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Discussion Starter #1
I saw the first thread about this, and decided to start a new thread instead of reviving an old one. I have had coolant issues in the past, but I have had my mechanics blame it on a small leak in the radiator the first time, and the upper coolant hose the second (which seems to have been cut by the belt right next to it on my 96 3.8L V6 Cougar). After doing hours of research on the internet, it looks like it is a blown head gasket. The final test with be to watch the radiator coolant for bubbles tomorrow morning when I start her up. If this is the case, I have other problems to fix on this car, and therefore am coming up short on the 1K+ that it would take to get it replaced. Also, being a broke college student does not help. But I am willing to shell out the <$100 that the stop leak fluids go for. Now my question is not whether or not I should try these products, but rather has anyone had experience with them, good or bad, and what is the most thorough way to go about doing this. I am currently looking at Bar's Head Gasket Stop Leak and Blue Devil's version of the same product. Thank you in advance for your responses, and even though this is my first post on these forums, I will admit that they have definitely helped me with many of my questions in the past 18 months that I have had about my Lola.
 

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Personally I don't believe in a repair like this coming in a bottle. Eventually it will fail, however if you need to limp it home this may be the way to go. Just my opinion.
 

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Blue devil usually works and works well, but I will let you know this, this will not solve your problem! This is only throwing a bandage on it. The blue devil stuff costs about 50 buck maybe more. It lays down a thick frosting throughout the cooling system which means there is the possibility of doing more harm to the system than helping it. I've seen that stuff make thermostats stick shut, seize up water pumps, and the flow of coolant being blocked off in small coolant passages. At the same time, I've seen it work on cars and help them get down the road. Using these products is usually a last ditch effort to solve a problem when the money isn't there, and is only going to buy you a little time if any at all. I highly recommend trying to gather the funds to do the headgaskets rather than ruin your cooling system with some mechanic in a bottle. Good luck to you!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the input guys, and since I will be working through the summer, I should have enough saved up in a month or two for the repair. This is an unfortunate necessity right now, because I really just don't have the funds to do this now, but it just got boosted up to my number one priority.
 

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Honestly this repair can be done right by the average person with time, patience, and tools, for less the it costs for the blue devil stuff.
 

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you have a place that will shave heads for less than $50 bucks?
About $50 for both. ;) Free if I drop them of at the local college for "learning purposes"
 

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Head gaskets would take a day to do if you have the right tools and a good manual. Turnaround on having the heads milled is the variable here. If you've got another method of transportation (so you can leave/pick up the heads at a shop) you can do the work yourself for much less than $500 in parts.
 

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Ive never seen it work as a lasting repair, only a temporary fix.

Also seen it clog up all sorts of engine coolant passages, radiator, thermostat, etc ..
 

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As said before, its a very desperate band aid.

How long would you plan on driving the car after you used the treatment ? Thats the biggest issue. 1 or 2 days is fine. 2 months and you would be begging to do more damage than just the headgaskets.
 

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i wouldn't even try it, especially if the head gasket has pushed water into your crankcase like mine did, driving it after that would most likely destroy your rotating assembly. you should have seen my old 3.8 after the guy who owned it drove her for a few months with a head gasket out and water in the oil... it was like someone filled the block pan and all the gallery's and push-rods with deck-a-cake white frosting...

i got lucky and she still running today with a good cleaning and some new head gaskets/head milling. but I'm still kind of worried the bearings down low might be damaged. no knocks or anything after nearly 6 years of school driving though :D

perhaps another miracle might happen, its your car man, but like everyone else is saying... that quick fix stop leak stuff usually just ends up plugging most of your radiator and stopping up your Tstat causing more overheating issues and another blown head gasket later. if you plan on using it, then plan on changing your radiator/Tstat and flushing your motors coolant galleries with some sort of solvent to try and remove the sludge.
 

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Head gaskets would take a day to do if you have the right tools and a good manual. Turnaround on having the heads milled is the variable here. If you've got another method of transportation (so you can leave/pick up the heads at a shop) you can do the work yourself for much less than $500 in parts.
Last year I did a head job for $700 included my labor gaskets, oil, coolant, plugs machine work and one new head (junkyard find ~$125).
 

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Nooooooo

Whatevet you do do not use bars stop leak. I used it on my 89 as a temp fix and it only mafe it worse by clogging my radiator. I will never try to temp fix anything. Do it right
 

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Whatevet you do do not use bars stop leak. I used it on my 89 as a temp fix and it only mafe it worse by clogging my radiator. I will never try to temp fix anything. Do it right
I've had a bad experience with "fix in a bottle", too. My A/C kept loosing gas and I put one of those little $20 cans of stop-leak in it. The compressor locked up and smoked the compressor clutch.
 

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I'm going to toss my two cents in here.

Consider that the stop leak is supposed to seal up small holes.

Now consider that with the corrosion and build up some blocks have, various passageways may already be "small holes".

Add to that the fact that if the hole isn't small, the stop leak will build up on the walls.

Cooling system stop leak is known to plug radiators, plus it coats the inside of the block, reducing heat transfer.

I mean, haven't you seen the ads about plaque buildup inside human arteries? Stop leak is like force feeding someone a cholesterol burger with extra Elmer's Glue!

Synopsis - keep adding fluids for a short while, and GET IT FIXED RIGHT.

RwP
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Wow guys, thanks for all the knowledgable input. Thankfully after reading those posts, I decided to make sure beyond a doubt that it was not my headgasket via block test. The liquid stayed blue, and upon further inspection, the coolant was normal colored, and after running the car and getting it up to normal operating temp, there was no smoke coming from the exhaust. I still don't know where the coolant is coming from though, cause every other symptom pointed towards a blown headgasket. I did find out that my radiator cap was bad, and have replaced it, and am currently figuring out how to test my cooling system using a motorad pressure tester.
 

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you may have a bad INTAKE GASKET. Much cheaper to fix. I had one. It was discovered during the tear down to do head gaskets. We cleaned out the coolant under the intakes and put in a new gasket. Problem solved. Heads were untouched until I did Splitport Head Swap. On that, I just should have bought a junkyard 4.2 and fixed up.

Well, my bird is dead from the dreaded rust monster. Ask DirtyDog if he has any parts you need from it.
 

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Luckily, it turned out that it was a bad intake gasket. But now my overflow resevoir is bone dry cold or hot. But there's consistently full coolant in my radiator itself, so I'm ok living with that. Cause there are many more things to keep on top of with that car.
 

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Luckily, it turned out that it was a bad intake gasket. But now my overflow resevoir is bone dry cold or hot. But there's consistently full coolant in my radiator itself, so I'm ok living with that. Cause there are many more things to keep on top of with that car.
If the overflow reservoir is bone dry cold, why not fill it up to the max cold mark?
-g
 

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with a 3.8 the first thing you should 'keep on top of' is the coolant level. it is notorious for head gasket failures when the coolant drops even slightly in the radiator. if the overflow wont stay full, you still have a leak. or you still have some air in the system its pushing out. those air bubbles floating around in the heads will soon become hotspots and blow the head gaskets.
 
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