Head gasket

Tiny
JONATHAN MOORE
  • MEMBER
  • 1992 DODGE SHADOW
  • 2.5L
  • 4 CYL
  • 2WD
  • MANUAL
  • 100,000 MILES
Think I have a blown head gasket. I tried bars leak head gasket and has not worked! Does my heater and AC fan have to work to use this product? What product would you recommend?
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Wednesday, June 13th, 2018 AT 10:21 PM

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Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • MECHANIC
  • 33,660 POSTS
Hold on. Head gasket problems are not common on this engine. What tests were done and what symptoms led you to believe it is a leaking head gasket? I know there are "mechanic-in-a-can" chemicals to solve leaks, but I have never seen anyone permanently solve a leaking head gasket with them. If they really worked that well, we would not need mechanics.
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Wednesday, June 13th, 2018 AT 10:35 PM
Tiny
JONATHAN MOORE
  • MEMBER
  • 4 POSTS
When it first started overheating I changed the thermostat to a 160 degree then flushed my radiator and the motor. Lots of dirty water kind of rusty came out. I thought I had solved it then. Well it started overheating again and I had loss of power pulling a hill and milky looking oil. So then I drained the radiator and followed the directions on the bottle and it seemed fine for a day or so, but now I have got white smoke. Honestly, I got it at a steal and it has been my little work transportation and I do not have much cash to sink in it. But I am at a loss and my hearts broke a little.
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Wednesday, June 20th, 2018 AT 6:07 AM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • MECHANIC
  • 33,660 POSTS
Milky white residue on the bottom of the oil cap is more commonly the result of excessive short-trip driving where the oil does not get hot enough for the condensation to vaporize and be pulled out through the PCV valve, but white smoke from the tail pipe usually is the definitive clue to a leaking head gasket. Darn the bad luck!

There is two tests you can do to confirm this before you tear the engine apart. One is a chemical test at the radiator. Air is drawn through a glass cylinder with two chambers partially-filled with a special dark blue liquid, while the engine is running. If combustion gases are sneaking into the cooling system, the liquid will turn bright yellow. You can borrow this tester from an auto parts store that rents or borrows tools, but they will make you buy your own bottle of liquid. That is because it is rendered ineffective if it freezes or if it becomes contaminated with antifreeze. They do not want to risk borrowing it to you with contaminated fluid. That is why they made the last person buy their own bottle of fluid.

You can also add a small bottle of dark purple dye to the coolant, then check a day or two later with a black light. The dye will show up as a bright yellow stain that you can follow back to the source. If the cylinder head gasket is leaking, you will find the dye inside the tail pipe. Auto parts stores will have the correct dye for the fluid being tested, and those that rent or borrow tools should have a black light.

For the record, the Shadow and Sundance were some of my favorite cars. They are easy to work on, and are as tough as little ostrich eggs. A friend's girlfriend was driving his Shadow, and pulled into traffic where she was hit in the driver's door by a full-size Monte Carlo going thirty five mph. The impact never made it to the interior door panel thanks to a steel beam inside the door. These cars were way tougher than the plastic Neons that replaced it.
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Wednesday, June 20th, 2018 AT 8:16 PM

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