1998 Chevy Cavalier - Blown head gasket cause a no start?

Tiny
TURBLOWN
  • MEMBER
  • 1998 CHEVROLET CAVALIER
  • 4 CYL
  • FWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 90,000 MILES
2200 SPI engine, OHV. Car is stock. Car overheated and towed home. Replaced thermostat to fix overheat and found that the engine cranks but won't start. Tried to jump start the battery, did not start. Replaced spark plugs, did not start. Did a compression test: 100 95 50 120. Noticed coolant leak under the exhaust manifold when cranking. Used a vacuum pump on each cylinder (spark plugs removed) and extracted coolant. Most coolant found in cylinder 2 (95 on comp test). I understand that either the head gasket is blown or the head may be warped, but would that cause a no start when I'm still getting decent compression? Shouldn't it turn over and then start to smoke? My intent is to replace the head gasket, but I want to make sure that I can get the car to turn over. Please help!


http://www.2carpros.com/forum/automotive_pictures/170644_2200_1.jpg


(same model, not actual car)
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Thursday, March 20th, 2008 AT 10:44 AM

12 Replies

Tiny
SERVICE WRITER
  • EXPERT
Looks like 2 cylinders are low on compression. Half the engine not firing? If there is sufficient fuel and spark, then compression has to be addressed.

Did it ever not crank?
Hopefully hydrolic compression didn't occur and cause damage to the connecting rods.
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Thursday, March 20th, 2008 AT 10:59 AM
Tiny
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Fuel was in the coolant that I extracted from each cylinder and spark is good.

Engine started and ran when hot/overheating, but would not start after it cooled down. It cranks very strong so know battery and starter are okay. It seems like there is a constant flow of coolant into cylinder 2 (95 on comp test) because I could never get it fully dried out. How would I test/look for hydrolic compression? It feels like I'm missing something small. I'm pretty sure it should still be able to start even though it's leaking coolant.
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Thursday, March 20th, 2008 AT 11:12 AM
Tiny
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Hydrolic compression is when the cylinder fills with coolant enough that the piston cannot reach full extension. If it happened it is too late.

With 2 cylinders low I would expect it to fire
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Thursday, March 20th, 2008 AT 12:13 PM
Tiny
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That makes sense, but I don't think that is the case here.

As would I. Are there any other tests/inspections I can do to narrow down the problem?
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Thursday, March 20th, 2008 AT 12:17 PM
Tiny
SERVICE WRITER
  • EXPERT
Sorry I was at work and had to end it mid-sentence.

We need to eliminate some things. You are sure the fuel and spark is good? Just to cover the basics.
We are assumng the fuel pressure is good.

What codes are listed in the computer.

Is the anti-theft light on?

IF the fuel is and spark are both good that only leaves timing and compression. We know the compression is bad on 2 cylinders.

Timing chain may have jumped is the only other thing that I can think of that may be causing a 2nd potential problem, but doubt it at 90,000 miles.

I would pull the head and get it thoroughly checked, would be surprised if it was cracked. Try to identify the cause of failure areas if possible.

I would replace the head bolts on this and be sure that the tightening sequence and torque is followed and met. I don't see why you would have to go back into the head area in the event of a no start.
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Thursday, March 20th, 2008 AT 4:42 PM
Tiny
JACK42
  • MEMBER
If the head gasket is blown between the center two cylinders, the opposing force for the end cylinders is missing and getting it to run may be difficult
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Thursday, March 20th, 2008 AT 5:30 PM
Tiny
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Thank you for the information Service Writer and 2CarPro Jack. I will take a look at it further when I get home tonight. I am picking up a head gasket, valve cover gasket and head bolts in the morning. I would like to get the engine started before I remove the head, but if not I will inspect the damage throughly while it is dismantled. I will report back with findings when I have them.
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Thursday, March 20th, 2008 AT 6:23 PM
Tiny
SERVICE WRITER
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Absolutley get a machine shop to evaluate this head. Pressure test and surfaced if okay. I would not want to reassemble otherwise.

Couple notes. Look at the dowl pin areas and the gasket at that point on disassembly. When removing the cylinder head bolts, pay attention to how they come out. I have heard of re-tapping needs on some of the bolts.#4 maybe?
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Thursday, March 20th, 2008 AT 6:37 PM
Tiny
TURBLOWN
  • MEMBER
Okay. I got the Head and Head Gasket off this weekend and took some pics. I've posted some pics in this thread and I have put ALL of the pics (full size - 2 pages) here:

Obviously, coolant needs to be removed from each cylindar, again. I'm going to have the head tested by a machine shop as suggested before I install the new HG. I will be replacing the valve cover gasket and the gaskets for the intake and exhaust manifolds as well. I also need to clean the block surface.


http://www.2carpros.com/forum/automotive_pictures/170644_Head_Top_1.jpg



http://www.2carpros.com/forum/automotive_pictures/170644_Head_Bottom_1.jpg



http://www.2carpros.com/forum/automotive_pictures/170644_Block_1.jpg

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Monday, March 24th, 2008 AT 3:54 PM
Tiny
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I got the head inspected by a machine shop. They recommended a pressure test, resurface, and a valve job. I agreed to the tune of $275. I cleaned up the block and cylinders myself. I replaced the head gasket and reassembled the engine. I then did a compression test (engine cold) and got 167 171 174 164. A huge improvement from before.

I went to start the car and the engine turned over beautifully but only ran for about 3 seconds and died. I will be posting about this in another thread. So the answer to this question is: YES, if the head gasket is blown enough it can restrict the engine from fully starting. Thank you.


http://www.2carpros.com/forum/automotive_pictures/170644_IM001891_1.jpg



http://www.2carpros.com/forum/automotive_pictures/170644_IM001894_1.jpg



http://www.2carpros.com/forum/automotive_pictures/170644_IM001889_1.jpg



PS - I would give points to the guys that helped me, but apparently I don't have any to give.
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Wednesday, April 2nd, 2008 AT 10:26 AM
Tiny
SERVICE WRITER
  • EXPERT
Nice pics. Purty!

GLad to see progress is happening.
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Wednesday, April 2nd, 2008 AT 5:24 PM
Tiny
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I got the car running again! Check out my second thread here:
http://www.2carpros.com/forum/here-vp232813.html#232813

Thanks again for all the help!
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Thursday, April 3rd, 2008 AT 9:10 AM

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