Should a mechanic know if your car has a lower intake gasket leak or a cracked head or head gasket?

Tiny
ADAMS1029
  • MEMBER
  • 1999 BUICK CENTURY
  • 13,700 MILES
I have had issues with the car since shortly after I purchased it used in 2000. The low coolant light would come on quite often. I had the lower intake gasket replaced in 2001 and it seemed okay. Fast forward to 2011. Low coolant light coming on again and car started running hot. One night I had my son who has special needs with me, and coming over the river bridge it went into the red. I was concerned for our safety so I drove aprox.1 to 2 miles with it in the red till we were in a lighted area. I had a friend take a look and he replaced a hose and filled with coolant. I got the car home and it was still having problems so I took it to a shop. They replaced the lower intake gasket for $600.00 I have had issues with it still overheating, took it back and they replaced the thermostat. Still having problems and I had to pull over another night after going about 3 miles down the road. Friend looked at it and he said the fan didn't seem to be running, turned on ac and the car didn't overheat for the remainder of the drive. I have only driven short distances but have had the temp gauge fluctuate alot with it begining to go into the red numerous times. If I turn off the heater (which takes a long time to warm up) and run the ac it will usually stop the tempature from going to the red. I drop it back off at the shop for a third time because it still was overheating after driving 5 miles, and told them about running the ac seemed to help. He stated he could not duplicate the problem and temp gauge went up to 3/4 mark but no further. Picked my car back up on a Friday and sure enough my car was overheating all weekend. Took it back yesterday and I said lets take a ride. He changed a spark plug because it was missing on # 2. Restarted the car and the engine was not missing. He then bled the air out of a line in two places until coolant came out. Restarted and shortly after engine was missing again and white fog was blowing from the tail pipe. He then informed me it was probably a cracked head and they don't work on engines. I asked if that was the problam initally because I would not have spent 600 to replace the intake gasket if I would have know that the head was cracked. He said you did have coolant in your oil when you 1st brought it in, but that it may have been weak and cracked after. There is really no way to know until it is torn apart and and that they don't work on engines and it would be too expensive to repair. Also, my car has been making a gurgle or bubble nosie after I drive it and park.

Thank you so much for taking the time to review and get back with me!
Do you
have the same problem?
Yes
No
Thursday, December 15th, 2011 AT 9:07 PM

15 Replies

Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
The noise may be coolant boiling. Since you are seeing white smoke, that leads me to believe there is a head gasket problem. My guess is it deals with the #2 cylinder. I would recommend checking engine compression to see if it is lower in that cylinder.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Thursday, December 15th, 2011 AT 9:25 PM
Tiny
ADAMS1029
  • MEMBER
I believe he checked it when he hooked it up to see which cylinder was misfiring but I'm not sure. I feel the owner knows what he is doing but not his help who first worked on my car when he was out of town. I will try taking it somewhere else. Is it difficult to tell if it was a cracked head or head gasket and/or an intake gasket issue from the first time I took it in? Could it have been both or could it have happened after I got the intake gasket replaced? Thanks again!
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Thursday, December 15th, 2011 AT 9:38 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
It could have been both. As far as telling, it should be taken apart and checked to be sure.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Thursday, December 15th, 2011 AT 9:41 PM
Tiny
ADAMS1029
  • MEMBER
BTW, he said the two fans that blow on the engine were suppose to feel warm air and it was blowing cool air. My car lately has to be restarted as it stalls out initally.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Thursday, December 15th, 2011 AT 9:42 PM
Tiny
ADAMS1029
  • MEMBER
Thank you for the information and quick response you were very helpful
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Thursday, December 15th, 2011 AT 9:44 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
I'm not sure what he means by the fans. Other than, they shouldn't turn until the engine reaches a specific temp. At that point, the air should be hot because the radiator should be hot. Maybe there is no coolant circulating.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Thursday, December 15th, 2011 AT 9:47 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
And by the way, you are very welcome.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Thursday, December 15th, 2011 AT 9:47 PM
Tiny
ADAMS1029
  • MEMBER
Yes, the engine was getting hot after I started it and it was left to idle for a few minutes. He had me feel the air and said it's cool that isn't good.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Thursday, December 15th, 2011 AT 9:55 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
That tells me the radiator may be plugged.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Thursday, December 15th, 2011 AT 9:59 PM
Tiny
ADAMS1029
  • MEMBER
I don't think it was flushed after the lower intake gasket was replaced. So would flushing the radiator solve the problem (possibly) or is it likely that it is a cracked head. Can that happen by not flushing the radiator?
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Thursday, December 15th, 2011 AT 10:08 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
I think there is a chance the radiator is plugged which caused the problem. I don't feel it will fix the problem unless nothing was damaged.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Thursday, December 15th, 2011 AT 10:20 PM
Tiny
ADAMS1029
  • MEMBER
You are good! Your knowledge has been very helpful! I will leave you alone now.

Best Regards
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Thursday, December 15th, 2011 AT 10:31 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
I hope I helped. You can get in touch with me anytime. Let me know what you find.

Joe
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Friday, December 16th, 2011 AT 2:35 AM
Tiny
ADAMS1029
  • MEMBER
Well, I spoke to the owner of the shop. I reminded him of what his website says, if they can't fix your car you don't pay and that they have the expertise to fix it right the first time and all proper repairs have a one year warranty. I guess that is a joke because I would not have called twice and brought it back four times if my car would have been fixed right the first time.
He said it was fixed, that coolant was leaking out the engine on the ground from the seam of the intake gasket and into the oil. That he didn't need to do a compression test the first time because he could tell it was fine. The final time I took it in he did a compression test, he could hear the engine was missing, changed the spark plug on the #2 cylinder, it was fine for a few minutes, but when he bled the air out of the line then it started missing again and white smoke was coming out of the tail pipe. I feel if it was just the intake gasket to begin with that when I picked my car up the first time I would not still been having pverheating problems? What do you think? Am I being unreasonable? He said the third time I dropped it off he could not duplicate the provblem but when I picked it up that very evening I was still having the problem.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Tuesday, December 20th, 2011 AT 7:39 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Get him to ride in the vehicle with you so you can show him the problem.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Tuesday, December 20th, 2011 AT 11:10 PM

Please login or register to post a reply.

Recommended Guides