I have a 1997 cavalier z24 w/ 154,000 miles. I have recently replaced the thermostat and water outlet. As I was making these repairs I noticed what appeared to be oil around the head gasket. Im not sure if it is from the head gasket or not but while the water outlet was leaking the engine ran extremely hot a few times. To be on the safe side (not being a mechanic or having any mechanical training) Im going to attempt to replace the gasket myself. My question is. If I take the head off do I need to adjust anything (due to removing the head) before I replace it? Or can I simply remove the head replace the gasket then put it back together.
Well, I doubt that is where your oil is coming from but have you been losing water? Any white smoke out the exhaust? That is normally the indication of a bad head gasket. Oil maybe from the valve cover gasket leaking?If you do change the head gasket have the head checked to make sure it didn't warp from overheating- esspecially if it is aluminum- as the gasket won't seal good unless surfaces are smooth and even. Also the bolts that hold the head have to be tightened down in a certain order and torqued to a certain ft.-Lb. Setting. If this is not done the new gasket you put in will be toast in a very short time.
Also, not knowing what motor you have there is the issue of the valves needing reset when you take the head off. Sorry but there is more to it than just changing a gasket. Good luck and happy wrenching!
November, 1, 2006 AT 12:01 PM
I was also uncertain as to where the leak was coming from because there are no other warning signs (no smoke, no smell, nothing) other than I visually saw oil in those particular areas. After I replaced the wateroutlet I was no longer losing water (water problem solved). Further inspection into the oil problem with an uncertified mechanic led us to believe that the powersteering pump was leaking fluid. I have a 2.4L 16V DOHC engine which has an integrated shaft driven power steering pump. Also we discovered some type of fluid covering the bottom of the intake manifold that looked and smelled more like brake fluid than motor oil. It's obvious to say that I have fluids leaking everywhere and no idea where to start to find the sources. HELP! 97 cavalier for sale, any takers. Thank you all for your responses.