1993 Buick Lesabre Possible Head Gasket Issues?

  • 6 CYL
  • FWD
  • 120,000 MILES
Not sure on cyl or front wheel drive (took a guess).

Here's my problem: Just replace the transmission two (2) weeks ago. Started having perfromance issues again-I was checking the fluid levels in car when I noticed a muddy like appearance to coolant in reservior. Car is NOT overheating, NO white smoke coming from tailpipe, HAVE heat, oil on dip stick looks black and No odor, coolant in reservior is full and IS overflowing and we did NOT add fluid over the level line. Coolant appears to have an oily feeling and DOES smell different (paint, gas - or a solvent odor?). No milky like substance found on radiator or oil caps. Radiator also has same color coolant. Does NOT seem real thick, but might be a little thicker then antifreeze (maybe not - hard to tell). I am tossed up if it is a head gasket issue or maybe thermostat (or something else). I do not seem to have the typical bad head gasket symptoms. I have no experience in car repairs and as I sit here typing, my car waits at the shop for an evalaution. I just put $2300 in for a new transmission, rt front axle and CV boot, now this. Car is in great shape and I usually don't have maintenance issues. Car also doesn't want to accelerate at times when you gas it - I might have to take it back to the trans shop after this other problem is fixed. I just add more trans fluid again which seems to fix the hesitation. I am wondering if it is something the trans shop did to my car? Cannot by a new or used car at this time. Any suggestions or comments? Hopefully it will not be an expension repair. Single Mom with three kids and a good working, relaible car is a MUST! Let me know what you think. Thanks!
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have the same problem?
Saturday, January 17th, 2009 AT 1:28 PM

1 Reply

Generally I've found that if you have oil in your coolant, then you do have a bad gasket. Whether that's the head gasket is another story.

Gasoline is probably leaking into the coolant via some place, as if you had oil in the coolant, then the oil would get soapy on the dipstick.

Since the car is running, for the most part fine, and you didn't indicate any idling issues or large amounts of smoke coming from the tail pipe, I'm left to conclude that the head gasket is shot. The only 2 places that gas comes in contact with coolant are the combustion chamber and the intake manifold. (Some cars).

I ran into a similar situation with a Buick Century, whereby the the valve body had a crack between the intake valve and the exhaust valve that caused excessive smoke to pour out the back. I also ran into a similar problem on another LeSabre where the valve body was warped and caused fluid and gasoline to mix, which under pressure changes the boil point of the coolant, and caused the engine to run hotter, thus blowing coolant all over the place.

It definitely sounds like Gasket problems. Make sure that the garage that replaces the gasket, uses new bolts to secure the valve body to the main engine. Old bolts have been stretched to strange proportions and only new bolts will make a good seal.
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Friday, February 6th, 2009 AT 11:55 PM

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