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Blown head gasket :(

This is a discussion on Blown head gasket :( within the General Help forums, part of the LSx Technical Help Section category; i found out the other day that my 98 ss has a blown headgasket. it must have a small leak ...

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    Blown head gasket :(

    i found out the other day that my 98 ss has a blown headgasket. it must have a small leak because its drivable and everything but. im thinking its been leaking for a while bc its not been running quite right. i thought it was bc of exhaust leak,or vacuum leak,etcc. found some yellow watery crap in my oil cap and my radiator cap started leaking so my dad hooked up his coolant pressure gauge on the radiator and the pressure just kept climbing and climbing. Anyway, i did head/cam swap last year on it and now im wondeirng if I did something wrong with the heads and gaskets when i installed them? i bout prc stage 2.5 heads from texas speed as well as the MLS gaskets and new gm bolts. i followed the torque specs. and order of tightening the bolts. i know these cars arent know for blowing head gaskets so thats why im asking. any ideas on what i did wrong or was it just bad luck??
    btw....i do have nitrous hooked up but ive nvr sprayed.

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    Member DaddySS's Avatar
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    Condensation on the oil cap is not unusual and has led many to think they have a blown gasket. Before you assume, do a compression test. If the cylinder were leaking pressure into the system you would expect to see bubbles and you would expect it to be blowing coolant out the pressure cap. I think you need to do more checking first.

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    Check your spark plugs. If you have coolant entering the combustion chamber it should show on the plugs. You should also be able to smell it in your exhaust unless the leak is miniscule.

    How high did the pressure gauge read?

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    Quote Originally Posted by pajeff02 View Post
    Check your spark plugs. If you have coolant entering the combustion chamber it should show on the plugs. You should also be able to smell it in your exhaust unless the leak is miniscule.

    How high did the pressure gauge read?
    This..
    ..and

    Condesation build up in the oil cap is NOT usually indicitive of a blown head gasket. More of a sign of too many short trips and the engine not getting heat saturated enough to burn off the condensation.. Not saying this rules out a popped head gasket, but usually as Pajeff states you can see and or smell it too.. Or have a "fogging" effect out of the exhaust.. Leaking or blown head gasket can cause an overly high idle too.. Good luck..
    Last edited by Smittro; 11-01-2010 at 03:57 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmatt07 View Post
    Anyway, i did head/cam swap last year on it and now im wondeirng if I did something wrong with the heads and gaskets when i installed them? i bout prc stage 2.5 heads from texas speed as well as the MLS gaskets and new gm bolts. i followed the torque specs. and order of tightening the bolts. i know these cars arent know for blowing head gaskets so thats why im asking. any ideas on what i did wrong or was it just bad luck??
    btw....i do have nitrous hooked up but ive nvr sprayed.
    You could closely inspect the surface finish of the heads and block and look for imperfections/tooling marks. Also check for warpage.

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    The pressure gauge went up to 18psi before we shut it off. The plugs dont really look too bad but i think its a pretty small leak. I was reading another thread on here and someone said something about just tightening the head bolts down a bit to stop a leak. Is that something that is ok to do? my motor does shake alot so im wondering maybe it loosened the head bolts a little bit? I havent noticed any coolant in the oil or alot of smoke coming out of the back. I just figured it was a blown head gasket for three reasons. 1. It blew out the seal on the radiator cap. 2. the low coolant light will not go off even though the radiator is completely full. 3. We hooked up that pressure gauge on the radiator and the pressure kept climbing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jmatt07 View Post
    I was reading another thread on here and someone said something about just tightening the head bolts down a bit to stop a leak. Is that something that is ok to do?
    No and yes. No its not recommended. But yes people do it and it sometimes works. But be careful. Its an aluminum block and you don't wanna strip out the threads....

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    Im going to do some more checking because im not sure that it is the head gasket. does anyone know what the normal range of pressure is in the cooling system?

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    The radiator cap is rated at about 18psi. I would think that if you had blown head gasket that was building pressure the overflow tank would have filled and you would have blown coolant out of the tank. If you haven't blown coolant out of the system it's a fair bet that you don't have compression leaking into the cooling system.

    Your original post stated that you had two issues - yellow stuff on the cap and not running right. Since the yellow stuff on the cap is normal - I would go after the not running right.

    What specifically is it doing? Give us some information on that and let's focus there.

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    Okay. The issues are the pressure was rising when we put the meter on the radiator but we took it off when it got just below 18 psi so maybe thats not a problem if thats not too high of a psi. The other main thing is the low coolant light is on all the time and i dont know why. the coolant has been full and i havent really had to add any. Then the original radiator cap started leaking so i assumed the system was building too much pressure caused by compression being leaked into the cooling system. The not running quite issue im thinking is because i havent gotten it dyno tuned yet. It runs really good just not perfect. like sometimes when its idling it will be running fine and then it starts loping and every once in a while the rpms will drop so low it shuts off. Thats all the issues im having right now.
    Oh, i wanted to add also. if it was a leaking headgasket putting pressure in cooling system wouldnt the temp gauge keep climbing as i drive it? Becaue it never really gets above 170-180.

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    The low coolant is either a dirty coolant resevoir sensor or it's bad.

    For the occasional loping, you might try cleaning the MAF, and make sure all the vacuum hoses are tight including the PCV.
    Last edited by DaddySS; 01-29-2011 at 05:58 PM.

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