Engine Repair - Head Gasket
 
Car Head Gasket
  You can perform a compression test of all cylinders to check for a failed head gasket. If the gasket has failed between two adjacent cylinders, those two cylinders will have low numbers. You also can use the compression tester hose (with the Shrader valve removed) to apply compressed air to each cylinder. When the air enters the cylinder, a leak to the cooling system or oil passages will produce pressurized air in those systems as well (check for bubbles in the radiator or air escaping the valve covers or oil dipstick).
  How do you know if you have a bad head gasket in the first place? Some of the signs of a bad head gasket make it  easy to diagnose, while other signs make you get out special tools for testing. Depending upon where the gasket failure occurs on the gasket, you can have a large amount of coolant entering the combustion chamber, which causes billowing white smoke to exit the tailpipe, along with raw coolant (if the failure is severe enough).
  Another easy diagnosis is when the gasket failure is between a coolant passage, the combustion chamber, and an oil passage. When this occurs, the cooling system and engine crankcase oil mix, creating a beige soupy substance throughout the engine and cooling system. Removing the oil fill cap, dipstick, or radiator cap, and visually inspecting the contents should immediately tell you if this situation has occurred.
  Sometimes, though, the reason behind a bad head gasket is not evident and testing needs to be done to detect the problem. If a head gasket failure is minor, then it may be hard to get to the bottom of things. Small failures can cause overheating and/or coolant loss as well as poor driveability. Testing each cylinder for compression, testing cylinder leakdown, and pressure-testing the cooling system are necessary for an accurate diagnosis.
Here's an easy diagnostic exercise that you can try while the engine is COLD:



Remove the radiator cap and verify that there is plenty of water in the radiator.
Add water if necessary.
Start the truck.
Stand back and watch the radiator opening for a few seconds.

I
f there is internal engine damage, you should see the anti-freeze shooting out of the radiator neck. Do this only when the water and the engine are cold or you will burn yourself.

 
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  Think you have a blown head gasket in your car? Get step by step instructions on how to access a blown head gasket with expert auto maintenance tips in this free car repair video. Video
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