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InfernoGirl 12-08-2010 10:44 AM

Not a Jeep, possible blown head gasket?
My son's '87 Cougar may have a blown head gasket. If that's the case what kind of options do we have for a fix? I know nothing of engines, hence the stupid question. But I know lots of you folks do know about these things and am just looking for some guidance. :)


Ray - San Jose 12-08-2010 11:12 AM

If there is oil in the radiator, or the oil in the engine looks like coffee with creamer, then you have a blown head guasket. They are not that hard to change if you have the ability, but since you state that you don't, you'll want to take it to a reputable shop. It will probably cost you a couple hundred to get it fixed since they have to remove the top end of the engine to replace the guasket.

InfernoGirl 12-08-2010 12:27 PM

Thanks Ray. :) This car has 150k+ on it, but as long as fixing it is cheaper than replacing it, that's likely what we'll do. No one mentioned coolant in the oil at his last oil change, but that doesn't always mean much I guess. He's over heated a couple of times in the past few months and added coolant and been fine for a while. I'm hoping it's just the thermostat or something simple... Wishing he wasn't 5 hours from home and planning on driving 10+ hours from home right before Christmas... :) Ah, motherhood!

JDsDream 12-08-2010 12:29 PM

Is the only symptom overheating?

jp2611 12-08-2010 12:32 PM

as long as the water is going out of the motor and not into it easier fix. If the coolant gets into the motor itself MAY blow motor as you cannot compress or burn water. That would require a complete rebuild or replacement of motor. Losing coolant externally is much better however this time of year real PIA as will need to keep refilling to keep heat in car and keep from damaging engine due to overheating.

daggo66 12-08-2010 01:40 PM

Is it blowing white smoke?

InfernoGirl 12-08-2010 01:45 PM

JD, yes as far as I know the only symptom is over heating... Done it twice since Sept, both times on 2hr+ road trips.

Tom, I don't know if it's blowing smoke or not, and as much as I love him, he is absolutely clueless about all things automotive... :) He won't be able to tell the difference between condensation and smoke this time of year.... He's a genius, but that has it's distinct disadvantages... ;) He's 5 hours from home, so I can't look at it myself....

Edit: We replaced the water pump a couple of years ago...

Ray - San Jose 12-08-2010 02:14 PM

Have him take the radiator cap off of the radiator while the motor is cold. Oil is easy to spot floating on the coolant. If there's oil in the radiator, blown head gasket is the main cause. Run the motor for a couple minutes and pull the oil level stick out. If the oil looks like coffee with creamer than coolant is in the oil. Again main cause is blown head guasket. Easy checks.

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