I think I've lost a head gasket... - TCCoA Forums
 
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post #1 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-18-2004, 10:47 AM Thread Starter
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I think I've lost a head gasket...

Got into my car yesterday morning to run some errands and it drove great. I get into the car this morning, and it's missing and smoking like all heck broke loose.

So I start fiddling with all the simple things and pull the plugs. Passenger side looks like the best set I've seen on a 4.6L. Great. Then on to the driver's side - 7 and 8 were all sooty and 5 and 6 were a little better but not great. hmm. After checking a few things, I find the spark plug boots arent fitting right. The electrodes inside are pushed up inside the boot. So me being in a hurry wanting to fix it (I'm at school and have few tools) I clipped just enough off the bottoms to make the boots fit right on the plugs.
By this time the car has cooled down. I start it up again, smooth as butter. Being optomistic I took it back out, and just as I pull out onto the road it starts smoking again.... just like it did first thing this morning. The smoke is mostly white, but I know for sure there's oil in it as well from this morning.
At least I'm now sure there wont be any mosquitoes within 1/4 mile of here...

Opinions?

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post #2 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-18-2004, 11:48 AM
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Let the car warm up a little, just enough where the cooling system starts to pressurize. You can squeeze the top radiator hose and feel for pressure.
Are you getting the whitish/blue smoke out of the tail pipes?
Then, slooooooowly , start letting pressure off the cooling system by loosening the cap of the coolant recovery bottle.
If the smoke stops, you, more than likely have a blown head gasket.
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post #3 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-18-2004, 03:15 PM
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Does the exhaust smell like gas at all? Does it appear to be running rich at all? The reason I'm asking is because that kinda sounds like what happened to my car when my PCM went and hung open an injector. Mine ran really rough and billowed out clouds of white smoke(unburnt fuel). Go to the parts store and get a noid light(fuel injector test light) and test to see if you have an injector hanging open. If you do, it's probably th PCM, at least that's what it was in my case. I think at least with the 94s this was a common problem, I'm not sure about the 97s. Just another thing to check, and it's a lot easier to fix than HGs.

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post #4 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-18-2004, 04:12 PM
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post #5 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-18-2004, 04:15 PM Thread Starter
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the exhaust doesnt smell like fuel IMO. And leaving the pressure off (which i will do from now on) didn't seem to affect the smoke either. As of now it is throwning no codes and my OBD2 tester says the o2's are still working okay (for now). If indeed the HG has gone I'll find the O2 dead soon. The exhaust has this funny smell that keeps telling me its probably coolant... but so far no coolant in oil or vice versa either. As the day wears on and it gets hotter out the smoke gets less and less noticeable, which wouldnt be the case if it were oil or fuel IMO.


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post #6 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-18-2004, 04:21 PM
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well, as far as i know fuel is black smoke, and oil is blue smoke, if it is white smoke then i hate to tell you but it gonna be coolant, have you been losing any coolant out of the resevoir? best thing to do is get the coolant system pressure tested, that way you know for sure, and look at the oil on the dipstick, if it looks like a mcdonalds chocolate shake then there is no doubt, sorry guy, i feel for you,

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post #7 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-18-2004, 04:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Silver95Bird
the exhaust doesnt smell like fuel IMO. The exhaust has this funny smell that keeps telling me its probably coolant... but so far no coolant in oil or vice versa either.
Last year when my head gaskets went out(79K miles), I had the white smoke with the coolant smell.
I also just experienced a similar condition that 94TchikinV8 described.
My computer connections had gotten wet.
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post #8 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-19-2004, 04:04 PM Thread Starter
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WTF... now I'm really confused.
Yesterday cars were leaving me 1/2 block of space for all the smoke I was pushing out. Today I get in it to do my laundry, and there's nothing wrong. After I did the laundry I took it up on a highway where I could actually get on it.... not a single lonely puff was visible from my mirror.
What the heck is going on here?

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post #9 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-19-2004, 04:57 PM
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Are you using a computer chip?
Has your interior, mainly the passenger side, gotten wet lately?
Check your computer connections.
Quote:
Originally posted by Silver95Bird
Got into my car yesterday morning to run some errands and it drove great. I get into the car this morning, and it's missing and smoking like all heck broke loose. ...
By this time the car has cooled down. I start it up again, smooth as butter. Being optomistic I took it back out, and just as I pull out onto the road it starts smoking again.... just like it did first thing this morning. The smoke is mostly white, but I know for sure there's oil in it as well from this morning.
... the exhaust doesnt smell like fuel IMO. And leaving the pressure off (which i will do from now on) didn't seem to affect the smoke either. ...
Yesterday cars were leaving me 1/2 block of space for all the smoke I was pushing out. Today I get in it to do my laundry, and there's nothing wrong. After I did the laundry I took it up on a highway where I could actually get on it.... not a single lonely puff was visible from my mirror.
What the heck is going on here?
It does sound like head gasket problems, a small one maybe.
The car sits for a while, leaks a little coolant into a cylinder, you start the car and the engine begins to burn off the coolant, white smoke out of the tail pipes.
If your're leaving the top to the coolant recovery tank loose, the cooling system is not building up pressure, so when all the coolant that was in the cylinder/s gets burned off you only have very little or no smoke.
Quote:
Originally posted by chorizon
... best thing to do is get the coolant system pressure tested, that way you know for sure
I agree, get the cooling system pressure tested. The engines bottom end could get damaged. The crank shaft bearings could get damaged. You could hydrolock the engine. If that happens let the car sit for several hours, then just "bump" the starter. You don't want to bend or break a piston rod.
Pay it now or pay it later.

Last edited by JR Tigerstar; 09-19-2004 at 05:06 PM.
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post #10 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-20-2004, 05:30 PM
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Something is screwy if you were doing your best at "Spy Hunter" style smoke screens the other day and now you're clean as a whistle. I would do a pressure test and see what comes up from that.
The only other (remote) thing I can think of: could there be a crack on your intake manifold? I know it is from left field, but I am just trying to think of anything else that could lead to such things.
Keep me posted Tom, sorry for missing you the other day.

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post #11 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-20-2004, 06:59 PM
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I think you had better find that head gasket if you lost it...(I know this wasn't a constructive/contributive post but I couldn't resist any longer!) Actually, this is an edit here, I noticed you have a PI Intake, is it possible the PTV sealer gave way and your leaking that way?
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post #12 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-21-2004, 09:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Silver95Bird
I find the spark plug boots arent fitting right. The electrodes inside are pushed up inside the boot. So me being in a hurry wanting to fix it (I'm at school and have few tools) I clipped just enough off the bottoms to make the boots fit right on the plugs.
You can use needle-nose plier to reach inside the boot and grab the electrode and pull the wire through the boot. I had to do this on my new set from Ford to get them to fit.

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post #13 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-21-2004, 05:10 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally posted by girdnerg


You can use needle-nose plier to reach inside the boot and grab the electrode and pull the wire through the boot. I had to do this on my new set from Ford to get them to fit.

Rob
I would have. but:

Quote:
Originally posted by Silver95Bird
(I'm at school and have few tools)
They're due to be replaced anyway I figure, so whatever.

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post #14 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-21-2004, 09:10 PM
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Pull your oil dipstick and look at the oil on the probe. If it looks milky you lost the head gasket. The smoking was a prelude to mine blowing.

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post #15 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-21-2004, 10:08 PM Thread Starter
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So far no oil in the coolant and the dipstick looks normal. UNtil I see it I'm going to keep driving it - though that isnt often at school, save groceries and weekends.

I suppose its possible the O2 sensor is shot on the drivers side since all those plugs were dark - when I go home this weekend I'll swap those 4 plugs and add a used but good O2 sensor I have lying around. If it was going full rich on 4 cyls that may explain the funny smoke. I would have thought it would be more black than whitish. I have the strangest luck with these things.

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post #16 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-28-2004, 06:21 PM
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Well Tom, did you suck up a gasket or what? If you did it would be a good time to put in some PI heads to match that manifold. In the mean time put some of those bars-leak pellets that come 6 to a pack. They won't clog anything and they will buy you some time. They are very effective in stopping a seep, but you hafta drive it easy.--yeah, right.

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post #17 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-28-2004, 06:34 PM Thread Starter
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So far, I've replaced the O2 sensor on the drivers side... it seems better now. the plugs have cleared up, but I still get an occaisional miss at low throttle. Think it might be time to change the wires. My Vic is up and running again after I rebuilt the tranny this past winter, so hopefully I will get my 5.4L truck tranny put in the Bird along with my springs/shocks... blah blah blah. Make the Vic the winter beater and save the Bird. Been thinking about doing a little underside sandblasting to remove the rust before it gets bad. Then I can have it all prepped painted and clean for the 'Show and Go' season next spring.

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post #18 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-28-2004, 07:02 PM
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The wires were new when I got the car. If you remember they had just done the manifold and I had a miss, so Ford put new wires in it because of antifreeze contamination. So the wires are a couple of years old. I was looking at Ford Racing wires at the swap meet and they sure were pretty and not much more than stock. Have been looking at newer Mustangs lately-like your dad had when you guys were here. I need something fast again!

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post #19 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-28-2004, 07:57 PM
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post #20 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-28-2004, 09:03 PM Thread Starter
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I liked it, but I was much more a Rocky and Bullwinkle fan myself... that and danger Mouse. DM rocked.

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post #21 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-28-2004, 11:45 PM
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so did you find that missing headgasket?
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post #22 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-29-2004, 09:52 AM Thread Starter
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Well, it hasn't been smoking recently so I'm still driving it. Theory: I'm starting to wonder if the O2's were flooding the drivers side, and added in with the ignition miss it was passing all the oil and gas to the cat. The mix was then burning in the exhaust and making the smoke come out the back instead of being more absorbed by the cat. It may have dumped enough gas and oil into the exhaust that it took so long to burn off. A little oil makes a ton of smoke. Dunno if I'm right or not, but for now thats what I'm hoping. If it doesnt break on the 10th then I'll know all is good. lol.

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post #23 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-29-2004, 10:28 AM
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Did you use adapters for your PI intake swap? Maybe a coolant leak inside the intake letting the coolant puddle if you used RTV to seal it.
I don't know if you got the rain form Jeane we did, bu tI found a puddle of water behind my backseat that I still can't figure out where it came from. it was leaking out this grommet plug underneath the back flooroard causing a puddle under the car. Scared me because i thought it was gas when I first saw it because of where it was leaking. Maybe you had some water leak onto your PCM from the heavy rains as mentioned above and it dried out.

edit: just checked the date of your post, so it wouldn't have been Jeane

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post #24 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-29-2004, 03:44 PM Thread Starter
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I doubt it was the intake gaskets - my PI intake is epoxy portmatched and uses NPI gaskets with a lil RTV. If it was that I would be seeing a leak in just one cylinder or I'd see a leak coming out the side somewhere. The coolant level so far is staying put, so I'm not losing any at the moment.

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post #25 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-29-2004, 04:38 PM
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wouldnt u use the PI intake gaskets if it was portmatched to the PI Intake?


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post #26 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-29-2004, 04:57 PM Thread Starter
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To use PI gasket's I'd have to mill the heads to match. Not something you'd do in the car.

96 Mustang GT 5spd. w/ 248A Option (GTS). Stock for now until I get the Roush on.

97 Thunderbird 4.6L LX /w Sport Package
24k B&M Cooler, 1" lowered, Steeda UD Pulleys, Dynomax cat-back, J-mod, 3.73's, PI intake, PI cams, 03 GT MAF/Tube, SCT tuned - Gone but not forgotten.
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