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LeftOfSanity
People Suck.

join:2005-11-06
Dover, DE

How to tell if head gasket is blown?


How can I tell if a head gasket is blown or if the head is cracked?

The engine was run a while after overheating.



CylonRed
Premium,MVM
join:2000-07-06
Bloom County

Do you see lots of white smoke out the tail pipe? If so - does it smell sweet (like maple syrup)? Is coolant dripping/pouring in the ground? If so - follow up from the ground. Head cracks I believe can be hard to detect if they are small.
--
Brian

Free health care is 100% a misnomer - it is not free and never will be free.



TODarling
U.S. Army Retired
Premium
join:2004-11-27
Fort Smith, AR
reply to LeftOfSanity

Run a compression test.



Doctor Olds
I Need A Remedy For What's Ailing Me.
Premium,VIP
join:2001-04-19
1970 442 W30
kudos:18
reply to LeftOfSanity

said by LeftOfSanity:

How can I tell if a head gasket is blown or if the head is cracked?

The engine was run a while after overheating.
Rough Idle all the time

White Steam that smells sweet (antifreeze being burned) coming out of tail pipe, gets worse when hot.

Upon inspecting plugs one or more looks bright and clean compared to the others. That is the cylinder[s] where the gasket is blown and the water/coolant cleans the combustion chamber and the spark plug, "steam + pressure" cleaning style.




Water leaking from the Lower Hose and Water Pump area can be a bad hose or a bad water pump shaft seal (there is a weep hole in the pump to allow water out to indicate that the pump needs replacement due to its inner shaft seal gone bad. It is very unlikely the Water Pump gasket is leaking.

After fixing the obvious leaks, then you need to pressure test the system for any other possible leaks.




Regards,

Doctor Olds
--
What’s the point of owning a supercar if you can’t scare yourself stupid from time to time?


army dude
Premium,MVM
join:2002-12-17
The Internet

4 edits
reply to LeftOfSanity

There is also a test kit that either you can buy and test it yourself, or have it done at a shop. Test should run about 40 bucks.

You use a contraption to "draw a sample" of the air in the cooling system, and run this air through a test fluid. The test fluid is blue. If it changes to a yellow or greenish color, this indicates hydrocarbons in the air sample (combustion chamber leak into the cooling system). If the fluid remains blue in color, keep looking for the cause of the overheating condition.

You have to be careful when you draw the air sample as to not get any antifreeze into the test fluid.

Sometimes, when dealing with a very small crack in a head, it can be tricky to pinpoint the erratic overheating condition, and this is the only way to really tell the story. (Large, gaping cracks in heads are generally easy to diagnose)

»www.rxauto.com/images/block-test-kitLG.jpg



Doctor Olds
I Need A Remedy For What's Ailing Me.
Premium,VIP
join:2001-04-19
1970 442 W30
kudos:18

said by army dude:

There is also a test kit that either you can buy and test it yourself, or have it done at a shop. Test should run about 40 bucks.

You use a contraption to "draw a sample" of the air in the cooling system, and run this air through a test fluid. The test fluid is blue. If it changes to a yellow or greenish color, this indicates hydrocarbons in the air sample (combustion chamber leak into the cooling system).
Those combustion gas kits are all too easy to use improperly especially if you are around any running engines that may have an exhaust leak or if the breeze that day is blowing exhaust gases from the tailpipe back under the vehicle to the hood area.

It would be best to have the overheating problem fixed first, the system pressure tested and then if there is continued pressure loss and/or coolant loss take the vehicle to a pro to have it diagnosed.

Regards,

Doctor Olds
--
What’s the point of owning a supercar if you can’t scare yourself stupid from time to time?


TheHarvester
Premium
join:2006-08-25
Dana Point, CA
kudos:3
reply to LeftOfSanity

Does the truck start?
I would fill the radiator with water and with the radiator cap off crank the engine over. If water comes out of the radiator filler, the head is warped (blown head gasket). Do not satan too close to the filler when the engine is cranking because it could spit the water out quite a bit if the head is warped badly. As far as cracks go most occur inside the combustion chamber portion of the head and will need the head removed to find them.



gilligun
Shipwrecked
Premium
join:2002-11-22
Denver, CO
reply to LeftOfSanity

Oil creamy colored?



mattmag
Premium,ExMod 2000-03
join:2000-04-09
NW Illinois
kudos:3
reply to Doctor Olds

said by Doctor Olds:

Those combustion gas kits are all too easy to use improperly especially if you are around any running engines that may have an exhaust leak or if the breeze that day is blowing exhaust gases from the tailpipe back under the vehicle to the hood area.

Personally, I like that device. We just used it here yesterday to detect a leaker--worked like a charm!


Doctor Olds
I Need A Remedy For What's Ailing Me.
Premium,VIP
join:2001-04-19
1970 442 W30
kudos:18

Which one/what type? I'm talking about the "el cheapo" kit that they have for consumers that is a one time use type deal.

This is a good one.

»www.napaonline.com/NOLViewer/Pag···owPics=1

quote:
Combustion Leak Detector - Engine Block, Test Tools Inc.; Test For Cracked Blocks, Leaky Gaskets, Cracked or Warped Heads

Part : BK 7001006
Product Line : Balkamp
Price : $49.99

Features and Benefits :
Locates Combustion Leaks w/o Guess Work, Test in Seconds, Removes Guess Work From Job

Attributes :
Manufacturer : Test Tools Inc.
Product Application : Test For Cracked Blocks, Leaky Gaskets, Cracked or Warped Heads
Contents : Aspirator Bulb w/ Valve, Large Engine Adapter & Leak Test Fluid



Regards,

Doctor Olds

--
What’s the point of owning a supercar if you can’t scare yourself stupid from time to time?


mattmag
Premium,ExMod 2000-03
join:2000-04-09
NW Illinois
kudos:3



I didn't know there was a cheapo version, we've got the exact one you show there!



TheHarvester
Premium
join:2006-08-25
Dana Point, CA
kudos:3
reply to Doctor Olds

This is the one I use. It has a double chamber so, if you get coolant in the lower chamber the upper chamber is still functional. I have also noticed that if coolant is sucked up into the fluid it will turn a darker blue than it originally is.

»images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=···26sa%3DN



TheHarvester
Premium
join:2006-08-25
Dana Point, CA
kudos:3
reply to army dude

said by army dude:

There is also a test kit that either you can buy and test it yourself, or have it done at a shop. Test should run about 40 bucks.

The test fluid is blue. If it changes to a yellow or greenish color, this indicates hydrocarbons in the air sample.
Not trying to be the "politically correct police" but the test fluid detects CO (carbon monoxide).


Doctor Olds
I Need A Remedy For What's Ailing Me.
Premium,VIP
join:2001-04-19
1970 442 W30
kudos:18
reply to TheHarvester

Yes, that is another good unit. Thanks for sharing the details.

Here are a few more. They aren't cheap.

»www.leitenberger.us/products/co2···ors.html

quote:
LT 200.2 (030105)




Accurate and fast diagnosis. Leak detector for cylinder head gasket with 2 test chambers; for Diesel and petrol engines. With quick coupling for the connection to all LR cooling adapters. With rubber ball for the quick suction of vapors. A leak at the cylinder head gasket or the cylinder head is indicated by a change in color of the reaction liquid from blue to yellow (petrol engines), from blue to green (Diesel engines). Delivery includes 1 bottle of reaction liquid (LT 02).
quote:
LT 200.2G (030114)




CO2-Leak detector, version equivalent to LT 200.2, with rubber cone instead of quick coupling Ø 20-45 mm (3/4- 1 3/4").

--
What’s the point of owning a supercar if you can’t scare yourself stupid from time to time?