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Time to admit defeat... head gasket problem?

Bat21

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I have been having 'issues' with my 80 for a long time now and following on from THIS and THIS, I think the time has come to admit there is something seriously wrong.

Since the trip, which we returned from just over a week ago, she hasn't used any water but.... there is a definite smell of fumes in the header tank, even though I washed it out after the trip. There is also emulsification on the rad filler cap when she has cooled down after a run. The oil filler cap is spotless with no sign of yogurt in there.

After a run which gets the engine up to temperature, if I leave the car to stand for an hour and then remove the rad filler cap there is, as would be expected, no pressure there. If I then start the engine and run her for literally 30 seconds and then switch her off and then remove the rad cap there is pressure there... surely this shouldn't happen after 30 seconds. Carrying out this same 'test' on a cold engine doesn't have the same results.

Am I right in thinking there could be one of two problems here, either the head gasket has become compromised between the water jacket and one of the combustion chambers, hence the smell of fumes in the header tank or..... could the head be cracked? :cry:

Either way the head has to come off :doh:

Does my theory sound right? and if so, is it a fairly simple job or should I just send her down to Julian?
 

Paul_Humphreys

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Sounds about right. You could get the water system tested for pressure. There is also some type of paper that you did in the water tank and it changes colour if there is gasses in there.

Paul
 

Rob

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I think I read something saying that the Toyota Red coolant should change colour if it comes in contact with fumes, Chris?
 

Bat21

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Paul_Humphreys said:
There is also some type of paper that you did in the water tank and it changes colour if there is gasses in there.

Paul
Thanks Paul, I take it you mean dip and not did... if you did mean did then my memory is worse than I though....


Rob said:
I think I read something saying that the Toyota Red coolant should change colour if it comes in contact with fumes, Chris?
Following the Morocco trip, due to the amount of water she was 'drinking', I doubt there is any Toyota Red left in there... I do have 10 litres in the garage waiting to go in though.
 

Chris

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I don't think that there is a history of 80's cracking their heads is there Paul? If you get white clouds on start up from cold then you have water in the cylinders. A classic 90 problem.
If you get gases in the red coolant it should go yellow, but I guess that there are other sorts of leaks that you can have where those two elements don't necessarily come together. In the 1Kz-TE I have heard of many that cracked but never one where the coolant changed colour. I think that's because the crack leaks under the vacuum pressure of the engine cooling down. When it is running it's fine. If your engine is starting fine and not leaking into the cylinders them maybe it is a head gasket rather than a crack. Fingers crossed for you. Either way, I'd say the head has to come off. I was looking at this job the other day whilst pondering other jobs. It doesn't like too bad to me. I guess that you need to line up TDC and mark everything for reassembly though.

Chris
 
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callum

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i think you should take it to a garage to have a pressure test done on the coolant system. this may show up a problem, but when i got mine done, it was fine. i only got final proof when i saw bubbles att the back of the engine between the block and head. i had water leaking into the engine though and it sounds like you have i the other way.

a head job (and timing belt) will take a day a reckon if you work reasonably well and that's what my garage charged me in labour. i could do an isuzu head myself in that time, maybe less but i think the landcruiser head would have been a two day job (maybe 2 x 4 hours) to do myself on account of all the ancilliaries and the fact i've not done one on that engine before. i imagine the head is also 'kin heavy. i prefer to do these things myself so i can check things out and familiarise myself with the engine, but on that occasion it was worth paying (quite a bit of cash) to make it someone else's problem and have the car back and working again quickly.
 

Bat21

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Chris said:
I don't think that there is a history of 80's cracking their heads is there Paul? If you get white clouds on start up from cold then you have water in the cylinders

Chris
Thanks Chris.

She starts fine with no White smoke, when running there is no drop in performance either
ne_nau.gif


callum said:
i think you should take it to a garage to have a pressure test done on the coolant system. this may show up a problem, but when i got mine done, it was fine. i only got final proof when i saw bubbles att the back of the engine between the block and head. i had water leaking into the engine though and it sounds like you have i the other way.

a head job (and timing belt) will take a day a reckon if you work reasonably well and that's what my garage charged me in labour. i could do an isuzu head myself in that time, maybe less but i think the landcruiser head would have been a two day job (maybe 2 x 4 hours) to do myself on account of all the ancilliaries and the fact i've not done one on that engine before. i imagine the head is also 'kin heavy. i prefer to do these things myself so i can check things out and familiarise myself with the engine, but on that occasion it was worth paying (quite a bit of cash) to make it someone else's problem and have the car back and working again quickly.
I think a pressure test may be the first port of call Callum.

If the head does have to come off I think I may well end up doing it myself, time isn't an issue it just means the BMW will get used more while she is off the road.

I had a phone call off one of the guys here earlier who feels this isn't a head gasket problem. He suggested removing the hoses and flushing the system with a hose. Then connecting the hoses up and, after filling the system up and taking her for a run, remove the rad cap (after a cooling down period) and allowing her to tick over and 'berp' (I think that's what he said) the system... allowing her to push out any air in the system and topping up as necessary.

I'll keep you posted with the 'progress' :thumbup:
 

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24Seven

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Another test thats taked about alot, although I have never used one.

Google "Block tester kit" also known as coolant sniffer.
 

Andy Harvey

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The basic test I've done on the 2LT for head gasket/head crack is to start it up with the rad cap off - if water bubbles up out of there almost immediately then for sure you have a problem. Paul, If you have trouble getting it tested I have a coolant pressure tester.
 

Bat21

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Thanks for a advice and offer Andy, looks like there is a head problem so it will be out with the spanners next weekend.
 
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