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Could this be a blown head gasket?

 
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Old 08 Feb 2008, 07:00 pm
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Default Could this be a blown head gasket?

I'm glad i found a PT Cruiser forum, my daughters car is in need of some major attention.

First off, it's a 2001 with a 2.4 liter. It has 92k miles. She has owned it about 1 year. Alot of problems have cropped up lately, the worst may be a blown head gasket.

This car wants to push all it's antifreeze into the overflow which is conveniantly placed right above the exhast. She would think it was always overheating, but not really until most all the antifreeze is gone. It will lose about half the cooling system contents in a 5 mile drive. It wouldn't start the other day but i could hear bubbling in the overflow while i was cranking it over. I can also see bubbles in the radiator when i start it up. Oil is clean, i just changed it 3 weeks ago. Changed the plugs then too, so i need to check the plugs again this weekend for any signs of water.

The radiator looks pretty cruddy, so i am going to flush it this weekend. Electric fan seems to be working, both speeds. Good heat from the heater so i hope the waterpump is ok. I can even hear the antifreeze bubbling in the overflow occationally while driving. Does this sound like a head gasket? If it is, i hope the head is ok.

Thanks for your time. Jerry

Last edited by iowabucks; 08 Feb 2008 at 07:03 pm.
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Old 08 Feb 2008, 07:15 pm
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Default Re: Could this be a blown head gasket?

Jerry, WELCOME to the forum.

Maybe one of our guru's will see your problem and offer more/different advise but I'd guess you either have a thermostat or fan problem that's causing your over heating. One or the other will cause it to overheat and push the water into the overflow tank and possibly throw it out of the overflow onto your engine. (take my word on that one, it's not pretty). The radiator fan is an extremely weak point and one or both of the two speeds of the motor burn out causing the water to over heat. The fan only comes on with the air-conditioning or when the water is at a certain temperature and your going below 35 mph. Above that, the air coming into the radiator from the front will keep things cool.

Turn the car on at idle and see if the fan comes on when you turn on the air-conditioning. That's one sure way of seeing if the low speed fan is burnt out.

But first, fill the radiator and bleed the air out of the system with the bleeder screw located just below the radiator cap and fill the overflow to the cool mark.
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Old 08 Feb 2008, 08:06 pm
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Default Re: Could this be a blown head gasket?

I guess i left out a couple things.

I did change the thermostat last year when it was having problems. The overheating problems were few and far between back then but seem to be all the time now.

I did see and hear the fan running (both speeds). Not to say it was running at the correct speed, but i did hear it.

I don't think it is the overheating of the fluid that is pushing the fluid out. I think it is all the air getting into the cooling system. The temp guage (if it is reading correctly), shows right about middle of the guage when it is pushing out the fluid. . Maybe small up and down movements. But i don't think it is actually overheating until most of the fluid has left the motor.
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Old 08 Feb 2008, 08:17 pm
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Default Re: Could this be a blown head gasket?

Yea, you did leave a couple things out in the first post.

Think we'll have to wait till one of the mechanics on the forum have a say in what they think is wrong.
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Old 08 Feb 2008, 08:39 pm
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Default Re: Could this be a blown head gasket?

Id check and or replace the radiator cap first. if it is releasing pressure too soon that would cause your overheating. the coolant needs to be under pressure to do its job of cooling. the pressure int he system raises the boiling point of the coolant. if the cap releases the pressure, then it cant build up and therefore your coolant would boil at a lower temperature. it would also explain your loss of coolant.
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Old 09 Feb 2008, 12:37 am
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Default Re: Could this be a blown head gasket?

A good garage could give you a quick check with an exhaust gas analyzer. Have him put the tailpipe sensor in the overflow bottle but not in the antifreeze. The presence of HC or CO there indicates a blown head gasket/cracked head.
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Old 09 Feb 2008, 08:42 am
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Default Re: Could this be a blown head gasket?

i think it might be a head gasket when you said "I can also see bubbles in the radiator " thats what happened on my 1970 dodge dart swinger and it was a head gasket keep us posted on what you find out
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Old 11 Feb 2008, 07:20 pm
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Default Re: Could this be a blown head gasket?

Sounds like a blown gasket to me. Especially if it has been overheated several times. Head has probably warped and that's not cheap. If you see a steady stream of bubbles while the engine is running.... Not good for the home team.
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Old 11 Feb 2008, 07:40 pm
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Default Re: Could this be a blown head gasket?

Quote:
Originally Posted by iowabucks View Post
This car wants to push all it's antifreeze into the overflow which is conveniantly placed right above the exhast.
Is the water in the overflow tank boiling? I've done a couple headgaskets in the last few years on various people's cars and that was always the common factor ..... boiling antifreeze being forced into the overflow resevoir.
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Old 11 Feb 2008, 08:41 pm
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Default Re: Could this be a blown head gasket?

I am not sure if it was boiling when it went into the overflow, i just know that i hear bubbling and it runs out the overflow quite a bit.

I'm taking it to the Chrysler garage here in town on Wednsday to look it over and tell me if it is a headgasket.

I had a local garage say they would do it for $600 including parts, more if the head was damaged. I don't think that sounds too bad. But i should assume the worst.

I thought about doing this job myself but there is just no room to work under that hood. I think i will save myself the grief.
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