head issues

knarf

Member
Apr 24, 2010
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nj
my 89 s-trim f cam has been pushing coolant out the resv. on an ongoing basis. it never gets anywhere near overheating until the coolant level has dropped so low it can no longer be pumped through the system. there;s no sign of coolant in the exhaust or water in the oil, but the coolant does get kind of foamy. I haven't done a compression test but I'm thinking i have a head gasket leaking into the water jacket but only under combustion presures. any way i came up with the idea removing the rad cap, taking a home CO monter in a plastic bag, sealing the bag over the rad opening and seeing if i get any reading with the car running. surprise surprise, i did. I'm thinking this this confirms my suspicions. Anyone out there agree or disagree? i can't see how esle you'd get CO in the coolant system.
So with this in mind I figure it's time to upgrade the heads while I'm changing the gaskets anyway. I was thinking of using tfs 185 cnc units but they aren't avail machinrd for the loc wire gaskets like the 170's which i really think i should use. does anyone have any experience with this? are the 185's really worth the extra six or seven hundred they're gonna cost? if so any reccomandations on a good and reasonably priced machine shop th the northern nj area to cut the heads for the gaskets?

any input would be greatly appreciated
thanks guys
 
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Kdubslugga

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Jun 7, 2003
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Sounds to me like a head gasket blown, did you change your headgasket recently with the blower add on. I bolted up a vortech and my stock head gaskets lasted 1 week. A couple things you try. Pressure test the coolant system. Also Napa sell a sniff tester for about 40 bucks. It comes with a chemical dye. You start the car with radiator cap off once it starts to steam you use the sniffer tester and if the dye turns color you have a blown head gasket!!
 

Kdubslugga

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Jun 7, 2003
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Also the afrs are awesome heads no dont. However im makin over 500 to the wheels with Edelbrock Performers 1.90 1.60 valves one of the oldest aftermarket head designs out there, you be the judge to whether or not there worth it....Ive thought of changing to AFR heads but, that is border line stupid..1600 dollars for 20 more HP... Its worse than crack dude!!!lol
 

wv109323

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Sep 11, 2008
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Lenore ,WV
I bet you don't have a head gasket problem at all. If this has been doing this for a while, it would not continue to leak little amounts of anti-freeze. It would get worse in a hurry. If the compression of the engine has destroyed the head gasket and left a pathway for coolant to escape that pathway is going to increase over time. The compression/combustion gases will eat away more gasket or eat a pathway into the engine block/head not stay the same.
My bet is that the seal of the radiator cap is not sealing well and that you are " steamimg" away your antifreeze. Inspect your cap to make sure there is no splits in the rubber seal and that the spring in in the cap is actually pushing the rubber seal down onto the sealing surface of the radiator. Also the locking lugs for the cap can get worn and not allow the cap to seal.
Run your car up to operating temp. and smell around the radiator cap for antifreeze.
Do not use this message as a reason not buy those new heads.
 

2000xp8

SN Certified Technician
Aug 8, 2003
7,216
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If it is the heads, loc wiring heads on a street car don't really prevent anything. It's a complete waste of money.
If a head gasket is blown, it happened for a reason, not because a gasket failed.
Find the source of the problem and it won't happen anymore.
 

knarf

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Apr 24, 2010
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nj
the rad cap was one of the first things I looked at appears to be sealing fine but replaced it with a new 16lb just for good measure. I said its been doing this for a while but i guess its been about two weeks and i've really been babying it. i think i gonna just break down and go for the heads