As well as carrying out a full replacement, it is also possible to carry out a head gasket repair. It’s not a permanent fix, but a good repair can hold for some time and is significantly cheaper than having to replace the entire head gasket on your truck.
Step 1 - Drain Coolant
Before you start your head gasket repair, you’ll need to drain the coolant from your engine. The reason behind this is that engine block sealant and coolant are volatile when mixed so they can’t be in the engine together.
Drain coolant into a pan until the engine is completely empty. Pour the coolant from the drainage pan into a sealed container. This has to be disposed of responsibly. If you’re not sure what to do with it, take it to a mechanical workshop where somebody will able to dispose of it for you or give you the appropriate advice on disposing of it yourself.
Step 2 - Sealant
Engine block sealant is primarily made of sodium silicate. Its peculiar quality is that when it dries, it turns to glass and fills in the cracks in the gasket to eventually form a hard seal. You’ll need to mix the sealant with water and pour it into the radiator. Once it’s added, turn on the engine and allow it to idle for half an hour.
Step 3 - Fixing a Seal
You need to form a hard seal to effect a proper head gasket repair. To do this, you’ll need to spend a day or so driving with just the engine block sealant in your cooling system. This will allow it to get into all the cracks in the head gasket before drying to a hard finish. You might find your engine running hot during the day but as long as you don’t overdo things, there should be no problem. You will need to do this for at least a full day in order for the engine block sealant to completely dry into all the cracks. Allow your engine to cool overnight.
Step 4 - New Coolant
The next day, once the engine is cool, drain the engine block sealant from your engine. Again, use the drain pan and a sealed container to be sure you dispose of it safely. Now, close the drain plug and refill the system with engine coolant according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Always fill to the correct level. You should have no leak from your head gasket and your engine should run at full capacity.
Step 5 - Warning
You need to be aware that this is not a permanent repair and it won’t hold forever. As soon as you can, you should take the truck to a garage to have a new head gasket fitted. However, in the short term, this head gasket repair will return your truck to full performance until work can be carried out. It’s advisable not to take any long trips until you have a proper repair carried out on your truck.