94 Chevy Pick-up head gasket help


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Old 02-23-09, 10:04 AM
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94 Chevy Pick-up head gasket help

I have a 94 Chevy Pick-up 5.7L 350 that has 197K on it. I suspect head gasket is leaking because loss of coolant is very prominent, white exhaust smoke, occasional loss of pwr up hill, sometimes pinging when loss of pwr. I just need to limp this vehicle along until we can get another vehicle (taxes). Are any of those products you can get to "repair" your leaking head gaskets worth it ($100) or do they work? I've invested about $4K into this truck for the last 2 1/2 years and now I just can't wait to put it in a field and blow it up (not literally but I'd like to). This is our only vehicle and that's why I ask. Thanks in advance.

Sorry, I posted this in the wrong automotive forum. Reposted in Trucks. Thank you.
 

Last edited by danaohare; 02-23-09 at 10:23 AM. Reason: Wrong forum
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Old 02-23-09, 11:31 AM
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Blown Head Gasket

Sorry but a blown head gasket is blown. Even replacing the head gasket on a high mileage engine may not be cost effective. Those repair products might help a slight leak but not between cylinders. You could try retorquing the heads for a little more life if the blowout isn't too bad. I am in the same situation with the same year truck and I'm replacing the engine because the truck is in such good shape. Your best bet would be to wait for one of those dealer "tow, drag or push it in" trade in deals. Before you blow it up remember that some of the parts on the truck are worth good money if they're in good shape. Hope this helps.
 
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Old 02-23-09, 11:42 AM
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Hi Danaohare
I shall try to explain as thoroughly as I can, sometimes using the English words, simply because I am French!
The white smoke at the exhaust is telltale of a dead head gasket.
It would be strange if the two head gaskets are dead, and first thing, you have to undo all plugs trying to find which is the messiest. It will be a sign that the faulty head gasket is here.
So you must remove the head gasket and find from where coolant is leaking. Often for a clean repair not only the gasket must be changed, but the surface of the head must be rectified to get rid off minor gaps.
I has seen a daring method to do it: find a thick and absolutely even wood board or chipboard, then a flat glass panel (from a bus for instance) and 800 sandpaper. The sandpaper must be glued with double sided tape to the glass panel and you will get an even surface for grinding the head. First of all : clean the head in order to eliminate every trace of oil. Then you can start a circular movement over the sandpaper, stopping frequently to vacuum clean the dust. When you get a complete aluminum surface free of filth the job is over, fit a new gasket and put the head back to its place.
You must have a torque wrench for applying the correct torque to screws, according to the manufacturer's specifications. Do not try to over tighten.
If you hesitate to rectify the head, this can be done by a mechanic workshop. i had to do it about 3 years ago and the cost was about 300 $, including the gasket the thickness of it was matching the original compression ratio. At 194 k my car is still roaring.
Now I hope that there will be only one faulty head.
I do not think any anti leakage product would work, because there is white smoke.
Take care!
Marc
 
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Old 02-23-09, 12:11 PM
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I just want to make it known that I have no interest in replacing the head gasket. I just want to limp it along for about a month or so since this is our ONLY vehicle. I've just seen ads for all these quick fix additives to your radiator to seal your head gasket. For one, Steel Seal. It's money back guarantee but is it worth it? Could it totally destroy my engine? Has anyone had luck with any of the additive stuff? So far my truck is trying to be on it's best behavior by taking me 100 miles a day to work and back. I'm just holding my breath and keeping the radiator filled. It does have a lot of great new parts on it but it's just not worth me putting any more serious money into it. I'd rather put that into a newer vehicle.
 
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Old 02-23-09, 12:42 PM
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Actually I've heard people talking about having a fair amount of success with those products. I don't recall which one, but I suspect the high-end stuff is all similar. Not the kind of fix you would do if you were keeping the vehicle or if it had some value, but as a short term band-aid it may be worth the gamble as long as you understand it may or may not work.
 
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Old 02-23-09, 12:43 PM
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Well..I sure wouldn't spend $100 on any additive. Theres a whole shelf full at the autoparts stores for less than $10. Pick one, try it and keep a couple of gallons of water in the bed.

I had a '98 Dakota that had a cracked head, so I was only down one cylinder. Drove it 30K miles that way. Yeah, it ran hot, pinged and was a little weak under load. The guy I sold it too said he would fix it himself, since it was otherwise in pretty good shap.
 
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Old 02-23-09, 12:53 PM
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Believe it or not the experiences that I've caught wind of seem to suggest the higher priced stuff really is that much better than the $10/bottle stuff. Haven't tried it myself, but might if the right circumstances presented themselves.
 
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Old 02-23-09, 12:58 PM
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Oh, I wasn't saying the $100 stuff wasn't better...just that I wouldn't use it for a vehicle I was only going to keep for another month.
 
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Old 02-23-09, 01:01 PM
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Right, I see your point. Six months or so maybe, but a month wouldn't seen like worth the money.
 
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Old 02-23-09, 01:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Gunguy45 View Post
Well..I sure wouldn't spend $100 on any additive. Theres a whole shelf full at the autoparts stores for less than $10. Pick one, try it and keep a couple of gallons of water in the bed.

I had a '98 Dakota that had a cracked head, so I was only down one cylinder. Drove it 30K miles that way. Yeah, it ran hot, pinged and was a little weak under load. The guy I sold it too said he would fix it himself, since it was otherwise in pretty good shap.

The only reason I say the $100 one is because it says it offers a "guarantee to fix or money back" on it and the Steel Seal claims that I don't have to flush my system to use it. Yes, I realize it may not work. I just need a temp fix or a slow down so I don't destroy my engine before I have the cash for a new one. I'm leary to use the flake shelf stuff because EVERYTHING in my cooling system has been replaced in the past year and I don't want to risk clogging/ruining those in the process (hence, part of that $4K spent). I just needed to know if anyone has had luck with any of the stuff or should I just risk keep doing what I'm doing and save my $$. I'm just afraid the leak may get worse or using an additive may damage my engine permanently.
 
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Old 02-23-09, 01:07 PM
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I wouldnt spend that much either would just buy a bottle of liquid glass at autozone and follow the directions wich require you to drain and fill the system with water before adding and also requires the vehilce to set for so many hours before refilling with coolant. but no additive is going to fix the problem but at best might get you buy for awhile longer another thing you can do is get a lower 7-8 psi radiater cap and install it, just changing the cap will often cut coolant usage in half on vehicles with a bad head gasket.
 
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Old 02-23-09, 01:22 PM
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Originally Posted by bejay View Post
I wouldn't spend that much either would just buy a bottle of liquid glass at autozone and follow the directions which require you to drain and fill the system with water before adding and also requires the vehicle to set for so many hours before refilling with coolant. but no additive is going to fix the problem but at best might get you buy for awhile longer another thing you can do is get a lower 7-8 psi radiator cap and install it, just changing the cap will often cut coolant usage in half on vehicles with a bad head gasket.
I will try that lower psi radiator cap! Not sure it will help though because it's going into the combustion chamber and not leaking externally to the engine.
 
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Old 02-23-09, 01:26 PM
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Originally Posted by the_tow_guy View Post
Right, I see your point. Six months or so maybe, but a month wouldn't seen like worth the money.
It may take us longer to find the exact car we want so if something makes it so we don't have to rush, it would be worth it to me. Good to hear that someone out there had luck with stuff like that though. Gives me hope. Thanks for all the advice.
 
 

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