If coolant is getting into the oil, it will cause it to foam and turn a medium brown - about like a chocolate milk shake.
If you have head gasket problems, they have to manifest themselves in one of three primary ways:
1) Coolant in the oil. As described above. Also, you can just loosen the oil drian plug - only to the point that it starts to drip. Catch the drips. If there is coolant in the oil, it will settle to the bottom, and will be the first thing to drip out.
2) External leaks. Drips coming from the areas where the block and head come together. On the outside sides of the engine right under the exhaust manifolds is the most common place to see drips if a head gasket is leaking externally.
3) Coolant getting into the combustion chamber(s). This is easily spotted by removing the spark plugs. A plug that is clean and white will indicate that coolant has gotten into that cylinder. A normal plug shows a light brown coloring of the ceramic insulator on the engine side of the plug.
Is it worth it? Well, if the rest of the car is in good shape, and doesn't have a problem with rattles or rust, and the interior is still reasonable complete, clean, and comfortable, I would say yes. The 3.0 engine (not SHO), I have seen in fleets with over 300,000 miles on them and still running good and not using oil. Once you work through this problem, yours can do the same.
Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009 AT 4:46 PM