How to find which side (rear or front) head gasket is blown

Tiny
SUNSARO67
  • MEMBER
  • 1995 TOYOTA CAMRY
  • 3.0L
  • V6
  • FWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 186,400 MILES
I need to replace the head gasket, but do not know which side of the v6 engine has the problem?
Do you
have the same problem?
Yes
No
Friday, December 23rd, 2016 AT 5:07 PM

5 Replies

Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
We always replace both head gaskets. If one is leaking due to corrosion, mainly from old coolant that has become acidic, it is just a matter of time before the second one starts leaking too. Your customer is not going to be pleased with you for trying to save a few bucks now, then having to do the job over a second time later. That is like buying one new sock to replace the old one with a hole in it.

If the leak does not seal itself when the engine is off, you can find the leaking cylinder with a "cylinder leakage test". That involves forcing compressed air into the cylinder, through a tester that regulates that air pressure to around 30 psi. The piston must be at TDC on the compression stroke. The gauge on the tester will show the percent leakage, and you can listen in four places to identify the cause of excessive leakage. With a leaking head gasket, you will see bubbles in the radiator. For a leaking intake valve, you will hear hissing at the throttle body. For a leaking exhaust valve, you will hear hissing at the tail pipe. If the piston rings aren't sealing well, you'll hear hissing at the oil cap or dipstick tube.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
+1
Friday, December 23rd, 2016 AT 5:19 PM
Tiny
SUNSARO67
  • MEMBER
Thank you for your reply.
The car runs smoothly for few minutes until the normal temperature is reached. After that it is missing with bubbles in the radiator. No bubbles and the compression test results were satisfactory when the engine is cold.

If I do the compression leak test when the engine is cold will I be able to detect the leak?
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Friday, December 23rd, 2016 AT 7:23 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Yes, I included the comment about the leak not sealing up when the engine is not running. When the leak is small, it might take the high pressure of combustion gases to force those gases into the cooling system. The tester limits air pressure to around thirty pounds, and that might not be enough yet to cause leakage.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Friday, December 23rd, 2016 AT 7:29 PM
Tiny
SUNSARO67
  • MEMBER
Thanks again. I think the solution is replacing both side head gaskets.

Wish you Merry Christmas and happy new year.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Friday, December 23rd, 2016 AT 10:43 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Yup. That is the only proper repair. If you are losing coolant and you want to verify it is due to a head gasket, add a small bottle of dark purple dye in the radiator, then check a day later with a black light. The dye will show up as a bright yellow stain. If a head gasket is leaking, you will find the dye inside the tail pipe. Auto parts stores will have the right dye for the fluid being tested, and those that rent or borrow tools should have a black light.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
+1
Saturday, December 24th, 2016 AT 1:07 PM

Please login or register to post a reply.

Recommended Guides