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I'm losing coolant - head gasket??


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23 replies to this topic

#1 phishy75

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Posted 10 December 2004 - 05:41 PM

Not sure exactly what is going on with my car right now.
I'm losing coolant - it drips down onto my exhaust on my passenger side head, and it steams more than it should when cold. Once it's warm, there is no steam from the tailpipe.

I checked the compression yesterday and got 140 on both passenger side cylinders (where the problem is) but 180 on drivers front and 130 on drivers rear (I can't remember the numbering). I'm guessing my exhaust valve is burnt on the drivers front, but that should have nothing to do with the coolant problem.

I'm thinking maybe it is the head gasket around one of the water jackets that is leaking out of the head and not into the cylinder because it actually leaks down the outside of my header, as well as inside judging by the steam.

Any bright ideas much appreciated?

#2 phishy75

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Posted 10 December 2004 - 06:09 PM

this is on my '86 n/a EA82 btw...

#3 mschafe

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Posted 10 December 2004 - 06:40 PM

I'm having almost the same exact problem with my '85 na EA82. Burns a cloud of coolent smoke (I believe) on startup after sitting for a while, then its great. No oil in coolent or the other way around. Can't figure this one out.

#4 ballitch

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Posted 10 December 2004 - 07:57 PM

i had a similar problem on my 86' GL, but it was just one of the coolant return lines in front of the carb. that had ruptured, fixed the leak with vinyl elec. tape, how ghetto-fab is that, lol.

P.S. usually your compression test will tell you were your HG leak is, but since you have at least 130 psi in all cylinders, you're sure that it is leaking at the heads?


~Josh~

#5 86subaru

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Posted 11 December 2004 - 07:07 AM

check all coolant lines, here is 1 that can leak remove spare tire and look towards headlight ,there is a small 1/2 in hose that is about 5-6 in long that can leak ,and run down just like you said or heater hoses

#6 grossgary

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Posted 11 December 2004 - 11:04 AM

if you see visual signs of leakage, you MUST verify where it's coming from before you assume anything. hard, visible evidence is always the best to go on before you start guessing. has this motor been worked on anytime recently?

you're positive that it's coolant dripping down? are you needed to add coolant? like maybe a gallon every 100 miles or something? was this motor overheated in the past year? this summer, bad radiator, low coolant, last week....etc?

look at hoses, water pump, water pipe o-ring, other gaskets, throttle...hmm this is carbed....look everywhere for leaks. if it's dripping you should be able to find it.

there is also a gasket between the intake manifold and head that has a coolant passage in it. this gasket can leak and will cause coolant to enter the cylinder and come out of your exhaust and could also leak externally.

if you still suspect a head gasket - try this shortly after driving the car and also after letting it set all night. i'd pull your spark plug on the cylinder reading 180 compression and turn the motor over by hand. shine a flashlight down there while someone turns it over by hand and look for coolant in the cylinder. there is a chance that the cylinder reading high compression has an internal gasket leak....of course this wouldn't explain your external leakage. but, coolant in a cylinder can cause your compression readings to be high. if you have to replace a headgasket i'd recommend replacing both of them.

#7 ShawnW

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Posted 11 December 2004 - 07:14 PM

I have taken GrossGary's text and bolded the part that I think your problem is.

#8 phishy75

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Posted 11 December 2004 - 09:03 PM

The latest...
Coolant is definitely leaking into my exhaust on the passenger side. Compression on both cylinders on that side is fine (140 psi). I just replaced this head gasket about 2 months ago, although I did use a jobber gasket (felpro).

I'm still leaning toward the gasket leaking around one of the water jackets into the exhaust port because the compression is good, but when I pull off the exhaust pipe right after a cold start I can actually see coolant in the pipe and exhaust port. Is this possible?
I'd like to have a little more input and ideas before I pull off the head with a 2-month old gasket:banghead: .
cheers

#9 grossgary

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Posted 11 December 2004 - 11:42 PM

you originally said there's water leaking externally, i'd trace that leak and find out exactly where it's coming from. if it doesnt leak while cold, it should definetly leak good when you start it or after it warms up some. the intake gaskets are easy and cheap to replace, how about replace those first and see if that fixes it if you're concerned about time/$. if not, just pull the head and have a look at it.

you can do a leak down test on that cylinder. pressurize that cylidner and listen for where the air is escaping.

if you see/hear bubbles in the overflow tank while the engine is running or after it reaches operating temperature (if it's even drivable that long), then i'd guess a headgasket.

the EA82 is awesome, that thing is cake. PASSENGERS SIDE!!! that should be music to your ears. the passengers side is cake, you can crank that out in no time on these little motors. i've always owned XT6's....5 of them and did my first head work on an EA82 this summer for someone else....10 times easier than my XT6. more room to mess with fewer parts!

#10 jazzician

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Posted 12 December 2004 - 12:04 AM

When the head gasket goes, what do you need to replace / fix? I'm experiencing leaking and just replaced the waterpump and now getting coolant out of the tailpipe so I'm thinking headgasket. How complicated can this get?

thx, Simon

#11 grossgary

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Posted 12 December 2004 - 12:10 AM

depends what you want to do.

you can get away with replacing the head gasket with only a new head gasket and new intake manifold-to-head gasket. and a tube of sealant for the cam carriers. reuse everything else.

while it's off you should have the head checked and possibly milled and repair the cracks between the valve seats (EA 82's and ER27's always have them, not sure about other motors). head shop i get my work done at has repaired them before and is familiar with it.

while it's off you could rebuild the HLA's, have a valve job done, new timing belts, new water pump ( you already did), and reseal your oil pump.

if you're only replacing one head gasket that can easily be done in an afternoon on an EA82...especially the passengers side, no problem.

#12 jazzician

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Posted 12 December 2004 - 07:07 PM

Hey there. I'm feeling extremely ripped off right now and need a little clarity / words of advice before I approach said mechanic. I had the repair done right now and I'm thinking that maybe it all wasn't warranted. He bought:
1) two heads for $50 (Can.) each,
2) a short block for $250 (which I'm really wondering about because he said earlier (as I just remembered) that he got two old engines (one that the short block is from) from this other guy for $100 (so should I have just paid $50 for the short block as it was from one of the engines?)
3) Main Bearing Set $50 Can
4) Piston Ring Set $60 Can
5) Rod Bearings $40
6) Reconditioning Cylinder Head $170 (do the new heads need reconditioning to match the requirement of the fit for a Subaru?)
7) New Gasket setup $90 (which I assume is normal for a Blown Headgasket)
Now he bought these and gave me the receipts for them.

He charged me 4hrs @ $40 / hr which I think is pretty good so that kind of makes me curious about my own worries. He mentioned that the car was pretty noisy (which it was in that diesel sounding way) so is that a good indication that the bearing are gone?
-Why didn't we use the short block off my own car? Is that a possible victim in a blown gasket or similar? I just feel like I handed out my old engine and didnt' get credit for anything that might have still been good, paid $250 for another short block, 2 new heads, all new bearings and ended up with a
$900 bill. The car was noisy but very driveable when I brought it in. Something just seems weird. With the car being that noisy, I assume a gasket blew, got rad fluid in the bearings, skrewing them up, but two new heads? new short block? I feel like going there and asking for my old engine back or asking something for it as he's probably going to rebuild it with new parts and resell it for a good price. Am I being unreasonable by wanting something for the old engine as I paid $250 for another short block off another $50 engine? Hmmmm

Simon

#13 phishy75

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Posted 13 December 2004 - 02:34 AM

sounds like it might have been a little excessive....
how noisy and what kind of noise were you getting? HLA clickity noise, or something worse. If it was just the HLA's, then he went way overboard.
Not that a full rebuild is a bad thing, but I know i don't have an extra $900 lying around.
Were you losing coolant - filling the rad regualrly and blowing white smoke out your tailpipe? Then it was probably the head gaskets.
Reconditioning the heads is normal when you replace the head gaskets - it makes them true again and seal properly against the gasket. I'm not totally sure, but I think down here it is about $50 per to get them done.

#14 jazzician

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Posted 13 December 2004 - 09:04 PM

Hey Phishy, you're in Victoria? I'm coming down to Saanich to a couple of job interviews. I hear there is a really good Subie Used Parts Thingie around there.

Simon


sounds like it might have been a little excessive....
how noisy and what kind of noise were you getting? HLA clickity noise, or something worse. If it was just the HLA's, then he went way overboard.
Not that a full rebuild is a bad thing, but I know i don't have an extra $900 lying around.
Were you losing coolant - filling the rad regualrly and blowing white smoke out your tailpipe? Then it was probably the head gaskets.
Reconditioning the heads is normal when you replace the head gaskets - it makes them true again and seal properly against the gasket. I'm not totally sure, but I think down here it is about $50 per to get them done.



#15 Martin

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Posted 13 December 2004 - 09:55 PM

Hey, you should definitely check on that external leak first, especially since it's an older car, and hoses just go. I just had my upper radiator hose get a pin-hole leak and it would spray coolant, so that I thought it was leaking from the block. But since you also just had it apart, it could be a rebuild error, like not using sealant or improper torque specs. Sweet, white smoke from the tailpipe would suggest the gasket/headgasket theory.

And yes jazzician, there are some good places for subaru parts, bit of a drive from Saanich though.

#16 phishy75

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Posted 13 December 2004 - 10:07 PM

hey martin - i work for your dad:lol:

yeah i've checked for external leaks and i'm sure that's not where it is.
Can someone please tell me what the air suction valve (or so it is called in the haynes manual) is and/or does. It is the ~1" diameter hard tube coming off of the head right at the exhaust manifold. I think I'm getting some fluid coming down there. No idea how or why, but I pulled the exhaust pipe off as soon as it cooled down and there is a wet patch right where that tube ties into the head.

#17 Martin

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Posted 13 December 2004 - 10:16 PM

Yeah, I know you do. Trying to bust me for not studying for my exams... hahaha. He said you were having some Subaru problems... so I though I would try to see what you got yourself into. Got any pics of your subes?

#18 Vanislru

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Posted 13 December 2004 - 10:21 PM

Jazzician I don't think you are being unreasonable to want your shortblock
back, the prices don't sound too bad, what else has this mechanic said?

Phishy hows your N/A coming, any luck with the leak, I'm with Shawn I think it's your intake gasket I have had prob.s with this one. Usually happens after a head hasket job and a few too many bevies next thing I know the motors gotta come back out.
Your UP and DP are on their way shipped them on the bus today, might be the next day as things are crazy busy frieght wise.


Maybe Bushbasher can post too, it'd be like the longest string of BC posters evaar. I'm so totally stoked.
Maybe we could plan a meet someday?

#19 Vanislru

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Posted 13 December 2004 - 10:26 PM

hey martin - i work for your dad:lol:

yeah i've checked for external leaks and i'm sure that's not where it is.
Can someone please tell me what the air suction valve (or so it is called in the haynes manual) is and/or does. It is the ~1" diameter hard tube coming off of the head right at the exhaust manifold. I think I'm getting some fluid coming down there. No idea how or why, but I pulled the exhaust pipe off as soon as it cooled down and there is a wet patch right where that tube ties into the head.

If there is coolant in there it's from the problem, those pipe are not the problem, see. They are part of the pcv system. It removes stinky nasty oil and gas fumes/blow-by from the crankcase and draws them into the intake to be burned in the engine. There'll be one on each head.

#20 phishy75

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Posted 13 December 2004 - 10:34 PM

Vanislru - YOU ROCK:headbang: :grin:

I can't wait to feel that turbo power:brow:
For sure we should have an island meet - maybe up on the mountain for some wheelin and boarding. I know Martin spends a lot of time up there and your prettymuch at the base.
Any luck with rebuild kit for your caliper?

#21 Vanislru

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Posted 13 December 2004 - 10:46 PM

No luck with the calipers yet but I decided to keep the wagon off the road until the lift is in so I'm not in as much of a hurry to find them n ow, whick is kinda nice, might fix some othe minor nagging issues.

The DP is 2" and from EMT elect. pipe. Angles are nice welds don't leak but aren't as pretty as they could be, i was just learning at the time.
it should only cost $200 bucks for a 2" pipe and hotdog muffler too the back. That's what i paid anyways.
Enjoy lmk if you use it.

#22 Martin

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Posted 13 December 2004 - 10:57 PM

Yep, this is about the longest BC, espeically Island post that I have even seen. A meet would be good. I have a bunch of other friends who also have older subarus, but just dont use the board. I will be up island for most of xmas, and driving around in the snow is pretty much a requirement for a meet. That or just some meet to talk subarus, and go for a convoy.

What page is this suction valve on?

#23 jazzician

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Posted 13 December 2004 - 11:01 PM

Yah, I'm in Vernon right now and maybe moving to Saanich so a meet would be good. Yah, convoy goooood.

Simon

Yep, this is about the longest BC, espeically Island post that I have even seen. A meet would be good. I have a bunch of other friends who also have older subarus, but just dont use the board. I will be up island for most of xmas, and driving around in the snow is pretty much a requirement for a meet. That or just some meet to talk subarus, and go for a convoy.

What page is this suction valve on?



#24 phishy75

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Posted 14 December 2004 - 01:55 AM

yeaaaahhhhhhhhh gooooooooooood:drunk:




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