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Gregski 03-29-2018 10:57 PM

Re: Restoring Rusty
now before I get flooded with the blown Head Gasket comments, ha ha let me give you a bit of a background and bring you up to speed

I don't know when this problem started. I don't know if there was a problem before I rebuilt the engine.

The short block is an original '74 engine, the top end now has '99 Suburban Vortec L31 cylinder heads.

I did not drive the truck often enough when it was all original top and bottom end ie long block to tell you if my truck was running out of coolant then, I wish I knew.

Well I've been adding water/coolant to it on a weekly basis seems like about a quart each Sunday night to last me through the week, but again I don't know if I would have had to do that before rebuilding the engine.

Also, important to note that we can not tell where the coolant is going,
  • there is nothing dripping below the truck
  • there is no white smoke coming out the tailpipe

The truck runs strong and does NOT overheat, well not until it runs completely out of coolant.

Gregski 03-29-2018 11:02 PM

Re: Restoring Rusty - Engine Block Tester
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since I could not tell where the coolant was going, I decided to give one of them Engine Block Testers a shot

You rent this kit from AutoZone or some other parts house, and you buy the fluid at NAPA, the fluid don't come with the kit

The point of this test is to see if there are fumes in the coolant, this would would tell us if the coolant is making its way into the combustion chamber or exhaust chamber I think

You remove the radiator cap and stick the tube in the radiator and run the engine while pumping the rubber thingie to bring some fumes inside the tube, the blue fluid will turn yellow if there are fumes in the coolant.

Gregski 03-29-2018 11:07 PM

Re: Restoring Rusty
Well the Plot Thickens as the results were negative. I watched some YouTube videos of guys using this tester and seen the fluid turn yellow, mine did not.

This is why I told you all to hold your horses before saying Blown Head Gasket as that would have turned the fluid yellow, most likely. And trust me I would love for this to be just a blown head gasket, but I doubt it is.

Gregski 03-29-2018 11:12 PM

Re: Restoring Rusty
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I was off today so I decided to do a pressure test on my radiator / cooling system.

I pumped up the pressure to 15 PSI (standard radiator cap threshold I've been told) and went to the gym.

Two hours later we recorded a 5 PSI drop, so no duh there is a coolant / pressure leak... but where the heck is it?

For The Record: I did a pressure test like this once before with the valve covers off thinking I would see some bubbles in the valve train but no such luck. I may try it again but this time put the pump in where the water temp sending unit goes in one of the heads, maybe try both heads instead of pumping it up in the radiator, hey, I'm desperate to find this leak!

rusty76 03-31-2018 08:13 PM

Re: Restoring Rusty
Well poot. When all seems well. I had an engine that always seemed to sweat in the valve covers. I never really figured it out honestly. The oil itself wasn’t a milkshake and the water level was always the same. Ghost condensation I guess. Bad PVC or something. Good luck and hope you get rusty back together safely and running good.

peabobble 03-31-2018 09:03 PM

Re: Restoring Rusty
I'd check the intake gaskets.

Gregski 03-31-2018 11:41 PM

Re: Restoring Rusty
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Originally Posted by peabobble (Post 8226930)
I'd check the intake gaskets.

I think you may be on to something, I remember when I pulled my Vortec heads at the junk yard from that 1999 Suburban I took pictures of the intake manifold gaskets that were on there cause I liked them, they were the Fel-Pro 98000. However when I wanted to buy them they only came in a gasket set which ran about $50, so I opted out, now I regret it

Today when I Googled that part number I came across this article:

Fel-Pro Introduces Solution to Intake Manifold Gasket Leaks on Millions of Vehicles.
Publication: Business Wire
Date: Thursday, October 14 2004
You are viewing page 1

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. -- Fel-Pro(R), the automotive service industry's premier brand of engine sealing technologies, has introduced an advanced PermaDryPlus(R) replacement intake manifold gasket design that solves chronic coolant leakage issues facing millions of light trucks and sport-utility vehicles.
Fel-Pro Gaskets, "The Gaskets Professionals Trust," are manufactured and marketed by Federal-Mogul Corporation (OTCBB:FDMLQ).

Available through Fel-Pro suppliers across North America, the brand's latest gasket innovation ensures a lasting seal on millions of domestic engines that rely on extended-life coolant and were factory-equipped with rigid nylon and molded rubber-type intake manifold gaskets. A broad range of domestic engines may be susceptible to these sealing issues. Immediate coverage of the new Fel-Pro solution is offered for General Motors 5.0L and 5.7L engines manufactured from 1996 through 2002. Additional coverage -- for select Ford (3.8L, 4.0L and 4.2L) and G.M. (3.1L, 3.4L and 4.3L) applications -- will be introduced in early 2005.

"It appears that on some engines, the use of conventional plastic-and-rubber gaskets in combination with the more aggressive 'OAT' (Organic Acid Technology) engine coolants has caused a significant number of sealing-related issues for consumers and automotive service providers," said Fel-Pro Chief Engineer Jerry Rosenquist. "Our team has spent the past two years developing and testing a variety of gasket technologies that can survive in this very difficult operating environment. (Dex Cool for those forum members who might not know)

"Our new PermaDryPlus gasket is absolutely the best answer for millions of engines exhibiting sealing problems induced by aggressive coolant chemistries and engine-specific dynamic issues."

The new Fel-Pro PermaDryPlus gasket features a high-strength aluminized steel carrier that is edge molded and encapsulated with a proprietary fluoroelastomer (FKM) material. In addition, the new gasket features three separate sealing beads around coolant ports to ensure a long-lasting seal under any situation.

A key element of the Fel-Pro design, the new FKM material was specifically formulated by Federal-Mogul chemists to resist OAT coolants. "We ran our final dyno test for 612 hours and the gasket looked so good it was difficult to distinguish it from an untested part," Rosenquist said.

"The steel provides the strength needed to resist cracking and crushing, and the FKM provides exceptional fluid sealing under all conditions. This design solves the primary leakage issue everyone knows about as well as other concerns typical of engines that have entered the repair cycle.

"The consumer and service provider recognize the problem by the coolant spots that are left on the ground. Unfortunately, retorquing the manifold bolts simply causes additional damage to the carrier, making the leakage much worse," Rosenquist added. Coolant ultimately can leak into the engine oil, causing significant damage to internal components, he said.

Fel-Pro engineers tested several gasket technologies before identifying the new encapsulated design as the best solution, according to Rosenquist. "Our ultimate design is the right choice by any measure - strength, fluid sealability, corrosion resistance, affordability, and ease of installation."

Gregski 04-07-2018 12:45 AM

Re: Restoring Rusty
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so my Fel Pro MS98000T Intake Manifold Gasket Set arrived from Rock Auto

Gregski 04-07-2018 12:50 AM

Re: Restoring Rusty
1 Attachment(s)
cleaned up the 12 foot counter top for to lay out all the bits as I take them off for this intake manifold swap project

I have no idea how this large counter top gets filled up with junk faster than I can blink an eye, the fact that it's empty is such an anomaly

this may be the first big truck project in the new house, "our" new house, since we finally bought a place last year and will not be moving this year, ha ha

Gregski 04-07-2018 12:59 AM

Re: Restoring Rusty
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now I learned this the hard way, so one of the things I like to do before yankin' the distributor now is to line up the Top Dead Center TDC mark at 0 and take a note of where the Rotor points to

(I find that removing the spark plugs makes it a whole lot easier to turn the engine over by hand - plus it don't hurt to read your spark plugs from time to time non either)

Now I'm too tired right now to explain why it don't be pointin' at the #1 spark plug I recon it's pointin' to where it's pointin' (more like at #2) on the account of my 15* or so degrees of initial advance or something like that

either way note where it points to and with this extra step of lining up the TDC mark I know that when or if things shift during this project I can get it all lined up again headache free

Gregski 04-07-2018 01:05 AM

Re: Restoring Rusty
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I think about an hour later I had the intake manifold off, and nothing bad jumped out at me, the old gasket actually looked pretty good, though I had to tear it into three pieces to get it off cause I used some adhesive to set it in place especially around the water ports

then the unfun part of the project began, hint: gasket scraper

this is where we leave off for the night, the new gasket goes on in the AM

naturally we had some gorgeous weather in the high 70*s already except for today and tomorrow, it is raining like cats and dogs and so its kinda cold and windy

Gregski 04-08-2018 11:42 AM

Re: Restoring Rusty
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so I pride myself on keeping a clean engine bay, so I can't believe how dirty my brand new (one year old to be exact) intake manifold got on a newly rebuilt engine in just one year of driving

this proves to me that there are two kinds of cars, trailer queens and daily drivers, and it's just darn hard to keep our dailies spic n span clean

oh there may be some weekend warriors in the middle of those two extremes those are the guys who spend more time washing their cars than driving them though - they also most likely own BMW motorcycles, ha ha

For The Record - we took this intake and the valve covers to the car wash where we power washed them proper

Gregski 04-08-2018 11:44 AM

Re: Restoring Rusty
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... yes I do all of my own stunts

(Thanks Pontiac Mike for taking this action shot for me)

Gregski 04-08-2018 11:47 AM

Re: Restoring Rusty
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so after a test drive and toppin' off the coolant and allowing the rig to sit over night, this mornin' I decided to do a pressure test on the cooling system

as always I started to pump it up to 15 PSI when I saw this...

it ain't easy folks, it ain't easy

Gregski 04-08-2018 11:51 AM

Re: Restoring Rusty
2 Attachment(s)
fortunately it turned out to be just a loose hose clamp, so lets see if she can hold the pressure now

(Did I mention how highly I recommend gettin' one of these radiator pressure tester pump thingies, I got this Mityvac one on Amazon and I love it) I belive they used to be metal now they is plastic, but times are a changin' so it will have to do

LT7A 04-10-2018 06:42 AM

Re: Restoring Rusty
I always say, if you can't beat 'em - FKM. Whhaaat?

LT7A 04-10-2018 06:43 AM

Re: Restoring Rusty
Anyway, this is good, practical information and much appreciated. I hope this new gasket set works well for you. I'll be watching with interest.

Gregski 04-14-2018 11:36 AM

Re: Restoring Rusty
3 Attachment(s)
So One Week and 200 miles later Bad News - Same Problem, milk shake, coolant in the oil, and radiator low on coolant, sucks!

Where do we go from here?

Well I have replaced the head gaskets already a few months back and that didn't fix it so I have another set of Vortec heads which I am going to take to a machine shop to have the Basic Head Service done on them (wash, magnaflux ie check for cracks, new guides, valve job, etc.) then I will swap the heads and see if that fixes the problem, if not then I know it's a cracked block, well maybe. I may also take the take off heads to the machine shop to have them check them, but since this is my daily driver I need the truck daily.

the overlow reservoir was full last weekend, now completely dry, but that may have been do to the system not being perfectly topped off, cause in the past this thing was low but never dry

rusty76 04-14-2018 08:06 PM

Re: Restoring Rusty
I really hope you get ole rusty fixed up.

hatzie 04-15-2018 01:17 AM

Re: Restoring Rusty
If you have leaks into the cylinders you'll get a jumpy needle on the cooling system pressure gauge with the engine running.

Gregski 04-15-2018 01:31 AM

Re: Restoring Rusty

Originally Posted by hatzie (Post 8238572)
If you have leaks into the cylinders you'll get a jumpy needle on the cooling system pressure gauge with the engine running.

Interesting, thanks, I will give that test a try.

Gregski 04-17-2018 02:38 PM

Re: Restoring Rusty
1 Attachment(s)
so just dropped off my spare set of 1999 Chevy Suburban Vortec cylinder heads at Nichols & Sons Machine Shop in Sacramento, California for a basic head job (clean, magnaflux, valve job, resurface, paint, and assemble) I provide the valve stem oil seals

Anyone care to guess how much this will cost me in 2018 in California? Keep in mind these are 18 year old junkyard heads that we pulled for a cheap build!

Sik66 04-17-2018 07:31 PM

Re: Restoring Rusty

Sik66 04-17-2018 07:33 PM

Re: Restoring Rusty
Nah....I don't know.....but guessing might be cheaper to buy a new set alloys!

Gregski 04-21-2018 08:25 AM

Re: Restoring Rusty

Originally Posted by Sik66 (Post 8240964)
Nah....I don't know.....but guessing might be cheaper to buy a new set alloys!

I would be lying to you if I said I didn't think about it, ha ha. But the cheapest aluminum SBC cylinder heads I found by ProMaxx run you $850 a pair and as I learned assembled heads mean No rockers, so by the time you add rockers ($200) and new head bolts ($100) you are well North of a grand, and I hope my machining will run a fraction of that.

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