Head Gaskets - Ford Powerstroke Diesel Forum
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post #1 of 48 Old 05-23-2019, 06:39 PM Thread Starter
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Head Gaskets

I know there is a ton of info out there about HG issues but frankly, my head hurts from all the reading and I'm still uncertain. So last weekend we were out for a camping trip pulling a 12k lb 5th wheel and I ran her pretty hard. When we got to the camp site I noticed coolant on the frame behind the driver front tire. When I opened the hood coolant seemed to be everywhere and the lower and upper hose were soft which led me to believe all my coolant was gone however there was still about an inch in the degas bottle. This made me sick! As I investigated I found that the coolant was mostly around the degas bottle with indication of a cap release and upon further investigation I noticed that the bottle has a ton of tiny cracks although there were no signs of leaking. So I replaced the bottle with a new cap and pulled the upper radiator hose to check the coolant level in the radiator which was fine. I replenished the coolant and was very leery about the events that had taken place. When I got home coolant again but this time I found it coming from the upper hose as I apparently didn't get it tight enough. I tightened the hose and ran the truck about 35 miles and all seemed good. The truck sat for about two days before the wife had to drive it. When I got home I smelled coolant again. This time coolant showed signs of being blown across the engine by the fan. The inside of the shroud is coated with dried coolant which leads me to suspect the radiator however I can't find a leak and no new signs of coolant for the last 100 miles. I made a "Hero" kit and can't get the truck to build more than 5 psi on its own. I decided to pressureize the system with my air compressor and look for a leak and nothing. The last test I did was to put 5 psi in the system with my compressor and see what the truck would build with the "Hero" kit and I only saw 11 psi which indicates the truck is only building 6psi on its own. I just replaced the radiator about 2k miles ago and changed the coolant to ELC. I also added a coolant filtration kit, replaced the water pump (BPD) and did the 7.3 fan clutch mod. Before I got this truck the heads were studded however I don't know what gaskets were used. Also installed was the BPD oil to air cooler and filter relocation. Supposedly the EGR is deleted however I still have the valve and the EGR still appears to be in place maybe it was welded shut as I've seen before. I really don't think it's an EGR problem and I'm more worried about the HG. I'm just looking for some confirmation that everything is ok and I need not to worry yet or maybe test something else. I hate this feeling of uncertainty. HELP!!!

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post #2 of 48 Old 05-23-2019, 07:19 PM
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my degas tank had residue on it. I ran a hose T'd off of the intake to the degas tank to a 0-30 psi gauge inside the cab and drove it. I had a steady 15-16 psi. Thats what told me. A lot of different tests will be suggested, but this is the one that will tell you. I had no smoke and the truck seemed to run perfect. No CEL or any codes. No visible oil in antifreeze and it passed a compression test.

If for some reason you are not sure(or are trying to convince yourself that everything is fine) run the truck with the gauge, then let it cool overnight. If you have anything over 0 psi on your gauge at that point, bad head gasket.

Believe me, its worth it.

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post #3 of 48 Old 05-23-2019, 08:39 PM
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Replace the degas cap

Get a psi tester from harbor freight and pressurize the system to 16lbs and check for leaks. If none, or after you fix them, then put a psi gauge inline to the degas bottle
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post #4 of 48 Old 05-24-2019, 06:50 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by El Gallo View Post
my degas tank had residue on it. I ran a hose T'd off of the intake to the degas tank to a 0-30 psi gauge inside the cab and drove it. I had a steady 15-16 psi. Thats what told me. A lot of different tests will be suggested, but this is the one that will tell you. I had no smoke and the truck seemed to run perfect. No CEL or any codes. No visible oil in antifreeze and it passed a compression test.



If for some reason you are not sure(or are trying to convince yourself that everything is fine) run the truck with the gauge, then let it cool overnight. If you have anything over 0 psi on your gauge at that point, bad head gasket.



Believe me, its worth it.
Ok so this morning I had about .5 psi on the gauge. I'll try it again this evening. I'm thinking about putting about 10 psi in over night in hopes of pushing coolant out of any leaks I may have. Any reason I shouldn't do this?

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post #5 of 48 Old 05-24-2019, 06:55 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by repalmer View Post
Replace the degas cap

Get a psi tester from harbor freight and pressurize the system to 16lbs and check for leaks. If none, or after you fix them, then put a psi gauge inline to the degas bottle
I know my first post was a short story of sorts but, I have an inline gauge which is telling me the truck is building 6 psi at max. I have pushed pressure manually to look for leaks, so far no luck. I'm thinking I'll push 10psi or so over night in hopes of finding fresh coolant at any possible leaks. I do have a new cap, it came with the new degas bottle. I plan to test the cap this evening to verify where this one will vent.

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post #6 of 48 Old 05-24-2019, 08:50 AM
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Originally Posted by 5J's View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by El Gallo View Post
my degas tank had residue on it. I ran a hose T'd off of the intake to the degas tank to a 0-30 psi gauge inside the cab and drove it. I had a steady 15-16 psi. Thats what told me. A lot of different tests will be suggested, but this is the one that will tell you. I had no smoke and the truck seemed to run perfect. No CEL or any codes. No visible oil in antifreeze and it passed a compression test.



If for some reason you are not sure(or are trying to convince yourself that everything is fine) run the truck with the gauge, then let it cool overnight. If you have anything over 0 psi on your gauge at that point, bad head gasket.



Believe me, its worth it.
Ok so this morning I had about .5 psi on the gauge. I'll try it again this evening. I'm thinking about putting about 10 psi in over night in hopes of pushing coolant out of any leaks I may have. Any reason I shouldn't do this?

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That could be risky, if it is a head gasket then you might cause coolant to push into the cylinders which (if there's enough in the there) can cause hydrolock the next time you try to start it

People never have enough time/money to do the job right, but somehow they always find the time/money to do it twice

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post #7 of 48 Old 05-24-2019, 09:58 AM
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The combustion pressure that pushes gas into the coolant is actually quite high. I would hope that the head gasket leakage would not be bad enough to leak at 10 psig backwards from the degas bottle. Now EGR cooler leaks can certainly leak coolant into the intake which you need to avoid!

What I like about pressurizing the coolant system and watching it overnight is that it will confirm (or not) a tight coolant system. A leak free coolant system is important to have accurate data on the degas pressure testing. I certainly wouldn't want to pressurize it to hopefully push coolant somewhere!

The other things you need to ensure a valid test with a coolant pressure gauge are:
1. proper coolant concentration
2. proper degas bottle level
3. proper coolant temperatures when driving hard (ie you need good coolant flow and good radiator/thermostat performance to avoid flash boiling in the hot portions of the engine)
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Last edited by bismic; 06-10-2019 at 04:48 AM.
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post #8 of 48 Old 05-24-2019, 11:39 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by bismic View Post
The combustion pressure that pushes gas into the coolant is actually quite high. I would hope that the head gasket leakage would not be bad enough to leak at 10 psig. Now EGR cooler leaks can certainly leak coolant into the intake which you need to avoid!

What I like about pressurizing the coolant system and watching it overnight is that it will confirm (or not) a tight coolant system. A leak free coolant system is important to have accurate data on the degas pressure testing. I certainly wouldn't want to pressurize it to hopefully push coolant somewhere!

The other things you need to ensure a valid test with a coolant pressure gauge are:
1. proper coolant concentration
2. proper degas bottle level
3. proper coolant temperatures when driving hard (ie you need good coolant flow and good radiator/thermostat performance to avoid flash boiling in the hot portions of the engine)
I hadn't thought about pushing coolant into the heads or intake, I was thinking more about an external visual leak. I'm hoping that I had a flash boil for some reason that caused my coolant puke. As soon as I get this all figured out in going to replace upper hose, lower hose, degas bottle, cap and hose, T-stat, as well as my intercooler piping and CAI.

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post #9 of 48 Old 05-24-2019, 11:50 AM
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If you had a flash boiling, it's because of lack of flow. Which points to your oil cooler clogging
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post #10 of 48 Old 05-29-2019, 08:47 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by repalmer View Post
If you had a flash boiling, it's because of lack of flow. Which points to your oil cooler clogging
Thanks for the reply. I have the BPD air to oil cooler and the filter relocation. I haven't heard of any issues with those clogging. Maybe I'm not informed well enough. Are those problematic also? Here's what I've done so far: I've been monitoring my pressures and so far I've not seen above 7psi in the coolant. I have noticed on a couple of occasions a vacuum in my coolant system after I bled off pressure and returned the cap to cool. I also rented the block test kit from O'Reilly and got negative results for combustion gasses in the coolant system however, I've heard these tests aren't recommended on diesel vehicles. Any insight on this one? I also performed the "bubble" test. Performed by sealing the coolant bottle fill hole and venting it via tubing into a bottle of water. My question on this one is, Are there supposed to be any bubbles? I noticed a half dozen or so 3/8" or smaller bubbles over a couple of minutes.

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