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Blown Head Gasket! Need help

This is a discussion on Blown Head Gasket! Need help within the LT1 forums, part of the Vehicle Specific category; Ok... so im pretty sure its my head gasket. Symptoms are as follows... Radiator isnt keeping water in.... I got ...

  1. #1

    Blown Head Gasket! Need help

    Ok... so im pretty sure its my head gasket. Symptoms are as follows... Radiator isnt keeping water in.... I got white smoke from the left side of my engine and left exhaust pipe(just left).... Now the gaskets arent that pricy... so that im not worried about... its the installation.... Never done it before... but hey... ive never changed a clutch, water pump... and the many other things ive done by myself. :-) Anyways, any one got a guide or something? Suggestions or anything. Would really help.

  2. #2
    Pathelogical Liar BlackLT1Z28's Avatar
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    Driver side head removal
    Remove bolts from y-pipe to driver side manifold. These bolts can be difficult to get off, use WD40 or equivalent.
    Remove coolant air bleed pipe bolt/screw.
    Disconnect O2 sensor cable.
    Remove driver side exhaust manifold assembly. Don't lose the spacers. The Helms manual recommends you put the bolts back in the same places they came from. (Refer to diagram ) (Note : If you still have difficulty with the next steps, remove the Y-pipe too)
    Remove spark plug wires. If reusing, keep there order in harness for ease of installation.
    Remove 4 spark plugs. If reusing, take special care not to drop them.
    Remove coolant temperature sensor connector.
    Remove any other accessories not covered.
    Remove 17 head bolts. If reusing, keep bolts in order.
    Pull head and discard gasket.
    Passenger side head removal (not necessary if you are not replacing heads)
    Disconnect AC compressor rear brace bolt from engine block.
    Disconnect AC compressor electrical connector.
    Unbolt AC and lay aside.
    Remove oil dipstick.
    Remove bolts from y-pipe to passenger side manifold. These bolts can be difficult to get off, use WD40 or equivalent.
    Remove passenger side exhaust manifold assembly. Don't lose the spacers. The Helms manual recommends you put the bolts back in the same places they came from. (Refer to diagram )
    Remove coolant air bleed pipe bolt/screw.
    Remove 2 bolts from PS pump through pulley. Remove or push PS pump aside.
    Remove spark plug wires. If reusing, keep there order in harness for ease of install
    Remove 4 spark plugs. If reusing, take special care not to drop them.
    Remove any other accessories not covered.
    Remove 17 head bolts. If reusing, keep bolts in order.
    Pull head and discard gasket.
    Thoroughly clean surfaces of block. (Note : Put something in your lifter valley to prevent gasket material from getting into the engine)

    (Pulled this off some site, not entirely sure how accurate it is, but sounds about right.)

  3. #3
    thanks for the post. I got my chiltons book here that pretty much says the same thing, except im looking more off hands on/pictures maybe of someone who has done this already. I sense this is going to be a long project.

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    Pathelogical Liar BlackLT1Z28's Avatar
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    It shouldn't be too bad, most of it is getting all the bolts out, then lifting the head off the block. It will give you a good chance to clean the combustion chambers and piston heads.

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    Member jasonisdn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by m1lkym1ke View Post
    Ok... so im pretty sure its my head gasket. Symptoms are as follows... Radiator isnt keeping water in.... I got white smoke from the left side of my engine and left exhaust pipe(just left).... Now the gaskets arent that pricy... so that im not worried about... its the installation.... Never done it before... but hey... ive never changed a clutch, water pump... and the many other things ive done by myself. :-) Anyways, any one got a guide or something? Suggestions or anything. Would really help.
    when you get it off dont just slap another gasket on it. have the head tested for hardness, might have taken alot of heat and the surface has got to soft to hold pressure. head might be fine and could just be a gasket failure, take a good look at the gasket. good luck , easy job just takes time.

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    Senior Member 5.0THIS's Avatar
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    After you get everything put back together, run the engine with the oil that is already in it (to wash all of the debris into that oil) and then change it immediately.

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    Member jasonisdn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 5.0THIS View Post
    After you get everything put back together, run the engine with the oil that is already in it (to wash all of the debris into that oil) and then change it immediately.
    i wouldn't do that. if he has that much coolant in the oil it could ruin a main or rod bearing. i'd lift the motor with a cherry picker and drop the oil pan and clean the oil pan out. also check for any metal in the pan.

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    Senior Member 5.0THIS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jasonisdn View Post
    i wouldn't do that. if he has that much coolant in the oil it could ruin a main or rod bearing. i'd lift the motor with a cherry picker and drop the oil pan and clean the oil pan out. also check for any metal in the pan.

    Alot of times coolant wont even get in the oil, it will just go to the chambers and burn off. Regardless, if it is in the motor, it's all in the oil galleries and passageways anyways. At the very least he'll need to prime the oil pump to get most of it out. Have to do it one way or the other.

  9. #9
    Member jasonisdn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 5.0THIS View Post
    Alot of times coolant wont even get in the oil, it will just go to the chambers and burn off. Regardless, if it is in the motor, it's all in the oil galleries and passageways anyways. At the very least he'll need to prime the oil pump to get most of it out. Have to do it one way or the other.
    priming the oil pump will work alot better. when i blew my gasket i had a ton of coolant in my pan. it kind of helped me, made me scar a bearing and do my rebuild lol.

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    Member Chad97z's Avatar
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    I did the head gaskets on my car and I didn't prime the oil pump or filter but it can't hurt. I did change the oil though and wipe out the top of the engine under the intake manifold. And you'd be surprised on how many gaskets there are.

    I also had my heads check and trimmed at a machine shop. They checked to make sure the valves were sealing properly and all but one was nearly perfect but even the one was not in the bad range. So, it all checked out fine. I had a lot of carbon in my engine after 80k miles but the cylinder that had the leak was pretty darn shiney and clean.

    I did not have any problems with the bolts coming out. Make sure you take pictures of the tubes and lines before you start dismantiling the top. I was able to get my stock manifolds off from the top but the passenger side was difficult to pull out from top but just keep working at it and it will come out.

    The y-pipe just drops str8 down and you can work with it like that. You will need to get new head bolts from autozone and you will need a torque wrench and a meter to show the # of degrees you turn past the torque setting. Doing that is important so you dont bust a bolt when the head expands from heat. Also, don't get the rocker arms too tight. There is a specific way to adjust them and they have to be done in a certain order. I got one of my rocker arms too tight, and the #3 cylinder would not hold compression.

    Also pulling out and moving the fuel injector rail is awkward. You have to take it out from the back and around the wires so its free to move about and get it out of the way.

    I ended up replacing the oil dipstick tube because I bent the other one too much and my stick didnt like the new bends I put in the tube.

    Most of this stuff you can figure out on your own.. Taking it apart and putting it back together is str8 forward. Just got to rememebr there are specifications on bolt torque, and rocker arms, and if your engine got too hot, then it might be a safe idea to have the heads checked to make sure they are not warped. But it just takes more time to do all that.

    http://home.comcast.net/~chad97z/headwork/
    Last edited by Chad97z; 12-13-2006 at 07:24 PM.

  11. #11
    Resident Architect SS MPSTR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chad97z View Post
    and if your engine got too hot, then it might be a safe idea to have the heads checked to make sure they are not warped. But it just takes more time to do all that.

    A lot less time than doing it all over again. Check it to be safe.

  12. #12
    If i have to replace my heads(not sure yet havent even began), were is a good place to get replacement ones for a good price.(not made of money )

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    Pathelogical Liar BlackLT1Z28's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by m1lkym1ke View Post
    If i have to replace my heads(not sure yet havent even began), were is a good place to get replacement ones for a good price.(not made of money )
    You mean aftermarket heads or OEM heads? You'd be better off going aftermarket for durability and performance gains. But no set of heads are cheap. I have yet to see a brand new set of heads to go for under $1000 a pair. But I don't look for heads right now, so I'm not entirely sure on what's out there.

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    Senior Member 5.0THIS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlackLT1Z28 View Post
    You'd be better off going aftermarket for durability and performance gains.

    What?!?!


    Unless he really wants to push the envelope (everyone says they want to, and hardly nobody does, just a bunch of pipe dreams).. factory heads will work just fine. I've seen them on turbo LT1s making over 900rwhp, and on NA motors over 450rwhp. Durability becomes an issue only on obnoxiously high boost applications, or if your head porter is a retard and takes too much material out of the heads.

  15. #15
    well heads are heads to me... all the same... i know lt1's always go through these problems.... they use these motors and throw them out...

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    Senior Member 5.0THIS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by m1lkym1ke View Post
    they use these motors and throw them out...

    WTF???

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  18. #18
    Senior Member Danger731's Avatar
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    looks like long blocks are pretty cheap, get one and rebuild it.

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    Pathelogical Liar BlackLT1Z28's Avatar
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    Looks like a good place to start.
    After I'm out of college, I would like to either buy a used block like that or pull mine (if I still have it) and rebuild it. I think it would be a fun project and I would learn a lot from it.

  20. #20
    yea... better then buying new. Gf's dad had a mazda van with like over 200,000mil on it... instead of getting new van just got new motor for like 4,000.... if car is in good shape just get a new motor :-P... way off subject but yea..

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