3FE Overheated, ruptured line...

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May 13, 2009
SW Colorado
So yea, forgive all grammatical errors due to my rage. I was driving home today and the engine light kicked on while steam/smoke poured in the cabin. At the same time I heard a noise which sounded like a skeleton spanking the monkey in a metal cabinet. A heater hose coming off the water pump had a small slice in it and was spewing steam everywhere.:mad::crybaby:

As things cooled down, I saw what appeared to be steam coming out from under the valve cover or from the spark plug openings as well as the bad hose. I could put pressure on the hose to stop it from steaming, but the steam still came from the cover or spark plug areas. I popped the oil cap and the oil looked like caramelized sugar from what I could tell. I was not able to see all the way into the valve cover. The dip stick was HOT, but not caramelized.

I had my brother tow it home tonight. In which way can I inspect the engine to see if it is still ok(thinking not likely), cooked/cracked, or repairable? I have little information on the 3FE.

Never cooked an engine and I am tweaked right now. Depending on the condition of the engine determines if I will be getting a new rig or not. Other problems (A/C) are also pushing on the vote. Thanks for the help guys.
Sorry to hear :(, really dont have any input here, but a bump to the top. Hope it is all good.
There appears to be oilish residue on the exhaust manifold. Its doesnt appear to be coolant, but it's also not a lot of fluid. I am planning on pulling the spark plugs the next few days to possible get a better picture of how it looks. That is if the one of the guys at the shop has a bore scope I can borrow.


While I didnt forget (and the unit is cold), I went out to take a peak with a flashlight. I looked into the valve cover and couldn't tell of much. I did see however what appeared to be some coolant inside. I really dont want to turn the truck over to see if it's leaking out the tailpipe massive amounts of water.

Any other areas/things to check for a better clue?
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Ugh, not another one. Was there steam coming out near the exhaust manifold? That's what I saw when I blew my HG and then cracked the head shortly thereafter..........that's probably something you didn't want to hear.
Hey, Paso, used to live there years ago (Off stangecoach road).

I didnt check the tailpipe yet. Im hesitant to run it at this moment but think I will have to. That method is easier than popping the top of the engine to examine the damage. How else can I tell if I have a cracked head other than tearing it apart?
Check your coolant level. Have you lost a decent amount of it? That could be a sign of a blown HG or cracked head if your radiator has no leaks. Again, I'm going by what happened to me.

Stagecoach Rd...yep, that's about a mile from where I am. I'm off Long Hill place, cross street Linne rd.
This doesn't sound good, especially the skeleton/metal cabintet sound.

Drop the oil pan and see what falls out first. remove the plugs and turn the engine by hand if you can. If it is a disaster, you'll be able to tell right away.

OTOH, the steam you saw could very well be residual burning off a hot motor after being sprayed with coolant from the split hose.

In any case, it sounds like you shut her down quickly. If you don't want to pull things apart, you can simply remove the plugs and try to crank it with the starter. If you get coolant shooting out or she doesn't crank or everything is fine, at least you'll know how to proceed.
Well I filled it up with coolant and ran it for some time. Bubbles were visible with the rad cap off. A fair amount of bubbles too that wouldn't stop. I dont think that much air would be trapped inside. I didnt rev it much, but it sounded pretty bad (like a bad tingy sound). Any thoughts?
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Might be the HG. I think you could test it by checking compression. It's a 2 :banana:DYI job to fix, not complex if you take your time, I did it with only a Chilton's and engine hoist (head's very heavy 100# or so). Hopefully the head's not cracked. Have it checked at a shop; they can do the valves too. The block is very solid, so it's doubtful if anything there got hurt. Renew all of the hoses and belts! Have the radiator flushed while you're at it. :cheers:Ned
How can I check to see if I have a cracked head other than taking it to a shop?
That's step 2 or 3. First you need to find out what's up with the leaking. Run a compression check to see if there's leakage. It may only be a hose although from what you've described, I doubt it. If you didn't run it too long after it overheated, it may be the just head gasket, so you'll have to pull the head. When it's off you can check for cracks. They may be hard to see. Also, the head may be warped, which is why you'd need to send it to a shop to machine. They can use dye to check for cracks which you may not be able to see. It sounds complicated, but aside from getting the head off, it really isn't.
Thanks for the help guys. At the moment I will let this baby sit for a little while I drive the spare. This will give me time to check out the engine more before I take it to a shop. Just glad our family has more than one car per person.

After rolling over some of the co$t$, I may end up downsizing to a 4Runner (3rd gen) and turn this 80 into a project or something of the like. Mainly because I have more than engine repairs to perform.

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