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Old 09-27-2003, 09:32 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: austin, texas
Posts: 26
how bad can it be/oil leak,/coolant leak

Searching related threads, it appears that I need a head gasket. Over the initial terror and hysteria and looking forward to taking on the job. Want to be sure.

Was driving about 10 minutes, smelt oil, pulled over, popped hood, noticed the engine felt hot (temp gauge has been erratic, and inaccurate) noticed oil leaking from head near the front of engine. Check oil, it was low between the low mark and the end of dipstick. Restarted, which took painfully long, didn;'t want to go, drove 4 blocks added 2 quarts of oil. Car stalled ( this is what is spooky: may have run out of fuel at the exact time) wouldn't start. Added 2 gallons of fuel, Got a jumo start, fired up pretty good, (much easier than before0 Maybe simply b/c it was cold.
Noticed that the exhaust pipe spit about 3 table spoons of water(not 50/50 mixture) Added coolant/water mix, took 3/4 of a gallon. Drove home 6 miles, had power and ran smooth.
Noticed hiss/bubbliong from the radiatir around the top where plastic and metal meet.
Pistons pressurized the radiator? COuldn't find thread verification on this.
So, pretty sure I need a head gasket anbd maybe a radiator.
Compression check first?
Also committd to getting the dash demon fixed, bad ground, temp sensor.
Have done some heads on non deisels, how much is it to have it checked for cracks, not always visible. DO they have a DIY product get to check for hairlines?
Thanks everyone.

1972 220d Blew motor twice! ouch
1985 300TDT 169k
Many nissan pickups 86-89 200k plus
A vast portfolio of oldies
1949 chevy 1/2 ton
1947 international kb-3
1955 Cadillac coupe de ville
many others
1977 BMW R 100/7
1987 BMW K100RS
1985 Honda XR350
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Old 09-27-2003, 11:03 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: PA
Posts: 5,440

I think you should first get the radiator fixed or replaced if it is leaking.

If you are still loosing water, get the cooling system pressure tested.

BTW, an engine always feels hot after it is running. You can't tell the temperature of the engine by feeling it. It the engine wasn't steaming, it wasn't too hot. Possibly the temperature gage is erratic because of problems in the head.

As far as I know the only way to check for cracks that are not visible is to Magnaflux the head. This only works on iron heads and since you didn't specify what model car or engine you have, I don't know if you have an iron or aluminum head.

Its normal to have water come out of the exhaust system because the products of combustion are CO2 and H2O (water). Usually it comes out as an invisable vapor but in cold weather, some of the vapor condenses in the cold pipes and muffler and comes out the tail pipe as water.

Exactly where did the oil leak out of the head?

I had a 190D that burned oil at about 100 miles per quart. I eventually found that the head was cracked in the oil passage that sends oil to lubricate the cam. All the oil went into cylinder one and was burned. The engine didn't leak water, just oil. So I suppose you head could be cracked and leak oil externally. If it does you probably need another head, cylinder head that is.


Last edited by P.E.Haiges; 09-27-2003 at 11:09 PM.
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