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Old 01-14-2022, 03:16 PM #1
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Head Gasket Blown.... Twice?

Hello, fellow 4th gen lovers.

This has been a crap morning after some recent developments.
I changed my Head gaskets, water pump, radiator, hoses, seals, distributor coils, plugs, and basically anything I could touch on the way to getting to the gaskets. I also had a reputable shop check the heads. Their report came back positive. They observed minimal damage and only shaved a tiny bit and all is within spec. Also, all parts were oem.

This was all done at 174k miles.

She's been great. I've been able to go camping twice and a road trip with now issues. I really thought I would make the 300k club without a major issue.
I'm at 209k miles now.

Well, skip to this morning...

Started the runner and I felt a slight hesitation. My mind immediately went to the head gasket so I shut it off. A minute later I turned the car on again and it did the same thing so I shut it off. Waited another minute and same slight hesitation. Que the depression.

Just got off work and of course no hesitation when I start her up now.
Then I checked the fluid and thats when my heart really sank. I've lost some fluid. I attached a picture so ya'll can see.

The blood sweat and tears it took do the head gaskets and everything else was an experience to say the least. One I didnt want to experience again for a long time.

So my question to ya'll is what are the chances the head gaskets blew a second time? Could this be another issue? Is there a normal amount of coolant that could evaporate and the hesitation could be an isolated issue?

I'm trying really hard to be objective but as you can imagine.. This sucks.

Look forward to your opinions.

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Old 01-14-2022, 03:39 PM #2
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It's normally possible to get a 'sniffer' (That's what we call it, anyway) to check the coolant for exhaust gases, that might be an easy place to start?

Is it possible you had an air bubble that has now cleared and lowered the coolant level? Also I don't know what the weather is like where you are but it has just gotten colder here, maybe it's just natural contraction with lower temperatures?

The hesitation you mention, is it like a misfire? Or just fluctuating RPM?
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Old 01-14-2022, 04:03 PM #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SurferUK View Post
It's normally possible to get a 'sniffer' (That's what we call it, anyway) to check the coolant for exhaust gases, that might be an easy place to start?

Is it possible you had an air bubble that has now cleared and lowered the coolant level? Also I don't know what the weather is like where you are but it has just gotten colder here, maybe it's just natural contraction with lower temperatures?

The hesitation you mention, is it like a misfire? Or just fluctuating RPM?
I actually have a test at home from the last time I was diagnosing the HG leak so I plan on doing that asap.

I thought of the air bubble theory. Trust me i'm not skeptical of any thoery per se but I shelved this one momentarily because its been 30k miles since I did everything. Would an air bubble take that long to clear?

The temps here in Tennessee have recently begun to drop in the last couple of weeks. We are averaging anywhere from low 30s to mid 50s. I hadnt thought of contraction with lower temps. Thats an interesting theory. I made sure to use toyota's coolant so maybe I can look into some specs to see whats what.

Thanks for the reply.
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Old 01-14-2022, 04:21 PM #4
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Originally Posted by Nevek08 View Post
I actually have a test at home from the last time I was diagnosing the HG leak so I plan on doing that asap.

I thought of the air bubble theory. Trust me i'm not skeptical of any thoery per se but I shelved this one momentarily because its been 30k miles since I did everything. Would an air bubble take that long to clear?

The temps here in Tennessee have recently begun to drop in the last couple of weeks. We are averaging anywhere from low 30s to mid 50s. I hadnt thought of contraction with lower temps. Thats an interesting theory. I made sure to use toyota's coolant so maybe I can look into some specs to see whats what.

Thanks for the reply.
I couldn't say for sure, but if you've only just started using the heater, it might have cleared an air pocket out of there? I'm just spit-balling of course.

If you get a positive exhaust result, is it worth just tightening down the head bolts a bit? Might get lucky?
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Old 01-14-2022, 04:24 PM #5
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You could be losing coolant other ways not noticeable. I found a couple places on my radiator that have weeped some coolant but it was only noticeable with the fan shroud off. Testing the coolant is the best bet.
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Old 01-14-2022, 04:50 PM #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeinNH67 View Post
You could be losing coolant other ways not noticeable. I found a couple places on my radiator that have weeped some coolant but it was only noticeable with the fan shroud off. Testing the coolant is the best bet.
That's a very good point, imagine his relief if it's just a perished hose or something
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Old 01-14-2022, 05:50 PM #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeinNH67 View Post
You could be losing coolant other ways not noticeable. I found a couple places on my radiator that have weeped some coolant but it was only noticeable with the fan shroud off. Testing the coolant is the best bet.

I'll be checking this out. When I tested the coolant in the past when the HG originally blew the test came back negative lol. I hope I dont get a false negative. I have some trips coming up and I dont want a blown HG while I'm in the middle of nowhere.
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Old 01-14-2022, 05:51 PM #8
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That's a very good point, imagine his relief if it's just a perished hose or something


It would be a great relief.
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Old 01-14-2022, 06:06 PM #9
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Originally Posted by Nevek08 View Post
It would be a great relief.
I am rooting for you mate, for now top it off and see what happens. I forgot to say, I think they can test the exhaust for coolant so that might be worth looking into. You would know if it was leaking into the oil (Mayo on oil filler cap)
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Old 01-14-2022, 06:45 PM #10
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I am rooting for you mate, for now top it off and see what happens. I forgot to say, I think they can test the exhaust for coolant so that might be worth looking into. You would know if it was leaking into the oil (Mayo on oil filler cap)
Unfortunately the "Mayo on oil filler cap" is normal for a good engine in some parts of the country, it's from condensation in the crankcase/valve covers, so that not good symptom to look for to determine if there's coolant in the oil.

Many on the forum have freaked out when they found some in their oil cap!
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Old 01-14-2022, 07:02 PM #11
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Originally Posted by AuSeeker View Post
Unfortunately the "Mayo on oil filler cap" is normal for a good engine in some parts of the country, it's from condensation in the crankcase/valve covers, so that not good symptom to look for to determine if there's coolant in the oil.

Many on the forum have freaked out when they found some in their oil cap!
Scratch that then! Noted though, thanks. Last vehicle I had that did that was a 125 motorbike with a way too effective cooling system...
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Old 01-14-2022, 07:17 PM #12
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Scratch that then! Noted though, thanks. Last vehicle I had that did that was a 125 motorbike with a way too effective cooling system...
I don't recall if it just the V6 and the V8 that gets the white film in the oil cap, but I do know that the V6 has that and many thought it was a sure sign they had the V6 head gasket issue.

One symptom that hasn't been mention on a bad head gasket is the "waterfall" noise coming from the heater core/behind the glove box area, this happens from air bubbles in the coolant.
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Old 01-14-2022, 08:17 PM #13
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I don't recall if it just the V6 and the V8 that gets the white film in the oil cap, but I do know that the V6 has that and many thought it was a sure sign they had the V6 head gasket issue.

One symptom that hasn't been mention on a bad head gasket is the "waterfall" noise coming from the heater core/behind the glove box area, this happens from air bubbles in the coolant.
I did have that symptom last time. It sounded like a waterfall when starting about 2 out 3 times a day.

I have not experienced that symptom as yet. I'll be listening with inclined ears tomorrow morning.
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Old 01-15-2022, 01:02 PM #14
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Updates.

Well Hello everyone. Here is the update on my situation.

This morning started the car and the same hesitation was there so it wasnt a fluke (much to my dismay).

I used a combustion leak tester and the results were negative. No exhaust gasses are present (apparently).

This is what came out of left field... I checked the oil cap. Milky.
Honestly, I couldn't believe it. What are the chances? HG blown twice?!?
I baby this thing.

Here is a pic:


I understand I'm in denial at the moment. I was thinking.. this milky consistency is a result of condensation right?

Could recent temperature changes cause a level of condensation that would result in a milky oil cap?
I know AuSeeker mentioned this above. Just sounding the alarm to see if others have experienced this.

Could the cold cause coolant contraction like SurferUK suggests?

I'm in Tennessee. It's my first winter here so the runner has never been in this weather. (nothing too crazy. range of high 20s to low 50s)

I know loss of coolant + milky oil cap + cold start engine shake = head gasket but I'm trying to explore all options. Especially since the HG (and everything else) has been replaced before.

Last thing now would be to try to diagnose the cold start up hesitation.

Any thoughts? (or just put me out of my misery lol)


Her first snow..

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Old 01-15-2022, 01:39 PM #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nevek08 View Post
Well Hello everyone. Here is the update on my situation.

This morning started the car and the same hesitation was there so it wasnt a fluke (much to my dismay).

I used a combustion leak tester and the results were negative. No exhaust gasses are present (apparently).

This is what came out of left field... I checked the oil cap. Milky.
Honestly, I couldn't believe it. What are the chances? HG blown twice?!?
I baby this thing.

Here is a pic:

I understand I'm in denial at the moment. I was thinking.. this milky consistency is a result of condensation right?

Could recent temperature changes cause a level of condensation that would result in a milky oil cap?
I know AuSeeker mentioned this above. Just sounding the alarm to see if others have experienced this.

Could the cold cause coolant contraction like SurferUK suggests?

I'm in Tennessee. It's my first winter here so the runner has never been in this weather. (nothing too crazy. range of high 20s to low 50s)

I know loss of coolant + milky oil cap + cold start engine shake = head gasket but I'm trying to explore all options. Especially since the HG (and everything else) has been replaced before.

Last thing now would be to try to diagnose the cold start up hesitation.

Any thoughts? (or just put me out of my misery lol)
That filler cap doesn't look too bad to me. And the coolant was clear for exhaust gas. I think the best thing you can do is just relax, top it right off to full, run it around for a few days, do some long trips to burn off any moisture in the oil, and see what happens. Then get the cooling system pressure tested if it keeps dropping.

Did you have to remove the thermostat? Might be worth checking around there for a leak.

It's been just about freezing point over here in the mornings and my engine RPM fluctuates about slightly on first start, if that's what you mean I don't think it's a problem. If that's not what you mean wonder if it's more likely to be related to something disturbed while the HG was being done. Maybe you have a slight intake leak, or something. I know when I unplugged my PCV hose with the engine running (Different vehicle but same principle) it went crazy trying to stall and the ECU correcting it.
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