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Old 07-24-2014, 07:28 AM   #1
xthrillhouse
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Default Head gasket gone?

Quick back story/history:

> Motor fully built at 30xxx km by a reputable builder by previous owner (rods, pistons, bearings) as it cracked ring lands on two pistons.

> I bought the car at 65xxx km. Went strong and without issues. Top radiator hose blew due to swelling. Thermostat was buggered, so I replaced the thermostat and installed a Mishimoto Alloy rad and new hoses. This happened during the warmer months and my temp gauge did go up very high. Builder assured no damage was done and that was that.

> All fine for 10xxx km. Serviced between this time.

This Sunday on the way home my temp gauge started creeping up and reached a touch over 3/4 and then dropped back down to normal. It did this over and over again (normally a minute duration to go up and then back down) until I got home. No other symptoms. I parked the car and popped the bonnet. A small amount of coolant had found its way out of the reservoir bottle due to expansion.

I let the car cool completely down, checked the radiator levels, all seemed normal (there was a release of air when I removed the top cap, nothing abnormal - and the reservoir bottle was slowly sucking water back into the radiator). Took it for a drive to the shops an hour or so later. I couldn't replicate this again, and the temp needle did not go over normal.

All week it has not gone over normal operating temp (which is generally a bit under half way on the water temp gauge). Mind you my drive to work is 10 minutes both ways and I drive during the early morning and evening when it's too cold anyway.

I noticed on Monday night my reservoir bottle reading was a bit below low. Not having any coolant at hand I put some regular tap water in (I'm sorry guys) as I was in a rush. There were fresh coolant drops around the bottle. We're talking small splashes, not huge amounts. I did notice that my car would reach it's normal water temp a touch faster than before Sunday, or so I thought (could've been in my head since I've been watching the gauge so meticulously now). It also seems to blow plenty of white smoke (more than I'd normally notice) while under load in the early morning when leaving my drive way (very cold).

Getting more and more confused to what happened on Sunday, and having no other symptoms since, I thought I'd give the car a more spirited run on some empty streets and observe the temp. Throughout this I pretty much stayed in 3rd and boosted heavy up hills. No stuttering, misfire, etc - car pulled fine. Again, temp gauge did not go any higher than normal. All is well, right?

Thought after my happy laps I'd check the reservior bottle and see how we're doing. Brown specks throughout (looks like dirt) and I could smell exhaust fumes (this could also have been in my head).

So that's where I'm at. Car continues to run fine (besides the water temp reaching normal level quicker, and the increased smoke/steam on cold start). I'm booking it in at another shop (that I get it serviced at) asap (as it was going in for E85 and brakes) and I'm obviously expecting the worst. From what he's said already on the phone, he thinks its the head gasket, too.

Some (un)happy snaps I took of the reservoir bottle last night.



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Old 07-24-2014, 08:05 AM   #2
Blackfin
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Some tests you can do include pressure testing the cooling system and performing a standard compression and leakdown test.

It sure sounds like you've got a headgasket issue. How does the oil look? Any sign of water mixing in the sump (milkshake-like look and texture to the oil...)?
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Old 07-24-2014, 09:02 AM   #3
xthrillhouse
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I haven't checked the oil yet, but will in the morning. Is it best to check hot, or cold (or does it even matter?)

Here is a video of the water temp fluctuating too:

I know I should have just stopped as soon as it reached 3/4 but I was on a single lane highway with nowhere to pull over.
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Old 07-24-2014, 11:03 AM   #4
MedicDG
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Sounds like a blown head gasket, cracked head or warped head. Btw that looks like oil to me in your coolant.
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Old 07-25-2014, 12:03 AM   #5
Scoobiesdoobies
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These guys are idiots. Dont listen to them if they say your head gasket is blown. That does NOT look like oil in the system it just looks like the conditioner flakes. You could be smelling the coolant smell thinking its exhaust.....
If you do not have a lot of white smoke and or chocolate milk looking oil( google pictures of coolant in oil)
Then your HG is likely fine.
Get the coolant hydrocarbon tested to see if theres exhaust in it.
If everythings good 10 bucks says your car heated up slightly enough to pressurize the coolant system over the rating of the caps and the caps ended up not opening.
Are you using aftermarket caps?
Even if they arent aftermarket the stock ones could get stuck or the springs can go bad after just one event where they get hot.

I recently averted a $3000 repair by having my mechanic do a free hydrocarbon test with a kit that sucks air from the coolant system thru dye.

Replaced rad caps and all good.

Same symptoms as you and i even thought the conditioner chunks were oil and that i smelled exhaust lol.

I topped off with oem premix coolant tho.
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Old 07-25-2014, 12:10 AM   #6
Scoobiesdoobies
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MedicDG View Post
Sounds like a blown head gasket, cracked head or warped head. Btw that looks like oil to me in your coolant.
Does it??



Or does it look like your spreading bad information since its just coolant conditioner........

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Old 07-25-2014, 12:13 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xthrillhouse View Post
I haven't checked the oil yet, but will in the morning. Is it best to check hot, or cold (or does it even matter?)

Here is a video of the water temp fluctuating too:
Video Link: http://vimeo.com/101607535

I know I should have just stopped as soon as it reached 3/4 but I was on a single lane highway with nowhere to pull over.
Oil is best checked cold for level but since you are just verifying that the oil is not milky brown you can check anytime.

If it looks like chocolate milk then its toast. But if its clear then get yourself a new rad and reservior cap.
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Old 07-25-2014, 02:00 AM   #8
xthrillhouse
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scoobiesdoobies View Post
These guys are idiots. Dont listen to them if they say your head gasket is blown. That does NOT look like oil in the system it just looks like the conditioner flakes. You could be smelling the coolant smell thinking its exhaust.....
If you do not have a lot of white smoke and or chocolate milk looking oil( google pictures of coolant in oil)
Then your HG is likely fine.
Get the coolant hydrocarbon tested to see if theres exhaust in it.
If everythings good 10 bucks says your car heated up slightly enough to pressurize the coolant system over the rating of the caps and the caps ended up not opening.
Are you using aftermarket caps?
Even if they arent aftermarket the stock ones could get stuck or the springs can go bad after just one event where they get hot.

I recently averted a $3000 repair by having my mechanic do a free hydrocarbon test with a kit that sucks air from the coolant system thru dye.

Replaced rad caps and all good.

Same symptoms as you and i even thought the conditioner chunks were oil and that i smelled exhaust lol.

I topped off with oem premix coolant tho.
Thanks mate, this is actually really good advice. Thought I'd update today, I drove into work (an hour trip in traffic) and it did not go above the normal temp at all, ran perfect, no issues. Checked coolant and while it still had those "flakes" (literally looks like dirt) it was looking much much better. No bubbling, nothing.

I didn't check the oil but will in a couple hours when I go out to it.

I do have an aftermarket rad (Mishimoto) and cap (stock Mishimoto 1.3bar). Although it's been fine for the 10k I've had it.

I'm starting to think the HG is fine, but it's still going to my mechanic on Wednesday to 100% confirm it (and go e85).

My coolant bottle does look a bit like that second picture so it very well could be conditioner.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scoobiesdoobies View Post
Oil is best checked cold for level but since you are just verifying that the oil is not milky brown you can check anytime.

If it looks like chocolate milk then its toast. But if its clear then get yourself a new rad and reservior cap.
Will do. I'm hoping I won't need a new radiator? Surely a cap will suffice? As it's a Mishimoto rad and wasn't particularly cheap. I suppose it's under warranty anyway if it does have a crack.
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Old 07-25-2014, 02:40 AM   #9
Scoobiesdoobies
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xthrillhouse View Post

Thanks mate, this is actually really good advice. Thought I'd update today, I drove into work (an hour trip in traffic) and it did not go above the normal temp at all, ran perfect, no issues. Checked coolant and while it still had those "flakes" (literally looks like dirt) it was looking much much better. No bubbling, nothing.

I didn't check the oil but will in a couple hours when I go out to it.

I do have an aftermarket rad (Mishimoto) and cap (stock Mishimoto 1.3bar). Although it's been fine for the 10k I've had it.

I'm starting to think the HG is fine, but it's still going to my mechanic on Wednesday to 100% confirm it (and go e85).

My coolant bottle does look a bit like that second picture so it very well could be conditioner.

Will do. I'm hoping I won't need a new radiator? Surely a cap will suffice? As it's a Mishimoto rad and wasn't particularly cheap. I suppose it's under warranty anyway if it does have a crack.
A crack would not cause the issues you are having. Mishimoto is aftermarket btw. Get two new coolant caps from subaru as aftermarket rad caps can be the cause.
Get the round one on the radiator and the tabbed one on the reservior. I think i paid 38 bucks on ebay and 54 from the dealer.

You likely wont have the issue again unless you are doing a 10 min wot pull.
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Old 07-25-2014, 04:51 AM   #10
MedicDG
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scoobiesdoobies View Post
Does it?? Or does it look like your spreading bad information since its just coolant conditioner........
ha ok mr know it all.

Last edited by MedicDG; 07-25-2014 at 04:57 AM.
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Old 07-25-2014, 05:20 AM   #11
Scoobiesdoobies
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MedicDG View Post
ha ok mr know it all.
I dont know it all but know enough to say theres no oil in his coolant.....
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Old 07-25-2014, 10:34 AM   #12
MedicDG
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scoobiesdoobies View Post
I dont know it all but know enough to say theres no oil in his coolant.....
ok good job
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Old 07-25-2014, 10:55 AM   #13
Scoobiesdoobies
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MedicDG View Post
ok good job
Thanks. Seeing as you told him its gonna he a $3k repair because you think theres oil in his coolant.....sorry if i offended you i just dont like people making assumptions like that when the end result is about the same as replacing a shortblock.
He even posted pictures and you having atleast 500 posts should know by now what oil in coolant looks like. Then not be a douche when your corrected.....

That is all. Op good luck. Let us know your findings.
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Old 07-25-2014, 08:21 PM   #14
xthrillhouse
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Will do, thank you mate.

Just a quick update, no coolant in oil yet. Car still running perfect and hasn't over heated since.

Still taking it in on Wednesday to get the confirmation.

Cheers!
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Old 07-25-2014, 09:14 PM   #15
Scoobiesdoobies
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xthrillhouse View Post
Will do, thank you mate.

Just a quick update, no coolant in oil yet. Car still running perfect and hasn't over heated since.

Still taking it in on Wednesday to get the confirmation.

Cheers!
Dont pay more than 40 bucks for the hydrocarbon test.
It was likely an isolated event caused by hard driving. Mines been sound for 10k miles after a coolant flush new rad and new hoses and this happened to me too. Mechanic hydrocarbon tested the coolant and all was well. He even did it for free since it cost him nothing really.
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Old 07-26-2014, 12:59 AM   #16
jeffk182
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Hopefully it's something as simple as the radiator cap. At my work, I've repaired vehicles (Lexus to be specific) that have small pin hole leaks on the head gasket, but the leak was so minimal that the coolant would burn before it could get past the rings...was like a fine mist getting into the cylinder. The piston tops were super clean and was verified using a boroscope before I recommended the repair. If the shop you are going to has a boroscope, have them pull your spark plugs and take a look at the piston tops. If any of them look really clean, you may have a HG issue. The hydrocarbon/carbon monoxide test will only work with a slightly large HG leak (just checked a SC 300 for a HG issue today and the hydrocarbon test did not work, but cylinder 5 and 6 piston tops were super clean) Keep us posted!

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Old 07-26-2014, 03:47 AM   #17
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Had identical issues, pushing coolant, sporadic overheating, etc. Had the cooling system pressure tested and we found a leak at the pos drain plug on the pos mishimoto radiator. Replaced the plug with a metal one and a bit of Teflon tape. Problem solved

Just sayin, check everything properly
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Old 07-26-2014, 04:12 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cartoonlife View Post
Had identical issues, pushing coolant, sporadic overheating, etc. Had the cooling system pressure tested and we found a leak at the pos drain plug on the pos mishimoto radiator. Replaced the plug with a metal one and a bit of Teflon tape. Problem solved

Just sayin, check everything properly
To the OP, like he says, check all the small simple stuff first! Last thing you wanna do is replace the head gasket and find out it was something small causing an issue!!!

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Old 07-30-2014, 11:47 PM   #19
xthrillhouse
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Just an update. Head gasket is fine, mechanic has checked it all over, and the car has been running perfect since.

We're both a bit confused to what had initially happened though. Strange for the reservoir bottle to overflow and heat to fluctuate (unless it overflowed, catching air in it).

Anyway, I'm happy for now!
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Old 08-05-2014, 01:04 PM   #20
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honestly if i were you, i would bring it to a reputable shop and get a compressin and leakdown test done. then change the oil and do a drain and flush of the cooling system. all in all will probably be around $200. But thats just me.....apparently were all idiots here though....
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Old 08-05-2014, 01:55 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A7x411 View Post
honestly if i were you, i would bring it to a reputable shop and get a compressin and leakdown test done. then change the oil and do a drain and flush of the cooling system. all in all will probably be around $200. But thats just me.....apparently were all idiots here though....
Do this and then change radiator caps.
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