: more head gasket headaches



Evan
06-15-04, 04:21 PM
Ok, I've got a 93' eldo, runs fantastic, but has had an overheating prob since I bought it. I've used the bars leeks powder (2 tubes) twice and continued to top off the fluid and monitor the temp.

Although irritating, everything has been fine as long as I keep topping off the fluid, which is usually about every 40-60 miles (depending on outside temp, ac usage, and/or hilly driving conditions). I then pressure checked the system. It indicated a slow 'interior' leak because there was no fluid visible anywhere on the outside. Finally I took it in to get it checked out.

I get a phone call after a $75.00 diagnosis fee (fair enough) and they claim to have found no head gasket leakage but a "pinhole leak" in the top hose...recommend changing both hoses, thermostat, and refilling with green fluid and pellets.

$385 later I pick it up...$265 in labor charges when I KNOW it only took 40 min because I arrived early and saw (from down the street) when they finished and pulled the car up front. But I figured, hey, if it fixed the problem what the hell, I'll swallow the gouge this time.
Scene two: the next day...slowly overheating, again. I take the car back. New diagnosis...NOW there's a head gasket leak detected with a dye test, that'll be $3100 dollars, you can pay up front, thanks.

Ok, here's the questions...

1) What is a ballpark 'reasonable' price for a head gasket job?

2) Will the bars leaks help at all in this case, should I try more than 2 tubes, and how much would be "too much?"

3) How long can you potentially go topping off the fluid as required?

4) Dexcool every time can get pricey, since it's leaking right out is there a problem with going straight water (I've had to a few times for emergency) and had no trouble.

Please any experts...bbobynski, eldo1, Aurora..I really could use your help here.

Aurora By Olds
06-15-04, 10:50 PM
First of all, you can do a search for headgaskets, leaking coolant, etc. and find many of your answers and then some.
1. $3100 isnt too bad of a price, if they are going to do both headgaskets. Make sure they timesert every hole as well.
2. Bbob mentioned a case where he saw a N* go around 100K miles with a leaky headgasket. The guy just dumped a moderate amount of barsleak in the system and kept it full of 50/50 mix. It ran fine.
3. As long as its not overheating excessively or causing any other problems, you can go forever by topping off the coolant and refreshing with barsleak as needed.
4. Straight water is not a good idea, as it will lower the boiling point significantly. Keep it full of 50/50 mix. Distilled water is a good idea, but probably not too crucial in this case, as you will probably end up changing the gaskets eventually.

One other thing to consider, is to disregard the dye test, and do your own test, by pressurizing each cylinder with shop air, and looking for bubbles in the coolant. This will tell you for sure. Bbob has described this in detal numerous times. Do a few searches, and you will find a wealth of information..

Evan
06-16-04, 09:39 AM
Really appreciate the info. Yeah, I actually had done a search first and did find quite a bit (including that 100k mile reference by bbob) but there was nothing more specific about bars leaks working with hg failure, how much was too much, probs going with straight dist water, or reasonable costs for an hg job.

I'll definitely take your advice and see how long I can go. Not that I'm against getting the work done eventually, but evidently, I just spent $400 of it on R&D for this shop which could've gone towards the head gaskets. Sounds like they should've ruled out hg leakage before doing $400 worth of work..btw, I told them the hoses, thermo, radiator, cap, and water pump were all changed out fairly recently. They also claimed I should go with green fluid and not the red dexcool. :hmm:

BeelzeBob
06-16-04, 11:42 AM
Use the green conventional coolant.....that is what your engine was originally built with and there is little to no point in changing to the DexCool.

Add more BarsLeaks powder and see if it will stem the leakage/coolant loss/overheating.

Be positively sure that the BarsLeaks powder is installed in one of the radiator hoses....NOT the surge tank. If you are putting it in the surge tank it is not getting cirulated thru the system and it will not work and will possibly cause a problem with the surge tank circulation.

There are other cooling system checks to make that have been outlined before....things like the water pump drive belt/tensioner, the vapor vent line flow, coolant concentration, etc...... Have all those items been checked??

Do NOT run plain water. It will boil too soon and will greatly exacerbate the overheating symptoms. It will also not protect the engine and system from corrosion. Just buy the conventional green coolant, mix 50/50 with distilled water and top off the surge tank when cold with that. Keep the surge tank about 2 inches from the filler neck when cold.

Evan
06-16-04, 02:45 PM
<<Use the green conventional coolant.....that is what your engine was originally built with and there is little to no point in changing to the DexCool.
Add more BarsLeaks powder and see if it will stem the leakage/coolant loss/overheating. Be positively sure that the BarsLeaks powder is installed in one of the radiator hoses....NOT the surge tank. If you are putting it in the surge tank it is not getting circulated thru the system and it will not work and will possibly cause a problem with the surge tank circulation.>>

Good deal, will do. That's where I put the powder both times before...read where you mentioned that on my original archive search.

<<There are other cooling system checks to make that have been outlined before....things like the water pump drive belt/tensioner, the vapor vent line flow, coolant concentration, etc...... Have all those items been checked??>>

Actually, the drive belt is pretty cracked and worn...I pointed this out to the shop who did the work and they said "oops, you're right...surprised we missed that." *ahembullshitahem*

I'll check the vapor vent line and coolant concentration myself.

<<Do NOT run plain water. It will boil too soon and will greatly exacerbate the overheating symptoms. It will also not protect the engine and system from corrosion. Just buy the conventional green coolant, mix 50/50 with distilled water and top off the surge tank when cold with that. Keep the surge tank about 2 inches from the filler neck when cold.>>

10/4...thanks, bbob. I'll keep a close eye on it and see how long I can go...at least until I find a more experienced and 'righteous' N* mechanic in my area.


:cheers:

Evan

zonie77
06-16-04, 03:45 PM
Check out Costco or Sam's Club for coolant. They have the best prices for it.

Evan
06-16-04, 07:19 PM
Thanks for the tip, zonie...I'll stock up. With the price of premium gas out here in Cali I feel like I've got another mortgage payment in auto fluid expenses.