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Thread: Blown Head Gasket Symptons

  1. #1
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    Blown Head Gasket Symptons

    Hello to all! Im new to the page. I was hoping for some good advice.
    I have a 2001 ford focus and it has 56000 miles on it. When i parked my car i noticed smoke coming from under the car, just behind the front tires. I opened the hood and noticed a small leak around the engine block. The substance was a light oil colored. I also heard crackling and minor smoke coming from the exhaust manifold. My car recently over heated and i changed the thermostat. Has not over heated since. I do not see white smoke from exhaust pipe nor do i see a loss of anti-freeze. Is this a "Blown Head Gasket" or can this leak be fixed with a liquad leak repair such as "Bars Leaks" or "Thermagasket"??? Heard mechanics can charge up to $1000. Money is tight in this day and age of economics.

  2. #2
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    How does the exhaust smell?
    Sweet? Oily? Or normal?

    Are you losing oil or coolant? (check the levels)

    Is there an oily film floating on top of the coolant when you remove the radiator cap? (wait for it to cool down first to avoid being scalded)

    If any of the above are true, get the car towed to your mechanic -- do not drive it or run it for more than a few seconds. You'd only make it much much more expensive to fix.

    Chip H.

  3. #3
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mattyice21 View Post
    Hello to all! Im new to the page. I was hoping for some good advice.
    I have a 2001 ford focus and it has 56000 miles on it. When i parked my car i noticed smoke coming from under the car, just behind the front tires. I opened the hood and noticed a small leak around the engine block. The substance was a light oil colored. I also heard crackling and minor smoke coming from the exhaust manifold. My car recently over heated and i changed the thermostat. Has not over heated since. I do not see white smoke from exhaust pipe nor do i see a loss of anti-freeze. Is this a "Blown Head Gasket" or can this leak be fixed with a liquad leak repair such as "Bars Leaks" or "Thermagasket"??? Heard mechanics can charge up to $1000. Money is tight in this day and age of economics.
    Hi Matty,

    Based on what you have described my first guess would you've just got an ordinary leak someplace; a hose, cam/valve cover gasket, thermostat/timing cover/water pump housing, etc.

    The head gasket is (of course) sandwiched between the block and head and the typical failure involves an internal leak that allows oil to escape into a water jacket or a combustion chamber - and vice versa. This is why head gasket failure symptoms are commonly loss of coolant, white smoke (coolant being consumed in the combustion chamber) and/or oily coolant in the radiator.

    Here are a few things to check/try:

    * When the engine is cold, after sitting overnight, open the radiator cap. Check the condition of the coolant. Is it oily looking? If yes, that's suggestive of head gasket failure.

    * With the cap off (engine cold!) start the engine and look inside the radiator. Do you see any air bubbles? If so, that's suggestive of head gasket failure.

    * Engine cold - check the oil dipstick. Is it milky looking? If it is, you almost certainly have a head gasket problem (or worse, a cracked block.)

    I do not recommend that "stop leak" stuff, incidentally. It might do more than just plug a leak in your radiator. It could also gunk up your cooling system, in particular the (very expensive and PITAS to fix) heater core. If the radiator has a small leak, repairing or replacing it (a good used one should not be expensive) is the way to go - unless you plan to sell the car in the very near future...

    Hope this was helpful - and welcome to the site!
    Last edited by Eric; 01-28-2009 at 07:03 PM.

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