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head gasket leak?

jakegator

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1998 explorer 4dr ohv
Hey there, I just bought a 92 explorer with 330000 original miles... unfortunately the only original thing is the engine. The guy i bought it from told me that he had to put a quart of oil in every month. I suppose its not terrible but id like to fix it. I had a friend who is a technician look at it and we agreed its mostly the oil pan gasket, which is figured. He also suggested it is the head gasket. now I cant tell if it is leaking since i cant get into see it. But the coolant is holding fine and hasnt overheated for me at all and the previous owner said it never over heated for him. The oil does not have any water in it and the pressure is normal. The exhaust is clear as well. Not sure if you can make an educated guess if the I should go through the trouble of replacing the head gasket or not, I will be doing it myself if i need to. Tomorrow I will be tightening the oil pan bolts to slow the seal.
I guess what im asking is for a guess (if you can) if I should deal with the head gasket or not.

Thanks in advice for your input!
 


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arco777

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Head gaskets usually won't cause oil loss. Coolant loss, yes, oil no.
 




Themightyquinn

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Do not replace a head gasket unless 1) you have coolant loss and most importantly 2) you see white smoke coming out of the exhaust. Check you valve covers for leakage. it very common for valve cover gaskets to leak. if they are replace them with the rubber/plastic gaskets, not the cork ones and do not use any silicone sealant and make sure to properly torque them to specs. if just one side is leaking, its better to replace both, as the other will soon follow. Also tightening you oil pan will most likely not cause a leak to stop if it is leaking from the oil pan gasket. After 300K+, the seal is old and brittle and wet. The only way to get a fluid tight seal from a gasket, it has to be dry. My advice is to degrease the engine and run it to see where the leak is coming from. Make sure to check all of the sensors on side of the engine, the oil drain plug, where the oil filter meets the block, etc. Good luck
 




wood1

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Dude, check the lower intake manifold bolts to make sure they are tight. They have a habit of backing off in high mileage 4.0L engines. Mine was using about a quart per tank, tightened the LIM bolts and (they were obviously loose) it fixed the problem.

Wood.
 




jakegator

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Themightyquinn - I havnt noticed any coolant loss until Friday. I took a trip down to Maryland only went about 100 miles overall, but before i left I used a sharpy and marked the coolant level. Looking at it when i got back and cooled down it lost about 1.5 cm. Not sure if this is anything to be concerned about. I also decreased the engine as best I could, I cant see any obvious signs of a leak and it doesnt look like i've lost any oil on the dipstick.

wood1 - The lower intake bolts are tight as well as no signs of leaks around the valve cover


thanks, jake
 




wood1

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The lower intake manifold gaskets are still suspect. When I replaced mine they were rotten around the coolant passages, it had been using a small amount of coolant from the time I bought it and I would feed it a Barrs Stop Leak every year which kept it at bay. When I finally gave up and replaced the gaskets it was obvious.

A word of caution, if the coolant level gets too low and the engine runs a bit hotter it will overheat your transmission and it will puke all it's fluid out the front converter seal. Unnerving to say the least, certainly could damage your trans too...

if you don't see any coolant on the ground, it's probably the lower intake gaskets. If you take it apart and the gaskets are pristine (extremely unlikely) you will have to look at the heads.

Heads crack on these motors when they overheat. I wouldn't replace a head gasket and put the factory heads back on. You can get improved aftermarket heads too cheaply. I think mine were under 200 er with valves and springs, ready to bolt on.

Best of luck.
 




Themightyquinn

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so now ur have a coolant leak instead of engine oil leak?????
Park you car, on a flat surface, and run the engine to see if u find coolant leaking on the ground. Remember, when checking coolant level, when u check it the second time, the engine must be at the same temp as when u first checked it. So if u checked it when it was completely cold, you must wait about 6 hours after driving in until the engine looses all of the heat.
 




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