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View Full Version : Dirty, Oily Coolant - head gasket bad?


RicardoJM
06-28-2010, 11:07 PM
I set out to fix my timing cover oil leak this evening. First step was to drain the radiator and mop up the inevitable coolant mess; thankfully this time the spill was minimal. The coolant is not the shiny green color that it was when it was put into the truck a couple of weeks ago:(. It looks like it has oil in it, you can't tell in the picture but it has that oil in water sheen.

http://www.risingsun4x4club.org/uploads/ricardojm/headgasket/w_coolant.jpg

I checked the dipstick and it is not a milkshake. From what I understand a blown head gasket result in antifreeze getting into the oil, not the oil getting into the antifreeze - is this correct? What could cause oil getting into the antifreeze?

I have not yet checked anything else. I'm going to press forward with fixing the timing cove oil leak as I've already got the radiator drained. Once it is all back together, I'll warm it all up and do a compression test to see what it shows.

I'm fairly certain the head will need to come off - in addition to the compression test, what other checks should I do?

powderpig
06-29-2010, 09:19 AM
It looks like your coolant is cooked, like compression gases have baked or over heated the coolant. That said, has this engine used green coolant in the past? or did you use red coolant in a recent past drain and fill? Have you noticed any high temps or overheating of the engine while driving(especially up steep long hill?)
Oil in the coolant or coolant in the oil depends on where the Head gasket leaks or has lost integrity.
the oil like sheen, could be fuel being moved from the cylinder to the coolant with the compression leaks.
Yes I would see what your compression is. Be sure to listen as the engine turns over to see if two cylinders are communicating with each other. But just seeing the coolant, it looks like you have compression leaks into the coolant from the head gasket.
Great time to mill the head to get better performance out of the engine.

RicardoJM
06-29-2010, 09:50 AM
It looks like your coolant is cooked, like compression gases have baked or over heated the coolant. That said, has this engine used green coolant in the past? or did you use red coolant in a recent past drain and fill? Have you noticed any high temps or overheating of the engine while driving(especially up steep long hill?)

I don't know if the engine was ever run with red. One of the accessories I had to add to the engine was the block drain plug. I'm pretty sure the block was drained of any old coolant as we filled the cooling system with brand new green and with 16 quarts it filled the system and had just enough to fill the over flow about 1/2 way.

I've been watching oil pressure and temperature very closely and there has been no overheating on the temperature gauge. It takes a few minutes to climb up to temperature and then it holds there. As far a big hills, I've taken it up to 285 to the Indian Hills turn off a couple of times and it has run up the hill leaving Franktown heading east - truck runs great and no overheating.


Yes I would see what your compression is. Be sure to listen as the engine turns over to see if two cylinders are communicating with each other. But just seeing the coolant, it looks like you have compression leaks into the coolant from the head gasket.

What would I be listening for to see if two cylinders are communicating with each other?

I've been mulling this over in my head and have a strong urge to move straight to pulling the head and seeing what is going on with the gasket and taking the head to be inspected, i.e. bypass buttoning it up to do a compression check - is this an ill advised step forward?

CBone
06-29-2010, 10:01 AM
Ricardo, looks like the coffee at Javier and C's :lmao::lmao:

rover67
06-29-2010, 11:06 AM
maybe the block was all rusty and this washed it out?

rover67
06-29-2010, 11:31 AM
could the oil cooler on the motor be leaking?

RicardoJM
06-29-2010, 12:11 PM
maybe the block was all rusty and this washed it out?
It is possible and that would be great situation.

could the oil cooler on the motor be leaking?
This engine does not have an oil cooler.

MDH33
06-29-2010, 12:21 PM
Bummer Ricardo. If it's not running hot or blowing smoke, I would be tempted to just flush the cooling system and drain the oil and refill, then drive it some more and check to see if it's discolored again. Easy to do before pulling the head.

corsair23
06-29-2010, 01:42 PM
What about just running distilled water for a day or two and draining it again to see what it looks like?

Hulk
06-29-2010, 02:11 PM
Hmmm. I seem to recall reading something in TT recently from Robbie about using a certain kind of detergent to clean engines. Might be a good idea in this case?

ttubb
06-29-2010, 06:25 PM
bummer Ricardo. If It's Not Running Hot Or Blowing Smoke, I Would Be Tempted To Just Flush The Cooling System And Drain The Oil And Refill, Then Drive It Some More And Check To See If It's Discolored Again. Easy To Do Before Pulling The Head.

X2!

RicardoJM
06-30-2010, 08:18 AM
What would I be listening for to see if two cylinders are communicating with each other?

After thinking about this more, I'm pretty sure that it isn't listening with my ears but rather "hearing" what the compression numbers say, i.e. are two adjacent cylinders showing lower readings than the rest.:thumb:

powderpig
06-30-2010, 02:11 PM
It is, but at the same time as you are doing the compression test, if you hear air coming out of a adjacent cylinder(like a pop). And the numbers are low between the these two cylinders, you have a problem.

RicardoJM
07-01-2010, 09:36 PM
I re-did the timing cover gasket yesterday evening. Picked the radiator up from the shop today; I had them add an extended drain tube. Took the 40 around the block until it warmed up and then did a compression test.

Doh - when doing the compression test, I did not remove ll the plugs. I've deleted the numbers from this post (they are still in the quote UB did last night) and will do the compression test again tonight. Yes, I did remember to open the throttle on each cylinder. Stand by...

Uncle Ben
07-01-2010, 09:49 PM
I re-did the timing cover gasket yesterday evening. Picked the radiator up from the shop today; I had them add an extended drain tube. Took the 40 around the block until it warmed up and then did a compression test. The numbers are:

Cylinder #1 - 130
Cylinder #2 - 126
Cylinder #3 - 129
Cylinder #4 - 125
Cylinder #5 - 115
Cylinder #6 - 140

To my understanding, these should all be within 10% of each other. I'm not sure how to interpret the delta between #5 and #6. I listened, but could not hear (not really sure I would have known if I had heard - didn't hear a "pop") any chatter between the cylinders.

For those with more experience in interpreting compression numbers, what do you make of the above figures and my dirty coolant? Does the head need to come off to see what is going on?

While it seems to drive ok, is it ill-advisable to run it all summer and then pull the head in the fall?


The numbers are all over the board but isn't this a fresh rebuild? If so drive that sucker and don't baby it. Put some hours on it and recheck.

RicardoJM
07-01-2010, 10:02 PM
The numbers are all over the board but isn't this a fresh rebuild? If so drive that sucker and don't baby it. Put some hours on it and recheck.

Not a fresh rebuild, it is a "rebuilt many years ago, very low miles on the rebuild" engine. I've put more than 10 and less than 20 hours on it.

Rzeppa
07-02-2010, 07:30 PM
The numbers are all over the board but isn't this a fresh rebuild? If so drive that sucker and don't baby it. Put some hours on it and recheck.

X2. Drive it!

RicardoJM
07-02-2010, 08:03 PM
We did the compression check (with all the plugs removed) this evening and the numbers are:
Cylinder #1 135
Cylinder #2 133
Cylinder #3 139
Cylinder #4 132
Cylinder #5 126
Cylinder #6 145

I also warmed the truck up with the radiator cap off and looked for bubbles. There was the occasional swirl and from time to time what may be small bubbles. I've not ever seen the bubbles that indicate combustion gases. As the truck warmed up the coolant started to rise out the top so I put the cap back on.

I took the old coolant to disposal and when it was pouring out of the bucket it was not as dark as it looked in the picture and it had a green tint to it. The bottom of the bucket had some reddish brown residue, not much. Perhaps it is stuff from inside the block.

I'm going to flush the cooling system, i.e. a few cycles of drain the radiator, fill with distilled water and run it to clear it out and run it for a while and keep an eye on things.

Air Randy
07-02-2010, 09:17 PM
You have everything to gain by doing that and nothing to lose. If the coolant keeps getting oil in it then move on to the next item.

I'm assuming your compression check number were taken warm and with the throttle held open? I would say the numbers look pretty good, although it is a little suspicious that #5 is a little low and #6 is high. It is very common to have the head gasket leak through the land between cylinders 5 & 6. That was the problem when I pulled the head on my motor when I had 0 psi in cylinder 5.

You could be leaking compression from 5 in to 6. Do you have a fitting so you can inject compressed air into the cylinders? Put #5 at TDC and hook your compressor to it (keep your hands clear, it can make the engine move a little) once the compressor stops running and it gets quiet, listen near the #6 spark plug hole and the intake/exhaust manifold to see if you can hear air hissing. Usually you get an adaptor with your compression tester that you can screw a 1/4" air fitting into in order to inject air in the cylinder, or I have one you can borrow.

RicardoJM
07-02-2010, 10:29 PM
I'm assuming your compression check number were taken warm and with the throttle held open?

Yes, the engine was up to operating temperature and the throttle full to the floor on each cylinder.

Do you have a fitting so you can inject compressed air into the cylinders? ... Usually you get an adaptor with your compression tester that you can screw a 1/4" air fitting into in order to inject air in the cylinder, or I have one you can borrow.
I don't have a fitting, but have been thinking about doing this as well.

Air Randy
07-03-2010, 12:08 PM
Drive down to my place, we can use my fitting and big air compressor to check it out.