Dammit, headgasket again (1 Viewer)

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About six weeks after I bought my Cruiser last year, the headgasket failed at 136k. Now a year later and at 144k it looks like it failed again. I've got white smoke at the tailpipe. Not sure I want to pay for another headgasket job again. Comprehensive Car Care in Denver replaced it last year. Damn.
 

Dan2722

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Hate to say it but it could be a possible cracked head and not the gasket. I know of at least one MUD member that replaced the head gasket only to have the head crack not long after.

Really sorry to hear this happened to you.
 
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Also check the oil cooler and gasket...failures are more rare iirc but an easy check before doing the HG.
 
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Can you elaborate on the oil cooler and gasket possibility? Not sure I understand that. White smoke is moist so I'm virtually certain it's steam. Originally it was a gasket failure as the failure was visible at cylinder 6. Could be a cracked head now. How frequent are cracked heads?
 
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OK, I drove the thing to school today and when I got here, the smoking/steaming was gone. Now I'm suspicious about my diagnosis. Was I just seeing condensation at colder temperatures before the exhaust system warmed up? I made sure to warm up the engine fully yesterday when inspecting it and it was still steaming warm then. I also compared the exhaust on the Cruiser with the exhaust on my Sidekick and the Sidekick (although recently having been driven home from work by my wife) had no exhaust smoke at all. Or, did driving it under load expand metal enough to seal up whatever was leaking into the combustion chamber? I guess I'm going to have to drive it for a while and keep a very close eye on the coolant level.
 
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Hmmm, well... My experiences with HG failure always involved power loss, unusual smoke, knocking noises. lower and unstable RPM, severe loss of power when under certain loads such as turning stearing wheel from one end to the other while the truck is parked and the motor running. In fact the power loss was severe enough to kill the engine every time I did the steering wheel test.

These symptoms where from 4 different HG failures. 3 with 3FE and one with a 1FZFE.

Sorry to hear... Good luck....
 
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Don't hit the panic button quite yet.
A couple things;
1FZFE gasket failure will not "typically" (YMMV) draw anitifreeze into the combustion chamber and burn it but rather push combustion gas into the cooling system (hence the bubble test).
Also burning antifreeze has a distinct "sweet" smell and should be a very different odor then normal exhaust gases.

Water vapor is created as part of the processes inside the catalytic convertor so some "steam" can be expected under many different atmospheric conditions, different vehicles behave differently.
 
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Don't hit the panic button quite yet.
A couple things;
1FZFE gasket failure will not "typically" (YMMV) draw anitifreeze into the combustion chamber and burn it but rather push combustion gas into the cooling system (hence the bubble test).
Also burning antifreeze has a distinct "sweet" smell and should be a very different odor then normal exhaust gases.

Water vapor is created as part of the processes inside the catalytic convertor so some "steam" can be expected under many different atmospheric conditions, different vehicles behave differently.
Anyone in Denver have a engine burning coolant for sure so I can fine tune my nose? I did smell the steam but haven't had enough experience to make a judgment. Maybe I should drop some coolant onto a hot surface and take a whiff:)
 
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Hmmm, well... My experiences with HG failure always involved power loss, unusual smoke, knocking noises. lower and unstable RPM, severe loss of power when under certain loads such as turning stearing wheel from one end to the other while the truck is parked and the motor running. In fact the power loss was severe enough to kill the engine every time I did the steering wheel test.

These symptoms where from 4 different HG failures. 3 with 3FE and one with a 1FZFE.

Sorry to hear... Good luck....
The first time around, the symptoms were only steaming exhaust, hydrocarbon smell in the expansion tank, and bubbles in the expansion tank. Seemed to run just fine. Headgasket had visibly failed at the back of cylinder 6.
 
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You should be in good shape being in Denver. Depending on your location there are a bunch of us that would probably be happy to lend our sniffers. ;) But, it probably would be better to do the bubble test. White Smoke isn't always a sign of a bad HG. You could take it back to Denver Car Care but if your looking for someone to help you analyze prior to doing that then your in a great spot. Hit me up on PM or post this up on the risingsun4x4.org site.
 
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I'm going to monitor it over the next few days. My suspicions were first raised, not by the white smoke, but by a drop in the level of the coolant in the expansion tank. It was a couple of inches low. When I first noticed the low coolant I could find no evidence of external leaks. Since then (about three weeks after first noticing the low coolant), a crack appeared in the plastic tank on the radiator with an obvious leak. I've just completed a radiator replacement. Perhaps the missing coolant went out that crack and I missed it.
So it was a combination of the missing coolant and white smoke that was leading (or misleading) me to think headgasket again.
 

sl33p3

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I'm going to monitor it over the next few days. My suspicions were first raised, not by the white smoke, but by a drop in the level of the coolant in the expansion tank. It was a couple of inches low. When I first noticed the low coolant I could find no evidence of external leaks. Since then (about three weeks after first noticing the low coolant), a crack appeared in the plastic tank on the radiator with an obvious leak. I've just completed a radiator replacement. Perhaps the missing coolant went out that crack and I missed it.
So it was a combination of the missing coolant and white smoke that was leading (or misleading) me to think headgasket again.
i will add i see a couple inches of res height change over less than 30 deg in coolant temp... do you know you were warmed up? i panicked once, looked at my coolant temp realized i was at 160, checked when it was warmed up ,ie ~193 and the line was back to normal. sorry this does not good if you just have the cluster temp gauge. can't tell between the two temps, jsut somethingto keep in mind, res height means little if you dont' KNOW you are at op temp.
 
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i will add i see a couple inches of res height change over less than 30 deg in coolant temp... do you know you were warmed up? i panicked once, looked at my coolant temp realized i was at 160, checked when it was warmed up ,ie ~193 and the line was back to normal. sorry this does not good if you just have the cluster temp gauge. can't tell between the two temps, jsut somethingto keep in mind, res height means little if you dont' KNOW you are at op temp.
i was checking the level completely cold first thing in the morning before starting the engine.
 

Elbert

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OK, I drove the thing to school today and when I got here, the smoking/steaming was gone. Now I'm suspicious about my diagnosis. Was I just seeing condensation at colder temperatures before the exhaust system warmed up? I made sure to warm up the engine fully yesterday when inspecting it and it was still steaming warm then. I also compared the exhaust on the Cruiser with the exhaust on my Sidekick and the Sidekick (although recently having been driven home from work by my wife) had no exhaust smoke at all. Or, did driving it under load expand metal enough to seal up whatever was leaking into the combustion chamber? I guess I'm going to have to drive it for a while and keep a very close eye on the coolant level.
If you have white smoke out the tail pipe in sufficient quantity to predict a head gasket....its a lot more than condensation in the AM... most likely you would be able to smell the "sweet" odor of the coolant. Get the cooling system pressure tested to find leaks.
 

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