: Just got Headgaskets done. Still yellow liquid.



davz
11-26-08, 10:56 PM
I JUST finished replacing the Headgaskets on my 97 Northstar. To my severe dissapointment, when I ran the car, it still got hot and I tested the cooling system with the blue liqiud. It immediately turned yellow.

I am a pretty good mechanic and did everything according to the FSM. I used Norm's inserts and Fel-Pro gaskets, new bolts, everything.

I looked at the heads and block and didn't see anything bad.

What is it now? Cracked head or block????

davz
11-26-08, 11:49 PM
I was doing some reading on the forum here and realized I may have made a major blunder.

In the Manual, on the Cylinder head installation part it tells you to go 22 ft/lbs then 60 deg and then 60 deg. That's what I did.

Reading on the forum here and in a different part of the manual, I see there is 22 ft/lbs, then 3 60 deg steps.

Can I take the cam covers off and retorque them?? Is it possible thats why mine didn't seal? I'm just devastated by the fact that my repair did not work, and am hoping for some answers.

HELP!!

97EldoCoupe
11-27-08, 01:00 AM
You can try removing the cam covers and retorquing, even give it a little more than the FSM recommends. You can't lose at this point, it's worth a shot. Did you check the heads for warpage? Also, you may have missed a hairline crack in the cylinder wall. I've seen 3 Northstars with this so far, all in the rear bank (Right bank). But usually if there's a cracked cylinder, it will blow white smoke- is it doing that? If it's not blowing white smoke, I'd try changing the thermostat and checking the purge line for blockage. The heads should seal....

If all else fails, I'm about four hours from you in Southern Ontario Canada. Bring your engine to me and I'll fix 'er up. I also have a '97 engine ready to go, HG's already done. Can be heard running because i installed it back into the '97, changed my mind about fixing the car up. All I have to do is pull it back out.

zonie77
11-27-08, 02:20 AM
There are thread lockers and sealants on the head bolts. You should be able to retorque them if you haven't run it too long. How long is too long??? I don't know.

97EldoCoupe
11-27-08, 06:42 AM
Thread locker will crack loose with enough torque, but Zonie77 is right. The sooner the better. What brand/type of thread lock did you use?

davz
11-27-08, 06:57 AM
You can try removing the cam covers and retorquing, even give it a little more than the FSM recommends. You can't lose at this point, it's worth a shot. Did you check the heads for warpage? Also, you may have missed a hairline crack in the cylinder wall. I've seen 3 Northstars with this so far, all in the rear bank (Right bank). But usually if there's a cracked cylinder, it will blow white smoke- is it doing that? If it's not blowing white smoke, I'd try changing the thermostat and checking the purge line for blockage. The heads should seal....

If all else fails, I'm about four hours from you in Southern Ontario Canada. Bring your engine to me and I'll fix 'er up. I also have a '97 engine ready to go, HG's already done. Can be heard running because i installed it back into the '97, changed my mind about fixing the car up. All I have to do is pull it back out.
I can't PM. shoot me an email. I might want your engine. I am going to try the retorque this morning.
davezipp@cablespeed.com

davz
11-27-08, 07:02 AM
I used the Norm's inserts with his threadlocker loctite red. Also used Fel-pro bolts. They have the threadlocker on them. I ran it for a total of about 20 minutes.

eyekandyboats.inc
11-27-08, 08:54 AM
oddly enough my 94's head gasktes was smoking white right by the coil packs.
do you think that might be a cracked block.... there isnt really anything back there to leak from ? yes ?

AJxtcman
11-27-08, 09:59 AM
Does it have 100% new coolant?
The old coolant was contaminated and could contaminate the new stuff if it is mixed with the old stuff.

When I worked at the Chevy store we were told to reuse as much coolant as we could per are Area Vehicle Manager (AVM) so we always did this.
GM has released information that says NEVER reuse Dex-Cool on a car or truck that had a Intake Leak.

Does this apply for a Cross-Over or Water Pump Cover? I would think so.
I have been reusing Dex-Cool on these job up until a this last year. :eek:

This has been a topic recently at the Caddy dealer.
OK Dex-Cool turns color and clouds up if it is left open. This is something going on with Oxidation. Maybe it is the sealer that is in the Dex-cool that is precipitating. Maybe it is the OAT
NEXT Dex-Cool is Organic Acid Technology (OAT). I have tested over 50 cars and never found one singles cars on the acid side. Now with that said I have never tested one one from a Head Gasket job when the Coolant was Fresh out of the engine and HOT.
Hmmmmmmm HOT OAT Coolant. I wonder Hmmmmmmm.

I haven't seen ahead gasket job in about a year

97EldoCoupe
11-27-08, 11:30 AM
Chevy store AJ? Do you mean to tell me the GM service dept. told you to re-use old coolant? I know you have to do what you're told to do, but I can't believe the service dept. would do something like that!

I agree with AJ. Don't rely on that coolant test. Make sure the air is out of the system, and that there's no air pockets around the thermostat. This has happened to me before. I always fill the system through the upper rad hose and then fill the resevoir. Make sure the purge line is clear- use compressed air to make sure. Check the water pump and belt, tensioner as well. If you have to, test the thermostat by putting a pot of water on the stove and boil. Even new ones fail. Again, that has happened to me.

And then, if all else fails, resort to removing and disassembling the engine to find out what the hell is going on.

RickyHenry
11-27-08, 01:53 PM
I JUST finished replacing the Headgaskets on my 97 Northstar. To my severe dissapointment, when I ran the car, it still got hot and I tested the cooling system with the blue liqiud. It immediately turned yellow.

I am a pretty good mechanic and did everything according to the FSM. I used Norm's inserts and Fel-Pro gaskets, new bolts, everything.

I looked at the heads and block and didn't see anything bad.

What is it now? Cracked head or block????

maybe it's leaking somewhere else.... and yes, the fsm's don't appear to always have correct torquing specs.... hell, my fsm has the torque specs in 3 different places and ALL 3 OF THEM GIVE DIFFERENT TORQUE SPECS. There should be a manfac service notice that should give you the correct spec if your manual is wrong.

davz
11-27-08, 09:56 PM
I retorqued the heads this morning. I only had a few minutes to run it. It still got real hot, but the coolant gas test was inconclusive. I had to go to the family's house for thanksgiving.

Yes, it's 100000% new coolant. Except for what was in the heater core. Yesterday, before I retorqued the heads, it was pretty obvious that exhuast was in the Cooling sytem. It was violently boiling over. I will try to run it tonight and see if it panned out. I haven't let it overheat, but it did boil over pretty bad and spewed out about a gallon of coolant with the cap off. I shut it down when it was about a millimeter away from the red.

I don't think I will be taking the engine apart though. If it comes out, it will be getting replaced. I am doing the work without a hoist.

Ranger
11-27-08, 10:40 PM
Running the engine for any length of time withthe cap off will certainly cause it to overheat. It NEEDS to be under pressure to raise the boiling point.

davz
11-28-08, 04:21 PM
OK. I retorqued the heads. I ran it with cap off. It boiled out a little bit. Then it quit boiling over. Now when you drive the car (cap on), it overheats without boiling over and the heat just blows cold air. WTF ?????

It didn't really lose that much coolant. It blows a little bit of white smoke, but it's cold outside here. Could it be that the exhuast gases ruined the water pump??? Sound stupid, but I'm really stumped. My guess would be that the block is cracked, and it must be burning a crapload of coolant. When you floor it and the RPM's get up real high, you get a little heat out of the vents, so the pump must be working.

I am waiting for it to cool down and I will check the coolant level.

How frustrating!:banghead:

jeffrsmith
11-28-08, 05:27 PM
Sounds like you have air in your system. Did you check your purge line to make sure it is working properly?

Ranger
11-28-08, 06:01 PM
Could it be that the exhuast gases ruined the water pump???
No. You have air in the system. The only question is, is it air or exhaust gases. Seeing as you have run it at WOT, you should have purged all the air.

davz
11-29-08, 06:52 AM
I have exhuast gases in the system. I tested it last night. Looks like I am back to square 1.

Ranger
11-29-08, 05:50 PM
Ouch.

97EldoCoupe
11-29-08, 06:15 PM
White smoke will be there for a while after doing the head gaskets. It takes about a 15 minute run on some cars with plenty of WOT to clear the coolant out of the exhaust system. Davz, I have that engine anytime you need it but can you think of anything you're missing? Any possibility of a blocked coolant line/passage anywhere? Rad Hose collapsing? The system will boil without the rad cap on because it can't pressurize. Does it pressurize if you leave the cap on? If there's a pinhole anywhere in a hose or a faulty clamp that allows the pressure to escape, this could be a problem.

I know you've probably checked all this already but what the hay there's nothing lost in double or tripple checking things. Are you positive the stat is opening? Have you tried running it without the thermostat and see if it still overheats? Even new ones can be faulty. Seen it myself.

Do a leakdown test on the cylinders. Attatch an air hose where the spark plugs normally are on each cylinder and see if you get bubbling in the cooling system. That would indicate a bad HG seal or a cracked cylinder or head. I know it's hard to get to, but try the rear bank. All the cylinders I've seen cracked (3 engines thus far) were the rear bank (right bank). If I'm correct all of them were the #3 cylinder.

If you don't have a leakdown tester you can improvise. You'll need a spark plug, a welder, and a length of pipe. And a connection for your air hose. Cut the spark plug up and remove the guts so all you have left is the threads and the metal part. Weld the pipe to the end of the plug (where the porcelain would normally be) and weld a piece of threaded fitting of your choice to the end so you can attatch a quick connector to it for your air hose. Voila. Just make sure the cylinder you're testing is at bottom-dead-center and the valves are closed. You'll hear it if the valves are open. Rotate the engine if needed (sometimes the air does this on its own).

davz
12-02-08, 12:28 PM
I pulled the engine out and sent the heads to the machine shop. We'll see what they come up with.
I know you got the engine 97 Eldo, I'm trying all my options here before I run over to your place for it. Should know a lot more tonight after I talk to the machine shop.

The reason I didn't do the leakdown, etc first is I was getting a positive test without a doubt that combustion gasses were in the cylinder. Any chance that was misleading?

jeffrsmith
12-02-08, 03:50 PM
The reason I didn't do the leakdown, etc first is I was getting a positive test without a doubt that combustion gasses were in the cylinder. Any chance that was misleading?

Rather unlikely.

I feel for you, it is bad enough pulling the engine and doing the work once but to have to pull it a second time in such a short period of time absolutely sucks!

tateos
12-02-08, 04:30 PM
I think this is the same nightmare all of us that have done this project have had: You do this massive project to correct a problem and when you're done, you still have the same problem. I think we all feel your pain.

Submariner409
12-02-08, 04:35 PM
Not gasket failure with a N* (pray, pray) but with a couple of 454 block GM boat engines. Fortunately Olds 455's are bulletproof.

Ranger
12-02-08, 06:17 PM
I pulled the engine out and sent the heads to the machine shop. We'll see what they come up with.
I know you got the engine 97 Eldo, I'm trying all my options here before I run over to your place for it. Should know a lot more tonight after I talk to the machine shop.

The reason I didn't do the leakdown, etc first is I was getting a positive test without a doubt that combustion gasses were in the cylinder. Any chance that was misleading?
Was the cooling system flushed to get ALL the old contaminated coolant out?

jeffrsmith
12-02-08, 08:06 PM
Ranger,

Contaminated coolant should not make a difference in the test, or if it does not to the extent that he is seeing. When you use the tester you are only testing the gases that are coming out of coolant system, you are not actually testing the coolant.

Ranger
12-02-08, 08:33 PM
Ah, now I see said the blind man as he picked up his hammer and saw.

davz
12-03-08, 09:18 AM
The machine shop didn't get to my heads yesterday, but said they are "next in line"
I am rather anxious to hear the verdict on the heads. I have ALWAYS got the heads checked on any headgasket job. I am not sure now why I didn't on this one. I guess you live, you learn.

davz
12-03-08, 09:19 AM
I think Prestone should give me a few shares of stock. I have purchased several gallons of the stuff in the last month.

zonie77
12-03-08, 11:21 AM
There have been very few bad heads or blocks reported. I did 3 without having the heads done. I just cleaned them up.

davz
12-03-08, 05:15 PM
Just heard back from the machine shop. The heads are fine except for a small indentation where the gasket ring is. The guy said he really didn't think it was bad enough to cause the problem I am having.

No cracks, No warp.

jeffrsmith
12-03-08, 05:35 PM
That result is what is expected when one of these needs HGs replaced. Typically it is nothing more than clean all the surfaces, do the serts and reinstall.

When you go to put it back together, you might want to draw a diagram and keep track of the torque sequence as you go to make sure you get all the bolts to the right torque.

You are planning on putting this one back together, right?

Good luck, whatever you decide.

davz
12-03-08, 09:24 PM
When I went to pick up the heads, the guy showed me a picture after he milled off 5 thousanths. Only about half the head was touching the cutting tool. He took another 3 off and it cleaned up everything. His specs that they use at the carquest machine shop say that it is still within spec now.
Bad news is, my exhaust cams and followers are what they consider almost toast. if I replaced them I'm lookin at about 500 bucks. My main seal leaks bad. I don;t have the 300 dollar tool to replace it. I still would have to buy a headset and bolts. I think there is a fair amount of blowby on my engine. The intake has got a lot of crud in it.


I don't think I am going to put this one back together. I am almost sure that I am going to buy the engine from 97 eldo. He only lives about 3.5 hours from me.


I will probably deal off this engine as is with the norm's inserts in it and the heads that are checked and good with new valve seals. I should be able to get a few bucks for it. More than scrap anyway.

Ranger
12-03-08, 10:06 PM
I think there is a fair amount of blowby on my engine. The intake has got a lot of crud in it.

That is normal. It is a combination of crankcase gases from the PCV and exhaust gases from the EGR that settle out when the engine is shut down. Don't let that concern you or be a deciding factor.

davz
12-08-08, 08:53 AM
OK
I bought an engine from 97Eldocoupe.
Replaced the radiator while I was at it.

Got it all back together last night, and WALA!!!
IT"S FIXED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It may have been the heads being .005 warped, but I don't care. It's done.
I just have an exhaust leak to fix and that's it.

If you guys need a HG job done, go to Canada and see Jake. It's worth the trip. The exchange rate is in our favor (Americans), so it is a pretty good deal.

Destroyer
12-08-08, 10:37 PM
Nice! :cool:

RickyHenry
12-15-08, 11:50 PM
Grats on the accomplishment :cool2:


OK
I bought an engine from 97Eldocoupe.
Replaced the radiator while I was at it.

Got it all back together last night, and WALA!!!
IT"S FIXED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It may have been the heads being .005 warped, but I don't care. It's done.
I just have an exhaust leak to fix and that's it.

If you guys need a HG job done, go to Canada and see Jake. It's worth the trip. The exchange rate is in our favor (Americans), so it is a pretty good deal.