[s-cars] Re: [s-list] What ceramic seal does...

CyberPoet thecyberpoet at cyberpoet.net
Wed Apr 9 13:08:53 EDT 2003


    If I were in your position, I would:

(A) tear down the heads and have them checked for true
(both sides, top and bottom -- and have them milled if even
slightly off, or just get them milled anyway to be on the
safe side -- remember to get a machine shop to check them
for true, not a mechanic, for the level of accuracy is far
higher at the machine shop);

(B) check each bolt and each bolt-receiver-hole for thread
condition (one or more of the bolts may be moving in the
threads or expanding enough to permit the head to lift
under pressure) -- replace all the head bolts anyway to be
on the safe side;

(C) get a new gasket (and examine the new-old one closely
for signs of where the failure might have occurred to help
pin-point the place the head is leaking, if it is); and

(D) then 'finger' each coolant passage as far as possible
(trying to feel for a place where there may have been a bad
original block metal pour that has since failed as a pin
hole or crack -- don't necessarily presume the failure is
at the head, although it is most likely there). I'd also,
while it is all apart, use a product similar to magnaflux
(some method for detecting normally imperceptible flaws
visually, such as hairline cracks that close when not under
excess pressure).

Since you seem apt to use a mechanic for such things
(which, as you noted, gets expensive rather quickly), I
would consider immediately obtaining an extended warrantee
on the car (being less than 10 years old, this is an option
-- easier to pay them $1500 a year than your mechanic a
single visit of this type -- be careful to note the exact
coverage terms for each kind of repair, and you may find it
beneficial to drive until the engine fails intentionally
depending on the coverage type).

If you are willing to do the work yourself, I'd consider
possibly an used back-up engine to rebuild yourself (from a
wreck, for example), since this problem seems to be elusive
-- the cost of doing a self-rebuild may be cheaper in the
long run than tracking down the actual problem with
existing engine (since it seems so elusive and even beyond
what I would assume is a well qualified mechanic, based on
your mention of his past times and such). Also a good time
to port & polish, as well Happersize everything if you go
this route!

Finally: the oddest coolant-oil leak situation I have ever
seen or heard of was one in the oil cooler/radiator
systems: the coolant, under pressure, leaked out in a
stream, and over time made a pin hole into the oil cooler,
where under pressure it would actually mix into the cooling
oil. It was a freak, and I doubt that it will happen again
in the next decade anywhere in the USA for anyone, but it
serves as a reminder that the obvious is not always the

Cheers and good luck!
=-= Marc Glasgow

David Anderson wrote:


Thank you very much.  I would have never authorized the use of such
but they did it without my knowledge.
Now the leak has come back.  I should flush the system anyway since I
try to have someone else fix it since nothing has been acomplished, yet
mo later).

Thanks again for the info.

Dave A (Mpls)

(ill 95.5 Avant)
----- Original Message -----
Subject: What ceramic seal does...

Ceramic sealer (probably Quick Seal brand, the most common) is a
combination of ceramic micro-fibers and copper slivers of various
sizes, designed to flow through the holes and deposit themselves there,
interweaving to fill the hole over time as the fluid passes through it.
Note that the ceramic parts are microscopic (below the point of being
visible with the naked eye). This interwoven solid becomes a permanent
seal. If the loss is gone I would immediately flush your oil system &
do a full oil & filter change (since the loss was such that the
materials which didn't hit the weave passed into the oil, capable of
scoring the cylinders), and flush the cooling system (to remove any
excess, which over time will build-up on the water pump and interior of
the radiator passages).

=-= Marc Glasgow

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