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  #1  
Old 04-28-2010, 08:58 AM
gvangerven gvangerven is offline
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Default Blown Head Gasket? or Intake manifold?

I have a 2003 Dodge Ram 1500 with a 4.7L 8cyl engine (105K Miles)
Recently I am loosing cooling fluid and sometimes see white vapor comming out of my exhaust (especially when engine is cold).
Engine runs fine
No check-engine light.
Compression on all cylinders 140 to 130 PSI
No discoloration on the plugs
No water in the oil
Cannot find any leak with dye and a black light.
Does this engine have cooling fluid going through or near the intake manifold?
How can one discriminate between a blown head gasket or a problem with the
intake manifold?
Thanks for your interest.

Last edited by gvangerven; 04-28-2010 at 08:59 AM. Reason: spelling
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  #2  
Old 04-28-2010, 09:02 AM
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The 4.7 does not have coolant in the intake. The vapor you're seeing is likely condensation in the exhaust. If you have a cooling system leak that is external to the engine, a pressure test will find it. A leakdown or chemical test would be best in determining a head gasket problem.
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Old 04-28-2010, 09:22 AM
gvangerven gvangerven is offline
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When it does occur, the white smoke is too much to be casual condensate.
What kind of chemical test are you reffering too (looking for exhaust gasses in the cooling fluid?), is this something I can do myself?
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Old 04-28-2010, 09:24 AM
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That's exactly what the test does and you most certainly can do it yourself. The tester kits are around $65 and are available at some parts stores.
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Old 04-28-2010, 09:42 AM
gvangerven gvangerven is offline
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Thanks for your insight Randy,
Last question: If it does seem to be a head gasket, and with 105K miles on the engine
is a rebuild egine swap a better deal then just a head gasket job?
Hate to trowing good money after bad.
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Old 04-28-2010, 09:51 AM
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I wouldn't trash a 4.7 over a head gasket. I've seen a few 4.7's with well over 100k on the clock that were still in excellent condition with cross hatches still visible on the cylinder walls. Of course a leak down test will tell you better than anything else about the condition of the cylinders, pistons and rings.
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Old 11-10-2010, 11:27 AM
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I'm seeing the same issue on my 2002 4.7 with 68,000. Also getting a misfire code for the #1 cylinder. Plan on checking the #1 plug today. I called a couple of Dodge dealers in my area. They are pleading the 5th on any head gasket issues for the 4.7. Just wondering what gvangerven may have found out. thanks in advance for any help.
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Old 11-10-2010, 12:23 PM
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There are so many potential causes for a misfire that calling it a head or gasket problem at this point would be premature.
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Old 11-10-2010, 01:22 PM
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Thanks Ram Tech. I'm just concerned b/c there does appear to be noticable coolant in the exhaust @ startup, and there are no apparent external leaks. When removing the rad. cap (cold) from the catch tank, there seems to be an excessive amout of pressure released from the reseviour. Is this normal? This truck is not a daily driver. I really only became aware of the issue because it started to run warm the other morning. I replaced the thermostat to be on the safe side, and that is when I found the coolant level to be low. The truck had only been driven a few thousand miles since I had the coolant flushed at the dealer. I guess I'll replace the plugs (they have about 25K on them) and throw on a new rad cap as well and see if it continues to lose coolant. I've been reading quite a few negative stories about the 4.7 since looking into this. Hope it is not as much of an issue as a few people are making it out to be.
Thanks again.
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Old 11-10-2010, 01:28 PM
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I'm going to offer up a few possible explanations here. The moisture you're seeing at startup could be condensation which is normal. The pressure you're seeing when you pop the cap COULD indicate a problem, but it's no guarantee. The coolant level could be low from the tech not making sure the system was topped off after performing the flush (flush machines don't always replace as much as they take). I like your plan to replace the plugs and cap but before you buy a set of plugs, make sure you're getting fire from that particular coil pack.
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