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Just blown my head gasket!

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20 replies to this topic

#1
Timbo

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I must take the real dumb-ass trophy this weekend! While driving around during the storm, hit a rather large puddle at 30, that promptly made my truck do its best impression of a crash diving submarine, with water right over the windscreen! While very amusing to my son at the time, the results seem to be a little less so.

I can only assume that I ingested some water, and it popped the gasket, as my coolant now smells of gas and my coolant exaust gas tester is now changing color (saving grace here - now I know it works!). Was not expecting it to smell of gas though - is that normal when blown?

No over-heating and the engine is running great, but am getting a firmer hose than normal, which will loose pressure overnight - before it would retain the pressure. Very tempting to keep using it as its running so great, but Really don't want to completly toast the engine.

Reading up on it, I think I'll takle this one myself. - lots of steps, but nothing overwhelming, and really don't want to drop exorbitant amounts into my mechanics boat fund. Anyone with advice from the school of hard knocks, would be appreciated.

First question though. As its a 94, and I've not broken into it yet, so I don't know what's there, I'm assuming that it will still have the copper gasket, not the composite one. Question is, is it worth sticking with original copper or moving to the later composite with the stretch bolts? I've read that these are thicker, so I would assume with a head skim I should end up with a comparable compression.

The other question I have is it easy to tell if I have a dropped liner without tearing into it? This is a rrc 4.2, and from what I've read they don't seem as prone to do this as the later ones.

Thoughts? Advice? Am I on the Wrong diagnosis?

#2
lilcrawler

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Hmm. That's interesting. I'm not sure if the water had anything to do with the head gasket, and if you had ingested water, that vehicle would have stalled. I've done fairly deep water crossings (top of the headlights) and haven't had any sort of problems due to the cooling of the water. The water is probably just a coincidence.

The symptoms you describe are a classic head gasket/liner issue, and the combustion gasses in the coolant seal he deal. The firmer radiator hose is the cooling system over pressurizing due to the escape of combustion gasses into the system. This displaces the coolant, and will cause the car to overheat rapidly.

To answer your last question, there is no real way to tell the difference between a liner and head gasket until you pull the heads and inspect everything. Even then, a slipped liner can be very subtle and easy to miss if you don't know what you are looking for. However, I'm pretty sure the earlier motors are not as likely to slip a liner as the later DII motors, but I may be wrong. It sounds like it's a head gasket to me.
Tyler
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#3
DHappel

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I was thinking about it and I've never heard of water ingestion causing a blown head gasket.

 

(FWIW, I agree that the symptoms you are describing certainly point that way)

 

I suppose in theory if you gout just the right amount of water it could happen.  Too much and you hydro lock - that's a big bang and things break.  Too little and it just flashes to steam.  Maybe if you goldilocks it and get just the right amount of water it can over pressurize a cylinder and blow the gasket.

 

That seems a reach, but regardless combustion gasses in the coolant is a sure sign of head gasket trouble.  My guess is the leak isn't bad yet since you're not overheating but I would expect that to come sooner rather than later.  You could likely continue driving but just be hyper vigilant about watching the gauges and I certainly wouldn't want to do any long trips or rely on it to get me to work in the morning at this point.  Although it sounds like the damage is done re: head gaskets, a serious overheat will just cause all the more trouble with warped heads, etc added to the bill.


Don
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#4
Timbo

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Could this be a blown valley gasket? That would be the first place any ingested water would as it passed through the ignition? Not sure if there are any collant passages there though. I was not expecting an exaust leak to cause the raw gas smell from the coolant, but then never had this issue before.

My other thought is maybe the cold water splash shocked it and the gasket was already on the way out. No idea if ever done before!

If I was the only one driving it I would nurse it a while, but Sam gets back on spring break later this month, and my trust in him nursing is low to none - better fix sooner rather than later!

So any opinions on using a composite - is it really an upgrade?

Edited by Timbo, 07 March 2016 - 12:44 PM.


#5
DiscoDavis

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Can confirm I have neither seen nor ever heard of a puddle doing anything close to hydrolocking an engine. Damp filters sure, but sounds entirely unrelated to HG


:lr:

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23669857085_fe30f0934c.jpg


#6
Timbo

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Coincidence then! I'll go for that. Was a very spectacular run though the water, and the engine didn't even miss a beat. Sort of relieved as I know what damage water can do if an engine is foolish enough to try to compress it.

What made me think it could be connected was I got the first hint of trouble next time I ran the truck Saturday evening when I immediately got a coolant warning light for about 5 sec then it went off. Checked it Sunday morning and got hit by the wall of fumes when I took the tank cap off.

Next task - clear the garage so I can investigate in the dry.

Edited by Timbo, 07 March 2016 - 01:13 PM.


#7
TomOwen

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I must take the real dumb-ass trophy ...

Wait, there's a trophy for that??

 

Sorry to hear of your troubles, no shame it "huge water puddle at 30mph" though... I assume your son was holding your beer while you did it, right? (It's the responsible thing to do...)

 

Good luck on the fix, lots of good help here in Tiger Dan, Graeme and more than a few other hecklers...

 

Best,  Tom


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:lr:
Tom Owen
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#8
Timbo

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So one busy weekend!

Heads off and down the machine shop this morning for checking and recon. From the look of the gasket I got a small break on the material between #8 and the rear water passage. Others not far behind looking at the surface corrosion round the water passages.

Looks like the gaskets were replaced with composites in the past, but heads not resurfaced.

The bores look hardly worn - can still see the horn marks - not bad for 244000 miles!

From the effort needed to removing stuff just get the heads off, I can see why this would be an extremely expensive job for a shop to do.

Edited by Timbo, 14 March 2016 - 12:54 PM.

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#9
lilcrawler

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Where are you getting them resurfaced? I had my block decked, but I want to use a local shop to skim the heads.
Tyler
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I get below 15 mpg on Fuelly!
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#10
Timbo

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Where are you getting them resurfaced? I had my block decked, but I want to use a local shop to skim the heads.

Jim's machine shop, 706 Warrington Ave, Redwood city. About $250 for the pair for the basic work, and I have to give him the seals from my gasket kit when it comes in. Any extra and he'lol let me know.

Throwback Real hole in the wall outfit - every space taken up with machinery and engines - pretty cool. My regular mech's been using him for years.

Edited by Timbo, 14 March 2016 - 01:59 PM.


#11
TomOwen

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Jim's machine shop, 706 Warrington Ave, Redwood city. About $250 for the pair for the basic work, and I have to give him the seals from my gasket kit when it comes in. Any extra and he'lol let me know.

Throwback Real hole in the wall outfit - every space taken up with machinery and engines - pretty cool. My regular mech's been using him for years.

Guy looks like Bob Marley right? Place is a total throwback A couple of "engine builder" friends (hot rods, etc..) use them too - apparently quite good!


:lr:
Tom Owen
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On a slow transition from Carpool to Trail with the help of this Club

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; Cooper A/T3s, PacaSport, glitter, hair-bows, jolly ranchers and juice box stains...

@TomOwen


#12
psykokid

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So one busy weekend!

Heads off and down the machine shop this morning for checking and recon. From the look of the gasket I got a small break on the material between #8 and the rear water passage. Others not far behind looking at the surface corrosion round the water passages.

Looks like the gaskets were replaced with composites in the past, but heads not resurfaced.

The bores look hardly worn - can still see the horn marks - not bad for 244000 miles!

 

They like to blow between the jacket and the outboard cylinders, here's a pic of mine when it let go about 4 months after buying it:

IMG_4069.jpg'

 

Yup, #8 as well. I bought the truck under the pretense that the head gaskets had been done recently.. yeah, done by a monkey who used grey RTV on the gasket. :( To add insult to injury when I stripped the heads and took them in to be resurfaced the right side bank had been skimmed beyond spec before and didn't have any meat left on it for another skim. A trip to the pick a part with a set of calipers to make sure the head I was pulling off hadn't been touched and I was in business..



#13
Timbo

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Ouch - that's much worse than mine!

#14
Timbo

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Guy looks like Bob Marley right? Place is a total throwback A couple of "engine builder" friends (hot rods, etc..) use them too - apparently quite good!


That would be Toby! He did my heads. Nice guy. Cost was $240 for the pair - cash or check only - no cards.

Valves and guides were fine, so no extra work needed.

Jim is no more! - the owner is Phil Wysocki.

#15
Timbo

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Now just have to put it together!

Waiting for a head bolt - on back order!.

It's the stud that the alternator bracket connects to.

#16
DHappel

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Now just have to put it together!

Waiting for a head bolt - on back order!.

It's the stud that the alternator bracket connects to.

 

This sounds like a pick-n-pull job 


Don
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#17
lilcrawler

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This sounds like a pick-n-pull job


Depends on what you mean by "head bolt." Wouldn't go to pick n pull if it is torqued to yield...
Tyler
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#18
DHappel

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It's the stud that the alternator bracket connects to.

That should be a pretty simple thing I would think?  Not a 'head bolt', more a bolt that attaches to the head.  Should be OK to use anything that will fit.


Don
'07 LR3 HSE/HD - slightly non-stock

'96 D1 - even more non-stock


#19
lilcrawler

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Ah. I wasn't picturing the right thing. Is it one of those really long studs that the bracket slides over?
Tyler
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#20
Timbo

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Nope - this is a head bolt/stud

The RRC has one bolt that is a throwback to the metal gasket non stretch bolt type. It fits drivers side middle row by the alternator. Disco's have a stretch bolt on this hole, and the kit I got came with one that I could use.

In theory I can re-use my old one, as this stud is not a stretch, but for the sake of rushing it or waiting a week, i think I'll wait. Have no idea how old that bolt is.




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