Car drinking coolant! Can you figure out exact cause?

Reply

  #1  
Old 01-14-10, 07:22 AM
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 8,629
Car drinking coolant! Can you figure out exact cause?

Wouldn't it be the grizzled you know what?, to think you knew the head gasket was blown?, or head warped, or head cracked (aluminum)? - so you tear the engine apart?, only to find out that is not it?

Well, it may be the head gasket. But see why these symptoms do not totally add up, at least in my thinking:

Yes, the car drinks coolant now. Big time. It all started (at least so it seemed - I cannot be 100% sure) after I drilled holes in my thermostat to relieve air bubble (which it did!) and the car ran cooler after that, than what it had been. But not ridicoulously cool. Basically read about 1/4 on temp gauge rather than 1/2. AND, at this same time, coincidently, it got down to about 20 below here - and that morning is when I really noticed the car steaming a lot out the exhaust. More than what I though was normal. Also the steam was tinged with blue, rather than the normal tan(if anything).

Keep in mind - there could be overlapping coincidences involved. Like maybe the car has some crankcase blowby at the same time. And I never really noticed this much in warmer none condensing weather. keep in mind the car has 200,000 miles on it.

Okay, the car runs liuke an absolute top -right now! No misfire. Runs smooth and good acceleration at all speeds. Smooth idle, even while drinking this coolant! Car leaks not one drip of coolant on ground. Can smell coolant smell in cabin sometimes when heater on at first (but never under the hood!), and believe that heater core has such a slight leak, that it does not leak on ground nor make carpet wet, as it evporates off the hot core fins as it goes - so my thinking goes. And I believe this is the source of the air bubble occurance, after engine cools down and attempts to draw coolant back out of the reservoir, and draws air in through the leak hole instead. Unless I was/am fooled into that thinking - and the whole while the air bubble was caused slowly over time, from months back, of extremely tiny crack or gasket problem that was not noticeable in warmeer weather?

Milky on dip stick or valve cover cap? Only some. On the dipstick it is only where bulge in dipstick rubs the tube. This MAY (or may not) be caused by condensation. I just now pulled the dipstick after running it and no milky in the oil itself.

How much coolant is the car drinking? Lots. Maybe a quart a day.

When I start the car in these cool or cold mornings (has varied from -20 to +18 as it is right now), the car really steams, tinged blue while idling. This goes on forever if I sit there idling. Even as temp gauge shows engine warmed up.

Then when I take off, I leave a trail for like 1/2 -3/4 blocks. This too is a constant.

But get THIS one: If the head gasket were blown at the metal ring seals built into the head gasket around the cylinders, and bridging the water jacket part of the gasket, then -(get ready) - why no steam when cruising down the highway or upon high speed decelleration when engine vacuum should be extremely high?! And since the throttle plate is closed then, why isn't the engine trying to suck coolant through the compromised water jacket seal of the head gasket, into the cylinder at the metal ring, big time, at this most highest engine vacuum????!!!!! Instead - NO apparent steam is visible!

Thart just does not make sense to me! This can make a person go out of their mind. I am too busy problem solving at work, and then think about how this car is like teasing me with some brain teaser, that doesn't make sense to me.

But IS IT it steaming, and I just don't see it while cruising? Maybe. But I cannot see zilch (of it) out my rear view window, nor when I look out my driver side mirror back to where the muffler pipe is! I DO see the long vapor trail like I said when idling or driving about town accelerating from stop lights or other low speed driving at 25-30 mph through town. But not at highway cruise speed or decelleration.

I removed the crankcase cover minutes ago after a long trip and no unusual high blowby pressure or anything. Not did removing the cap reduce the idling steam.

I would like someone to be smart enough to explain to me exactly where the bridging is occuring between the coolant passage and cylinder. I mean the exact spot. Not necessarily what cylinder. Just the pathway it is taking, to explain al the symptoms. Like I have been saying, this makes no sense to me.

I would die if either me or the mechanic took engine apart, only to find say that an EGR or some crazy thing was putting pressure on something, or some intake maniflold water passage was the cause.

I do not know if my intake manifold has any passages in it. Haynes manual says nothing about this either way. Not do they list it in troubleshooting - however theri troubleshooting guide is incomplete, regarding other issues, I have noticed. But I do know that water that goes to the heater core first originates in this cast iron box that is part of the intake manifold.
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 01-14-10, 09:29 AM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 6,127
What kind of car and year.

Some GM engines (5.7l and 4.3l) are notorious for leaks at the upper ot lower intake manifolds. I own 2 two with 4.3 l Vortecs and went through the leak process. There is a controversy between GM and the antifreeze supplier over who is at fault, so there was no recall even though GM specified the coolant.

My first was on my Jimmy and was caught early by a sharp local mechanic. The second was on my wife's Blazer. In this case, the temperature spiked and went down (probably an air bubble. In both cases, it is a lot of works to get at things and replace the corroded gaskets with better new gaskets. There was not a drop on the garage floor under either car.

I also had a 1995 Corvette (5.7l) that had a slow leak in the water pump that allowed the coolant to spray out slowly and evaporate over time and it also never showed a sign of leakage until the temperature spiked occassionally when it was reading air temperature instead of coolant temperature. Fortunately it was under an extended warantee and the dealer was glad to replace the over-priced $600 water pump (typical Corvette parts pricing) and get paid top dollar for the work.

All leaks are not seen and changes in pressure and levels can do strange things.

Dick
 
  #3  
Old 01-14-10, 02:58 PM
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 8,629
I forgot some vital info. Read post.

It is a Dodge 2.5 liter, 4cyl., non-turbo.

The vital info I forgot to mention in my OP was the fact that of the blown headgaskets I have previously had on these engines ( a different 2.5L and also on a 2.2L that shares the same size head/same gasket) , they had lots of miles on them. And the metal rings, that are built into the gasket to go around every cylinder, rotted, on cylinders 1 and 4. And when that metal ring goes, that opens up the pathway to the oil galleries and water jackets. Rot (like an old buried tin can) is probably due to being mounted against dissimilar metals. The metal rings are highly magnetic, and with the block being cast and the head aluminum, probably not a marrige made in heaven.

But on the gasket I have now, a new head and gasket was installed about only 25,000 miles ago! (I never thought I'd be dealing with this already!!!) I doubt the metal rings have corroded and caused the same scenario as with the other engines. IF it is a blown gasket, I would have to lean toward the cause as being the head bolts were not tightend up to correct pounds due to perhaps faulty torque wrench. Or he cheapened out and reused stretched head bolts(that now came loose with the expansion contraction of the engine) in order to save $30 or whatever. Or the guy did not have a torque wrench or one that read correct. (He could not have used the cheaters method of replacing a head gasket by jacking up the head 2 inches and sliding the new one in place, since he had to have had the head off, as it is new.)
 
  #4  
Old 01-14-10, 03:02 PM
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 8,629
Dick - are the gaskets YOU are refering to the intake manifold gaskets?
 
  #5  
Old 01-14-10, 03:35 PM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 6,127
Yes they were intake manifold gaskets and not really head gaskets, but it seems there are some problems with corrosion/erosion over time. The new gaskets that were installed were not exactly like the originals since my mechanic's wife has a similar car with the same problem earlier.

Dick
 
  #6  
Old 01-15-10, 07:47 AM
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 8,629
Seasonally warm - engine sucked coolant back into radiator!

25 out early this morning. I'll TAKE it! Car dioes not steam AS much. However, when it does, it is still the same: At idle and accelerating primarily - But not at higher rpm highway cruising, nor high vacuum decelleration (which again has me puzzled).

This morning I checked my oil and coolant. Oil was down 1/2 quart and not milky. I am happy. Why? That means coolant is not building up in the oil. I was fearing that for a while. I thought I was 1/2 quart down about 2 weeks ago and added what I thought was 1/2 quart, only to find during extrme cold weather(-12 to -20F) when engine steaming a lot, that the oil climbed up the dipstick about 1/2 qt. above full, after thsoe 2 weeks. And oil seemed to bead on the dip stick, , yet not the classic sign of milkiness. These Dodges behave weird when initial failure is occuring. It is only at the end stage just before hydrolock occurs, that then all h breaks loose with that and cylinder misfire.

Years ago, like 1960's cars, when head gaskets went, they went. You'd get that real sweet smell out the exhaust I do not!) and the engine would miss. And you'd take it to mechanic who then would diagnose if two adjacent cylinders had low compression or not, which was classic blown head gasket symptom. And like ai said, the reason you took it in is the car ran for c***. My Dodges never have. They run excellent!

Regarding the coolant this morning. The engine actually drew coolant back out of the reservoir and put it back in the radiator from last night's shut off to this morning. Meaning any crack from head gasket, manifold, crack, or whatever, must not have been there (with this warmer weather?) in order to draw it back. It can only draw coolant back in if system is 100% closed. It would not be 'closed' if you had an air leak. The 2-3 bottles of stop leak that claims to seal heads, blocks, and gaskets right on the label -and they say 'permanantly' also, might actual work to some degree!

Dick,

I thought these types of manifolds like you have have rubber o-rings for them. Yours don't eh? Yours are ferrous metal?
 
  #7  
Old 01-15-10, 06:30 PM
Member
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Jersey
Posts: 526
Holy cow this is a long thread.

I didnt have time to read it all but it may have been allready said and if so sorry.

From what I read it sounds like your cylinder sleeve has a crack in it that's why no drip on the ground........right out the exhaust.

A few years back I replaced a head and gasket on a Turbo Chrysler 2.2L and after I finished the job discovered the water jacket between the middle 2 clyinders had a crack.

Needles to say I was pissed!

I junked the block and kept the head........lol, I still have the head.......still siiting on end in my garage.
As for the car I bought a wrecked Turbo Labaron and stole the engine and transmission out it for our Plymouth Sundance.
Hey can any body use a re-conditioned clylinder head for a 2.2L Turbo Chrysler??????
 
  #8  
Old 01-16-10, 12:48 PM
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 8,629
Originally Posted by Mackey View Post
From what I read it sounds like your cylinder sleeve has a crack in it that's why no drip on the ground........right out the exhaust.

A few years back I replaced a head and gasket on a Turbo Chrysler 2.2L and after I finished the job discovered the water jacket between the middle 2 clyinders had a crack.....
Why would this cause my car to billow steam more upon acceleration than during high vacuum decelleration, though?

Whether it be a crack in the block, or head, or crack in the gasket that bridges the combustion chamber to the water jacket - what is the difference between these 3 scenarios that can explain my first sentence?

Regarding what I said about warmer whether in my earlier post: Today is a sunny balmy 32(to us, this is a heat wave right now!). Car has virtually no steaming problem today, and my upper radiator hose is not under high pressure today, as it normally is under bulging pressure when it is steaming!

Theories I have going so far is:

Coincidence with the outside temperature thing. That cause is from stop leak intermittently damming, then refailing.

Or gasket break is shaped like a one-way check valve that coolant can leak in toward the combustion chamber, but closes down upon pressure from compression stroke or when cylinder fires off.

Another theory is head bolts were stretched and mechanic putting on my new head reused the old ones, which lost their strength, and are more easily influenced by up and down temps when car sits over extremely cold nights. Perhaps the head warped some, in one little spot, during the air bubble situation, and the head bolts can't hold the head down tight enough when the metals shrink.

Maybe the reason it does not billow steam during high engine vacuum high-speed decelleration is that the entire engine head gets sucked down onto the block tighter, from the vacuum, helping to overcome any losseness in head bolts.

Maybe steam is not being burned through the combustion chamber directly, but has steam entering the oil gallery directly, and then due to age of engine, moisture, along with oil, is what is being drawn into the combustion chamber due to aging rings. And this might explain why I do NOT smell sweet antifreeze smell out the exhaust, when it is steaming - and the reason why the steam is tinged blue(oil).

I am hoping, that maybe the head warped some from the air bubble and the combination of the tension on the head bolts and the more stable lower temps of the engine now, since I got out the air bubble and/ore from drilling that one hole through the thermostat, will straighten the warp out by itself over time, as silly and wishful thinking as that sounds.

I feel that unlike my previous 2 blown gaskets on these engines, that occured well into the hundred thousands miles on it, where the metal rings of the gasket rotted away, that I do not believe these rings can be rotted yet (not after 25,000 miles) and therefore some other cause is in effect.

I thought sleeves were used mainly in all aluminum engines. My block is very magnetic metal. I did not think sleeves were needed.

As long as I have owned the car anyway (and there was no coolant being lost when and after I bought it, until recently - and then suddenly this started to occur BIG time, when the temp dropped to -20), - the coolant never froze, the engine never smelled hot, nor hissed or steamed, no leaks out any freeze plugs - I'd have a hard time believing anything with the block prortion would be picked on, rather than the aluminum head or gasket.
 
  #9  
Old 01-19-10, 10:58 AM
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 8,629
Somewhat of a eureka moment?

Today is another one of those near-dewpoint steamy days out. It was 16 when I went to bed and 9 this morning. The fog was very dense this morning. Once again, like yesterday or 2 mornings ago, the trees were all covered in frost.

Naturally my car steamed to beat the band. I hate that because it draws attention to the problem, and my lower sitting weighted down car. And I wonder what cops might think, especially since it has to be tinged blue of all things, making it look like I'm driving a car with a blown engine. Yet it runs like an absolute top!!! I get so mad at this weather, since it makes my problem stand out - I could spit.

When I take off from stop signs, it is at it's worst. Leaves big trail. But this trail does dissipates in the air, unlike the steam billowing I posted about when I had troubles in this regard with the 91 Dodge I used to drive. With that one, the billowing smoke was more like an actual smoke, and hung in the air, lingering in a huge acre field. But not the 90. It does dissipate rapidly.

So what is the eureka moment? It just dawned on me this morning, that when I make macaroni and cheese, that when I boil the noodles, the boiling steams away maybe a whole quart of water. In only 10 -12 minutes! Welllll. My car surely steams more than this. And I drive many miles a day, Many minutes a day -maybe 2 hours a day! Steaming right along. And the total loss of fluids - oil and coolant - does not come close to that kind of volume loss. In fact, this morning when I looked before I started out, the coolant level maybe went down only a little. And the oil did not go down hardly at all. Yet, all these trails of steam! So naturally this begs the question - where is the steam all coming from? I think that it may be a combination of SOME oil(the blue tinge) and SOME coolant and SOME unburned gas (my mileage is relatively poor for this type of car), and SOME from maybe this theory I have that the donut gasket is bad(it is, for sure), and is drawing in moist(like how it has been lately) outside air by venturi action - and when that enters the hot exhaust pipe and cat, it converts to steam. How else do you explain the many miles driven (about 60 a day, 2 hours driving time, steaming all over th place, and yet maybe the liguid levels in the car go down by only a pint - when comparing to boiling macaroni on the stove for 10 minutes only, and losing perhaps 1 1/2 pints to 1 quart. ????? Also, remember how I said that even though I am losing some coolant (but not gallons per day, or something)that I do not even smell a hint of it at the exhaust?!
 
  #10  
Old 01-31-10, 09:58 AM
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 8,629
Would like cut-a-way view of engine pasageways!

Anyone know where I can find such visible and/or even written information on say where all the coolant and oil passageways run exactly, and in relation to each other?

This steaming mystery on my car is driving me nuts. [Remember, the car runs like an absolute top!]

The other day, under similar weather conditions of say around 0 -10 above, and similar in atmospheric pressure and every way, I was leaving long blue-tinged vapor trails.

Then I added yet another bottle of stop leak (I must have 3 10oz. bottles in there now!), that claim to "permamently" seal even block, heads and gasket leaks, right on the front of the jar and also have been experimenting with relieving the upper radiator hose pressure every chance I get when I stop, with the theory that I can maybe cut down on internal pressure trying to force the coolant back through a crack in the head or gasket. Now for the last couple days under identical weather conditions, the car is not drinking AS much coolant -yes, some - but not near as much it did the day I was leaving vapor streamers behind - nor am I leaving those long vapor trails. And the other day, it appeared other cars were leaving longer trails than ME.

The sporadic nature of this seems beyond explanation especially when under identical weather conditions, to explain expansion-contraction of the aluminum head in relation to the cast engine block.

I have been toying with the notion that maybe I have a loose bolt or two. I have found loose, in fact REAL loose head bolts on aluminum(or magnesium/alloy or whatever those things are made of -they seem like pot metal) head lawnmower engines already. But yet I am afraid of damaging something in the way I obviously did when I simply retightened my head bolts on my old(garaged) '91 2.5L Dodge, as after I used a ratchet and cheater pipe to tighten the bolts down a little more , after that the car REALLY billowed, and then the #1 cylinder started filling up with coolant like an aquarium. And massive bubbling going off in my coolant reservoir right after then engine started up cool! And the car billowing SMOKE (not just steam that readily vaporizes) out into a multi-acre field, and lingering out there! BUT, perhaps in this case, the fact the head gasket had maybe 100,000 miles on it, maybe the metal rings in the head gasket were getting rotten (like all the other similar blown head gaskets from the past) and by me tightening the head gasket more, it split it open at #1(the final straw that broke the camel's back). (Remember I said in another post here that I have in my possession 2 old gaskets removed from the 91 (from before I bought the car, it had been changed and given to me)) and an 85, and both had corroded (rusted out) metal head gasket rings on cylinders #1 and also on #4.)

Bu maybe since the head gasket in my '90 is now only about 25,000 miles old, that if a bolt or two is just extremely slightly loose, that maybe the 4 metal rings are still good, and will accept being tightened down without injury. ??? And now I have an actual torque wrench.

Mysteries can be fun, but I'm getting a little annoyed at this, even laying awake sometimes, trying to figure every possiblity (a result of the fact how these vapor trails come and go - how on Earth that could be! -Stop Leak doing it's job?, but then busting back loose again sometimes? -then resealing partially shut again? - or, something else - maybe even something else, even other than head related?), even including something weird with a intake manifold gasket(if water enters it) or where the coolant goes into the intake manifold for warming up the throttle body, or maybe some stuck EGR causing a buildup of crankcase pressure? (I don't even know if that would happen).

Keep in mind once again that what else is odd, besides how the vapor trails come and go under similar temps and atmospheric conditions, is why, when there are the long vapor trails, why they disappear at rapid high vacuum decelleration!, when at that time you would think any crack between a coolant passage and cylinder would REALLY suck in the coolant then and burn it. Yet the vapor completely stops then. UNLESS I am overlooking some possible fact? that during decellertion that maybe as the exhaust expels, it then gets sucked back into the exhaust pipe by vacuum, and then during that say rentry, the temperature changes so that no longer does the vapor condense in the same way it does during acclelertion, but yet still burns the coolant anyway?, even though I can't see it?

But also, because of the possiblity of say the pressure in the crankcase coming into play, I have also been monitoring lately what the pressure out the crankcase oil filler cap feels like to me when the engine is started up cold and what it feels like after the engine is warmed up.

Sorry abut the rambling. But blowing head gaskets is costly and ties up the vehicle. Hoping for some answer here that can explain all my scenarios/quirks.
 
  #11  
Old 02-01-10, 08:01 AM
Member
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Kingsport, TN
Posts: 217
I know someone who had a Dodge truck. He had a little antifreeze in his oil. The engine eventually seized and he had to buy another engine. It ran like a champ right up to the point when it welded itself together. He was not big on checking fluid levels. Now, $2500 later, he is.

Porsche, in their engine manual, says that "as a minimum, the rod bearings should be changed if coolant enters the oil". This is for the non-turbo water cooled 944's that have a liquid-liquid oil cooler that would tend to mix fluids after many years. The turbos have a liquid-air oil cooler.
 
  #12  
Old 02-01-10, 12:55 PM
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 8,629
Offer explanation of how and where engine head warps, please

Yes, thanks Lawrence. I realize I am walking the tightrope. One of these upcoming warm days(warm means 20'ish) I'm going to check the head bolts and cross my fingers something is loose.
.............................................................................
On 10-bolt 4cyl. heads, does anyone have experience to know that when such heads warp, HOW they warp?, that all those bolts can't hold the head flat? Does it simply stretch one or more of the bolts?, even though they were tight to begin with? Or, does it warp between the bolts, say through a center line area if drawn through all 4 cylinder circles?, since no bolts are near there. As in...the head then 'cups'?
 
  #13  
Old 02-19-10, 07:37 PM
mech1's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: usa
Posts: 29
wow this is a lot of talk for a coolant leak.
if your losing coolant you need to have the cooling system pressure tested for leaks. if you suspect a head gasket leak then a cylinder leak down test will let you know which one is the problem. just because you can't see a leak on the ground doesn't mean there isn't one.
as for the head bolts those are most likely yield to torque, which means after you torque the bolts then loosen and maybe torque again you tighten to a specified number of degrees.(the bolts are torqued,stretched and tightened) you only do this once, that is why they have to be replaced after one use.
as for the steam when it is cold, car exhaust has water vapor in it, when you start the car in the cold morning the hot exhaust gas running though cold exhaust pipes lets you see it.(same as you see you breath in the cold)
when the cooling system gets hot it bleeds off the expanded coolant to the reserve bottle. then when it cools it creates a vacuum to draw it back into the system. when you have a leak it will fill the bottle but can not create a vacuum to draw it back in. so the coolant in the radiator will continue to drop unless you top it off.
hope this answers some questions. i'll check back to see if there is any more i can help with.
 
  #14  
Old 02-20-10, 08:35 AM
Member
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: California
Posts: 214
What exactly is the complaint, vapor trails or coolant loss or overheating? Coolant loss meaning a need to replace coolant is a symptom not a condition. Coolant may be lost through a deficient cooling system in external leakage on internal consumption via a crack or gasket leak. Vapor from coolant rises behind the vehicle but Quickly disapears into the atmosphere. Oil vapor rises as well but stays smoke until it disperses. Coolant vapor is sweet in smell and oil is just an acrid odor, if you hold your hand in the exhaust stream and increase engine speed you should be able to smell it. Stop leak isn't a good resolution as it treats a symptom and not a cause and it tends to foul the cooling system while its at it and it tends to be a temporary solution at best. If the head gaskets used origonally were a composite style they can shrink after running but if they were thin metallic style that wont happen. Just a couple of ideas
Bill
 
  #15  
Old 02-20-10, 11:55 AM
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 8,629
Originally Posted by mech1 View Post
wow this is a lot of talk for a coolant leak.
But well worth it. See how much you get to teach people? This is a huge subject in the winter on those Saturday morning car repair radio shows.


if your losing coolant you need to have the cooling system pressure tested for leaks.
But as with us all here, .....simply looking for easiest DIY advice and methods. High priced shops are not in the cards.

if you suspect a head gasket leak then a cylinder leak down test will let you know which one is the problem. just because you can't see a leak on the ground doesn't mean there isn't one.
That much many people know.

It is already suspected the head gasket, or cracked head is the problem. But query also was if my car had any other oft overlooked passages that can join coolant to cylinder or exhaust. Wouldn't it be awful to do tear down and find something else was the cause? Something simple - like some passageway in the intake, to help warm the engine or something?


as for the head bolts those are most likely yield to torque, which means after you torque the bolts then loosen and maybe torque again you tighten to a specified number of degrees.(the bolts are torqued,stretched and tightened) you only do this once, that is why they have to be replaced after one use.
"Yield to torque". ??? I'll have to remember that saying, even though I don't quite follow how those words mean what you say. Bottom line is it sounds like I can't be retightening them.

How about if you remove one at a time, chase the thread holes, and then put in new head bolts, and make an attempt to retorque to specs? Could the gasket then maybe be crushed more, especially with only 25,000 miles on the brand new head and gasket, to crush it enough to make up for even a slight warp?

My old 2 head gaskets wetn bad due to the metal ferrous rings around the cylinder holes rotted, after 100.000 -150,000 miles. But I have a hard time believing these rings are rotted with the new gasket already. I suspect a warp or crack due to air bubble, trapped behind the thermostat, that would not allow stat to open with just hot air. I drilled 1 small hole in stat to stop that non-sense! And it worked. No more oscillating back and forth from hot to cool!, perhps caused by leak in heater core, drawing in air through heatercore at cooldown/vacuum.

What happened to those days where 'they' said you should return your car to the mechanic(after a head gasket job) to have the head bolts retorqued? No longer applies? A 60-70's thing?, but not a 90's-10's thing?

as for the steam when it is cold, car exhaust has water vapor in it, when you start the car in the cold morning the hot exhaust gas running though cold exhaust pipes lets you see it.(same as you see you breath in the cold)
We know that too.


when the cooling system gets hot it bleeds off the expanded coolant to the reserve bottle. then when it cools it creates a vacuum to draw it back into the system. when you have a leak it will fill the bottle but can not create a vacuum to draw it back in.
Believe it or not - mine can still do this sometimes!! Even though there is a huge net loss in the reserovir, with no exterior leaks!

Not unless a slightly leaky heater core is wicking into something, yet not be enough to detect, and evaporates away before hitting the ground. I do know the heater core has such a slight leak(at least before I dumped the 4 full size bottles of stop leak in my radiator ), as you can smell it sometimes with the blower fan - and this bluish residue comes out the defrost vents and is hard to get off the windshield. Felt the carpet on passenger side, and it feels dry.

But we do know from other tell-tale signs(the abnormal vapor trail and big loss of coolant) that loss from heater core is not the sole cause - not near. Oddly? -no smell of coolant in vapor trail! Seriously. None. I know that smell well, and have experienced it. Does the cat burn up the odor? Years ago without cats, I could smell that sweet smell out the tailpipe, with blown head gasket or crack. Or, maybe my problem is not to the real serious stage yet?
.........................................

What do you make of that S**** S*** product(not sold in stores I guess) that claims to seal leaks permanently - and does not rely on the 'filler' method (they show those products in their web ad) - and is made from some secret clear stuff that is guaranteed to stop leaks. Costs about $50 and you can add it to the coolant. Says nothing like that other stuff where you have to flush the cooling sytem out first.(I read their web pages and their instructions) They have testimonials even from mechanics claiming this stuff has saved hundreds or into low thousands of dollars of head work repairs, for the customer. And has put more profit into the mechanics pocket, since instead of doing less profitable headgasket jobs, they can do more profitable brake jobs and stuff, they said. They claim nobody likes to do head gasket work, not even the mechanic.
 
  #16  
Old 02-20-10, 12:11 PM
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 8,629
Originally Posted by Tijoe View Post
What exactly is the complaint, vapor trails or coolant loss or overheating?
I'm all typed out from my last post. Briefly to answer: Yes, yes, and maybe or partially yes.

The car runs like a top. However if car is shut off just right, and perhaps winds up on a leaky cylinder during the sucking intake stroke? (my theory), I have had a few seconds(literally, that's all) of misfire, upon cold cranking - only a few times over the last couple months? of this malady.

My old `91 2.5L that developed a blown gasket or crack, got so bad it billowed not just steam, but smoke. And caused spark plug insulator (part down in cylinder) to crack, from steam cleaning, and cylinder filling noticably with coolant. This '90 car is not yet to that point. But it is probably coming.

What is saving it probably is the relatively newer head gasket on the '90, compared to the high mileage on the '91, whose gasket rotted at those ferrous built-in rings. How dumb to make a gasket with that!, considering the expense to have to do those jobs.

There should have been a class action lawsuit against car mfgers to use cast blocks and aluminum heads, with the documented known expansion rate problems. What were they thinking? You want more weight over the drive wheels anyway! Why were they trying to go light, up front?!!! The way it is with these Dodge cars, they sag in the back, and the front end comes up, from carrying about 600 pounds in front, back seat and trunk. Could use the extra weight up front. Do aluminum heads cost that much less or what? If so, HOW much less? Or are there other issues that make them actually better?
 
  #17  
Old 02-20-10, 06:10 PM
Member
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: California
Posts: 214
When the engine is at operating temp the coolant is 10-20 lbs pressure and the instant the engine is off the cylinder pressure is atmospheric but the cooling system is still at 10-20 lbs. If there is a leak then it should always be there. An injector can leak down causing a brief misfire at start up. A lifter can bleed down causing much the same but with a noise. If it is an injector there can also be smoke or vapor at the exhaust briefly. I have seen cracks behind exhaust valve seats that cause no end of problems leaking coolant and or oil into the combustion chamber or even more difficult to diagnose into the exhaust at the valve port. As for the iron against aluminum subject, the gasket is an insulator but if you actually do suggested cooling system maintenance with fresh coolant the corrosion usually wont be an issue. Do a coolant carbon test and you will know if there is exhaust in the coolant..... BIG help to know in this case.
Bill
 
  #18  
Old 02-22-10, 03:08 PM
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 8,629
Originally Posted by Tijoe View Post
When the engine is at operating temp the coolant is 10-20 lbs pressure and the instant the engine is off the cylinder pressure is atmospheric but the cooling system is still at 10-20 lbs. If there is a leak then it should always be there.
Unless one has a few bottles of stop leak in the cooling system so that during engine cool down/vacuum draw from reservoir back to radiator, the coolant will try to push it's
way back toward the cylinder, and fill the gap or crack, and then once plugged be able to continue with the vacuum effect, drawing more coollant out of the reservoir back into the radiator/engine.

UNTIL you start up the car and 120 or so psi of combustion pressure blasts the stop leak back out from the crack or gap.

An injector can leak down causing a brief misfire at start up.
TBI. ............................

A lifter can bleed down causing much the same but with a noise. If it is an injector there can also be smoke or vapor at the exhaust briefly.
N/A. ...........................................

I have seen cracks behind exhaust valve seats that cause no end of problems leaking coolant and or oil into the combustion chamber or even more difficult to diagnose into the exhaust at the valve port.
I often wondered just where common places might be where cracks occur on aluminum heads. Simply slipping a new gasket under the head, presuming it is the gasket that is the culprit, without further investigation, would not be wise. Thanks for that insight.

As for the iron against aluminum subject, the gasket is an insulator but if you actually do suggested cooling system maintenance with fresh coolant the corrosion usually wont be an issue.
Let's say that after several years, the same coolant is in there, and still looks green. Does the corrosion fighting properties disappear? I wonder why? I wonder what in the coolant disappears, if true.

Do a coolant carbon test and you will know if there is exhaust in the coolant..... BIG help to know in this case.
Bill
I have that because the radiator shoots coolant up in the air when the coolant is even low in the radiator, at start up. Then, after the inital one-shot geyser, it no longer tries to do that. But bubbling occurs in the overflow.
 
  #19  
Old 02-26-10, 07:57 AM
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 8,629
Air bubble problem? -worthy experiment!

As usual, for the last months of either this head gasket problem or with warped or cracked head issue I have - I have to keep adding substantial amounts of coolant to the reservoir daily. Maybe 1 qt.! Sometimes add twice daily, depending on the miles (and probably stop and go miles) driving.

This morning it was minus 2 degrees out, and about at the dewpoint. That is when I leave the biggest vapor trails when taking off from an idle. Cruising is not so bad. Today, same as ususal that way.

But when I cruised though town at 30 and then accelerated up the hill, I was leaving the same blue-tinged vapor trail as normal, and as I kept accelerating, it disappeared completely. Not sure if it has always done this or not. Interesting observation. I contorted my body to look behind me and check the sideview mirror good on my side where the exhaust exits. There was no vapor! I am absolutely intrigued by this. I think there is a big clue here to if I have a gasket leak or crack and/or where the gap is located, for this symptom to be occuring.

Now not only that, today, but I found this really interesting: Normally my temp gauge slowly, over the miles driving, even in real cold temps like this morning, slowly winds up creeping to halfway on the temp gauge. And if I sit and idle, it may creep up to 3/4. And then when I take off, it drops to back to about 1/2 again.

Well, today, it stayed absolutely rock steady at about the 1/4 mark, if even that. After I parked the car, I went under the hood to check the coolant level and reservioir level to see what was causing this good fortune. Here it turns out that after I flipped open my flip-lever pressure cap this morning and looked in the radiator, I never got the lever down into the fully down position. It was almost down - but not all the way down. So what was happening was, as I was driving today, the headgasket(or warp, crack, etc.) blowby air was all escaping out the radiator cap into the reservoir and venting out, and thereby not allowing an air bubble to form behind the thermostat. That is why the engine ran cooler.

Now I am wondering if I just run it this way, if I will also ahve the good fortune of less coolant loss, since I will no longer have the pressure trying to force coolant back into the problem cylinder. ??? And who knows, maybe this can help keep the gap(from whatever cause)from getting worse and worse, as fast.

Why am I stalling and not just getting the car fixed? Well, maybe I will do the job myself, as I did years ago. But I only have an unheated garage. Plus I am too busy working right now. If I can stall til the weather warms up......Also if I get a mechanic to do it, I'll have more time to ask aound to who will do it the cheapest. There are backyard mechanic guys I have ran into that are used to these 2.5L headgasket/head changeouts. 3 guys I personally know have done it on this engine, besides my 2 mechanics! You know $100 and a 6-pack of beer?

Since I know quite about cooling system scenarios, I already am aware that with running the system depressurized, the boiling point of the coolant is less. But the coolant alone raises the boiling point substantially. (Pressurizing it raises it further by about I think 1# per psi pressure). But since my temp-gauge is reading low, and after I stopped the car, I heard no bubbling in the engine, I am safe.

Also note that having the flip-lever up some on that type of radiator cap is not eactly the same as unscrewing a standard radiator cap. If you unscrew a radiator cap enough, you also compromise the upper gasket that prevents coolant from splillling (or spraying! ) out onto the ground, if it bubbled up to the top of the radiator. But with this flip-lever type, the top gasket is still tight. It is only the lower seal that pops up that allows the coolant to go into the reservoir.

Having such a cap can really be a nice feature, since they are made to quickly relieve system pressure. They only cost like $6 at an auto parts store.

Sorry about the length -but this is really a worthwhile revelation for all. Hopefully this lated updated post might help others under similar situations. Remember the part about the air bubble being trapped, due to continous outflow of combustion air from a bad gasket or crack, from entering the cooling system. This could happen in your car, so unnoticeable at first, that your very first symptom might be overheating caused by this air bubble getting behind your closed thermostat, which then does not allow it to open at the normal temp/time!. And also remember the fact that a drilled hole into the thermostat can help relieve some of that air in the early stages of a head gasket leak, making your car's stat work as it should -at least until the head gasket or crack gap gets bigger to where too much air is entering into the system. And that is where my latest idea with the flip lever being left ajar can help.
 

Last edited by ecman51; 02-26-10 at 08:03 AM. Reason: typos
  #20  
Old 02-28-10, 01:04 PM
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 8,629
Recantation of previous post/experiment idea

Turns out my experiment was some anamoly.

I thought the lever cap's lever, I had slightly ajar, was keeping coolant in, while letting out air into the reservoir, to where the unwanted blowby air could escape. But not so it turns out!

On a second trial run, with the same test, the upper hose pressurized! So I'm thinking, "Hmmmm......what happened?!"So then I wiggled the lever around and found that even though it is ajar some, the bottom gasket is still pretty well seated.
That means that was likely true in my eureka moment first trial run I told of yesterday.

Now I think what happened is for some reason, the engine did not pressurize, even with the radiator cap (unbeknownst to me) sealed, like normal. Perhaps the bad headgasket or crack in head temporarily sealed/closed itself when the engine was warm, so that combustion gas was no longer entering the coolant system.

So you should take heed to my previous posts advise, and perhaps forget it. Why?

Because then I ran another test with the lever wide open(so I knew the gasket would be unseated for sure this time) and ran it for about 20 highway miles. When I got into the test run by about 15 miles, I noticed the temp gauge heading toward 3/4 hot, then back to 1/4, then back up to 3/4, etc. I pretty well guessed what was happening before stopping in 20 miles to look: The coolant was blasting it's way past the radiator cap(not onto the ground but...) into the reservoir and this lowered the coolant level way down in the radiator.

The danger is, since under such depressurized conditions, you lower the boiling temp of coolant(explained in yesterdays post), and with the actual loss of the coolant from the radiator, this can cause overheating.

When I stopped and let the car idle, and took off the cap (remember, it was depressurized, so I could do that) hot coolant was spraying out of the upper cores and spraying in the direction of the overflow tube at the cap cover. And I'm sure at higher rpm cruising speed, the sheer velocity of that coolant flying out those upper cores core, due to increased water pump speed, was sending hot coolant right into the overflow.

So for now, I have abandoned doing this anymore at this time, and probably should not be recommended for other people to try, unless they have the vigalance I do, at monitoring things well.

Soon I will have to just break down and tear into this thing and see what's up. Amazing I have driven the car for months like this without it totally letting go and affecting how it runs. The other 2.5L Dodge I had that was doing this. But I can't recall it was losing(burning) as much coolant per day. Yet, it was steamcleaning one of the spark plugs. This car/engine is not doing that - yet. Which might be a clue as to where the problem lies this time, compared to the other car.
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes