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Old 09-14-2010, 11:30 AM   #1
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Question Head gasket again? Help

Bought this 97 TJ 2.5 auto, 144k 4 weeks ago. Runs good, a little rough at first startup in morning and after stopping for an hr or so. I have been smelling antifreeze lately. Been keeping my eye on the overflow bottle, no change in level. This morning I noticed a larger than usual steam vapor trail out the tailpipe upon first start of the morning. Got to work and overflow was still full, so I popped the rad cap off. No coolant to be seen. So I dumped the coolant that was in the overflow in to the rad and it used pretty much all of it 1 1/2qt maybe. When I first got Jeep the coolant was full but I did add more 2 weeks after, maybe air in system I thought. But thinking back, I believe it is losing it somewhere. When it cools I will remove plugs and look for a difference. If one is clean and white, might that be the culprit cyl? Does this sound like a head gasket? I found paperwork dated 1-28-10. PO had new head gasket, 1 exh valve replaced, seats/valves cut, head resurfaced, and new head bolts all done for $1072. Now I got another head gasket bad?? WTF--- Any ideas are apprecieated!!

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Old 09-14-2010, 11:40 AM   #2
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I'd suspect a leak more than a head gasket. If the radiator was dry, all that coolant had to go somewhere. Have you pulled the dipstick and checked for coolant in the oil? That much coolant disappearing probably would have broken something internally by now if it was in the crankcase. Check your freeze plugs, water pump, hoses and all around the head for leaks. Does your heat work?

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Old 09-14-2010, 11:54 AM   #3
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Does the exhaust smell like coolant? sounds like its a big problem where ever it is, that much coolant shouldn't go missing w/o leaving a sign... If you haven't noticed any puddles under the jeep and you are 1/2 way observant then its most likely getting burned(or attempting to get burned) via the headgasket. Coolant in the oil is something to look into, but you could only get so much before it either blew the engine or started burping out out of everywhere.
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Old 09-14-2010, 12:00 PM   #4
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Check your freeze plugs as well. Did you have pressure on the system?
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Old 09-14-2010, 12:38 PM   #5
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Well when I said the rad was low I didnt mean dry, I just couldnt see the level cause the top was empty. It took about a quart or so to bring it up. NO water in oil. Oil is clear and clean (about 1k). Freeze plugs, they look a little rusty but NO weeping, wetness or staining underneath them. I will keep that in mind for replacement. No leaks, oil or water anywhere on and around the engine. Heat blows hot! The vapor cloud exiting the tailpipe looked bigger than usual. Faint smell of antifreeze once in a while. No specific time. I did try to smell the exhaust from a distance this morning but not sure if I caught any antifreeze smell. Pressure in the system, yes it does hold pressure. How much, hard to describe. I was wondering why it didnt pull the fluid from the overflow tank back in. Could that also mean there is an air brake so no vacuum available to pull the fluid back in? Thanks all for your help so far.
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Old 09-14-2010, 12:47 PM   #6
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there is a pump that will put air pressure in. Take out the sparkplugs out and (might it sit a min) turn it over. water should come out. It wont tell you if its the gasket or a cracked head tho.
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Old 09-14-2010, 01:18 PM   #7
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The overflow line to the expansion tank is in good shape and the clamps are fine? If not the coolant can expand and be lost and then air sucks back in. You'd get a smell from that.
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Old 09-14-2010, 02:00 PM   #8
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Overflow line is in good shape and tight on both ends. Also my comp tester wont fit down in the plug hole cause its a tight fit and has both sizes on the end (to big). I believe the dealers have a carbon tester for the coolant to check for combustion gases. Anyone ever had this done? Cost? Only a couple family gas stations in area and 1 dealer about 10mi away. I pretty much figure its internal. No visible leaks, no coolant in the oil. So it has to be going through the cylinder(s) and out the pipe right?
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Old 09-14-2010, 02:52 PM   #9
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Rad cap may not be sealing. It needs the seal to draw in and puke back into the overflow.
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Old 09-14-2010, 03:01 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bc40ton View Post
Overflow line is in good shape and tight on both ends. Also my comp tester wont fit down in the plug hole cause its a tight fit and has both sizes on the end (to big). I believe the dealers have a carbon tester for the coolant to check for combustion gases. Anyone ever had this done? Cost? Only a couple family gas stations in area and 1 dealer about 10mi away. I pretty much figure its internal. No visible leaks, no coolant in the oil. So it has to be going through the cylinder(s) and out the pipe right?
Yeah it draws vapors from the radiator up through a liquid if there are hydrocarbons present it turns the blue liquid a different color. here is a link to one to give you an idea

Amazon.com: Combustion Leak Detector: Automotive
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Old 09-14-2010, 03:03 PM   #11
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to further devildogdoc, if the puke tank isn't sealed properly, it's pulling coolant from the radiator and not putting it back. could be why the radiator is low but the overflow is fine. if it's sealed properly, the overflow will show as being low before the radiator will if there were a leak.
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Old 09-14-2010, 03:42 PM   #12
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If I cant find my rad pressure tester for a leak down test I might take it to someone for the carbon test. Cant wait for and lengthy delays cause its a DD. I did have the rad topped up full and the overflow at the proper level. Cap doesnt leak, but that doesnt mean its not defective. Seals look fine but it is cheap to replace. It says 18lbs on cap, is that proper? Thanks for the link.
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Old 09-14-2010, 10:05 PM   #13
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Rad cap may not be sealing. It needs the seal to draw in and puke back into the overflow.
x2 change out the cap. Then go from there.

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