Frank...the stuff on the dipstick looked "sticky", didn't rub it on my fingers though and it was all the way up and down the dipstick. It did not run down the stick either - almost like it was painted on, complete with "fisheye"

Since the start up this morning I've seen coolant pool just below the intake manifold on a small exposed surface of the head - over the #8 cylinder. It's just below the EGR blockoff plate.

Still weighing my options at this point, but I think I'm going to have to put it in the shop and hopefully I don't need a new head - I can't really find out what's wrong unless I take it apart. Since I don't really know what to look for beyond a gasket, I gotta trust someone at a shop. If it needs a new engine, well I'll have to borrow anyway if the total damage is >$1K. In which case, I will get the engine replaced in a "new and improved" version. Either way, it's less than another car.

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Micheal,

Tear it apart yourself with ACE help.

Remember the minute you roll it into a shop they are going to start your bill with a few hundred bucks just because you don't know whats wrong with it... Why not tear into it to see whats wrong..

Bad head gaskets. easy fix

Cracked head. well that first few hundred bucks your going to give to a shop could easily buy some replacement heads for now...

See this link! Or fleabay has some

If it's way worse than just heads, with 160,000 on the clock I would tell you to start looking for a crate motor. The cost of having yours machined and all the replacement parts would still be cheaper, but only by $500 or so compared to a usable crate motor.

What I'm getting at is you just need to get it running, if your tight on money don't worry about upgrading, just think transportation.

Then after you get your feet back on solid ground you could look into getting all the power you want out of a new motor....

But be careful going to a shop with no idea whats wrong. $75 an hour gets really expensive fast. Thats a lot of parts you could buy.

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Micheal,

Tear it apart yourself with ACE help.

Remember the minute you roll it into a shop they are going to start your bill with a few hundred bucks just because you don't know whats wrong with it... Why not tear into it to see whats wrong..

Bad head gaskets. easy fix

Cracked head. well that first few hundred bucks your going to give to a shop could easily buy some replacement heads for now...

See this link! Or fleabay has some

If it's way worse than just heads, with 160,000 on the clock I would tell you to start looking for a crate motor. The cost of having yours machined and all the replacement parts would still be cheaper, but only by $500 or so compared to a usable crate motor.

What I'm getting at is you just need to get it running, if your tight on money don't worry about upgrading, just think transportation.

Then after you get your feet back on solid ground you could look into getting all the power you want out of a new motor....

But be careful going to a shop with no idea whats wrong. $75 an hour gets really expensive fast. Thats a lot of parts you could buy.

:agree

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Dwayne,

Thanks for the advice.

After all the mental torture I put myself through, it suddenly dawned on me "with all the guys from ACE - I can do this". I almost went out at 9 PM last night and started turning wrenches but decided I would wait until I got the dishes done this morning and dive in fresh and without artificial light.

Me and Chad spoke yesterday for a bit and he offered up his garage - but I'm gonna give her a go here. We kind of reached the same conclusions. If I need to go with more than heads - yer right - crate motor! And, while I hope that is not the case - it would be pretty damn cool too.

Your email this AM just reaffirmed my decision last night. I'll keep posting with the findings...

THANKS, SIR!

...tune in for more of the pilot and his ground based misadventures.

I guess as far as cracked heads go the more eyes the better and I'll hope for just gaskets.

I'm going to to start tearing it aprart today...

anyone wants to stop by AND HELP - pizza and drinks on me.

...ok, yes pointing does help. The goal: final assembly and start up on next Saturday afternoon

Chad - BIG THANX BRO - the only reason I didn't take you up on the offer...I won't have to drive to your place to work on it! :scareddriver:

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Well, I was going to send a photo - coolant on intake/head, but it won't upload.

anyway, I'm draining the oil first then I'll post again.

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the "oil" coming out is black GOO

I'm 1000 overdue for an oil change but...damn!

it's taken about 15 min's for most to drain, it's got brown cocoa bubbles in it

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