[Vwdiesel] Head gasket time for Dave

David Cook vwdieselbunny at yahoo.com
Wed Feb 2 12:11:48 EST 2005


Here is the message I sent to the other email list
right before I heard about you guys.  I'd love to see
what your thoughts are too.

I'm real sure my headgasket is leaking.  I drove the
car from Manhattan to Topeka (1 hour each way) twice
this weekend, and the whole way, the temp gauge was
all over the place.

Also, it has been pushing coolant out of the res for
some time.

Finally, I talked to the local import mechanic here. 
He told me that when they worked on those things a lot
(before they were so rare), one way they tested for
gasket issues was to wait until the engine was bone
cold (like overnight) then make sure the fluids were
topped off.

Then, they'd put the cap back on, and start the
engine.  After 10-15 seconds, they'd crack the cap
open.  If you could hear pressure release after such a
short time running, then it was a very strong
indicator that exhaust was getting into the coolant.

I did that today, and got the pressure release hiss.

So, now I am making plans.  Here's some questions...

As much as possible, I'd like to make this just a
long-saturday job.

Is there any way to know which gasket my engine needs
before removing the head?  The mechanic told me that
anytime they did it and for some reason didn't know
which gasket it was, they just put the middle one on,
and never had problems doing this.  I also understand
that there really isn't a huge difference between them
from reading on this board.

What all is recommended to change "while I'm in
there"?  I know head studs, and probably timing belt
(though it isn't very old...) and valve cover gasket.
Anything else?

Thoughts on sealer?  The Parts Place, in their
catalog, advertises head gasket sealer.  From the
catalog, "VW says that gasket sealer isn't necessary. 
The also say that diesel head gaskets don't leak.  We
recommend a special Universal Jointing compound,
particularily on diesels.  It is made under license
from Rolls Royce."

In addition, I mentioned the problem to the school bus
mechanic--I'm a bus driver :-)  He asked me about
milling the head and I told him that isn't
recommended.  He then mentioned that they used a
gasket sealer that is also used on airplane
headgaskets.  He told me that if I had a little
warpage on the head that this would take care of it so
it could seal.

Any other thoughts?  I'm not at all scaired to do
this, just frustrated at the timing!



PS, I am planning on leaving the manifolds attached. 
I did this on another car and it worked out just fine
for me.

David Cook
Red '86 Cabriolet Diesel Powered
Red '90 g60 Corrado 
Brown and White '78 Westy Campmobile "Bear"
and others in various states of disrepair
Pictures here: community.webshots.com/user/superdave5599

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