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  #1  
Old 07-05-2011, 12:26 AM
Colorado Ram Colorado Ram is offline
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Default Help! Head gasket!!!

I'm hoping to get some help with a major problem I have. Here's my story:

I have a 99 Ram 1500 5.9L 4x4 with just under 79,000 miles. The truck was owned by my father-in-law who babied it from the start. I've had the truck for about 2 years now and haven't had any problems....... Till now.
The other night my family and I went to the drive-in, everything seemed ok but when I pulled into my driveway it was over heating. Next day put my pressure tester on it. Bam, found the leak right away. The freeze plug on the head just behind the tensioner pulley was leaking. No problem. Popped it out and popped a new one in, topped it off, checked the pressure and it looked good. Took her out for a test drive and got it up to temp, everything seemed ok, temperature was where it should be, no smells, no smoke. Came home let it cool off, popped off the radiator cap to check the level and there it was. All kinds of brown muck. After freaking out I poured some water to wash some of it off and started it back up. Bubbles in my radiator Why did this happen? The truck was in excellent condition. My questions are with only 79k is it worth it to try and fix. I planned on keeping the truck as long as possible. How difficult is the fix? I'd prefer to do the work myself even though I've never gotten that deep into an engine before. I should point out that I am a capable mechanic. I worked in a garage for a number of years, I just never got into anything engine wise past an intake really. Or should I cut my losses and wash my hands of it? Any advise appreciated.

Last edited by Colorado Ram; 07-05-2011 at 12:28 AM.
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Old 07-07-2011, 09:22 AM
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Hi, I don't have an answer so, it's time to .................... this back to the top!

I'd keep it and do a little work. Have you determined if there is a crack or other issues with the block?
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Old 07-07-2011, 10:36 AM
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I would definitely keep it, it's worth it to do the work IF, as RedRam said, there are no other problems with the head/block i.e. cracked. If you can rule those things out and it's just the gasket, that is something you can do yourself.

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Old 07-07-2011, 11:45 AM
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No way to tell if you have a crack until you take it apart. A good machinist will be able to help you see things you won't, until he points them out.
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Old 07-07-2011, 12:00 PM
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Fix it! If you have a cracked head (which a machine shop can determine with a bit of NDT work) then get a replacement set. It isn't that expensive and makes a lot of financial sense.

If it's just a head gasket, this is super cheap and easy to fix.

And one of the last things would be to flush the coolant system.
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Old 07-09-2011, 02:41 PM
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Thanks for the replies guys. I was leaning toward fixing it but I guess I just wanted some reassurance that I wouldn't be wasting my time.
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Old 07-09-2011, 03:56 PM
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Pull the heads - it's easier than a small block Chevy since the distributor isn't involved. Send them to a machine shop and have them cleaned, pressure tested and leveled if needed. This is also the perfect time to change the cap, rotor and wires since they're now much more accessible.
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