Reader QuestionHELLO SIR. I WISH YOU COULD ANSWER MY QUESTION. I AM ABOUT TO REPLACE MY HEAD GASKET BUT I HAVE SOME DOUBTS.
MY CAR (97 SATURN SL1, 230K MI) OVERHEATED A LITTLE WHILE I WAS IN THE FREEWAY. I NOTICED THAT THE GAUGE WOULD STAY JUST OVER THE NORMAL TEMPERATURE AND WOULD NOT COOL DOWN. I STOPPED AND AFTER IT WAS COOL ENOUGH, I CHECKED FOR ANY COOLANT LEAK. THERE WAS NONE AND WHEN I OPPENED THE COOLANT RESERVOIR, THERE WAS A LOT OF OIL IN THERE. I FIGURE IT WAS A BLOWN HEAD GASKET.
AFTER SOME RESEARCH I FOUND OUT THAT MOST SYMTHOMS OF A BLOWN H GASKET ARE MILKY OIL AND WHITE SMOKE. IN MY CASE, THE OIL APPEARS TO BE CLEAN. IT IS ONLY THE COOLANT THAT IS GETTING MIXED WITH ENGINE OIL. WILL THIS BE AN INDICATION THAT IT IS A CRAKED HEAD WHICH IS CAUSING THIS MIX? OR IS IT A CRAKED BLOCK?
I THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME AND ADVICE.
Before I did anything I would have a cooling system pressure test done to determine if there is internal engine damage or a leaking head gasket. The cooling system pressure test should tell you if you have an internal engine coolant leak. This is s simple and cheap test that most shops can do while you wait.
If they DO suspect a blown head gasket or cracked block you might want to try a can of K&W Engine Block Seal additive you can buy at your local auto supply. Drain out the coolant, add the can of additive to your radiator and drive the car for about 500 miles, then drain out the water/additive and install the proper mix of coolant and water to the radiator. I have had great success with this method.
WARNING – there will be NO freeze or overheating protecting during this time, since there is no coolant in the radiator.
Austin C. Davis