Two and a half weeks ago I made a post asking about a blown head gasket. As that time I had just replaced the radiator and the car was still terribly overheating. As suggested I checked the purge line and the nipple it connected to on the left side was totally plugged. Cleaned it out, blew out the hose and the problem seemed to be solved.
Now... I have almost a 50 mile daily commute, mostly on freeways. For the last 2 1/2 weeks the car had performed fairly normally, however three things are occurring:
1) Twice during this time period the low coolant warning has come on. Checked the level and it was barely down, in each case a cup or two of water was all that was needed. I figured I had just purged a pocket of air somewhere.
2) In the morning after sitting overnight when I start it up, for a few seconds it idles a bit rough and then smooths out.
3) The Service Engine Soon light has come on. I have not yet gotten a chance to check the codes.
And then this morning, less than an hour ago, I went out to leave for work. The starter engaged but the engine basically would not turn over. Tried it twice more, same thing. Feels just like a dead battery. Get my voltmeter and it measures like 14.10 volts at the battery... surely not the voltage of a dead battery.
So I try the windows, they go up and done just fine. The radio plays just fine, so I try to start it again... starts up perfectly.
Question is, do I still have a blown head gasket? I've had to top off the coolant twice, the Service Engine light is on, and could a cylinder filled with coolant overnight have prevented me from starting the car?
Any thoughts would be appreciated.
it was probably suggested the first time - if not - do a BLOCK TEST -
it is the difinitive test for head gasket failures in a Northstar motor -
do a search here - it has been discussed a million times -
there are also videos on youtube showing how-to and the expected results -
you should also do a cooling system pressure test -
A leaking headgasket isn't going to stop your car from rolling over, did the starter click at all?
Did the security light on the dashboard flash after it failed to start?
Block test the car and put the question to rest
My own experiences with 2 or possibly 3 bad northstar headgaskets has taught me that the block test is not always correct. I've had cars with a bad h/g show green and not really yellow, but had all the symptoms and after replacing the h/g went symptom free. I have tested cars with no symptoms and the fluid turned slightly green. I have my 2001 now that runs slightly hot (sometimes) going up a long hill, but does not use any coolant. And it turns the fluid green, not yellow. I plan on driving it until it gets worse, but after 50 miles a day for 3 months, if anything it has gotten slightly better. I should buy some new fluid also.
My own experiences with 2 or possibly 3 bad northstar headgaskets
has taught me that the block test is not always correct.
I've had cars with a bad h/g show green and not really yellow,
but had all the symptoms and after replacing the h/g went symptom free.
due to the nature of the "magic" blue head gasket fluid -
the test IS 99.999% accurate -
any variance from the original BLUE color is a POSITIVE reaction -
yellow is the strongest color change -
green is a reaction - just a weaker one -
blue/green is a reaction - but weaker still -
light blue is probably the weakest reaction you can see -
but it is still a positive reaction -
the amount of color change is determined
by the amount of hydrocarbons - exhaust gasses - in the coolant -
but ANY COLOR CHANGE from the original blue color indicates bad head gaskets -
another interesting fact -
the magic blue fluid that has changed color -
will - over time - return to its original blue color
as the hydrocarbons dissipate from the fluid -
There are many excellent posters here, and most well versed with the Northstar overheating problem.
I followed their helpful suggestions, as I was experiencing all of the symptoms of a head gasket / head bolts problem.
When I did the block test, the blue color changed slightly to a greenish blue (early indication of exhaust gases in the coolant).
After considerable testing, reviews, and consideration - I had my engine rebuilt - the head gasket was not the problem, if was the head bolts coming lose from the head.
Ed, where do you live?
I live in southern Orange County, California.
When the radiator was replaced the shop did a pressure test afterwards and said it was fine. Over the past couple of weeks I have made a few coolant level checks before driving to work and when I pop the cap the system is still holding pressure at 9 AM from my drive home at 5 PM the day before.
I will do the block test and post back.
The reason a cooling system pressure test isn't a conclusive test for HG issues, is because cylinder pressure is much higher than coolant pressure. A leak that allows 150+ PSI of combustion pressure into the cooling system, may not be sufficient enough to allow 15-18 PSI of pressurized coolant into a cylinder/s. That's why a block test is the way to go.
And a test for combustion by-products assumes combustion has taken place. Any idea what the combustion chamber pressure is during the first few nanoseconds following ignition of a compressed air/fuel mixture??....That's why a block test is the way to go.
Assuming that number is correct that puts the down force on the piston at roughly 30,000 pounds, I knew it was a lot of force but I never thought it was quite THAT much.
A few personal things going on, but I'm still here. Been a little busy car wise as well. The intake manifold on my mothers Grand Marquis cracked (surprise, surprise). Replaced that.....and the plugs/wires, water pump, belt/tensioner, idler pulley and injector O-rings. Got it all back together, and the alternator wasn't charging . The alternator on the Seville also quit this week.Originally Posted by basscatt
Anything interesting happening here lately?