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Liquid Head Gasket Repairs

Discussion in 'LH: Large Cars, 1993-2004' started by jaygreg, Jan 10, 2015.

  1. jaygreg

    jaygreg Active Member

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    My 2000 Concorde LXi with 155,000 miles has been well maintained. I just spent #1400 to remove a dent to my rear fender that I was responsible for (backed into my new boat trailer guide rail), and about $1200 to stop leaks that were recommended for repair by three separate mechanics (trusting soul that I am).

    The leaks involved a replacement of the steering fluid tubes (expensive puppies), a water pump replacement, and while the were at it, another timing belt. Steering fluid leak stopped dead in its tracks. However, it has taken three months and two other needless replacements to stop the antifreeze I find on my garage floor each morning; about two tablespoons full at most. Sometimes... (but rarely) none at all.

    Well Mr. Hammer Mechanic (HM) now tells me he is SURE he's found the source of my leak; just above the water pump housing on the driver's side along the edge of the head gasket. That's right... THE HEAD GASKET. How I left that garage without committing murder escapes me.

    But all is not lost, according to HM; there's a product called K&W FiberLock that pours into the radiator that finds these little nooks and crannies where air enters and fills then up. Failing to believe ANYTHING at this point, I jotted down the products name and ran a search on YouTube.

    First thing I found was about a minute and a half video from a lady adising "Don't Buy FiberLock"... or something to that affect. She point out a few of the things that I immediately thought of as I read the label of that little green bottle while listening to Mr. HM with my smokin' ear lobes. Possible area that could plug and create worse problems... heater core, radiator, T-stat. When I mentioned heater core to Mr. HM, he replied by showing me two large clamps he'd use to pinch the hoses. He said nothing about flushing the system and replacing the coolant after the procedure so I don't know what the hell good those clamps would do. When I got home and read the instructions further, the FiberLock is supposed to REMAIN in the cooling system. So...????? A guy on YouTube who seemed to know what he was doing, but using something that sounds like "liquid steel" (not FiberLock), said he removed the Tstat and ran his stuff through the system without it. That made sense!

    I love my car! I made the decision to keep it and put these extra bucks into it. NO ONE told me I had a leaking head gasket. Had I known that, I probably would not had invested more and would be driving something else today. I'd still like to salvage this mess somehow. As I see it - assuming I DO have a head gasket issue (and I probably do. Hell! There's nuthin' ta replace!) I can gamble with the liquid repair. Which brings me to my question:

    What's the probability of that stuff solving my problem give the above as being true?
     
  2. GLHS60

    GLHS60 Well-Known Member

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    I have had very good success with Water Glass, or Sodium Silicate. It is not compatible with engine oil so if your coolant is mixing with oil its not recommended, but otherwise its very effective in sealing head gaskets, cracked blocks, heads etc..
    Thanks
    Randy

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sodium_silicate
     
    PCRMike likes this.
  3. ImperialCrown

    ImperialCrown Moderator
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    If this leak is between the aluminum front case and front of the block, there are 2 o-rings (Mopar 4483443) there to seal the passages to the water pump. Did the technician actually pinpoint this to a head gasket leak or is it a guess?
    I have mixed feelings about coolant leak sealers. They can cause issues and may have to be 'undone' in future services in order to do the service right. It would be best to repair this the proper way the first time if at all possible.
     
  4. Bob Lincoln

    Bob Lincoln "CHECK FAULT CODES"
    Level 2 Supporter

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    Works by causing clogs, and it cannot discriminate where all of those clogs are deposited. Don't do it. If a head gasket is leaking, remove the head and inspect head for flatness and erosion, and replace gasket. It is the only method which has no chance of ruining anything else.
     
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  5. peterjon1

    peterjon1 Well-Known Member

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    You've spent a lot of money on the car already, you obviously are happy with it, so replace the gasket. You're asking for more trouble with a sealer. I would only use a sealer on a vehicle already on it's last legs, to buy a little time.
    If $ are a problem, see if there is a vocational school near. Around here, you can get work done for the cost of parts, if you are OK with it taking longer.
     
  6. jaygreg

    jaygreg Active Member

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    I've done that in the past with struts and carriage mounts. That particular school, however, won't do major engine work that ties up its bays for days. They use numerous engines on roll-around racks for instruction. The possibility of creating more problems with a shotgun approach is why I'm here; trying to assess the probability of success if I did use it... and determine which product to use. There is a tremendous mixture of success and failure stories on this subject on YouTube.
     
  7. jaygreg

    jaygreg Active Member

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    Although the technician pinpointed the problem to the head gasket, since May 2014 he also "pinpointed it to a cracked overflow reservoir, and loose connection at the radiator, a leaking cooling line (it wasn't leaking... but I bought it!) so at this point... I don't know how accurate his latest conclusion is. I'm thinking of taking it to the vocational school where at least have confidence in the instructor. I figure the students may be at the same level as Mr. HM but at least I know SOMEONE knows enough about engines to determine if it's leaking from a specific area. And if he can't, he'll tell me so rather than take a wild guess and cost me more money.

    One of the videos I watched on YouTube dealt with analysing the leak. It was a simple test; the radiator cap was removed and the car started. In my case, I assume it would be the reservoir cap I'd remove. He watched for bubbles and the degree to which they bubbled. I believe the premise was if bubbles were seen, it would indicate a leak in the gasket that's permitting compression to escape from the cylinder into a coolant port. My leak is very small, dripping, apparently, right where the left from corer of the aluminum head meets the gasket and block just above the water pump cover (I'm going from a verbal description Mr. HM gave me).

    If I understand the mechanics of this gasket, it's possible that gasket developed a crack between a coolant port in that location and the outside of the block. If that's correct, then I wouldn't see any bubbles in the coolant with the caps removed because compression isn't forcing air through the portal; coolant is merely seeping out a little at a time, flowing down along the side of the block and falling on my garage floor. Two tablespoons full at a time... sometimes none at all. When I see none, it could be that I hit a bump just before parking the car and knocked the trail of coolant off.

    Does the make sense? How can I diagnose the root cause of my leak without tearing down the engine? Another guy used a device that senses gas vapors. HE took the radiator cap off and demonstrated how radically the measurement change several 100 units. He concluded there was a blown gasket with passage to the cylinder.
     
  8. peterjon1

    peterjon1 Well-Known Member

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    You would want to remove the radiator cap to see bubbles. You could get a cooling system pressure tester to pressurize a cold system and watch for leaks that way. If the sniffer test is showing gasses in the cooling system, excellent indication you have a failing head gasket.
    Remove the spark plugs, if the one closest to the leak looks markedly different from the rest (cleaner,) that's another confirmation.
     
  9. jaygreg

    jaygreg Active Member

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    Assuming I find no bubbles. Can I further assume the leak isn't significant enough to go to the expense of a head gasket replacement? It looks like I've lost 2/3 of a cup of coolant in two weeks.
     
  10. Doug D

    Doug D Virginia Gentleman

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    Listen to Bob L. and Imperial. The only true fix is to replace the head gasket - if the diagnosis is indeed the gasket. As IC pointed out, it could be a couple of O-rings. I'd be hesitant to use any mechanic-in-a-bottle. It's a short term masking of the actual problem at best.
     
  11. valiant67

    valiant67 ...

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    You may just have an external head gasket leak, leaking coolant to the outside rather than into the cylinders.
    A shop with the proper equipment (a cooling system pressure tester and an exhaust gas analyzer) should be able to diagnose this quite easily.
     
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  12. peterjon1

    peterjon1 Well-Known Member

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    He did post that the analyzer found combustion gasses in the radiator.
     
  13. valiant67

    valiant67 ...

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    I'm not sure he says this was done on his car, I find that post unclear - but it was it is still a failure of the original shop not to pressure check the system originally and do this test if any doubt.
     
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  14. AC TC

    AC TC Well-Known Member

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    Try a can of bars leak or gm coolant tablets ( its the same, get it at a gm dealer. )
     
  15. Doug D

    Doug D Virginia Gentleman

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    At best this is a short term solution (IF it works which I doubt) and will most likely result in a clogged heater core or radiator.
     
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  16. T-Dot25

    T-Dot25 Active Member

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    Hi, there. I came across this thread and thought I would post another product that has had some very good reviews as a useful head gasket / leak sealer.

    [oops, sorry, webmaster removed and couldn't repost]
     
    #16 T-Dot25, Jan 14, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 23, 2017
  17. raymondo112

    raymondo112 Member

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    I have seen stuff called Blue Devil headgasket repair, it's the only stuff I have seen work, but only if you follow the directions on the bottle to a T.

    I only recommend this crap if you are just needing to use the car to get by for a few months and plan to ditch it after otherwise get the the full kit usually runs 120 bucks or a bit more, you get all the gaskets and seals for the engine, make sure he does the cam and crank seals too since he is there anyway, and of course new head bolts and check the head for warpage a must, if you have the all aluminum 2nd gen block and your head is warped, the block probably is too, therefore a used motor is the cheapest way out.

    I did the all the gaskets and seals on my 97 Intrepid 3.5 as well as 2 freeze plugs that popped from the previous owners neglect. The car runs like a dream, but it has had a lot of time and money in parts into it.

    When I look at the cost of newer cars I think it was worth it as the payment and insurance and maitnance add up fast and you do this to a car that depreciates that you won't get Jack for in the end. These cars already have taken their hit and no payment is no problem.

    It's a one time repair if done right and the 3.2 and 3.5 run for well over 230k miles if maintained. Even the trans on these cars hold up well.

    It's a matter of preference I guess but I like having an old car that runs and drives like new and no payments.
     
  18. jaygreg

    jaygreg Active Member

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    Assuming I find no bubbles. Can I further assume the leak isn't significant enough to go to the expense of a head gasket replacement? It looks like I've lost 2/3 of a cup of coolant in two weeks.
    An analyzer wasn't used yet to find gases. I'm having the local vocational school look at the car next week; I trust the instructor and he's supervised other work I've had done there.

    If it's a small external leak, what's the chance of it getting significant;y larger if I did nothing at all?
     
  19. FIREM

    FIREM Active Member

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    Head Gaskets on 3.2/3.5 very very rarely leak. There are rings behind the right front timing housing/water/pump housing that ARE prone to leak. (noted in previous post. Down side is the labor to go back in and do the job. Many folks do there orings along with a timing belt job.
     
  20. raymondo112

    raymondo112 Member

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    Earlier gen 1 LH 3.5's could blow headgasket due to the block being nodular iron and the head's being aluminum the heads heat and cool faster than the block and that difference creates havoc on the gasket. 2nd gen is all aluminum it is possible for the gasket to fail but unlikely unless the car severely overheated but then the whole engine is in jeopardy too.

    The 3.5 typically blows the gasket near cylinder 5 if it blows, also main bearings can fail on the same cylinder.

    A cylinder leak down test is the best way to determine head gasket and condition of the block without pulling it apart. Check You Tube they have videos if your not sure what it is. That is what a good auto tech. would do before saying your head gasket is bad. You can also do a compression test and compare them but to be honest it's not as accurate as a Cylinder leak down test.

    Honestly I would contact BBB. and report that shop, by no means do you spend a customer's money on inaccurate diagnostics and parts with no success, somebody's got to eat that and I tell you what it shouldn't be you.

    ASE, is a credibility certification not a joke.

    If the car passes the leak down test and compression test you can bet the problem is the o rings or a seal or even a weird intake gasket leak allowing coolant to seep from the bottom intake port's.

    Either way after the tests you have to start taking things apart to find the trouble spot. This can be a bit laborious, but shouldn't be too heavy unless the place charges 95 bucks or more an hour.

    Have the vocational school do a Cylinder leak down, compression test and exhaust analyzer to determine if the headgasket is the culprit. If it passes, if they are willing to go further great if not take it to a good shop that knows Chrysler's, Google reviews etc. The dealer is expensive but in some cases knows these cars far better than some rinky dink joint, you may think your paying more but if it's done right the 1st time and accurately diagnosed than no you saved time and money from throwing parts at it
     

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