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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've had several coolant leaks over the years. I replaced my front cover and water pump gaskets a couple years ago and just had the mechanic replace a leaking radiator. Now it's leaking again. I couldn't tell where so I took it into the mechanic who did a pressure test and says it's from the back of the engine somewhere but can't tell exactly. Says the drip is ending up on the passenger side rear of the engine. He is guessing head gaskets. I've had no overheating problems and the leak is small. I told him that I didn't know that head gaskets would actually leak coolant outside the engine and he assured me that they can. He gave me the option of trying a chemical head gasket repair which would probably come to a couple hundred bucks by the time they are done or a head gasket job at the tune of $2,600. The whole thing seems kind of odd to me so I thought I'd go to your guys and get some opinions. I figured I'd go back to the mechanic and suggest the following. Please let me know if I'm on the right track here.

- check the coolant for exhaust
- check the oil for coolant
- Could it be the valley pan gasket?
- throttle plate heater?
- Anything else?

The last thing I want to do is replace a head gasket that doesn't need it.

Tks
 

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You are on the right track.

You would probably know if it was the throttle heater plate - its right there to see and coolant will puddle on top of your driver's side valve cover.

I am curious (see my similar post) on what your mechanic says about the valley gasket.

I'm in the exact same spot you are - if the head gaskets ain't broken, no need to fix 'em - so I want to be sure, as well.

Let is know.


-sobieski
 

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Yes, a headgasket can cause a external leak. And, yes, a valley pan gasket can as well. Do all those tests FIRST. The one you left out and the one that I would do first is a coolant system pressure test. Very easy. They put a cap on your coolant resevior and pressurize it. Find leak. Done.

P.S. Do NOT use a chemical headgasket repair.
 

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sobieski x 2

It could be the HG leaking to the outside but its unlikely - under normal conditions water pressure above 13psi will lose pressure through the expansion tank vent, oil pressure above 55psi will vent through the oil bypass but the cylinder runs up to 180psi on compression cycles and negative on exhaust cycles. The vast majority of HG breaches are between cylinders, cylinders and water or oil passages, they are very seldom just oil or water. The most likely are that the large water passages in the intake manifold are leaking to the outside. The rear part of the intake is susceptible to backing out its bolts and tightening to torque again can make a difference.
arrows show the water ports to the head
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks guys. Great advice and will discuss with the mechanic.

By the way, he cannot find the exact source of the leak even under pressure. Seems odd I know. Maybe I need to take it to another shop and get a second opinion.

Also, are there any negatives to trying the chemical head gasket other than it probably won't work?

Thanks!!
 

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What exactly are you referring to as "chemical head gasket" .?
There are lots of products that claim to fix leaks but rarely do anything other than lighten your bank account. Most of these are in the under $20 range. Could plug up the rad, heater core or even restrict system flow and cause overheating. Definitely not recommended. Do you think you would be able to trust it as a reliable repair and drive it?
What would "a couple hundred bucks" buy you?
If it's leaking it can be found, sounds like they are not trying hard enough, making assumptions an jumping to unverified conclusions at your expense.
If you are not getting appropriate answers then maybe you are at the wrong place
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Got an update. I went through the following questions with my mechanic:

Coolant in oil - this was obvious as I had already checked for the chocolate shake color and oil looks good.

Valley Pan Gasket - mechanic said he couldn't tell just be looking and that a bunch of other stuff would need to come off to look.

Loose rear intake manifold bolts - mechanic said the manifold would have to come off to check the bolts. Not sure this makes any sense.

Wish I had more time to research this on my own but don't right now. I really appreciate the help and recommendations. Based on the feedback I receive, I may just take the rig to another reputable mechanic in my neck of the woods. Unfortunately no rover mechanics near but I wouldn't think this would be rocket science for a mechanic to figure out.
 

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The mechanic you spoke to is "right" in that it could be the valley gasket or the lower intake manifold bolts (which is sort of the same thing) - meaning those bolts being loose could let coolant leak from around the valley gasket area. Or it could be the valley gasket itself.
Or it could be a head gasket leaking to the outside (no milk oil, no smoke, but yes coolant on the ground).

All of which are hard to put eyes on directly without starting to dismantle some stuff.

I am in such a similar spot. Let's keep each other updated.
 

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sure its not from the heater core outputs? or the hardlines? they run along the passenger side of the engine... they are right on top easy to see too so it wouldn't hurt to check those out first... Mine were all rusted and I've seen other people get pinholes in them.
 

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If you are going to a mechanic - which is expensive - and you dont want to remove the top intake chamber (which is pretty easy) buy a cheap inspection camera to see what is going on.

this one is $89 from HF and with a 20% off even less. I have a different type but they are worth every cent you pay for them for looking in places you can't fit your head :smile
Just clean and dry the rear of the block and then watch what happens - its the cost of 1 mechanic visit.
 

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Thanks all.

Helipilot & Guru,

The pressure test holds at 15 PSI steady for at least 15-20 minutes.
It may drop by 1 psi over that time, but it does not "jump out at me" whether the leak is head gasket or valley gasket.

The independent shop said 100% sure it's head gasket, but I am still not convinced.

Any further actions I can take to determine precisely which (head or valley gasket) it may be?

PS I am also still going to get a cheap camera-scope to see if I can snake it behind the block and put my eyes on the source of the coolant may be.
 

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Too many comments for me to read but I know what your mechanic means by not being able to see the leak. If it's a manifold or headgasket leak at the back of the block then you can't see the exact location because it's against the firewall. I even laid under my truck with mirrors and tried to examine the trail but never was able to see where it came from. The leak was so small and intermittent that I used a half bottle of Kseal, which is only about 4 ounces and that was enough to stop it. I couldn't justify tearing my engine down for such a small water jacket leak. My truck does not overheat and if the product clogged water passages then somebody already used some outdated junk in there because these companies do plenty of testing on their products these days. I had good luck with the Kseal and that was several months ago.
 

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Thanks for the update Chubbs.

Although I am not overheating either (nor white smoke, nor mixing oil/coolant), my leak leak is neither minor nor intermittent.

I am consistently losing 2 ounces per day.

I have heard good reports about a BG Coolant System sealer, which I may try.

Otherwise, I will need to to start taking this thing apart.




-sobieski
 

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I updated my spark plugs and HT wires, intake and valve cover gaskets last weekend. Just short of removing the lower intake manifold and cylinder head bolts, and a couple of coolant lines running to the heater core, I was that close to pulling the cylinder heads off. There is a lot to remove on the top ends of these engines, especially if you have a later model Disco with SAI. And it requires a plethora of ratchet extensions, flexible socket couplings, crows-foot wrenches and the like, to loosen and or remove some of these nuts and bolts. Also, you can easily drop small objects into the intake which isn't a big deal during disassembly but if you are reassembling it is time consuming trying to retrieve a locating dowel or 8mn bolt from the cylinder with a magnet on the end of a wire, so watch out for that and keep the inlet tubes covered with plastic or something. The steps are in the RAVE and easy to follow. Remove the intake tube, throttle body assembly and throttle cables, undo all of your hose clamps from IACV, SAI hoses/tubing, and purge valve, disconnect wiring from those units, then the 6 bolts that secure the upper intake to the block and top 2 bolts that fasten the coils and SAI crossover tubes to the intake. There are also 4 studs with nuts that laterally secure the SAI valves to the intake on both sides. I removed the studs after the intake was off so that I could easily reinstall the upper manifold and not mess up my gasket. The upper intake and plenum can then be removed as a single assembly. The tough part is getting the SAI plumbing disconnected from the cylinders if the 4 union nuts don't want to give easily. This is where you will need an assortment of wrenches to hold your backing nut while breaking the union loose, otherwise you will break that flexible tubing. Now you can remove the 2 bolts and coil packs, coolant plumbing, valve covers and lower intake manifold. Lastly would be the cylinder heads. I took off the fan and clutch to begin but may not be necessary. Get a high-end, full top end gasket set. Also look for the O-rings that you may need to reassemble coolant pipes; some kits do not contain these so be prepared. I would also take one of the 8mm bolts to the hardware store and buy a few spares. I dropped a couple onto the transmission when trying to get the coils back on. You will need the valve stems from the gasket kit when you take the cylinders to the machine shop for resurfacing. You will also need new head bolts. You can get the torque-to-yield which is factory, or you can go with ARP studs. Either way is pricey. Be prepared for 2 part-time days for dissassembly and about $500 out-of-pocket expense. It should go back together twice as fast if you don't run into any trouble. Read up on cylinder head-fastening protocol. This is the most important step. If this doesn't go right, you will be tearing it back down and buying another set of gaskets and head-bolts if you didn't go with ARP studs. If you need plugs and wires, definitely do that at this time. Some guys are able to reach the wires on the coils but with SAI tubes back there, you have much more room without the intake plenum standing fully in your way

Now you see why I tried Kseal first
 

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I certainly understand the Kseal - what do you have to loose.

Should we infer that the Kseal did not continue working to your satisfaction and, thus, the tear-down described above?
The Kseal worked fine. I did all of that for spark plugs, wires, and valve cover gaskets. Yes, that much work is required to change out the valve cover gaskets. My plugs were old, the wires were brittle and corroded, and the Valve covers were leaking a little motor oil
 
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