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How To Fix A Blown Head Gasket of Your Car

It is essential to say that a blown Head Gasket is a terrible problem and you need to pay attention to it immediately.

Even though Head Gasket is just a simple metal sheet coated in rubber material, it plays an important role in your car. So it’s not surprising that if the Head Gasket fails, the drivability of the car will be affected.

Don’t worry too much. Here is the laydown on how to fix a blown Head Gasket. This article will guide you on how to fix it with detailed step-by-step instructions.

A blown head gasket need be replaced when it's broken
A blown head gasket is a simple metal sheet coated in rubber material. The head gasket affects so seriously the working of the engine when it is broken

6 SYMPTOMS TO CHECK FOR A BLOWN HEAD GASKET

Oil becomes milky or frothy 

When the gasket is blown, coolant will leak and come into contact with the oil, contaminating the oil, causing it to appear milky or frothy. Moreover, a bubbling substance will appear on the underside of the oil cap.

White smoking

When the Head Gasket is blown, the coolant will leak into the cylinder, producing white fume exhaust gas. This situation is usually seen when you start the vehicle.

Bubble appears in the coolant reservoir

A bubble appearing in the radiator or coolant reservoir is a sign of a Blown Head Gasket. This is because the air in the cylinder is leaking into the cooling system.

Overheating

Your car will usually be at high temperature every time you drive if the Head Gasket is blown. Besides, since overheating can cause serious damage to your engine, when this occurs, you should turn off the car immediately until you are able to examine the source causing overheating.  

Engine misfiring

In this case, the sealing ring around the cylinder is damaged. Because the cylinder cannot generate enough pressure when the spark plug is igniting, the mixture does not create enough pressure for the gasoline engine. For the diesel engine, there will not be enough pressure for the mixture to self-ignite. If the two adjacent cylinders have a Misfire phenomenon, it usually means that the gasket separating the two cylinders has been blown.

Coolant or lubricating oil leaks out.

Head Gasket is no longer sealed and may lead to some leaking in coolant or lubricating oil. You may notice this symptom based on the engine oil level or low coolant level and if the coolant or lubricating oil is leaking out of the seam between the chip and lid.

TOOLS

  • Empty containers to put old engine oil and coolant
  • The new head gasket set
  • Drip pans
  • New engine oil and coolant
  • Gloves
  • Toolset with several socket and wrench combinations
  • Safety glasses
  • Torque wrenches
  • Vehicle Service Manual (this might come in handy if you get stuck along the way)

HOW TO FIX A BLOWN HEAD GASKET: STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE

Step 1: Preparation & dismantling of engine.

Your car head gaskets sit in the middle of your engine so getting to them can be rough and at times tedious. You need to remove and reinstall a lot of peripheral equipment and other accessories carefully.  

  1. Disconnect the battery – (Left/negative first.) With the battery connected, activating the starter assembly can be very dangerous. On this, it’s crucial to disconnect it before you perform any major repairs.
  2. Drain the engine oil and coolant – Drain the engine oil from the engine pot into an empty container. You need to locate the oil drain plug and open it while placing an empty container underneath the engine.
  3. Next, drain the coolant from the radiator – You can perform this process from the drain port or a loosened lower radiator hose. Remember to remove the radiator cap first.
  4. Remove the cylinder component – There are many bolts, nuts, clamps, and fitting on the cylinder head. Therefore, it is a good idea to bag, tag, and even write down everything to help you remember where each part goes.
  5. Remove fasteners – Some components require the removal of fasteners to be on a sequence to avoid cracking and warping. You can learn how to go about it in the service manual. On the other hand, some vehicles come with overhead camshaft-Dual or single- which you’ll find on the cylinder head. This will require a specific removal procedure and timing mark. If your vehicle has an overhead valve engine, you’ll need to take extra care during removal. This is because of the camshaft in the engine block coming with lifters, rocker arms, and pushrods.
  6. Get to the head gasket – Check the tightening sequence that holds the gasket in place and loosen them in a reversal order.

Step 2: Cylinder head inspection

  1. Inspect cylinder head and the engine block– You need to check the flatness of the connected engine block and cylinder head side to ensure a perfect seal. Here, you can use a mechanized edge to check the engine block flatness. The measurement will be instructed in the service manual. If the surface is not straight, replace the components before putting them in the head gasket.
  2. Clean the surfaces for assembly – Both engine block and cylinder head need perfect cleaning. Make sure that the cylinder head is in good condition otherwise it needs repair too.
  3. Inspect and clean other components – You need to check every component you removed during disassembly and check for damages or wear and replace them.
  4. Clean the spiral grooves (threads) – Rust can build up on the spiral grooves and the bolt holes, which might lead to the fasteners getting stuck.

Step 3: Reassemble

  1. Spray the gasket with a sealant – For better results, you can spray both sides of the cylinder gasket with the sealer before laying the engine block. (Tip: You can get copper or other metal sealant spray to get a good seal with the new head gasket.)
  2. Install the cylinder head – After the surface is cleaned and the head gasket is in place, put in the cylinder head and fasten it. Just the way you opened it, you need to follow a specific pattern to reassemble the parts.
  3. Put in everything else that was removed earlier back to its place – Retrace your earlier steps and install the components from the cylinder head. It is easier if you have recorded or taken pictures to help you remember easily.
  4. Refill the engine oil and coolant – Make sure there is no air trapped in the coolant system.

Step 4: Connect the battery and take a road test

Once everything is set, connect the battery-positive side first and crank the engine.

TECHNICAL NOTES WHILE FIXING A BLOWN HEAD GASKET

When connecting the wires and assembling the parts, be cautious, and ensure you connect everything in the right place. Loose components and wires can cause major damage to the entire engine. If you are not sure of what you are doing, consult a professional. 

FAQs

Is it hard to fix a blown head gasket?

Replacing a head gasket is not a simple do-it-yourself job. There is so much disassembling and assembling that sometimes don’t just come out easy and might take a lot of time. You need to be keen while doing it to avoid more damage to the engine or other related parts.

How long does a head gasket repair last?

Repairing a head gasket can last from 6 hours to several days, depending on the severity of the damage. A blown head gasket is one of the biggest failures a car can experience, and fixing it right will take time.

What causes a head gasket to go bad?

There are many reasons why a head gasket can go bad, but the common one is the engine overheating. This is caused by coolant leaks, not having enough coolant, or other related problems.

Can you fix a head gasket without replacing it?

If the situation is not that severe, you can use a head gasket leak sealer. Add it to your vehicle’s coolant system, where it will work by fixing the gasket metal molecule structure.

The video about how to fix a blown head gasket:

How to fix a blown head gasket

CONCLUSION

Fixing a blown head gasket is not easy, especially if you don’t have knowledge about vehicle repair. It must be done right because failure may end up with bigger problems than just a blown head gasket. For this, you might need to seek professional help instead of replacing it yourself.

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