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Old 07-01-2012, 09:27 PM   #1
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Default Do I Have A Blown Head Gasket?

A little backstory first.

A few weeks ago, after seafoaming my intake via the vacuum tube under the SC snout, I took my car out for a "spirited" drive to blow the intake clean. I never had any smoke show. Guess it'* clean? During said spirited drive, I ended up overheating, and losing all of my coolant. I drove the car around 4 miles after it first overheated, pulling over and letting it cool down about every mile or so. Each time it got hot, I didn't let it get into the red before I pulled over and shut it off, until the very last time. I was going up a slight hill, and the car stumbled a little bit, just once, until I got to the top and swung into a parking lot of a gas station. As I was pulling into the parking spot, the needle hit the red and the "LOW COOLANT" light came on and was on for about a second or two before I shut the car off, since it did this immediately when I pulled into a parking spot. I then had the car towed home, let it cool, and added about 4 liters of water to the radiator before I started seeing coolant spilling out of the coolant elbow in the intake. Aha, I thought, the infamous coolant elbow blowing out.

$4 and 3 hours later, I topped off the radiator with another liter or two of water, and went for a drive. Things went fine, no more overheating, etc. Over the next two weeks, I added about a 1/2 gallon of 50/50 dexcool to the radiator and the overflow as it circulated through the system and got the air out and stuff. Still no overheating problems.

Last weekend, knowing I had a system that was about 90% water and 10% coolant, I drained my radiator, and filled it with 100% dexcool thinking that the radiator is right about 1/2 the total cooling system capacity, and that should have given me close to a 50/50 mix. At the time I was planning on draining again and refilling with 50/50....essentially a weeklong flush.

On Thursday and Friday, I added coolant again, and it was 95 degrees out with high humidity. On my way home, my coolant temp stayed right around the middle of the gauge, until I slowed down, and got into traffic. It dipped up to the second mark beyond the middle a couple of times.



This was both at idle, and while following a driver with their thumb up there you know what going 30 in a 50 zone, up and down hills. The air conditioner being on or off didn't seem to affect it either way, but it never got past that second mark.

Which brings me to today. I drained my radiator, and got about a gallon out. I then refilled with fresh 50/50 dexcool, bled the system, topped off, topped off, topped off, while the engine was running.

This first video is while the engine was first warming up, before the thermostat opened up.

http://s40.photobucket.com/albums/e2...701_143627.mp4

See the bubbles? Here'* another -

http://s40.photobucket.com/albums/e2...701_143921.mp4

This was after a rev of the engine -

http://s40.photobucket.com/albums/e2...701_143815.mp4

This is after topping off again, and shows the fluid during some revs -

http://s40.photobucket.com/albums/e2...701_144212.mp4

This is after the thermostat opened, with the heater on, and after bleeding the thermostat bleed screw -

http://s40.photobucket.com/albums/e2...701_144813.mp4

and one more with a couple of revs

http://s40.photobucket.com/albums/e2...701_145112.mp4

So, when starting, the fluid doesn't get forced out of the radiator neck, it gets sucked down. Is that normal? After I turned the heater off, the fluid started coming out of the radiator neck and outrunning what the overflow tube could handle. I had to put the cap on to prevent making a mess.

So this is making me worry about my head gasket. A combination of the bubbles, the coolant sucking behavior, the high coolant temps on thursday and friday, the little stumble during my overheating driving period. I do not have coolant on the dipstick that I can tell, no ring around the oil cap, no oil in the coolant, no white smoke. My oil level did look a LITTLE higher than normal after about 20 minutes of driving and about an hour of cooling, but by a little I mean it was covering half the top hole on the dipstick and now it covers the entire hole. There is some clear liquid dripping from the tailpipe after the car is warmed up. I think this is condensation. I hope.

Opinions?

I bought 2 gallons of 100% coolant and 2 gallons of distilled water today. Plan on flushing again next weekend to make sure i have a 50/50 mix and to get all that tap water out of there.

The LIM gaskets have already been replaced on this car by the dealer under warranty in February of 2009 I think it was.

Loud
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Old 07-01-2012, 10:30 PM   #2
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3 years for LIM gaskets? Wonder if they stuck the cheap plastic ones in. The average lifespan of the plastic ones are not very long nowadays.

When you show the filler neck and the fluid go down when you rev it, it does appear normal. Its the sudden increase RPM of the water pump that does that. The bubbles seem to be coming from the bottom of the radiator. I'm wondering if thats just air in the pump and its just getting pushed back out.

At this point in time, its hard to tell due to the fact of having water in the system already. If its not in the oil, not buring out the exhaust(sweet smell, white smoke), spewing somewhere, I think the water might be evaporating. Bad mix??? I always use the pre-mix 50/50.

Diagnosing blown head gaskets can be hard to do without the proper equipment. You could try and do a cylinder compression test done while the engine is cold and hot. You could pressure check the cooling system also.
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Old 07-02-2012, 02:55 PM   #3
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So I checked my oil level again today after driving for about an hour and the car sitting for around 4 hours. My oil level now looks a little higher, above the last hole on the dipstick. A good ways above it. No milkyness though.

I also noticed tiny droplets being thrown up from the water pump area. Could running the coolant dry that one time have damaged the water pump? Is there a way to check it while on the car? Are they hard to change?

Loud
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Old 07-02-2012, 02:59 PM   #4
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Check around the LIM coolant elbow. We just had a member here blow one recently, possibly due to high heat temps.
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Old 07-02-2012, 03:01 PM   #5
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Running a water pump dry can cause a failure, particularly if it was getting close to failing anyway. They are fairly easy to change. Loosen 4 bolts holding the pulley, remove the belt, remove the pully and remove 8 or 10 bolts holding the water pump. The most time consuming part is cleaning the gasket surface.
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Old 07-02-2012, 09:21 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike1995 View Post
Check around the LIM coolant elbow. We just had a member here blow one recently, possibly due to high heat temps.

I just changed those out last weekend with a fresh coat of black rtv around the o rings. Used the AC delco brand. Inspection of those close up don't show any leaking.

Today when I left work, I popped the radiator cap and looked at the coolant. It didn't look like I had lost any since yesterday. The overflow tank was just a smidgen lower than what I filled it up to yesterday, but hopefully that'* just more air escaping the system and getting replaced with coolant. It was 95 on my way home today, and I sat in some traffic of course, but it didn't overheat or go past the first mark beyond the middle line.

I also couldn't find where the water drops were flying up from. It could be residual water sitting somewhere from when I sprayed the engine bay down with the hose on Saturday. I haven't driven it much since then.

This thing is starting to give me some major anxiety fits. I've got a 1000 mile round trip road trip coming up, and keep imagining myself 300 miles into the middle of nowhere with a blown head gasket.

Im buying a scangauge 2 this weekend. Autozone also has one of the compression testers that you plug into the spark plug hole and crank the engine. I might pick one up for 40 bucks. The radiator cap pressure thing is 75 dollars and has to be ordered.

Loud
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Old 07-03-2012, 09:35 PM   #7
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So I'm still getting the tiny drops of spray coming up from under the SC snout when the car is first started. It doesn't seem to be doing it after the car has warmed and been driven. Inspection of both coolant elbows looks ok, no fluid pooled under either one of them and nothing coming out when it'* cold or warm. The tiny droplets are very small and erratic. I've gotten a really close view of them, as they hit me right in the eyeball 3 times, but I still can't figure out what they are. I think when I start the car again tomorrow morning I'm going to take a white piece of paper with me and hold over the area it'* coming from. At least that will let me see what color it is. It'* almost as if it'* being slung up from the crank pulley.

What could be black from that side of the engine? Is there anything else that could be leaking and being slung around by the belt on that side of the engine? I found this on my SC snout -



I can't figure out what it is. It doesn't really have a smell that I can figure out,or a taste I can discern.

Also, if I go about replacing the waterpump, there are two AC delco ones on Rock Auto. One says aftermarket design, the other says OEM design. They're both AC delco, but about $40 price difference. I can't tell what the difference is between the two.

I've read about checking a weep hole in the waterpump, but I can't locate any such hole on this pump. I'm not sure what I'm looking for or where I should be looking. There'* alot of pulleys and belts in the way.

Loud
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Old 07-03-2012, 09:51 PM   #8
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Oil from the crank.
Oil from the PS pump
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Old 07-03-2012, 10:21 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike1995 View Post
Oil from the crank.
Oil from the PS pump
What gasket or seal would it be coming out of the crank from? Is that something major wrong? My oil on the dipstick is amberish gold in color since its brand new. This stuff is black. Hopefully that means power steering. My rpms do drop pretty bad when turnings the wheel while parked. Is that a sign of a bad PS pump? I thought PS fluid was red like tranny fluid.

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Old 07-04-2012, 06:28 AM   #10
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Now is the time to get underneath the car to get an eyeball on where this oil is coming from.

Powersteering fluid (when old) will be dark just like engine oil. Trans oil is the only one thats red.

If its coming from the crankshaft, the inside of the harmonic balancer might be a tad wet. If its dry, check behind the power steering pulley. Whatever is leaking, its leaking to the belt and being flung out. Just have to find the source.
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