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Cantedvalve

Head gasket issue? (No it was a wiped cam)

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So I’ve got my engine back to running order.  It ran fine... then I developed a hell of a tick.  It’s more a clack than a tick.  It’s really loud, intermittent, and alarming.  So I pulled the valve covers, checked that the rockers were tight, they are.  Pushrods look good.  Don’t see a valve train issue.  I have some brownish white funky stuff coating the inside of the valve cover.  I figured it was due to humidity mixing with the oil, so I cleaned it out and changed the oil.  No difference.  Seems too loud to be an exhaust leak.

Now I’m looking at a head gasket issue.  Car cools fine, didn’t see any coolant in the oil, but the coolant is a bit brown - could be residual yuck from 10 years of storage.  Or could be from a bad head gasket.  Car was blowing white smoke... steam... but it’s a humid day so maybe that too.

I haven’t done a compression test... don’t plan to because it’s a pain in the ass on these Cleveland’s.  I’d rather just hit the head gaskets and drop the pan to check the rod caps.  Unless you have another idea...

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Sounds like your car is still suffering from the dreaded "Curse of Midlife" from 2005 or so.  Dang, CV...it sure sounds/looks/smells like water contaminating your heads.  Be very careful if your oil begins to show milky on the dipstick and check your crank bearings if you do.

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So here’s the gunk I pulled out of the radiator...  new radiator, hoses, thermostat, etc.  this COULD be oil residue, but it doesn’t smell or feel like oil.  When I changed the oil today, it looked like engine oil.  No cloudiness in it.  I changed it hot so it was thin, but that’s it.  I did have a nice film of milky tan scum on the inside of the valve covers, in the PCV Valve, in the breather, and in the dipstick tube (but not on the dipstick when checking the oil.  I originally attributed that to condensation as it’s cold and wet in dads garage for some reason.

Im not taking any chances... I ordered a gasket set.  I’ll drop the pan as well and check that all the rods are still in place

 

754BA5C2-602B-416E-B0E5-D3735B7B8BD4.jpeg

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6 hours ago, Cantedvalve said:

Car was blowing white smoke... steam... but it’s a humid day so maybe that too.

I haven’t done a compression test...

if it was steaming after 10 minutes of driving it is most likely leaking water into the cylinder.

a compression test will not always tell if there is a leak into the cylinder.

 

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Pull the spark plugs and pressurize the cooling system to about 15 psi.  Let it sit with pressure for 20-30 minutes, then disable the ignition system and with the spark plug still out and cooling system pressurized crank over the motor.  Look for coolant shooting out of a spark plug opening.  Sometimes you get better results doing this with a warm or hot engine.  This is just one method to look for a leaking head gasket.

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Drained coolant from the passenger side of the engine.  Started out the right shade of green... ended up a nasty brown.  I’m gonna tear down the engine and regasket everything I can.  Also putting in a new water pump.

 

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Are you certain there wasn't any rust inside the block somewhere making the coolant brown?  Here's another question, was the motor a fresh rebuild from a machine shop?  Some shops will put some sealant tabs inside the cooling passages of the block to help make certain no small leaks arise.  Those sealant tabs will make the coolant a muddy brown color.  That gunk inside your radiator looks like it could be from sealant tablets in the cooling system.

If it were my motor, I wouldn't pull it apart until you are fairly certain you are somehow getting coolant into the cylinders.

 

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@1969_Mach1  not a rebuild, so no worries there. The car had sat for awhile, so it could be gunky water from the block. I don’t think the coolant is getting into the oil or the oil into the coolant.

The catalyst for this mechanical endeavor is a very loud clacking sound. Louder than an exhaust tick. With this noise comes a definite change in how the engine runs. I originally suspected a loose rocker arm. Those were all tight. When I take the intake and valve covers off, I’ll pull the rockers and push rods to inspect the lifters. I’m not going to dive right at the heads, but I feel that is where I will end up.

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@barnett468  Its louder than a tick.  It really is.  But the noise initially made me think drivetrain, so you may not be wrong.  I am guessing the prudent thing to do is to replace all the lifters, given I dont want to do this 16 times trying to find the right one...

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From your noise description, like Barnett and others mentioned, it sounds like valvetrain noise.  I don't know how much oil sprays from the rockers on Cleveland motors, but the best way I know of to find valvetrain noise is with the valve covers off and the engine idling.  Then use either a mechanics stethoscope or long screwdriver, and place it on each rocker arm stud and the other to your ear(s).  If it's valvetrain noise, you will definitely find it.  If you find the one causing the noise, I would still replace all the lifters.  Your muddy coolant is likely from rust in the block.

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I got the intake off tonight - son had basketball, so that was all I got done.  So far, nothing looks bad.  There were no leaks on the intake... mainly because I glued the gasket to the heads.  Yeah, that’s gonna be fun to scrape off.

I need a way to check the lifters.  Not because I don’t want to buy more... but because I don’t want to put them in, find out it wasn’t the lifters, and have to pull it all apart again.  Why would a lifter just fail?  I’ve got maybe 15k on these, and I’ve been good with the oil changes.

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1 hour ago, Cantedvalve said:

I need a way to check the lifters.  

From my previous post.

"The ticking could be a bad lifter bleeding off oil. If this is the case you will not be able to tell if it is bad by looking at it."

 

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@barnett468  Yeah, I read that.  I didnt plan on doing a visual inspection.  Instead I was looking for a test criteria.  After googling last night, I dont think it exists.

Actually, I am hoping that when I pull the lifters, I find that water/oil emulsification caked on one of them.

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2 hours ago, Cantedvalve said:

@barnett468  Yeah, I read that.  I didnt plan on doing a visual inspection.  Instead I was looking for a test criteria.  After googling last night, I dont think it exists.

Actually, I am hoping that when I pull the lifters, I find that water/oil emulsification caked on one of them.

I have been building engines since around 1970 and havent seen any home type tests for lifters which is why I posted that. Also, some lifters made these days are, crap with comp cams lifters being one of them, so if you get new lifters, get some good ones.

It could very well be that some of that rusty oil got into one and prevented it from sealing and that simply disassembling them and cleaning them will fix the problem if the noise is from a lifter but I wouldn't even waste my time doing that and would just get new lifters anyway because I would not want to be doing this twice.

As far as the ticking noise goes, a bad lifter can sound extremely loud like hitting a steel bar with a hammer.

Also, I would look at the bottom of the lifter and see if any are scored or concave. If any are scored, the cam likely is as well.

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@barnett468  I surely hope the cam is okay... I dont want to take the radiator out to do a cam swap.  Although I've already drained the coolant, so it shouldnt be too bad.

Thanks for the advice and counsel.  I should be able to pull the lifters Thursday, so we will know more then.

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Clevelands are bad about lifter clatter ,crane lifters seem to be the best i have found . If i remember right you can check oil pressure in two places on a Cleveland ,down by the oil filter and at the back of the intake in the block . I had two 4V's that no matter what i tried the lifter clatter would not go away ,i was td to check both locations for oil pressure ,the back of the motor almost had no pressure ,i was also told it is probably an internal oil leak . These motors clatterd like solid lifters 

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Mine not so much. There is some noise, true. The noise I’m chasing now though is more than that.

I can’t wait to build my next motor... actually, my first motor.  This is currently the original shortblock with a different cam and timing set. Crank, rods, block, and pistons are all original. 

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And the verdict is... 3 bad lifters.  Exhaust #1 was only starting to wear.  Exhaust #7 was destroyed.  Intake #8 was destroyed.

A little bit of history behind this cam and lifters... bought it from a VMFer that had it in his 351C.  He kept the lifters in the right order, and I may or may not have put them in the wrong order.  Either way, I got about 15,000 out of the set before this happened.  Off to order another cam kit.

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