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Old February 13th, 2018, 20:33   #1
KBCB
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Default blown head gasket

Pretty sure I already know the answer but I figured I'd ask here before tearing the motor completely down.

As the title suggests I'm wondering if I have a bad headgasket or if there is something else I should check first.

Symptoms:
Erratic power when accelerating onto the highway.
Blowing white smoke out the tail pipe.

Did a compression test
cyl 1 cyl 2 cyl 3 cyl 4
360 460 400 400

when I pulled the glow plugs cyl 3 and 4 had white residue on the tip

When running (cold) I didn't see any bubbles in the coolant.

Like I said pretty sure I know the answer, but I want to be sure before tearing the motor down.

Thanks!
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Old February 13th, 2018, 20:44   #2
Seatman
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One common sign is coolant level dropping after a journey, that's something I really noticed on mine. No loss of power though, it'd need to be fairy bad for that to happen.
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Old February 14th, 2018, 01:37   #3
Henrick
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I wouldn't be 100% sure this is head gasket.
Are your coolant hoses rock hard?
Any coolant loss?
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Old February 14th, 2018, 06:28   #4
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80% sure your head gasket is fine.
100% sure test is how hard the coolant line is after a full normal day commute after a few hard pulls, your inexplicably loosing coolant. never had white crud on my glow plugs but i never pull them lol, but when i did, and i did have a head gasket failure.
How is the oil look? sane with the coolant? we need more informaiotn
compression is spotty, you need to do a leak down test and find where your missing compression. a few drops of oil into the piston from the glow plug hole and compression clears up as normal or gets significantly better, you have blown rings, if air comes out of tail pipe = exhaust valve, intake manifold=intake valve, dip stick= rings, coolant tank= head gasket
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Old February 14th, 2018, 06:31   #5
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The variance in compression indicates an issue regardless, car history? Run away at any point? What is the actual car and engine?
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Old February 14th, 2018, 09:16   #6
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Those numbers are pretty wonky. Of importance, however, is the relative numbers. Odd that #2 is 460. 460 vs. 360 is over/out of spec/range. 400 vs 360 is not. I'd look to run another compression test.

White smoke started when? What's the history of this engine?

Are you losing coolant?

Any coolant in the oil or oil in the coolant (seeing any bubbles in the coolant reservoir tank)?

What can you tell us of the injectors?
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Old February 14th, 2018, 09:58   #7
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I'm guessing this is the donor car for your 4-runner tdi swap project.
Since the engine will be pulled anyway, I'd go ahead and pull and freshen the head.
Be sure to check the piston protrusion, deck flatness and the head flatness, of course.
Look carefully for any sign of piston to valve contact; it will be visible on the piston top.
If there is anything wrong with the head I would send it to Franko6 or someone else
experienced with inspecting and rebuilding these heads.
Money spent now will save you plenty later.
If the head is ok, most head service shops can handle it if they do it by the book.
Finally, get a full timing belt kit from one of the trusted vendors here unless you
have verifiable documentation that it was bought recently and is still good.
Don't assume that anyone can properly install the timing belt. It should be done
by someone with the correct tools and experience. Don't skimp on this!
Again, money spent now will save you plenty later.
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Old February 14th, 2018, 13:44   #8
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This car is a recent purchase '03 Jetta TDi. My plan is to fix it up for the wifey so she has a car that gets better MPG than our Toyota pickup, for her 60mi commute. And introduce her to the better fuel source.

The guy I bought it from told me about the white smoke and power loss during acceleration on the highway. I can't confirm the power loss during acceleration, however it's definitely blowing white smoke. I have been hesitant to run it much not knowing exactly what's going on and not wanting to do further damage to the engine.

I don't see any coolant in the oil looking at the dip stick. Also I don't see any oil in the coolant. In the overflow reservoir there is some crud built up on the sides. Hard to say if it's related or a byproduct of not using distilled water. The coolant was low (the red light on the dash was blinking) So I did add some water last night. I didn't at any point see any bubbles in the coolant. However, I also didn't get the engine to operating temperature either. Ran it for maybe 5 minutes, again not wanting to cause any further damage.

I have a leak-down tester and was going to run that test but the kit I have (Harbor Freight) doesn't have the right adapter. Has anyone found a place to get the correct one?

Appreciate the thoughts!
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Old February 14th, 2018, 14:41   #9
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Obviously the low coolant is a possible warning sign.
Has there been any mods done to this engine? If it still has the EGR cooler intact,
that could be the source of the coolant loss and white smoke.
A leaking EGR cooler can vent coolant into the exhaust and exhaust into the coolant.
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Old February 14th, 2018, 15:03   #10
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As it stands, however, those compression numbers are not good. I think that it might be more instructive to prove these as if they hold it's a head gasket or possibly worse/more substantial.

Make sure you don't have any oil pooled up in the IC. Possible that #1 got a bit of a hydrolock (though #2 and #3 are known to be the most common recipients of abuse from inhaling extra liquids).
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Old February 14th, 2018, 17:48   #11
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How do you test a EGR cooler for leaks? Same way I would check a bull dozzer? Uninstall and fill with gasoline and watch the pipes.
Cheers
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Old February 14th, 2018, 17:53   #12
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Another option would be to test it like a tire: uninstall, pressurize and submerge it, see if you have bubbles.

You could possibly unhook the coolant plumbing and do a leak down test, by applying a known pressure and seeing if it bled off, but that assumes that you can get a nearly perfect seal at the port you are pressurizing and the other capped coolant port.
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Old February 15th, 2018, 01:07   #13
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Is this ALH engine?
Does ALH there in US have exhaust gas cooled?
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Old February 15th, 2018, 03:56   #14
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Not sure why you'd think this is a head gasket issue, I wouldn't.

I would have the injectors tested, and while they are out, take the intake manifold off and confirm the intake ports are clean.

Compression readings can get a bit off if the intake ports are not super clean.

You could have a slightly bent rod, from some mishap in the engine's past, or you could just have a poor injector spray pattern causing some less-than-ideal piston ring sealing issues.

Do the easy stuff first, before tearing the engine apart. The ALH is a pretty tough engine, but I do see plenty of people finding ways to somehow mess them up.

If you DO find the intake ports are gunked up, clean them out best you can with a shop vac and a pick, then check the compression again while the intake manifold is OFF. Make sure nothing can be sucked into the engine (shop rag, tools, small animals, genitals, etc.) while cranking. At least that way you can rule out any air flow problems causing a low compression reading. If you cannot get air in, you cannot compress it.
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Old February 15th, 2018, 05:21   #15
Mongler98
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oilhammer View Post
Compression readings can get a bit off if the intake ports are not super clean.
how on earth would any debris in an intake port, effect a compression test?
yea i get it, if it was so clogged that not even enough air can get into the chamber or something but if that was the case, i dont think this car would be running
but compression has nothing to do with anything past the valves.

he has much to high compression in #2 and not so good in #1, leading me to believe that the #2 has water built up in it thus increasing compression in #2 and that the #1 has the bulk of the leak on the gasket.
Only a leak down test at 150 psi or as high as you can go will revile Exactly what is wrong with the engine, hopefully. If its turbo head lift head gasket failure, leak down might not be enough to catch it, a blown head gasket, it will.

Last edited by Mongler98; February 15th, 2018 at 05:26.
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