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Head gasket or cracked head?

GregH's Avatar
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Join Date: Jan 2001
Posts: 9,607

04-07-02, 03:21 PM   #1  
Head gasket or cracked head?

My tale of woe: ('89 Chev van with carburated 350.)

About 15 minutes into a one hour highway trip my 350 started pinging quite loudly. This engine has about 60,000 Km on a jobber rebuild, was running well and I inspected the timing chain just a short while ago.
Upon checking the engine I found several loose intake manifold bolts. I tightened them, the engine ran fine and I finished my trip. Since then I have been getting cylinder pressure in my cooling system.
I can see signs of overheating on my exh manifold and would be interested in what could be damaged.
I have just removed both heads and on a quick inspection cannot see any obvious defects in the gaskets or the heads.
I have yet to do a thorough clean-up and inspection, but am wondering what the most common fault would be.
Unless I see a problem I plan to replace head gaskets and see what happens.
Any thoughts?

By the way, I found some bolts on the intake manifold that look a little short . This may be the reason for the intake leak.

GregH.........HVAC/R Tech

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dirty dan's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 438

04-07-02, 05:08 PM   #2  
I don't know what these guys would do, but if I can't see a gasket problem, I would go ahead and check the heads for flat and cracks (magnafluxed) while its down. It's a real pain but you're already there with the heads off. No sense in pulling them twice!

Joe_F's Avatar
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04-07-02, 05:16 PM   #3  
I agree with Bill. You can't tell anything by looking at a head. It takes a machinist with specialized equipment to know how to do it right in most cases.

They will also check for burned valves and other woes in the engine.

We had a guy that worked with us that had an engine rebuilt by a engine rebuilder. Turns out later on when he had cooling system issues, we had to redo the motor. They left the 1981 original valves in there and they were burned!

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