How can I tell if I have blowngasket or cracked head91ranger

  • 1991 FORD RANGER

My 1991 ranger (75.000 mi) 3.0 standard pickup has been running hot but not really overheating, I changed thermastat, and radiator, just picked truck up from radiator shop. Still running hot (needle between al and line) I can smell scalding coolant and I see moisture and steam forming on the right side of the block. Just above the exhaust. I also have tell tale water in oil signs like its milky looking and the oil is really hot. I know that this is at least a head gasket problem but how can I know if the damage is any worse without paying 30. Dollars an hour to have someone take it apart. Dont really trust the shops in my area ( a lot of bad business to say the least. And my oil wasnt milky Before they replaced the radiator)? Im not a mechanic by any means but id like to keep from paying out cash I dont have for something I dont need.

Do you
have the same problem?
Saturday, April 29th, 2006 AT 12:10 AM

1 Reply


The most accurate response to your question is that the head really has to be removed to be tested for a leak. If you take it to a machine shop they can bolt it down to a test bench, put a few plugs in it, and pressure it up to check for leaks. If it is good, that doesn't necessarily leave just the gasket. While it would be the most suspect if the head was ruled out, it could still be a block problem.

You do, however, have a glimmer of hope in the statement of you seeing steam on the right side of the block. With the enigne cool, you can pressure up the cooling system and check for external leaks at the head gasket level. Also, while you are looking, be careful to check around the spark plugs, an area that heads like to crack. The tool to pressure it up, which you may be able to borrow from a shop or parts store, or rent at a rental shop, is a little hand pump with a pressure guage and a fitting that fits your radiator cap. Don't go any higher with the pressure than is recommended in the instructions to test the capacity of your system.

Best of luck with your repair.

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Saturday, April 29th, 2006 AT 12:25 AM

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