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Old 12-29-2011, 07:28   #1 (permalink)
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Possible head gasket crack? always low on coolant,whte smoke

exhaust has white smoke, coolant is always low and im adding to "cold fill line" every other day.
-Engine temp is never above normal
- no puddle of coolant under car or any noticeable leak in engine compartment or radiator
- oil is good no "milkshake" look
- white exhaust gas when revving/driving
-some steam from drivers side part of hood near wheel area after driving short distances
-heater still blows hot air [ never cold except on start up but warms up]
-took it in for a squealing from tire sound mechanic said had a crack in head gasket not sure to trust his opinion
- sweet smell like syrup from heater and outside of car

95' 3.8 non supercharged 63k miles
ways to test/diagnose on my own? Options?
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Old 12-29-2011, 08:00   #2 (permalink)
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cool Re: Possible head gasket crack? always low on coolant,whte smoke

Quote:
Originally Posted by blinkyvx View Post
exhaust has white smoke, coolant is always low and im adding to "cold fill line" every other day.
-Engine temp is never above normal
- no puddle of coolant under car or any noticeable leak in engine compartment or radiator
- oil is good no "milkshake" look
- white exhaust gas when revving/driving
-some steam from drivers side part of hood near wheel area after driving short distances
-heater still blows hot air [ never cold except on start up but warms up]
-took it in for a squealing from tire sound mechanic said had a crack in head gasket not sure to trust his opinion
- sweet smell like syrup from heater and outside of car

95' 3.8 non supercharged 63k miles
ways to test/diagnose on my own? Options?
Few things. Coolant Pressure test, coolant needs to be full in radiator (or coolant bottle if the radiator cap isn't on the radiator). Pressurize to PSI marked on cap. Look for external leaks again around the radiator, engine, etc. Pull the spark plugs and see if the cylinders are filling up with coolant during the pressure test. That would indicate a head gasket or head issue.

Another method to test for a head gasket is a block leak tester. You'd take off the radiator cap off (when cold with no pressure in the system), same as pressure test, coolant must be correct level. You fill a special vial with a dye/test fluid, then place in the filler neck of the radiator or coolant bottle firmly. Run the engine until it is fully warmed up. Observe the fluid in the tester. If it changes color, bad head gasket or head.

A third method, a cylinder leakdown tester. After removing the spark plugs you get one of the 6 cylinders to Top Dead Center, screw in the hose of the tester in place of the spark plug. Hook hose to tester. Hook up a compressed air line to the tester. Adjust the regulator on the tester to 100 psi on the left gauge. The gauge on the right should show less than 10 psi difference, but we don't have to really look at that. observe the coolant in the radiator neck or bottle. Air bubble forming indicates a bad head gasket or head.

Hope this helps.
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Old 12-29-2011, 08:15   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Possible head gasket crack? always low on coolant,whte smoke

Could it be the water pump that is leaking causing head gasket to blow ? That could account for squealing noise you were getting .Depends on where the gasket goes whether it mixes with oil or not .The tests suggested by " tbird100636" will confirm and locate faults .
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Old 12-29-2011, 08:35   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Possible head gasket crack? always low on coolant,whte smoke

When I took it in to the shop for squealing test they suggested either the Tie rod or ball joint and noticed i had a"crack in my head gasket" not sure how reliable though..

My uncle works at a GM Dealership and mentioned the water pump as well...

"head gasket to blow" not sure what you mean by this term

I can't see any oil in my coolant holder where I fill it. and the Oil dipstick looks normal color

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Originally Posted by R.S.LOGAN View Post
Could it be the water pump that is leaking causing head gasket to blow ? .
How to test water pump?
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Old 12-29-2011, 08:58   #5 (permalink)
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cool Re: Possible head gasket crack? always low on coolant,whte smoke

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Originally Posted by blinkyvx View Post
When I took it in to the shop for squealing test they suggested either the Tie rod or ball joint and noticed i had a"crack in my head gasket" not sure how reliable though..

My uncle works at a GM Dealership and mentioned the water pump as well...

"head gasket to blow" not sure what you mean by this term

I can't see any oil in my coolant holder where I fill it. and the Oil dipstick looks normal color



How to test water pump?
Check the water pump for leaks first. Then, with the engine warmed up and coolant the correct level oberve the coolant at idle. Rev the engine up to like 1500 rpm then let it idle. The coolant level should drop down when revved then come back up when you let the throttle go an it drops back to idle if the water pump is good.

What R.S.LOGAN means is if the Water Pump isn't circulating the coolant enough the engine can overheat and cause the head gasket to blow (sealing failure) and possibly the cylinder heads to warp or crack. Reasons for water pump circulation failure are the pump impellor being rotted/corroded from lack of maintenance (not changing coolant at recommended intervals) or the impellor free-wheeling on the shaft. The impellor can be either pressed on to the shaft (metal impellor) or bonded to the shaft (plastic impellors).
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Old 12-29-2011, 09:13   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Possible head gasket crack? always low on coolant,whte smoke

Filled the coolant level up again and let the car run for ten minutes with a bunch of cardboard under it no leaks, letting it sit while off now. And will repeat that and move cardboard to other side..

will try the coolant level check for pump as well to see if it moves up/down
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Old 12-29-2011, 09:35   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Possible head gasket crack? always low on coolant,whte smoke

Just to add to above , if water pump bearing fails it will cause coolant leak and you can also get noise as impeller hits inside pump body .The head gasket can fail and depending where , instead of mixing with oil it blows out of exhaust .If you grab water pump pulley you should be able to find if there is any excessive play .
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Old 12-29-2011, 09:48   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Possible head gasket crack? always low on coolant,whte smoke

No clear leaks around water pump that were blatantly obvious..

What kind of noise?

Checked levels engine was at normal, heard cooling fan come on, revved engine to 3k, dad watched it went up a bit but didnt come down hard to tell if was movement at all...

card board was clean no coolant leaked while parked and engine on, revved, then idle, then turned car off and let sit with cardboard under it for 5 min or so no drips

excessive play in water pump pulley means what ? failed water pump?
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Old 12-29-2011, 10:02   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Possible head gasket crack? always low on coolant,whte smoke

Excessive wear in water pump indicates bearing wear which then damages seal causing coolant leak .
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Old 12-29-2011, 10:17   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Possible head gasket crack? always low on coolant,whte smoke

could not move water pump pulley wheel was solid/tight

"and you can also get noise as impeller hits inside pump bodu"
how would this sound while driving/idle engine on?
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