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Block full of coolant


October 9, 2006
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Year, Model & Trim Level
91 XL
Block full of coolant. Pics now available inside!!!

New to 4x4..

How do I remove the coolant and what steps to ensure no additional damage.
Had Blown headgaskets. Cannot see any cracks in the heads. I drained the oil and am going to pull the watepump next to be safe. Can't seem to locate a way to remove all of this water! :fire:


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After dropping the pan and pulling the heads, dry everything out as best as possible with rags and then put your motor back together. After you fire it up for the first time, let it get to full temp and then change the oil. That should get most of it out. Once the motor is at full temp, what's left will most likely vaporize, and what doesn't will end up sitting on top of the oil in the pan, thus the reason to change it.

If you plan on keeping your EX for a while now would be a good time to send the heads out have them fluxed for cracks, shaved for flatness and rebuilt.

I thought there was only a blown gasket because when you'd try to turn the motor over the reservoir would bubble like crazy. When I took it all apart today, the gaskets were not "blown" like I had expected. In fact they looked good except for a little bit of damage between two of the cylinders.

When I pulled the heads, there was water (coolant) on every piston.

I drained the oil and had some nice milkshake effect and let it sit all day with no plug or filter. I was going to drop the pan but can't seem to see how it comes out. I've never done one of these before so I'm not familiar with the layout. It is very involved to remove? I dabble in turbo buicks so I know my way around those but these are a little different.

As for the heads, I cannot see anything that resembles damage whatsoever. I did notice that the lower intake manifold gasket looked fairly new and that most everything was gunked up with silicone. And there was no T-stat.

Short of Magnafluxing the heads, shouldn't I be able to tell with a visual inspection? Further, when we initially tried to start the car when I bought it, after a few attempts, water was gushing out of somewhere because there was a nice stream pouring from the exhaust (outside the exhaust) - the truck was on an incline). Thus, I was anticipating some huge hole or missing chunk. One the contrary, I have yet to discover what could cause such a stream of water (it was literally as if someone had turned on a hose ever-so-gently and let it trickle for a while)...

I'll try and post a pic or two if I can figure it out...

Nice pictures!

It looks like leakage, but more from a warped or improperly torqued head than a blown gasket. Rarely the block cracks and water enters that way. You could try, squirting some WD40 on the pistons, turning the crank by hand and look for an obvious problem.

When you put the engine back together, the instructions should say something about applying RTV to the water ports on the lower manifold gasket and to the joint where the head meets the block. Maybe one of these failed?

If it was me, I'd send the heads out for a rebuild, magnaflux and machining ($60). That will catch any potential cracks before you go through the trouble of assembling. Having done this myself, it's less grief to let someone else do it.

Only $60 ?!?!? Is that per head or what? I looked into buying new heads but they're not cheap and I'm tring to stay within an budget. I have yet to confirm that the trans and 4x4 parts work since the engine was broken...

Anyway, I checked with and they want $180 per w/ 3 month warranty. I found them on ebay as well and it's $125 per w/ a 6 month warranty.

I have checked and rechecked the heads and cannot find cracks or warping of any sort. I'm leaning toward the idea that something was improperly torqued. Some bolts were not very tight.

Could I have an issue with the lower intake manifold? Didn't see cracks there but diagnositc site mentions this as a possibility.

The $60 is for a rebuild. They take all the stuff off, clean, magnaflux, machine, lap the valves, replace the stem seals and reassemble. If bad, a new head cost $190. Look in the yellow pages under Automotive machine shop and call for an estimate.

:nono: Under no circumstance should any of the bolts not been tight. You may be looking at a previously botched job that did not replace the bolts. They are torque to yield and must be replaced. If true, the head may be warped.

I've attached a picture of one of my head cracks. They are only visible when the head is dry.


  • crackJPG.jpg
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I saw that pic on an earlier post... I do not have any cracks like that so I'm going to call on Monday and see what the local shops charge-just to be safe. ( I'm going to have the lower intake manifold checked out too).

My concern was the amount of water that came out.

We had tried to crank the engine. It DID turn over but did NOT start. We tried a few times and then all I saw was water pouring out of the back of truck- apparently running down the exhaust pipe to the muffler and dripping from there.

Do you know if there are any freeze plugs in the rear of the block???

WOW. thats some bad leaking. :eek: i agree that it looks like a totally botched head job. those gaskets were leaking a ton of water into the cylinders to have it pump it out the pipe. :confused: my biggest fear is that you will reassemble the motor only to have it let go on you a few thousand miles from now. the antifreeze mixes with the oil and eats copper bearings in the lower end. the water rust in the cylinders wont be good for compression either. Good luck, get the heads checked out, reassemble the top end properly, and pray :D

I share Goliath's concern about the amount of water, if not necessarily his pessimism about the results. With luck it's a bad head install. At any rate, once assembled a compression test on each of the cylinders would be in order. This will reveal any block problems or further cause for concern.

Good luck and keep us posted. :thumbsup:

Goliath: I was reading your post. I think you may have misunderstood. There was a lot of water but it DID NOT come out of the exhaust pipe.

There was sufficient water leaking from somewhere on the back of the passenger side of the block that it ran onto the exhaust pipe and ran down the pipe on the outside of the pipe. It then dripped when it (the water) running along the pipe ran against the muffler which acted as a break and then the water dripped to the ground from there.

If, as I think you understood, or I read, water had been coming from inside the exhaust pipe in such quantities, I wouldn't have bothered with removing the heads and would have opted to just buy a new engine...

BTW, can anyone tell me if there is a freeze plug in the back of the block. Even better does anyone have a pic of the back of the block that they could post? It would be very helpful.


if the water was leaking there, it was the head gasket, intake gasket, or a freeze plug blown out. the lower end should be ok if you were leaking the coolant, not pumping it out. My bad. i still think the coolant in the intake and the cylinders is not a good thing. how did it get there is the question?

Thanks for the pic! I'll have to double check myself just to make sure. I'm thinking that the lower intake manifold bolts were simply too loose. I'll check and see what the heads run to get checked but I'm pretty sure they're ok.

What do you think a simple rebuild on the heads should run? P & P?


I paid sixty bucks for the rebuild on both my heads. I supplied the valve seals that had come in the head kit. In return I got a clean head ready for installation. Yours seemed to have cleaned up nice, but mine were very grimey.

A url provided my ma96782 provides more information than you ever needed abot the heads and block:

That site is very informative. Thanks for the resource! :cool:

I'll let you know what the local machine shops quote me...

BTW, Shamaal: would you mind looking at another post of mine and possibly chiming in? "Need technical name or part number for this item... " is the title. Not too many responses so far... :confused:

Turned out to be cracked heads both were cracked and unrepairable. I guess it's time to place my order. Local machine shop charged me $40 to magnaflux both heads. Wanted an additional $60 to clean and surface the lower intake manifold. And quoted $600 for a new set of heads :eek: .

I'll try and post a pic later for the benfit of others who might run into this situation.

That $600 should include transferring all the parts, except for the rocker arm. Plead poverty and see if they throw in the lower intake work for free. That's what I paid, but I was in a hurry.

Previous posts indicate a poor success rate with scavenging from a yard. Occasionally they show up on ebay.

My machinist told me that they are made in Germany?

Pics would be nice.

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Get some oil in those cylinders before they get any worse!!!! WD-40 will work too.