Leaking head gasket at 105k miles - Nissan Forum

 
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#1 Old Mar 4th, 2006, 08:42 AM
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Leaking head gasket at 105k miles

It appears one of my head gaskets is leaking coolant. Mechanic refilled with coolant and suggested to pressure test it.

It seems like a pricey repair, is it even worth doing?

1999.5 Nissan Pathfinder SE Limited
2002 Corvette Z06
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#2 Old Mar 4th, 2006, 09:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mkiv808
It appears one of my head gaskets is leaking coolant. Mechanic refilled with coolant and suggested to pressure test it.

It seems like a pricey repair, is it even worth doing?
Assuming it is otherwise in good condition, I'd say yes. How much does the mechanic want to charge to replace head gaskets? Does this include milling the heads?

Life is too short to take it too seriously
#3 Old Mar 4th, 2006, 10:03 AM
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Replacing the head gasket is a must. The leak allows coolant into the oil. Anti-freeze or water are not good lubricants. Matter of fact anti-freeze can work as a drying agent. And as you have stated the radiator supply will be depleted allowing the temp. to increase. So with the combination of increased temp. and degrading of the oil the engine will seize up. If you haven't driven at any length at high temps, milling of the heads probably won't be necessary. But high temps. will cause the heads to warp.

Last edited by Will; Mar 4th, 2006 at 10:08 AM.
#4 Old Mar 4th, 2006, 03:16 PM
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The car is in good condition otherwise.

Have not experienced any abnormal engine temps as of yet...

1999.5 Nissan Pathfinder SE Limited
2002 Corvette Z06
#5 Old Mar 4th, 2006, 10:46 PM
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Regardless of whether you are planning to keep it forever or sell it tomorrow, it would most likely be benefitial to replace the head gasket if it is the casue of your problem.
Why does the mechanic believe it is the head gasket if a leak down test has not yet been done? What are the symptoms? You indicated it was leaking coolant, but are you certain where the leak is? Even if you see coolant around the head, don't automatically assume that is where the leak is. For example, a small pin hole in a hose can shoot coolant just about anywhere it wants - where the coolant lands is not where it necessarily even close to the source.

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#6 Old Mar 5th, 2006, 08:46 PM
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I believe Animal has a good point since your not experiencing any over heating problems. A pressure test would probably be worth the time and effort.

Last edited by Will; Mar 5th, 2006 at 08:48 PM.
#7 Old Mar 6th, 2006, 07:10 PM
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My 97 leaks a bit of coolant from the throttlebody where the wax pellet has deteriorated. It evaporates alsmost as fast as it leaks so t was nearly impossible to find. Unless you know for sure that its coming out the talepipe or floating in the oil....i would check into every other possible leak first.....

dave

Poor planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part........
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#8 Old Mar 7th, 2006, 11:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Animal
Regardless of whether you are planning to keep it forever or sell it tomorrow, it would most likely be benefitial to replace the head gasket if it is the casue of your problem.
Why does the mechanic believe it is the head gasket if a leak down test has not yet been done? What are the symptoms? You indicated it was leaking coolant, but are you certain where the leak is? Even if you see coolant around the head, don't automatically assume that is where the leak is. For example, a small pin hole in a hose can shoot coolant just about anywhere it wants - where the coolant lands is not where it necessarily even close to the source.
The only symptom was a coolant tank that was no longer full.

The car runs fine otherwise.

1999.5 Nissan Pathfinder SE Limited
2002 Corvette Z06
#9 Old Mar 7th, 2006, 01:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mkiv808
The only symptom was a coolant tank that was no longer full.

The car runs fine otherwise.
OK. First thing I'd do is a pressure test on the cooling system (Autozone my have a loaner tool).
And/or check:
- coolant/water in oil = white blobs
- oil in coolant = dots like oil in vinegar
- coolant in exhaust = after 1/2 driving still white smoke (steam)
- compression in coolant = reserve fills/overflows and radiator low (be careful); also return hose is hard shortly after starting cold engine

If none of the above, you probably have a leak somewhere in the cooling system, not the head. Park on a clean surface and check of deposits.

P.S.: may also be a small pinhole that only leaks under high pressure. Use a flashlight at night to see steam in the engine compartment.

Life is too short to take it too seriously

Last edited by Animal; Mar 7th, 2006 at 01:51 PM.
#10 Old Mar 8th, 2006, 04:19 PM
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Hate to say it but those 3.3's are natorious for that especially for the PS head. It is definatly worth fixing cause you can do a full in truck overhaul for around $800 and that's with labor. At least that what was charged to a customer I did both head gaskets and water pump for.

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#11 Old Mar 8th, 2006, 05:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Outkast
Hate to say it but those 3.3's are natorious for that especially for the PS head. It is definatly worth fixing cause you can do a full in truck overhaul for around $800 and that's with labor. At least that what was charged to a customer I did both head gaskets and water pump for.
Your rates would be worth the drive, if I didn't do my own (except for mounting tires, alignment and machine work). However, I've heard others quoted as much as $3K for head gaskets.
Still, if the only symptom is losing coolant, I'd diagnose the problem before replacing the head gaskets - and I believe you would agree.

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#12 Old Mar 9th, 2006, 04:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Outkast
Hate to say it but those 3.3's are natorious for that especially for the PS head. It is definatly worth fixing cause you can do a full in truck overhaul for around $800 and that's with labor. At least that what was charged to a customer I did both head gaskets and water pump for.

240k miles on my 97 se never ever heard that let alone numerous times to make it notorious.....

Poor planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part........
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#13 Old Mar 9th, 2006, 05:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by architectdave
240k miles on my 97 se never ever heard that let alone numerous times to make it notorious.....

I wasn't just refering to the Pathfinder's, there's also the Xterra's and Frontiers with the 3.3. I work on all of them regularly and the passanger side head gasket is the usually culpret.

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#14 Old Apr 29th, 2006, 07:51 AM
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Dealer told me to replace my head gaskets due to leaking. It is a 1999 with @105k miles on it. They want to charge me $2100.000 for it. That includes both heads and the timing belt. Say, does the 99' have an interference engin in it or what?
#15 Old Apr 29th, 2006, 12:01 PM
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first have the radiator tested for hydrocarbons... if its bad u can see it bubbling or for 50 bucks get it tested, they can tell u just how much hydrocarbon is in it, telling u how bad teh leak is, if its not too bad i know machanic shops including the last one i worked at using "bluerhino" head gasket sealant... we used it with great success on a 97 camry, i tryed the same in my nissan but waited too late to work.... the one bottle treatment is 70bucks from napa, there are many similar products but they cost around 7 bucks and ive never heard them to work otehr than the 70 dollar bluerhino... worth a shot, and 2100 for a head gaskett? is taht mexican or russian money thats the biggest BS, if u can't do it usrself: (would cost u in parts around 300) then at least findsomeone that isn't living in a mansion cuz ppl like giving there money away... my friend was qouted 800$ at a shop, i did it for 200 for him.. good luck
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