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Advice needed, please

 
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Old 16 Dec 2013, 11:25 am
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Default Advice needed, please

Got a 2006 PT Cruiser (touring, if that makes a difference) with around 90,000 miles practically free from a neighbor whose daughter (40yo daughter, that is) wrecked it by supposedly "hitting a hog" with it. Long story short, airbags had deployed, replaced radiator, both front fenders, both headlights, and I think that is all. When my husband installed the radiator, he said when he started it, it was bubbling in the overflow bottle, so he was afraid it might have a cracked head, or blown head gasket. It only had water in it, so really couldn't tell if the oil was "milky looking". I have been researching, and without further testing, it looks like he may be right. Although I haven't asked yet, I am assuming that taking it in to be repaired will be very expensive, so I would like to try and fix it myself (well, OURselves, because my sweet DH will help me, of course, although he really is not a mechanic).

If I find out for sure that it is just the gasket and not the head itself, what are the opinions of using this Dura Seal kit to fix the gasket? They claim that you can get an average of 4-5 years out of this repair, and I would be thrilled with that. Is it true that Dura Seal is indeed different than all the other systems of this kind. Does this '06 PT Cruiser have an aluminum head, or something else?

I am just mostly looking for advice, opinions for my situation. I would like to get this car going ASAP, so my daughter could take it back to college and it could be out of my driveway, but I would prefer she not be broke down/stranded. So far we are only out $350.00 for the car and whatever the sales tax was to change the title, plus the cost of replaced parts thus far: $130 or so for the new headlights, I think DH paid 60.00 or so for the fenders and maybe another 40.00 to have them painted, around $150.00 or so for the new radiator (just a guess, if I remember right), and probably several dollars' worth of frustration, so far. So. . . .any ideas, suggestions, well intentioned advice? The car seems in pretty good shape, otherwise, although the inside was pretty dirty. Seems the gal not only hit a pig, she IS a pig, too. Ugh. It seemed like she must have poured soda all over the interior of it and then just left it. . .not to mention trash and whatnot in there, it was pretty gross and I cleaned it the best I could, even took the seats OUT of the car, but they still dried with a sort of white edged stain on them, but at least it smells much better, and looks halfway decent as well. Aside from the front end, the car seems for the most part undamaged.
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Old 16 Dec 2013, 11:34 am
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Default Re: Advice needed, please

Welcome to the forum.

Yes, the PT has an aluminum head. No, I wouldn't trust a repair of the head gasket, but that's just me. Maybe someone else reading this will have a different opinion.

With the right tools, time and instructions, you should be able to put a new gasket in the PT in a matter of hours. Here's a couple things to look at....

How to do a Pt cruiser head gasket repair

Headgasket R&R
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Old 16 Dec 2013, 01:47 pm
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Default Re: Advice needed, please

Pics??? Would like to see it,....
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Old 16 Dec 2013, 05:45 pm
Handy_Cruiser's Avatar
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Default Re: Advice needed, please

The head gasket is blown because the engine overheated and the head expanded too much. Anytime a head gasket needs replacing, the head needs to go to the machine shop to be rebuilt and assure the deck is still true and that there are no cracks. I've seen folks try to nurse a blown head gasket with chemicals and sealers. The best they can ever do is just "nurse" the car along.

Often a good head gasket replacement with a machined head will give you a 100% repair. Otherwise, you are just playing the odds.
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Old 16 Dec 2013, 07:10 pm
Busted_PT's Avatar
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Default Re: Advice needed, please

Quote:
Originally Posted by surfermama View Post
Got a 2006 PT Cruiser (touring, if that makes a difference) with around 90,000 miles practically free from a neighbor whose daughter (40yo daughter, that is) wrecked it by supposedly "hitting a hog" with it. Long story short, airbags had deployed, replaced radiator, both front fenders, both headlights, and I think that is all. When my husband installed the radiator, he said when he started it, it was bubbling in the overflow bottle, so he was afraid it might have a cracked head, or blown head gasket. It only had water in it, so really couldn't tell if the oil was "milky looking". I have been researching, and without further testing, it looks like he may be right. Although I haven't asked yet, I am assuming that taking it in to be repaired will be very expensive, so I would like to try and fix it myself (well, OURselves, because my sweet DH will help me, of course, although he really is not a mechanic).

If I find out for sure that it is just the gasket and not the head itself, what are the opinions of using this Dura Seal kit to fix the gasket? They claim that you can get an average of 4-5 years out of this repair, and I would be thrilled with that. Is it true that Dura Seal is indeed different than all the other systems of this kind. Does this '06 PT Cruiser have an aluminum head, or something else?

I am just mostly looking for advice, opinions for my situation. I would like to get this car going ASAP, so my daughter could take it back to college and it could be out of my driveway, but I would prefer she not be broke down/stranded. So far we are only out $350.00 for the car and whatever the sales tax was to change the title, plus the cost of replaced parts thus far: $130 or so for the new headlights, I think DH paid 60.00 or so for the fenders and maybe another 40.00 to have them painted, around $150.00 or so for the new radiator (just a guess, if I remember right), and probably several dollars' worth of frustration, so far. So. . . .any ideas, suggestions, well intentioned advice? The car seems in pretty good shape, otherwise, although the inside was pretty dirty. Seems the gal not only hit a pig, she IS a pig, too. Ugh. It seemed like she must have poured soda all over the interior of it and then just left it. . .not to mention trash and whatnot in there, it was pretty gross and I cleaned it the best I could, even took the seats OUT of the car, but they still dried with a sort of white edged stain on them, but at least it smells much better, and looks halfway decent as well. Aside from the front end, the car seems for the most part undamaged.
You may still not have a big problem yet. You could have trapped air and It can be hard to get all the air out. Make sure you have a good cap and no leaks in the system. Check with the previous owner to see if she has been adding antifreeze or overheating before the accident. If answer is no then you just might be in good shape.

But Just in case and you can't do the correct thing. The high end sealers will indeed work. You must follow the instructions to the letter. the cheaper ones don't work and will cause you problems. I have used this one with good success.

But being you don't have any antifreeze in it yet. I would use the ones that require draining and so forth. Like the K&W siting beside this. These block seals do work. But I still prefere the old mechanical repair as the permanent cure.
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Old 16 Dec 2013, 08:14 pm
randyincctx's Avatar
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Cool Re: Advice needed, please

Quote:
Originally Posted by surfermama View Post
The car seems in pretty good shape, otherwise, although the inside was pretty dirty. Seems the gal not only hit a pig, she IS a pig, too. Ugh. It seemed like she must have poured soda all over the interior of it and then just left it. . .not to mention trash and whatnot in there, it was pretty gross and I cleaned it the best I could, even took the seats OUT of the car, but they still dried with a sort of white edged stain on them, but at least it smells much better, and looks halfway decent as well. Aside from the front end, the car seems for the most part undamaged.
That story sounds similar to mine,except replace 'hog' with human,and 'soda' with beer!;I too,had to remove the seats,along with everything else,took 2 full bags of trash(and what-not!) out,and still........lol(Yeah,the previous owner not only hit & killed a person,but pretty much used it as a rolling dumpster-bar on wheels-play pen-dog kennel?IDK)



IMAG0286.jpg
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Old 17 Dec 2013, 04:37 pm
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Default Re: Advice needed, please

Randy, lol at your picture. I didn't strip this one out quite that much, but it was pretty much a rolling dumpster. I did not pull out the carpet and dash, so yours may have been somewhat worse, and it's kind of creepy that a person was killed with it. Guess that's another way they end up in police auctions, aside from being seized, huh? And Busted, Handy and anyone else who might feel like chiming in. . . really the only "symptom" I know of so far with this car is that my husband told me that there was air bubbling into the radiator overflow when he started in after installing the new radiator. I would like to talk to the previous owner to ask about any other symptoms: smoke, oil usage, running rough, overheating, etc but I am afraid she may not be available at the moment (. . .in pokey, perhaps?) but her Dad who is still my neighbor might have an idea, however I doubt it. If he thought she was having issues with it, he would know she wouldn't tend to it properly and likely would have taken the car away from her before she had the accident, but who knows? The parents also go RVing for months at a time and probably don't know much of what transpires in their absence, and likely, they don't wanna know. . .so after all that I guess my question is this: the bubbling that he observed, is it possible it could be a symptom of something else entirely? Like maybe the radiator (which was brand new, btw) being installed ever so slightly improperly, maybe or an ill fitting something or other. I mean is the bubbling in there pretty much a death knell for head/head gasket, or could it be something else? I did confirm w/my husband a little while ago that the bubbling issue is indeed the ONLY symptom that we are aware of, and the neighbor we got it from would definitely have told us of any issues he was aware of, as he is also a pretty close friend. If he knew there was possibly a serious problem with it, he would have just told us "Nah, you don't want this car" and scrapped it. He is a retired long haul truck driver and Vietnam vet, so is well acquainted with engine type issues/consequences and is as honest as the day is long.

Since this cruiser has an aluminum head, would it not be a bad idea, Busted, to use one of these sealers since from my research I see that they are all made with borosilicate (glass type liquid) and when they heat up, the sealer stuff, which, being glass like and will not bend, just cracks off of there and is no longer effective, once the engine heats up and the metal flexes. Actually this info came from the website of the Dura Seal brand of head sealer, which they claim is the only one made with some substance other than the borosilicate, which is of course super duper top secret stuff, but is supposed to flex at the temperature at which your aluminum head will flex. Or something like that. It all sounds good, and sounds way easier than a) following detailed instructions and getting my own hands really dirty/greasy and possibly jacking things up even worse or b)paying a mechanic, who may or may not be very good a lot of money to do so. I just wish I knew someone who has actually tried it and was happy with the result (besides the "testimonials" on the DuraSeal website, that is)

And I probably should have taken pics of the car when we first got it, so I could brag about my "less than $1000.00 deal" with photographic evidence. I was hoping to have less than $1000 in it by the time it was done, but that just may not happen, if the head is cracked, warped, whatever.
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Old 17 Dec 2013, 05:49 pm
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Default Re: Advice needed, please

Could have air trapped in the system that needs to work it's way out. Keep an eye out on the fluid level for a couple heat cycles and see if it clears up and stabilizes. Make sure cooling fan it turning on as it's supposed to.
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Old 17 Dec 2013, 06:18 pm
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Lightbulb Re: Advice needed, please

Yeah,that how my PT ended up with the nickname "Killer",morbid I know,but could have been worse(Like "Dumpster" or "Trash-can"!lol)
As for your issue;One thing.....If you don't have a 'Repair Manual' already...Get one,they are worth the money,and very handy(especially for a 'Shade-Tree' mechanic);Then one way the confirm 100%,if it is the head gasket,would be to do a 'compression test' on it(standard is 170-225psi,with Max variation of 25% between cylinders).........I know most people don't have a compression tester,laying around their garages;But not a problem......Not sure of your exact locale(due to lack of profile info),but if you live somewhere in the USA,there is a good chance you have an Autozone nearby,and they have a 'Loan-A-Tool' program,where they will lend a tool,as long as you leave a deposit(normally equal to purchase price,that way if you don't return it?).....Most of the AZ associates,will tell you basic instrutions on how to use 'whatever' tool you borrow;But there are also plenty of Youtube videos,if you end up with an AZ ass. that doesn't take the time to instruct you,because they are 'busy'(and even then?).
Here is what I'm referring to:
OEM/Compression Tester Gauge Set (27138) | Loan-a-Tools | AutoZone.com

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Old 18 Dec 2013, 02:31 pm
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Default Re: Advice needed, please

Quote:
Originally Posted by randyincctx View Post
Yeah,that how my PT ended up with the nickname "Killer",morbid I know,but could have been worse(Like "Dumpster" or "Trash-can"!lol)
As for your issue;One thing.....If you don't have a 'Repair Manual' already...Get one,they are worth the money,and very handy(especially for a 'Shade-Tree' mechanic);Then one way the confirm 100%,if it is the head gasket,would be to do a 'compression test' on it(standard is 170-225psi,with Max variation of 25% between cylinders).........I know most people don't have a compression tester,laying around their garages;But not a problem......Not sure of your exact locale(due to lack of profile info),but if you live somewhere in the USA,there is a good chance you have an Autozone nearby,and they have a 'Loan-A-Tool' program,where they will lend a tool,as long as you leave a deposit(normally equal to purchase price,that way if you don't return it?).....Most of the AZ associates,will tell you basic instrutions on how to use 'whatever' tool you borrow;But there are also plenty of Youtube videos,if you end up with an AZ ass. that doesn't take the time to instruct you,because they are 'busy'(and even then?).
Here is what I'm referring to:
OEM/Compression Tester Gauge Set (27138) | Loan-a-Tools | AutoZone.com

Hey Randy, thanks so much for your help. I live in Texas and from your handle I thought you might as well. This is what I really needed, a method to tell if that is for sure my problem. Also I talked to my husband last night and he told me he did NOT "burp" the new radiator when he installed it and said "yeah, that sounds like a good possibility, and I just didn't even think about doing that" Like I said, he is NOT a mechanic, but has had to do a lot of engine stuff over the years, just by necessity. But he NEVER claimed to be a mechanic. So first we are going to do that procedure. Last night we just charged the battery back up since the car has been sitting for several weeks, then it was too dark to mess with anymore and def too dark to get down inside the motor. But perhaps tomorrow night we will get one of those funnel things and do the burp, and then see if the original bubbling is still happening and if it is, we will try to do the compression test. We don't have autozone here, as we live in a small town, but larger towns are nearby and we do have O'Rileys and Napa, and if I am not mistaken, I think one or both of them will loan stuff out. I have been to autozone before, though and the guy working there was super helpful and nice, although I don't remember what our problem was at the time, so my limited experience with autozone has been positive. The parts places here in our town, not so much. Not long ago, when it was still very hot/humid here, we had had a cold snap overnight (as it often happens here in Texas) so the tires on my Jetta got fairly low. The store has a long air hose hooked up to their compressor in their chainlinked fenced in yard, but they leave the hose through that fence so you can use their air compressor without having to feed quarters into a machine (paying for air, a HUGE pet peeve of mine). It was near to their closing time (6pm) but I drove up there and began filling my tires. Got 3 done, and was trying to do that last one, squatting on the ground, sweating like crazy, cursing under my breath as each time I tried, it seemed to get lower, less air rather than more. While I was doing this, the store guy came out and got into his truck (which was parked less than 10 feet from where I squatted on the ground), said nary a word, then left. I was still struggling, thinking I was doing something wrong, when this guy pulling a flatbed trailer with very low tires pulled up, parked, got out and proceeded to struggle across the parking lot to where I was. He was a bit older and quite heavy and obviously has considerable difficulty getting around. He said to me "They probably just turned off their compressor, so you're not gonna get enough air to fill up that tire and it's just gonna keep gettin' lower. I was going to stop here for air for my trailer tires, but I saw you trying and I figured since it was 6, they already turned it off" So this gentleman did not even HAVE to stop, because he knew he was going to have to go somewhere else for air himself, but because he was a gentleman, he stopped to let me know not to continue trying, and he came over and squatted down and tried it himself to confirm that even though there was still air coming from the hose, the pressure was not enough to do me any good. With that, he struggled back to his truck, got in and left. The young fellow that worked there and walked within 6-8 feet of me couldn't even be bothered to tell me that they had turned off their compressor and that my continued efforts would bring me naught but a flat tire, but this older, debilitated guy took the trouble to stop, walk over to where I was from across the parking lot, and educate me on the finer points of air pressure, etc. I was just kind of disgusted with the kid from the store, but then impressed with the other guy. Sorry, got off track a bit there, but suffice it to say I may go out of town to the nearest Autozone, which will be about 45-50 miles, but likely worth it, should I arrive at the need for the compression test. But for now, crossing my fingers that all it needs is to be burped.
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