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Head Gasket?

 
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Old 30 Dec 2013, 10:03 am
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Default Head Gasket?

Hey guys, I bought this PT cruiser a few months ago and about two weeks ago the water pump went out. I took it to the mechanic since I was in the process of moving and he swapped it out. I picked up the car last week, drove it for 4 days and coolant started leaking causing it to smoke white from under the hood. I took it back and he replaced the radiator cap assuring me that the cap was the only malfunction. I drove it home and went to work the next day to have the same issue happen, but only worse. I drove it home after work (because I've had enough of it's fits) and it did not have hardly any issues at all. It did not overheat, there was virtually no smoke, but the temperature gauge would fluctuate between a quarter and three quarters hot the entire way home.

I got it home and filled it back up with coolant, letting the air bubbles come out as the need without any issues. When I got it all the way full I put the cap on and started to see what was happening. The engine started smoking out of the head, it looked to be like it was from the head gasket or intake manifold gasket. So there I pinned it. I took the cap off to find that the pressure in the system was skyrocketed and it was overfilling my reservoir and spilling on the exhaust manifold.

However, the next day I wanted to jump my farm truck so I started the PT while it was cold out and I did not have one of those symptoms. It warmed up like normal, stayed around the right place, until it was finally warm enough and then the smoke from the head appeared and the smoke from the tailpipe (which is very little, maybe 1.5x normal) started to appear.

My question is, if a head gasket is blown wouldn't it be at all times? It seems that the head gasket would fail cold or hot, which is why I am leaning towards something else, such as a crack in the block? I also could see the thermostat being stuck and it heating coolant to boiling, forcing the thermo open and causing huge pressure changes?

Have any of you ever experienced any of this before?
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Old 30 Dec 2013, 01:18 pm
Handy_Cruiser's Avatar
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Default Re: Head Gasket?

This sounds like a classic blown head gasket.

Often there are no symptoms until the head heats up or until pressure builds up in the cooling system while hot. For this reason, pressure testing of the coolant system often cannot prove that a head gasket is not blown. I've seen poor old cars with blown head gaskets that last literally for years as long as the owner does nothing but drive them to the grocery store less than a mile away once a week. And I've seen some that you can almost run indefinitely as long as you leave the radiator cap loose.

But before going any further, I'd first remove the thermostat and then assure the radiator fan is working. With the fan working and thermostat removed, if the cars does the same thing when warmed up, then it's very likely a blown head gasket.

By the way, while looking for a good PT to purchase I found many with bad head gaskets. I believe this was usually a second order effect to bad radiator fans. But it does indicate that PT head gaskets are more prone to blow when the engine over heats than on some other car models.
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Last edited by Handy_Cruiser; 30 Dec 2013 at 01:23 pm.
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Old 30 Dec 2013, 02:46 pm
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Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: USA kalyfornia
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Default Re: Head Gasket?

Before you drive to much more or "JUMP" to conclusions about what you think is wrong or what forums are telling you......

I recommend:

Do or have done a simple but proper **Cylinder Compression Test.
Do or have done a *Combustion Leak Detector test.


*This test can accurately check for leaks caused by blown head gaskets as well cracked blocks warped heads.


** If you get 2 a joining low cylinders this would be a sign to check further for a cylinder sealing problem like a blown head gasket.
All cylinder giving a low compression should be followed up be a Cylinder leak down test.


You can easily do the chemical test yourself for around 25-30 dollars.
See:Lisle 75500 - Combustion Leak Detector
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