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Thread: headgasket leaking coolant only to outside, retorque or replace?

  1. #1

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    Unhappy headgasket leaking coolant only to outside, retorque or replace?

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    been just about 10k miles and exactly 1 year since the 1st headgasket job, been leaking coolant slowly, about 1/2 of the reservoir full every day or so for a while now, couldn't find leak, found it yesterday (see pic) after parking for 5-10 minutes noticed a puddle under the dang truck, got dirty, took pics... grrrr.

    oil is not cloudy, coolant is not oily though does seem a tad cloudy if that makes sense, like it's not see-through any more, no loss of power & not smoking just the normal-for-this-truck cold start steam in the cold mornings (34 degrees outside again this AM) and runs nice once it's warmed up.

    NO OVERHEATING what so ever. ever over the entire last year. I check the water & oil every day before driving it, the temp gauge absolutely never ever goes over half way up on the dash.

    looking for advice, have limited days to work on it...

    thinking pull the valve cover & check the torque on all the head bolts, see if the ones on that exhaust manifold side middle are less foot pounds than the rest & WONDERING:

    #1. can I just re-torque (in the correct order of course) all the head bolts that need it IF one or some on that side lost their torque OR

    #2. has the coolant leaking past the headgasket to the outside of the block ruined the gasket and I have to do a whole nother headgasket replacement


    what would you do?

  2. #2

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    Hi tink. First question - did you retorque the head bolts after installing it new? Most manufacturers recommend retorquing the head bolts after a short interval of a few hundred miles. It gives the gasket time to bed in from going through heat cycles. And they nearly always leak coolant if the procedure hasn't been followed. I'd try retorquing it as you got nothing to lose + it hasn't leaked into the combustion chambers...yet.

  3. #3

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    Yes Sir I most positively certainly DID retorque them after installing it new. I remember because I had to take off the valve cover AGAIN and was so upset about it since I did such a grand job sealing it up... only to HAVE To take it off for the retorque-ing.

    I'm going to check the torque on them by this afternoon, starting from the low end & working my way up all around the pattern in the book to see if I can find if any head bolts that maybe happened to UN-torqued themselves.

    Should maybe mention that it's leaking from opposite the center of the exhaust manifold going from front of the engine to back - wondering if when the exhaust manifold bolts had worked themselves loose if that caused too much heat to go towards the head instead of away from it behind that giant exhaust gasket and somehow weakened the outside edge of the head gasket.

    If need be I got a guy lined up to check the surface level of the head already just in case.

    For reference here's what the head gasket looked like last year, looking in that same area I'll take new pics if necessary... and have him triple check the area of the head on that exhaust side area. Last time the hg blew, and I tore it apart, the same area it's leaking coolant to the outside NOW looked to be the worst area I had to clean up then.

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    I'll update with what the bolts are all currently torqued at (cold of course) asap.


    Have you ever known someone to retorque after leaking coolant and had it not leak and STAY not leaking afterwards?

  4. #4

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    dang it,, meant exhaust manifold NUTS not bolts, ,those are studs of course.

    I must make it to the bank so I can make a darn DONATION already. Ugh.

    Thank you so very much for your questions & advice

  5. #5

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    Checked the bolts with the torque wrench starting at 50 ft lbs since I'm a girl maybe, lol.

    The book says cold torque should be 69 ft lbs.

    I only took the torque wrench up to 66 ft lbs - because #1 I don't want to break a bolt, & is 3 ft pounds really going to stop a gasket from leaking coolant?

    The results were:
    1. >66
    2. >66
    3. >66
    4. 64
    5. >66
    6. >66
    7. 58
    8. 64
    9. >66
    10. 66 exactly

    So, where it's leaking coolant it's at least 66 ft pounds already (cold).

  6. #6

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    If this is the second HG you've done and they've both leaked, I would begin to think there's an underlying problem with the head or the deck of the block. I can see the voids on the exhaust side of the cylinders where the block looks cleaner, mostly #1 and #2. Also another thing to take into consideration - the head bolts. Lotta guys reuse them and not have issues but sometimes they go past their threshold and stretch.

  7. #7

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    Well I bought the truck on the verge of needing a headgasket job, so I did it. that was the 1st time for me. This will be the 2nd time for me 12 months & 10k miles is all my 1st head gasket job lasted. I have no idea if anyone else replaced the headgasket before I bought the truck. Hmm.

    I agree, and will have the head checked for flatness, and see if I can get the block checked out, too. It would shock me if it leaked because i didn't do a good enough job cleaning the surfaces the last time, it was medical level sterile clean I swear I cleaned it for days to be sure. But it was my first time, so who knows how lucky or not I got, too. The last time it leaked at the back of the engine where it looked like the gasket was ripped when someone put it in and they put it in anyway

    I did use NEW headbolts last March, and will do the same this time, too. I was scared to re-use head bolts & still am.

    I'll take tons of pics from all different angles this time, too. Will be very interesting to me to see exactly what the hell happened!!!

    Those voids you see are from what it looked like when I opened it up for the first time. Will share what it all looks like this time, too.

    Very happy the engine didn't overheat or explode or have some such catastrophic event at the side of a road. Could be much much worse.

    Thank you very much for going through this with me. It's so tough being alone and trying to figure out everything while waiting for help to be available at home. Big appreciation for your time!!!

  8. #8

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    Don't be scared of bustin' a new head bolt torquing it to specification. You'd have to be really unlucky or really stupid. Glad you were wise and bought new bolts. Looks like you've done everything right except maybe going a little low on tightening the bolts to spec. Hopefully the head is still straight and only needs a light clean up.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by geezer101 View Post
    Don't be scared of bustin' a new head bolt torquing it to specification. You'd have to be really unlucky or really stupid. Glad you were wise and bought new bolts. Looks like you've done everything right except maybe going a little low on tightening the bolts to spec. Hopefully the head is still straight and only needs a light clean up.
    I did a stupid thing though just found it today - got a spark plug stuck (it's unstuck now) but I know exactly my mistake & sharing just in case other people have stupid moments like me : I had a spark plug a little loose months ago & hand tightened it while the engine was still hot. Really stupid apparently since I couldn't get the darn thing out this morning - it was seized! Desperately & feeling super dumb I soaked it with 1/2 can of PB blaster today lol. Got lucky since it's not stripped at all, and lucky I didn't take a dang hammer to it like I wanted to to break it loose in a hurry. After hours of soaking it came right out *whew*!!!

    Well yeah I'm going to do the head bolt torquing extra extra carefully this time, too, with a bit more confidence thanks so much I can't explain enough how nervous it makes me, like I'm handling a nuclear weapon or something so worried I'll mess it up. But it's stupid to redo it every year if I make a mistake again so will go all the way to max or as close as I dare this time to be as sure as possible. Tried to play it safe last time by keeping it tight enough but not max so to not risk breaking a bolt off in the head.

    I'll search the forum to see if one brand is best for the head gasket, hoping to find one that's the most forgiving or that conforms the best to irregularities that may be on the block or the head in case that's going to be an issue.

    Hopefully will find TDC in the morning & get the head off by afternoon & to the shop for measuring. Will report back with what they say & keeping fingers crossed for good news.

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    mistake's and near mistake's are humans ways of learning.
    posting those's mistake's makes us all gratefully
    see i learned something today by your near mistake

  11. #11



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    You using NGK spark plugs I hope. There also is stuff called anti-seize that can go on the threads if you like. But, sounds like to me you may have some stuff on the threads of the plug hole in the head that made it stick. Things usually expand when hot and heat many times will help release stuck bolts.
    Also, you should be able to reuse stock head bolts if they are the stock ones. I been using the same head bolts on my truck for 30 years and never had a problem. Though you need to put the head bolts back into the same hole it was removed from when rebuilding.

    I hope you don't have a hairline fracture in block or head. We have such cold winters here and it can treat an engine bad if anti-freeze isn't properly used. A block warmer is helpful for winter time.
    Having it leak in the same spot as before is suspicious of not having head resurfaced or bad gasket material, or a tiny fracture, even using too high a pressure radiator cap.
    Torquing head and using less torque, even small amounts can cause a problem too. That stuff is determined at the factory for the amount of compression it will have compared to the pressure used to hold that head down against the pressure. Personally, and this is only my way of torquing the head. I give it a few pounds more, never less. They usually give specs for ft lbs in manuals try to aim towards the higher spec. And as Geezer mentioned, re-torque about 500 miles.
    Sorry to hear your having problems with the fluid leaking also. It is frustrating after performing so much work for it to reoccur again.

  12. #12

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    Slight update, worst headgasket job ever, basically every thing that could go wrong did. Took 4 days between typical life activities to get it done. Have pics to upload will soon. 200 miles driven since it's been acting just fine on test-drives ...

    ... and then today I was rear-ended hard-core. rear bumper is toast, passenger door is acting up, my head hit the back glass - still don't know HOW that happened , the seat was so far forward (i'm short!!!), passenger tail light f'd up, probably have another short now... bed is bent upward at a back corner , tailgate won't shut, blinker is going nuts on the dash (crushed on the back) omggg.

    still drives straight though... SUPER WEIRD. strongest toughest dang little truck e-v-e-r!

    Huge GMC moving/delivery type truck rammed in to me on the freeway when I hit my breaks to avoid the car in front of me who hit on their brakes. I stopped, the huge ash truck behind me didn't stop until it hit my big bumper. ugh.

    Sure glad I didn't just give it a paint job.

    overall, grumpy mood.

  13. #13

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    Yet another member that has been hit recently. Really sorry to hear about this tink. You must've got hit so hard the seat frame flexed from the impact. I hope the truck chassis and cab are still good. At least you'll have a fighting chance to get another bed for it. And glad you are around to tell the tale - this could've ended so differently...

  14. #14

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    Thank you Geezer & yeah, I'm still feeling thankful to not be in the hospital or worse, figure I'll be sore as hell tomorrow after the adrenaline & shock completely wear off. Did everything to avoid hitting the guy in front of me, came to a full stop & then wham got hit from behind pushed forward & hit again. Still trying to figure out how I got hit twice from behind but that's what insurance companies are for.

    The truck looks like a , well, it should be crushed. Hoping the frame/under parts are ok and/or fixable if not. The rear bumper is over about a foot, I mean, it's bad. No cracked glass though. Honestly I'm most upset about the tailgate & the dang blinkers tonight. Not legal to drive it w/out blinkers working (turn signal lights). The tailgate was the last perfect piece on the truck. It's so creased now it won't even latch shut. Disappointed big time. Thank god it had that giant double metal pipe tube type rear bumper. Hoping it saved the rear axle.

    Couldn't get the seat to slide back all the way afterwards either... maybe the seat rails are tweaked now. Will update after daylight comes... may have to learn welding after all. Ugh.

  15. #15

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    Huge sympathy, tink, and I wish things went better for you. We'll all hope for the best.

    Meanwhile, the head gasket job remains intact, so don't forget to re-torque in a couple hundred miles.

    Often blessings come out of tragedies. I hope you find a replacement parts truck so that your build is even better than you could have imagined!
    The greatest gift you have to give to the world is that of your own self~transformation.

  16. #16

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    On the upside, she's not leaking any fluids and runs fine. A little bit slower than she should be on the hills but figure I've got to get the timing set just twist that distributor a bit since I forgot to torque down that bolt on initial start up after headgasket replaced & I'm sure its off just a tad. Engine sounds good though!

    On the downside, I'm still having issues with her electric circuit for the lights post-rearend day. Wired in a new blinker/bulb but still flashes too fast on the passenger side. Last night driving in the first time after dark since hit, I lost all dash lights. Figuring fuse related, as in the fuse blew like it should have. Been using hand signals for turning, ugh. Figure I'll have to dig in to that light assembly a bit more and see if a wire is pinched somewhere. No point replacing a fuse just to have it blow again. Overall still disgusted.

    Rusty bed pics (last 2) show how much the bed isn't flat anymore. So weak with rust understandable it flexed and stayed tweaked but now that hinge point isn't working too well.

    Already straighted the bumper, removed, hammered brackets on an anvil (wow, my neighbors must love me now), and reattached. Had to, couldn't drive it with so much of the licence plate hidden by a sideways bumper.

    Supposed to get a call from a claims person next week from my insurance company. Scared. Don't want them or another ins. co. to total it. I didn't even have her covered, just liability, thinking she's not worth anything anyways in the kbb world. Not going to be a fun week obviously.

  17. #17

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    You can demand to keep the vehicle, and you can also negotiate to some degree on the settlement. Their main concern is YOU not taking THEM to court for damages...so remember: you have some clout. After all, you were hit.

    If they ask, say you ARE willing to take them to court. That should get you a satisfying check and let you keep the truck. Be sure to have a tally of all the money you have into it: that helps at the barganing table.

    Stay tough, tink!
    The greatest gift you have to give to the world is that of your own self~transformation.

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    Ohhhh No Tink!!! I hope you have acquired some pain and suffering (not really), but you need to recover your vehicle. Grab all your receipts that you have paid on and throw them at the insurance company. Most companies will total your vehicle and give you squat...you need to show proof of above and beyond with your stack of receipts. Don't let them screw you around, if you feel like they are trying to get away cheap on you, start heading to the doctor immediately. You get paid for pain, any loss of work, anything that disrupts your life that was caused by the accident, must be recovered.

    I am so sorry about your truck dear, that really sucks. Though, this may give you the chance to upgrade if you work it. Don't sign shit either until your completely happy with the decision.

  19. #19

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    Hey guys thank you for the wise advice! Its funny how when we get older we forget things, lol. I knew for years not to sign anything right away and yet I forgot now that it has come to my own situation. I did take the truck to a local non-chain body repair place today for an estimate, told them I really don't want anyone to total the truck, we've put so much work in to it. The worker at the shop took lots of pics all the way around - even though I SAID only the back I'm worried about. Should have had them take a look at the door but... did mention the gap is uneven now between the cab & the bed since it's pushed forward on the passenger side so much. The girl there was very surprised the truck still tracks straight, haha. I told her, well, it has like steel beams under it & how I think that heavy duty bumper really saved the truck from a ton of damage. She said what in the hell hit you & that it must have been pretty high up. Yeah, it was a chevy g3500: just like this one:

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    She did mention there's lots of options and first mentioned that they could just put a new bed on it --- because she saw how the bed floor (not sure what it's called but the bottom of the bed where I put stuff) goes up in the middle now. Told her I do use it as a truck, that's why I GOT a truck, to use it for a work truck. NEED the gate to close and the bed to bed to be flat on the bottom. How can I haul horse manure and keep my scooter/mini bike back there if it's all warped & something my fall out or at any bump? ugh. The tail gate today wouldn't even OPEN all the dang way when trying to show her what it does now.

    Frustrated but hopeful. She also mentioned that you can request them not total the truck. Thank god. Told her countless hours in on it, hg only 200 miles before impact, doesn't leak anything, drives great ~ just ugly as sin. Need it to be useful as a truck. She was amazed I drive it about 2-4 1/2 hrs a day getting everyone to/from work, lol. The truck looks like it'd barely limp down the road now. Poor old girl.

    To top it off, I noticed someone cut some beautiful red tulips over the weekend that I had planted in my front yard. I'm a bit peeved about that. All they had to do was ask, I probably would have said yes. *sighs* all from the same plant, too, like they didn't even think about only taking 1 from each and not harming anything.
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    and I keep having to look at the pile of material I got to test to redo the dash and wondering if I should bother now.

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    Don't like complaining but this is a sucky Monday. Hope everyone else is having a better day than me!

    Will update as my trip through hell continues thanks for caring guys even though I talk too much like women can do, haha!!

  20. #20

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    Smile and appreciate the small mercies. I took a 2" nail through my left hand and ended up having a hospital stay and surgery - just got out. It struck a nerve but didn't pierce it, and it hurt like a biatch but I wasn't going to complain. I lost the ends of 3 fingers on the right hand so this was no biggie, plus I was in waaay better shape than the guys I shared the room with.
    Your beautiful tulips will grow back. These flowers unfortunately only bloom once a year and can be tricky to get them to grow, but like the terminator - they'll be back (it's shitty that someone was that inconsiderate, let alone the trespass and theft/property damage - grrr ) Hopefully you'll keep the truck if it's viable and find a decent tray bed for it. The rust in the bed looked like it was getting nasty so who knows, you might get a better one in the process...

  21. #21

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    OUCH!!!!! Glad you're home safe & sound now! Careful with those infections that pop up sometimes Frankly it's amazing I haven't lost more flesh, I'm sort of ... well I hate gloves & love power tools, haha. It seems my family has forbidden me from getting a bandsaw for that finger loss potential issue. *sighs* Man that had to be awful for you, I'm so sorry you had to go through that.

    Yeah sort of wish a security cam would have caught the tulip bandit, oh well. I'll simply keep future plantings on the house side of the fence from now on. I wanted a bush there anyway, something that grows snacks, like blueberries or hazelnut. At least then they could pick parts off and not harm the plant Its the very first thing anyone stole from my tiny yard in almost 20 years of living here so all-in-all it was a very cheap lesson for me.

    The rust is all that's holding the bed together. that's got me thinking if they wanted to fix it instead of replace it they really couldn't... there's basically nothing solid to attach new material to except right along the sides or the tailgate itself. Maybe I'm wrong - that happens a lot, too - will update when I hear more. Still dreading the insurance claim person contacting me. I don't like surprise quizzes. Wondering if the guy who hit me has an ins. company option to pay for a rental car for me to use while my truck is in the shop.

    On the upside, I got my old electric toy scooter working today. Rode for 10 minutes before the battery went kaputz. Having fun planning a bigger size clone of it with upgrades, mods, big tires, etc. Thinking sidecar for the dog, ramp & tie down points in the truck, etc. Fun stuff to keep my mind off the insurance business at night when the house is quiet.

    Didn't get the timing set on the truck yet, no time today, house guest leaving back to Colorado tomorrow, should have more time later in the week. She just doesn't have the power going uphills like she did before. Wonder if I missed a vacuum line, or simply timing. No leaks, fluids not getting too hot. Need a few uninterrupted hours to play around with her & see what she wants.

  22. #22



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    Perhaps your flower bandit is an animal of some kind. Do you have deer around? Though I think they would of ate them all unless it was full of someone else flowers.

  23. #23

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    Finally some info on the wreck. My claims rep was finally able to talk with the driver of the big truck that rear ended me and he did admit fault. Big sigh of relief, wasn't sure if he was going to be honest or not. Whew. Made a few calls and found out his insurance co name, same main company as mine, weird. Uhh, only his was through the commercial division & mine's through the consumer division. This will be interesting.

    No word back from the first body shop I took the little truck to on an estimate -- so fine. Got to thinking I'd probably rather go with a bigger company anyway since it dawned on my I'll need a loaner car, ugh. Wonder if they have loaner trucks... I certainly don't have money to rent something & be reimbursed later.

    Still waiting to hear back from 2 different people and will take the truck to a different body shop tomorrow to see about a more timely estimate and exactly how much they truly help out or not with coordination w/the ins. co.

    Man, this whole situation has been ridiculously stressful. Wondering about others people honesty, how much the damage is, what I'm going to do while it's being fixed, if anyone will try to say it's totalled, how much fighting I'll have to do or not. After this 6 months of my insurance policy is done, I'm definitely upgrading to absolutely full coverage with all the extras I can get. Did everything I could to not be in a wreck & still did, just sitting there stopped even, and still stuck not being able to haul manure/soil in my truck. BAD timing, it's spring planting season in full swing here & I'm doubly frustrated. It's the little things in life I guess. Wouldn't bother me so much if it was January.

    Well I took a pic to show all the flowers cut off at the same level but it seems insignificant now, lol. Too busy on the phones and planting/transplanting other plants. Let the boyfriend take the truck to work so far this week - I'm still too frustrated to look at it any more than necessary.

  24. #24

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    Location

    Adelaide, South Australia
    Vehicle

    1985 Mitsubishi L200
    Engine

    G63B
    I've been wondering how this whole fiasco was panning out for you. We've all been here and done this at some point and you're at the mercy of someone else's 'moral compass'. It might be in your interests to get further advice - your truck is business related and it being off the road is costing you. And I don't know how far this goes or even if it is a factor but there's a personal investment in the truck as well. You have a few saving graces in this ordeal - you were hit by someone who was insured and had a registered vehicle with a current license, you didn't get hurt and although it has had the crap beaten out of it your truck didn't get totalled. Go through the system and be patient as this stuff always takes time. Good luck and hope this gets sorted soon.

  25. #25



    Array
    Status
    Offline
    Join Date
    07-24-2012
    Posts
    2,357
    Location

    Washington State
    Vehicle

    1986 Mitsubishi Mighty Max
    Engine

    G63B
    Hey Tink, if you didn't sign the paper..you could bill all your expenses that this accident has caused you to the other parties insurance. Any inconvenience that has caused you to spend out of pocket cash for this unforeseen accident could of been recovered. Trying not to make you rich off an accident, only make you whole again is what they are responsible for.
    I can feel your frustration as well. One time I was in an accident where a person not paying attention pulled in front of me and I T-Bone her volvo. My car was towed to a local body shop for repairs, though I thought. After calling the shop, I found out these idiots had taken all the aftermarket performance stuff off my car before any permission was given to them to even touch the car. The owner said he figured I didn't want the car anymore (which was a bunch of BS), new hood and fender was all it needed. I ended up getting an extra $300 for what they removed and they had to return all the parts they pulled off as well.

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