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Discussion Starter #1
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Post if you used Bars Leak Head Gasket Repair, your engine type, and your results.

Example:

94 Seville Norstar engine, worked still holding or not worked

Company claims this will work on Norstar engines, I have yet to try it.
 

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Re: Bars Leak Head Gasket

Good question - I'm sure many would be curious.

Other products as well:
K&W Permanent Metallic block seal www.crcindustries.com
Heal-a-Seal coolant system sealer www.heal-a-seal.com
Steelseal head and block sealer www.stealseal.com
Thermagasket www.rxauto.com/ - there is an interesting account of success on a '96 Northstar on this page.

I've recently developed a slight head gasket leak and I'm reluctant to spend $3K or more to repair. If I can spend $30 or $40, drive the car easy and get another 40K miles or more out of it, I'll be content.

I'll be taking the plunge on one of these products soon, unless someone can direct me otherwise with definitive facts (not opinions). I figure I don't have much to lose since I didn't spend much on the car in the first place and I've already gotten my money's worth. I just wish the first owner had changed the coolant - obviously I wouldn't have this issue if he did.
 

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Re: Bars Leak Head Gasket

Most of them require removal of all coolant as this will prevent the catalyst from taking effect or turning the chemical into sludge - either way, not good. Once you have pure water in the system, you add the chemicals. All vary slightly here, but generally you run the car at normal operating temps to initiate the chemical reaction that bonds the material in the leaking area. Once car cools down, drain again and refill with coolant mix.

The Steelseal is the only product that mixes with coolant, and it cannot be Dexcool. You thus have to drain and refill with the green stuff, perform repair, etc.
 

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Re: Bars Leak Head Gasket

sjwoodruff said:
Most of them require removal of all coolant as this will prevent the catalyst from taking effect or turning the chemical into sludge - either way, not good. Once you have pure water in the system, you add the chemicals. All vary slightly here, but generally you run the car at normal operating temps to initiate the chemical reaction that bonds the material in the leaking area. Once car cools down, drain again and refill with coolant mix.

The Steelseal is the only product that mixes with coolant, and it cannot be Dexcool. You thus have to drain and refill with the green stuff, perform repair, etc.
that is interesting. also sounds like a lot of work. :yawn:
 

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Re: Bars Leak Head Gasket

Not really that bad - about the time for two coolant changes. Definitely less time and money than head gasket replacement :bonkers:

I've actually ordered the thermagasket. Cost with shipping is about $115. The K&W is intriguing because it is so inexpensive, but the fact that there were some Northstar testimonials on thermagasket's site swayed me. We'll see if I'm being taken or not...Once I get it and send it through the coolant system, I'll let everyone know my results. I'm now the board's official guinea pig on this one!
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Re: Bars Leak Head Gasket

Im still working with manufacturer to see about the warranty on last head gasket repair. Waiting for them to decide if they will rework this or not. Hopefully they are not slow.

It will be great of you "sjwoodruff" to post your findings. Hopefully others will come forward with results as well.

Update:

Already got GM to say no help from us today. Interesting enough engine shop locally seems to think GM coolant tabs might help cure my problem alone. First going to verify gas is in coolant. Doing that friday. Keep ya posted.
 

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Re: Bars Leak Head Gasket

if you have a leak in the headgasket between the combustion chamber and a coolant passage no sealant will fix that. Only way is to replace the headgasket. The pressures and temperatures at the site of the leak are way too great for any sealant to seal it. Stop dreaming. :(


Peteski
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Re: Bars Leak Head Gasket

We are looking for people to post about actual case senerios. If you have one then please share it with us, no speculation please.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Re: Bars Leak Head Gasket

Curious what condition is your engine in right now? How bad are you losing coolant? I will be getting my cooling system rechecked tomorrow morning. Keep posting.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Re: Bars Leak Head Gasket

Had coolant system rechecked this morning by local mechanic. He found gas in coolant as well. I am going to try these Bars Leak coolant supplement tabs first. See if they stop the leak, before trying anything else. Also, mechanic can hear a missing cylinder. Personally, I cannot tell and dealer never mentioned that either. I guess that is the cylinder where it is leaking coolant due to blow head gasket?

Keep posting.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Re: Bars Leak Head Gasket

Ranger,

From everything I read online, I would be inclined to agree with you. Only thing, this mechanic claims to have success with using the tabs, then adding more tabs after a few days. I dont have anything to loose but time and 10 bucks for all those tabs. He did not charge me to add the tabs, only charged 34 bucks for coolant system check which I needed to verify gas is getting in coolant. Still waiting for his estimate to do gaskets.

Good luck with your new purchase, I read about it on the other post.
 

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Re: Bars Leak Head Gasket

rfishing said:
Ranger,

From everything I read online, I would be inclined to agree with you. Only thing, this mechanic claims to have success with using the tabs, then adding more tabs after a few days. I dont have anything to loose but time and 10 bucks for all those tabs. He did not charge me to add the tabs, only charged 34 bucks for coolant system check which I needed to verify gas is getting in coolant. Still waiting for his estimate to do gaskets.

Good luck with your new purchase, I read about it on the other post.
Wait a minute!

There are coolant leaks that supplement tabs or Bars Leak will arrest. Coolant leaks resulting from a cracked, raised, or blown head gasket are NEVER simply stopped by using a sealer of any type until the cause of the gasket rupture is addressed. I don't care how good the mechanic is or thinks he/she is, sealer NEVER did work before, now, or ever, on a coolant leak resulting from a ruptured head gasket.

Ginger root will expand to seal the exposed surface of a leak from a "porous" type excursion, it will never bridge a gap where high compression is a factor, because that is physically impossible.

Coolant leaks that could be classified as "gushers" are not candidates for any kind of sealant, period! A coolant leak resulting from a ruptured head gasket is classified as a "gusher" leak.

This post is not a flame ....it is intended to discourage ANYONE from trying a sealer to arrest a coolant leak resulting from a failed head gasket. Save the supplement for AFTER the repair process, adding it only then will help the cooling system.
 

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Re: Bars Leak Head Gasket

Bars Leak (or GM coolant Suppliment) is only designed to prevent seepage that may occur over time. After a while, gasket start to brake down and can leak small amounts of coolant. A good example of this would be on of the gaskets for my crossover. It was leaking a tiny bit of coolant on the engine. I threw two tubes of Bars Leak powder in the system and topped it off, and it hasn't leaked anymore. Keep in mind though, it was a very small leak, and was not causing any damage to begin with.

Fixing a head gasket (or any failed gasket for that matter) using a sealer like Bars Leak is pretty much impossible. By the time a gast gets to the point where it is leaking profusely (like that of the average failed headgasket) it is well beyond what a sealant can handle. Bars Leak can only seal very small holes that might cause a little seepage. Anything more and the hole is too big to patch with a sealant (or at least a seelant that won't clog up you coolant passages). That is why the success rate of fixing head gaskets with sealers is so low. It's pure luck if it works. Most of the time, the gasket was just within the capability of the sealant, where the hole was small enough to be filled.

If a car has a bad head gasket, the only real fix is to replace it. If a car has some slight seepage form a gasket that simply a nuisance, than a seelant will probably work.
 

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Re: Bars Leak Head Gasket

***UPDATE FROM THE GUINEA PIG***


I arrived home from the office yesterday and was surprised to see my Thermagasket sealer had arrived in the mail. I ordered it Wednesday night, and wasn't expecting to get it for 7-10 days...anyway. Tough decision - a lot of HUGE college football games on, but since my Buckeyes had already won, I decided to work on the STS instead.

Quick backround...
'98 STS with 116K, recently replaced plugs/wires - noticed wet/orange stained plug in cylinder #7, harsh idle at start-up, increasing amounts of steam in exhaust at initial start up over the last 8 weeks, slow coolant loss of about 1 quart per 750 miles, no overheating.

Procedure...
I followed the instructions provided to a 'tee'. I completely flushed all coolant until only water was in the system. This took some time and patience - probably a couple hours, but is absolutely a necessity, as the coolant will react with the gasket sealing chemicals and clog your cooling passages (not good). Once I was satisfied the coolant was completely extracted from the entire system (including heater core), I partially drained again and added the pre-mixed solution of catalyst and liquid metallic alloy/elemental carbon provided. I then added to radiator through the upper radiator hose. I reconnected all hoses, topped off the system and let the car idle for 20 minutes. It's important that you completely turn the heater off while these chemicals are in the system, unless you don't value a functional heater core down the road. After the idling period, per the instructions, I took the car on a 20 mile highway ride. Returned home, parked it and proceeded with a lot of prayer (not part of instructions).

Initial results...
This morning's conditions: low humidity and crisp temps in the mid 40's. Car started right up with absolutely no indication of hesitation due to presence of coolant in cylinder #7. Not a trace of steam in the exhaust at idle or under acceleration from stop lights. Car ran at normal operating temp and fuel economy was normal.

Future actions...
Per instructions, water/chemical mix should remain in the system for 400 miles before completely reflushing and filling with fresh 50/50 coolant mix. Since my leak was very minor (no cracked head or block), I don't feel the need to keep this product in my system that long. I am going to flush after 200 miles. Also, instructions say there is a possibility of O2 sensor fouling that may be present. Presently I have no codes for this. Plugs may need replacement, but again I don't expect this because my leak was minor and only in one cylinder. Oil change 100 miles after final flush is recommended. For more serious conditions, one might expect the need for replacement O2 sensor, new plugs/wires.

Verdict...
For the short term, I'm elated. The cost of the Thermagasket was $115 with shipping. Not the cheapest alternative - you can get the K&W sealer at auto parts stores for under $8 per can (I think a V8 needs two cans), but as I mentioned in a previous post, the claims of success with the northstar from their website swayed me to this product. I'll repost to this thread in another month or two with an update for everyone. Hopefully the news will be good.

Expense...
Thermagasket + shipping: $115
Two gallons of coolant: $20
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Re: Bars Leak Head Gasket

sjwoodruff,

I am watching your post with great interest. As you know my situation with gas detected in 94 STS coolant, minor loss of coolant similiar to yours but only on inclines, and temp increases on inclines as well.

I added bars leak coolant tabs into the pressure tank, and so far the level has not changed, no loss of coolant as of yet. If yours holds, then I may go that route next for a more permanent fix.

Can someone explain to this backyard mechanic, how to access the sparkplugs in my engine? Also, where do you read O2 sensor failure? Since adding Bars Leak into system should I operate the heater?
 

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Re: Bars Leak Head Gasket

Remove the coil pack and you should have pretty clear access to the rear plugs if that is what you are asking.

Whether or not you run the heater is irrelavent. Whatever you put in the cooling system is flowing through the heater core anyway as there is no heater control valve as in the "old days". Heat is turned on and off by air distribution rather than coolant distribution. In other words, coolant is always flowing through the heater core. Cabin intake air is either directed through the heater core when heat is commanded or bypasses it when cooling is commanded via air distribution doors.
 

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Re: Bars Leak Head Gasket

Didn't know that about the heater core, I've kept the HVAC system off just in case. Apparently that isn't relevant, though. I'll have about 120 miles with this product as of tomorrow morning, so I'll probably flush then and refill with coolant.

Another cold morning today, and the car started and idled as smooth as new - no steam at all in the exhaust.
 

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Re: Bars Leak Head Gasket

rfishing said:
sjwoodruff,
I added bars leak coolant tabs into the pressure tank, and so far the level has not changed, no loss of coolant as of yet. If yours holds, then I may go that route next for a more permanent fix.

Since adding Bars Leak into system should I operate the heater?
I'd bet that you probably have very little if any Bars Leak in your cooling system. You need to add it in the Lower Radiator Hose for it to get directly into the system. Adding it to the pressure tank will take weeks (months maybe) before it is running through the whole system...

On my car I added the Bars "biscuits" to the Lower Rad hose 2 weeks ago and still see no evidence of "ground ginger" bits in my pressure tank... The coolant there still looks crystal clear (orange).

As noted before Bars Leak does nothing to repair or prevent Head Gasket issues..

Good Luck!
 
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