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OT: Head gasket symptoms on the "other" car?


Guest Anonymous
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Guest Anonymous

Wrestled all week with the rear drums on my wife's Plymouth, finally got them fixed for a trip this weekend, then saw some disturbing symptoms while checking the fluids last night and putting two and two together with some things I'd noticed earlier:

  • The sporadic exhaust leak that I had been hearing more and more frequently (almost constant now, though it started just occasionally under load) is coming from the back side of the engine, the vicinity of the exhaust manifold, not farther down the system as I'd thought.

A rough idle in Park or Neutral (but not in gear), which I've noticed for several months.

An ever-so-slightly higher indication on the temp gauge (about 2/3 vs. 1/2), this for the past week or so.

Bubbles in the coolant overflow tank, not at idle but when the engine is revved (and for a short time afterward).

The car's at 98,700 miles, and these cars have a head gasket life expectancy of about 100k. No loss of power or copious amounts of white smoke, but seems like other symptoms. Am I likely correct in my assesment?

The '02 is gonna get to stretch its legs this weekend, and I'll take the other car to the shop next week for a compression test and test for exhaust gases in the coolant.

And no, a BMW probably isn't in the cards for her -- she refuses a manual on her car, and 1980s BMW automatics (the era I could afford) make my wallet more nervous than 10-year-old Plymouths...

-Dave

Colorado '71

*cough* '93 Plymouth Acclaim, 2.5L, 3spd auto *cough*

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Guest Anonymous

Pull oil filler cap and look inside valve cover area for "chocolate milkshake" goo--a sure sign of water in the oil on a warmed up engine. Also check the reverse--look for oil in the coolant.

Might only be a bad exhaust manifold gasket (hope, hope) which shouldn't be too terribly difficult to replace if the bolts/studs/nuts aren't welded together from rust...guess you'll be going to PA in the Bimmer eh?

Cheers

Mike

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Guest Anonymous

...at least the oil cap was clear when I changed the oil last weekend. There is a shield over the valvetrain that may be preventing a "milkshake" from showing up there -- but the dipstick is also clear.

There has been a slight coolant loss -- about a half-gallon total -- over the past 3000 miles or so, with no external leaks. I want to get the head gasket ruled out before tackling the exhaust manifold; since it's not a cross-flow head, looks like lots of stuff has to get out of the way to change the manifold gasket, even from below.

-Dave

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Guest Anonymous

He had a little bit of milkshake under the oil cap, but that sheild

under the valve cover blocked most of it. Instead of just slightly

rising, the temp needle would rise towards hot, then sink back

towards the middle on acceleration, then rise back up again. It

was all over the place. I pulled the head and found that the

gasket was blown on the #1 cylinder, not too terribly blown but

enough to let compression into the water. I cleaned everything up

and popped a new head gasket on there and all has been well

since... really not all that tough of a job. took me about 8 hours

working over two days at a slow pace.

hope this helps,

Dave

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Guest Anonymous

I'm not worrying about it until next week, but due to my lack of a garage and slim tool compliment, I'll likely farm out this job. I appreciate your experience.

-Dave

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Guest Anonymous

the light brown goop on the oil filler cap does not necessarily

indicate a blown head gasket, it does however indicate

moisture inside the crankcase, my air-cooled vw used to get

this stuff too, usually if i was just doing a bunch of short trips

around town, get out on the highway for twenty minutes and

usually this would eliminate the moisture. thats why volvos

have a bifigulator valve

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Guest Anonymous

Terrible design especially with the bypass tube under the intake manifold, light weight and constant victim of corrsion. One big automotive exspense after another, keeps us in business

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