Is it worth repairing a bad head gasket on a 79 Eldo?
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Cadillac Seville / Cadillac Eldorado Forum Discussion, Is it worth repairing a bad head gasket on a 79 Eldo? in Past Cadillac Vehicle Discussion; Well, my other pride and joy is leaking coolant (white smoke from sides of engine, under sparkplugs and starts to ...
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    GM-MAN's Avatar
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    Is it worth repairing a bad head gasket on a 79 Eldo?

    Well, my other pride and joy is leaking coolant (white smoke from sides of engine, under sparkplugs and starts to fill the interior) which I at first thought was oil from the valve covers.

    I changed the valve cover gaskets but immediately found that it wasn't it. It looks like the head gasket.

    Car does not overheat and runs fine but coolant is low from the overflow bottle.

    It has a 350 Olds F/I gas engine. The body, frame and interior are almost perfect still.

    Is it worth repairing the head gasket, replacing the engine or just sell it now?

    Thanks for your advice.

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    Ranger's Avatar
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    Re: Is it worth repairing a bad head gasket on a 79 Eldo?

    Sell or repair is a choice only you can make. Why replace an engine. I am pretty sure you can R & R the head gaskets on that engine without removal. That makes it much easier to DIY.

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    Beefmalone is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Is it worth repairing a bad head gasket on a 79 Eldo?

    Head gaskets on an olds aren't too hard to do. Is there water in the oil (chocolaty)?

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    Re: Is it worth repairing a bad head gasket on a 79 Eldo?

    Quote Originally Posted by Beefmalone
    Head gaskets on an olds aren't too hard to do. Is there water in the oil (chocolaty)?
    Hmmm, I checked the oil level and looks brown as usual but I'm not sure what you mean by chocolately.

    I looks like engine oil is all. Same as in my LeSabre or Escort.

    Or are you asking me if there is oil in the coolant?

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    Re: Is it worth repairing a bad head gasket on a 79 Eldo?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ranger
    Sell or repair is a choice only you can make. Why replace an engine. I am pretty sure you can R & R the head gaskets on that engine without removal. That makes it much easier to DIY.
    I called my mechanic and he's yet to get back to me with a quote. I don't really have the confidence to do the head gaskets myself. It doesn't look like a straight-forward repair, albeit time consuming.

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    Beefmalone is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Is it worth repairing a bad head gasket on a 79 Eldo?

    no I mean coolant in the oil. it will make it turn a chocolate brown color. white smoke in the interior can be a sign of your heater core going bad. check into it before you spend a bunch of money.

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    Zorb750 is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: Is it worth repairing a bad head gasket on a 79 Eldo?

    Does it smolder or billow? If it billows it's steam, if it looks smoldering it's oil burning. You can smell it, coolant/steam has little smell.

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    Re: Is it worth repairing a bad head gasket on a 79 Eldo?

    Will, it smolders actually. Looks like the smoke coming from the sides of the engine are entering the interior. Of course, it's strange since I have the hood up. The smoke should exit, not enter the heater vents.

    Still, the oil looks fine and the collant is nice and green, though low on the overflow right now. But the car has sat since November for the winter.

    I wish I could get a mechanic to look at it on my driveway is all.

    I have a buyer coming buy today to look at the car but I'm trying to stall this. I DO NOT WANT TO SELL IT!

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    Re: Is it worth repairing a bad head gasket on a 79 Eldo?

    Love your car... I had a 79 with the same engine.... not that easy to find.

    I had a blown head gasket.... the radiator fluid was turning brown with oil, and the oil level was RISING with the added radiator fluid, and turning brownish.... You will know, if that's what you really have. I didn't have any steaming....

    The car actually ran halfway decent, though...

    Beefmalone & Zorb have some good thoughts.... you owe it to yourself to find out what's really wrong FIRST, and then plan a course of action....

    I was actually all set to put a rebuilt engine & trans in the car, I liked it that much, but my frame rails were really gone... so it was not a candidate for restoration, sadly... too much salt up here... oh well.

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    Re: Is it worth repairing a bad head gasket on a 79 Eldo?

    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick7997
    Love your car... I had a 79 with the same engine.... not that easy to find.

    I had a blown head gasket.... the radiator fluid was turning brown with oil, and the oil level was RISING with the added radiator fluid, and turning brownish.... You will know, if that's what you really have. I didn't have any steaming....

    The car actually ran halfway decent, though...

    Beefmalone & Zorb have some good thoughts.... you owe it to yourself to find out what's really wrong FIRST, and then plan a course of action....

    I was actually all set to put a rebuilt engine & trans in the car, I liked it that much, but my frame rails were really gone... so it was not a candidate for restoration, sadly... too much salt up here... oh well.
    It's true, I adore this car. I've yet to own it a year so I'm loathe to part with it, especially since it's my favorite model cadillac and the best year for the engine. Yes, very hard to find.

    Regardless, the coolant in mine is still very much green and full on the rad. The oil looks like clean oil. Since I've yet to even put 1000KM on the engine since I bought it and did an oil change as soon as it was mine, I'm not surprised to oil looks so clean.

    Salt here is also an issue but the body and frame are both excellent and strong. The interior is immaculate.

    The point is, if the mechanical was mint but the body and frame only so-so, then I'd sell it. Much more expensive to fix the body and frame rather than mechanical.

    Is it possible I may have misdiagnosed this issue? What could it be then?

    I start the engine and everything runs fine, except the bubbling of what looks to be coolant right under the sparkplugs. It smokes on either side and after anoth minute, the smoke begins to enter the interior.

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    Re: Is it worth repairing a bad head gasket on a 79 Eldo?

    Bubbling under the spark plugs sure sounds like a head gasket. I can't think of anything else in that location that could leak coolant I am sad to say.

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    Re: Is it worth repairing a bad head gasket on a 79 Eldo?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ranger
    Bubbling under the spark plugs sure sounds like a head gasket. I can't think of anything else in that location that could leak coolant I am sad to say.
    Now after double checking it, I found out it really is oil, not coolant.

    Though the oil is still full and my coolant is fine, it explains why the car does not overheat.

    Could it still be the head gasket?

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    Re: Is it worth repairing a bad head gasket on a 79 Eldo?

    It could be a head gasket. There are coolant and oil passages between the heads and block. Depending on where it leaks it will give different symptoms. Not all head gasket leaks act the same.

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    Re: Is it worth repairing a bad head gasket on a 79 Eldo?

    You have to consider the condition of the car and what it will actually cost to fix. You didn't get an estimate yet.

    Another idea is having a school shop class fix it. You should call all the instructors around and see what the chances are of doing this.

    Or build up the confidence. Head gaskets aren't that hard.

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    Re: Is it worth repairing a bad head gasket on a 79 Eldo?

    Quote Originally Posted by zonie77
    You have to consider the condition of the car and what it will actually cost to fix. You didn't get an estimate yet.

    Another idea is having a school shop class fix it. You should call all the instructors around and see what the chances are of doing this.

    Or build up the confidence. Head gaskets aren't that hard.
    Not that hard? If that's the case I have no problem trying it myself. I don;t think I have anything to lose. It's just that I thought I would have to re-align a few things.

    I'm just not sure. I've never opened up an engine before. Of course, it does give me the opportunity to actually see for myself and clean it out while I have it open. Maybe even change the timing belt while I'm at it?

    *sigh* But I do need to get an estimate. I just figured head gaskets were around $2000 or so.

    EDIT: BTW, you guys have been extremely helpful so far. I may wait for the spring weather and spend a weekend opening it up.

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