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Bad Intake Manifold Gasket or Blown Head Gasket? Or Both?

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Old 10-17-2011, 07:20 AM   #1
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Bad Intake Manifold Gasket or Blown Head Gasket? Or Both?

I've had what I thought was a classic head gasket problem: bad smell in the passenger compartment, bad smell from the exhaust pipes, unpredictable temp gauge action, sometimes a boiling, bubbling overflow tank, etc. And the radiator coolant level would slowly go down.

On the other hand....Other signs of head gasket problem seem to be "milky oil," and oil in the coolant -- neither of which I have. Performance-wise, the power is still good but the gas mileage does suck (12 MPG).

But then last week the sh#@% started hitting the fan. Actually, it started hitting the engine block. I drove the car about 6 miles and when i stopped steam started coming out from under the hood. I pop the hood and it turns out its coming from the top of the engine. Once it cools down, I add some water to the now bone dry radiator and I notice immediately water starting to trickle out and pool on rightside top of the engine block. The radiator level goes down as the water trickles down the engine. (When the engine was running and under pressure the water was probably gushing out, hitting the hot engine and steaming up.)

I've now looked at the engine and located a leak coming from the right front part of the intake manifold (see photos for location). So it looks like I have a bad intake manifold gasket. But is that my only problem?....which leads to my questions:

QUESTIONS: Would the symptoms I described be caused by just a bad intake manifold gasket? Or is it likely I do also have a bad head gasket? How do the symptoms for the 2 problems differ? And how can I be sure if it's one or both?
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Bad Intake Manifold Gasket or Blown Head Gasket? Or Both?-t-manifold-1.jpg   Bad Intake Manifold Gasket or Blown Head Gasket? Or Both?-t-manifold-2.jpg  
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Old 10-17-2011, 08:47 AM   #2
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Re: Bad Intake Manifold Gasket or Blown Head Gasket? Or Both?

you don't have to worry because as you are replacing the head gaskets the intake manifold gasket gets replaced as well.

Also, since you were leaking coolant, you may have even given your bearing a nice bath in coolant.

Soooooo

replace the head gasket and while they are off, replace the valve seals

get as cheap of oil as possble and get 10 quarts and then 5 quarts of what you will end with.

You are going to have to change the oil 3 times to try and be sure you get out all of the coolant.


oh, please don't post that it won't fire up after you put it all back together. You stabbed the distributor in wrong. Just find TDC of cylinder 1 and wire it correctly.
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Old 10-17-2011, 09:19 AM   #3
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Re: Bad Intake Manifold Gasket or Blown Head Gasket? Or Both?

Do a compression test first before you start wrenching, to check the head gaskets. Looks like the intake gasket is leaking badly, that's a nasty looking mess.
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Old 10-17-2011, 05:36 PM   #4
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Re: Bad Intake Manifold Gasket or Blown Head Gasket? Or Both?

I was actually happy when I discovered that the problem might just be the manifold gasket -- and not the head gasket. A bad head gasket seems to be a much bigger, and expensive, thing to fix (I won't be doing the work myself -- I have to pay a mechanic) -- so I was trying to avoid messing with the head gasket if I didn't have to.

That's why I asked if my symptoms go along with just the manifold gasket problem? I was trying to get an idea of the odds that that's my only problem before I start throwing money at it. So I'd appreciate it if someone could give me their best guess.

A compression test should determine that for sure -- right? But until I get that done, I'd kind of like to know what I might be getting myself into. Thanks.

Last edited by tsmash; 10-17-2011 at 05:55 PM.
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Old 10-17-2011, 07:21 PM   #5
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Re: Bad Intake Manifold Gasket or Blown Head Gasket? Or Both?

head gaskets arent that expensive and its not at all hard to do with simple hand tools. the only specialty tool you need is a torque wrench. which you can rent from a local parts store. btw over the counter stock replacement head gaskets are like $30-$50 for a set. youre going to have to pay a mechanic about $200 min to do the job.
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Old 10-17-2011, 08:37 PM   #6
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Re: Bad Intake Manifold Gasket or Blown Head Gasket? Or Both?

A compression test should 99% rule out or comfirm a leaking head gasket. Easy to do, and much better to do some quick basic diagnosis rather than ripping things up when it may turn out to be unnecessary.

It could still be a head gasket leaking from a water gallery to the outside yet holding compression, but I would think very unlikely. Other possibilities are warped/cracked heads/block.

BUT since you don't have an oil milkshake, and you do have a big mess at the intake, I would start there. Leaking coolant can smell god-awful, and sounds like you have an overheating problem.
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Old 10-19-2011, 05:07 AM   #7
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Re: So how much should I pay to fix a Intake Manifold Gasket?

I'm taking the car in to the mechanic tomorrow to get the compression test and then to get the intake manifold gasket replaced (hopefully that's all it needs). So what's a fair price to pay a mechanic to get these 2 things done?
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Old 10-19-2011, 09:01 AM   #8
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Re: Bad Intake Manifold Gasket or Blown Head Gasket? Or Both?

I would also check the coolant hose that comes out of the lower pass side TBody right above the intake for pinholes.
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Old 03-31-2012, 01:50 AM   #9
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Re: Bad Intake Manifold Gasket or Blown Head Gasket? Or Both?

If your oil is milky your intake manifold gaskets are shot its the coolant leaking into your engine and mixing with the oil i just ran into this issue tonight while driving home and saw a trail of smoke and the oil/coolant was all the way up the dipstick none was coming out the exhaust but if you have smoke coming out the exhaust or notice an aggressive vibration as well as the milky oil chances are you got screwed with both problems but good luck hopefully it turns out to only be the intake gaskets
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