Coolant resevior gurgling. Blown head gasket?

bghurc
60

Asked by bghurc Oct 08, 2012 at 12:44 AM about the 1998 Plymouth Breeze 4 Dr STD Sedan

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

Bought a 1998 Plymouth Breeze 2.4 from an auction for $500. on the drive home it started missing so I replaced the coil, plugs, and wires. A few days later I noticed the coolant resevior was bubbling and gurgling. No loss of power, the oil looked good when I changed it so I disconnected the uppper and lower hoses and flushed the radiator and engine. The water comming out of each looked like chocolate milk, so I rinsed until the water was clear and hooked it back up. The gurgling was still going on so I ran it with the radiator cap off hoping it would burp and got nothing. Could this be a head gasket?

71 Answers

Chris McGee
3,735

sure could be, run a compression check on all 4 cylinders. Is the fans turning on and off?

4 out of 4 people think this is helpful.
bghurc
60

fans are working, and the car doesn't seem to be overheating (I don't want to run it longer than a few minutes). Also, the radiator's cool, I replaced the thermostat but that wasn't the issue.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
Chris McGee
3,735

could also have a cracked cylinder head, between two cylinders. Try a compression test and let me know what you get out of all 4 cylinders.

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.
joef
3,565

There is no coolant on the ground? Yes, probably a head gasket! Check your heater hoses and heater core. Make sure you check everything.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
Andrew Olsen
6,725

Test the coolant for exhaust gasses. Or when cold start for about 10 sec and see if radiator hose is pressurized. It shouldnt be. Run it with cap off and watch for exhaust. Completly normal for head gasket to fail and not mix with oil. Actualy best case scenario.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.
bghurc
60

No coolant on the ground, tomorrow evening I'm going to check compression. What do I look for when I'm checking the coolant for exhaust gasses? a particular odor or color?

4 out of 4 people think this is helpful.
Chris McGee
3,735

there is a kit you can buy to check for exhasut gases- kind of test strips

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.
melly8989
180

hi i have the same exact problem i have a 1999 tho , havent found the problem yet , im not happy . im also very tired of hearing blown head

5 out of 5 people think this is helpful.
melly8989
180

tueday it goes to the garage , idk it doesnt overheat this is at the shut off , the overflow gurgles , sick to death of hearing about a head gasket. , idk

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.
Andrew Olsen
6,725

Sick if hearing blown head gasket? Thats a stong sign of one. The only other option is your overheating. Things gurgle when you over heat or exhaust is introduced into the system, both indroduces gases in the system. If you would buy the kit that tests for exhaist gases you could rule out head hasket on your own. I dont think its that expensive.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
melly8989
180

Strangest thing the car doesn't overheat . The car is under warranty tho , but I'm wondering if the mechanic himself is running on 3 cylinders ? What kind of job am I looking at if the head gasket is blown ? Obviously they will have to replace it , I hear its a horrible job to do ! Wondering if its worth it ? I can't believe how many forums on this topic , you mean to tell me blowing ur head gasket is that common ?? At this point I'm ready to go to a radiator specialist myself and have them test this and tell me wat is going on , I can't rely on a honest answer from these people at this point

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
melly8989
180

One more thing when I got this car it had so much corrosion going through radiator almost like rusty chunks blowing through it , I had a flush and fill done however I'm gonna assume it was not bleed correctly either them I had two hoses that were busted , split clear wide open , and I don't even they were automotive hoses , I could be wrong but the hose too soft and flexible to be on a car ! Idk but I'm hoping I can get some help and god the problem , no overheating and the heat goes from hot to cold sometimes , had it bled properly then the hose cracked again and tem I got air again , all was fine until the hose cracked again , idk of that was the issue from the start or not but I'm just trying to lay the facts out

John Sturman
1,365

you probably have a suspect head gasket but it sounds as if your hoses all need replacing the best 1s on the market are silicon and then i would as recomended run a presure test on the head if thats ok would check matrix behind the dash for the heater as these sometimes have sticky valves on them which cause air locks if you want a cheats way of flushing the system get hold of a jar of bicarbonaate of soda and put this in there run your car for ten to fifteen mins to heat it up and then back flush the system it will remove all deposits left in it and clean out the channels in the block properly refill with glycol based coolant and the jobs a good un

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
Andrew Olsen
6,725

If its not overheating then i think testing the radiatior is a waste of time. Do you lose coolant? If not and your not overheating then dont worry about it. I see blown headhaskets on engines with aluminum heads and cast blocks more frequently than others because of the different expansion rates. These kind of cars in particular seem to be prone to issues. Yes the head gasket job on this car is a pain, if done i would suggest a timing belt as well. The engine bay is very tight quarters. Unless its the 4 cyl, then its quite easy as far as a head gasket goes.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
melly8989
180

It's a 4 cyl , I do not lose Coolant an it doesn't overheat . But the overflow gurgles when I shut it off, I have no idea at all I'm taking back to th Tuesday , this gurgle is not normal obviously , idk but they will That's for sure ! Do all garages have this test you are talking about , they did a pressure test they say it was totally fine and normal , is this the test you are talking about getting ?

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
Andrew Olsen
6,725

Random thought, try replacing the radiator cap. Maybe its not holding enough pressure.

4 out of 4 people think this is helpful.
bghurc
60

^^^^I HOPE its the radiator cap. Ok, checked compression and got: 1. 180 2.190 3.180 4.180 ideas?

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
bghurc
60

@John, what's this about the heater? I'm trying to hold off on cracking this thing open until I've tried everything. Sounds like a PITA dealing with this engine since it's DOHC, Like Andrew said I'll have to deal with the timing too. not sure if this car is worth all the blood, sweat, and cuss words I'm about to spill over it haha.

melly8989
180

Well I tell u wat enough is enough , tomorrow somebody is getting beat up by this woman , im pissed at this bullshit car and i am loosing coolant per tonight when I pull the damn cap. I'm ready to blow up over this crap , all I got to say f&@$in cars !!

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.
John Sturman
1,365

sometimes the heater matrix which is situated behind the dash gets clogged up and causes air blockages causing the apperance of a blown head gaskets the rover metro used to do this quite often, your cylinder presures arnt to bad as for dealing with the timing set engine up on tdc and lock the cam and its a piece of easy take down and repair,if you have to go down this route.try the bi carb trick if it is succsesfull then its not your head. if not then its a strip down and head gasket replacement buying from auction is always a risk sometimes it pays off other times it bites you in the arse

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
Andrew Olsen
6,725

Those compression numbers look good. A head gasket leak should show up there. Was the test done when the car was cold or hot? If you have the tester then do it when both. Ive seen leaks show up at different temps. These dang cars man... what does the coolant look like? When cold, crank it and run for a few sec and check the color if coolant. If there is a white film on the top it can be a sign of exhaust leak there. Also if it was cold the hose should not be pressureized only after a few seconds. If it is then that is a sign as well.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
bghurc
60

cold. I actually drained the coolant, just water right now but nothing funky going on with it. It doesn't start gurgling until the car has run for a few minutes, not sure if thats an indicator. hose wasn't pressurized though. Wonder if the heater is clogged like John is suggesting. This could be such a simple fix. argh! molotov cocktail in the passenger compartment would fix this problem for sure.

melly8989
180

Tomorrow my car goes to the ahold for the day and tonight I'm gonna pray to the head gasket god that he is okay , several issues over the past couple days , okay upon pulling overflow car the rubber seal on the inside cap is warped or old , well it doesn't sit flush to the cap like it should , meaning not flat curly looking , no foam in the overflow , no Choc milk dipstick and no antifreeze in oil and no oil in antifreeze , no white smoke at all , no water dropping from tail pipe . , I am completely out of answes on where the coolant is going as the car overheats ? Here's wat else I noticed that small hose that k Hooks where the radiation cap and thermosstat housing is kinda too long . The hose is not quite linked but flatter on one aide which says its too long , wat u think of these things ? Would it cause an overheat ?sorry if here are typos I'm using a touchscreen phone

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
Andrew Olsen
6,725

I would still spring for a radiator cap

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.
melly8989
180

Ok , now wat about that overflow expansion tank cap , ? Tell me wat is the purpose Andrew of the rubber seal on the inside ? It's curly not flat looks to be no good , I mean curly speaks gaps to me but I don't know the purpose so I'm trying to find out ? Also does 16 lbs sound right for that rad cap ?

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.
Andrew Olsen
6,725

Well the overflow shouldnt be pressurized so the seal will just be to keep contaminates out. There should be a little flow in when warm and it will be sucked back in as it cools. It is usualy there to act as well an overflow for the coolant as it expands due to heat. If the radiator cap is worn and letting too much through it will just pour into it. 16 psi sounds good.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.
melly8989
180

Well okay it's going to garage tomorrow so I'm sure they will start there with rad cap but I'm going. To bed now and in gettin ahold of the head gasket gods and about pray my ass off that its not the head ! On another note it is wat it is ! Ugh !

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
Chris McGee
3,735

Did you ever try a cooling system pressure test?, you can always rule out the heater core with a T- fitting just bypass the core and see, cost about 1.90 to try it.

melly8989
180

At garage now , oh this isn't gonna take me long past this day to figure it out because if ita not fixed when it leaves there I'm taking it to my mechanic ,see the car is under warranty right now , Andrew I notice that when I was driving it there the windshield If u took the heat off defrost the windshield would fog back up again slightly , hmmmmmm??? See the colder it gets the more I notice

Andrew Olsen
6,725

Could have a leak in the heater core. But that could be another problem.

John Sturman
1,365

it does sound like the heater matrix is either clogged or the hoses to it may have a pin hole leak when warm,have you tried the bi carb trickyet? it does work over here in england very well and ive been playing about with cars for over 30 years and it has never let me down sometimes tricks taught to me by my grandfather pay off as they show you where leaks are you could also try what we call over here "shit sticks" or barrs stopa leak put into the coolant system which will seal any small leaks in hoses rads and heater matrix as it seals when hot and it meets the air as a temporary fix

melly8989
180

Well u kno as time goes on a weather got colder things change with it , but yea I won't play games with it , I'm not a gamer when it comes to these things , I don't believe in a Any temporary fix , I smdh ppl putting stop leak into cars , where is their head at ? I'm a woman and I would never see these products working ! The look on my face says it all when it comes to ppl looking for a quick fix and thinking it works , omg 4real !! Instant gratification once again , idk I'm not rich but if need be I gotta pay for it somehow or I won't have it long enough to say I owned it . In this case maybe I should be considering myself lucky there is a warranty on it! Well hahahah we shall see this afternoon ill give ya the update , I also told th this morning I'm hearing a pump rattle I don't like the sounds of Watever it is , I don't have head issue symptoms other than overheat , but it don't mean it ain't there either

melly8989
180

I personnally think somebody tried to put stop leak into radiator , the collant looks unhealthy but not like Choc milk or a vanilla milkshake. But looks corrosion

John Sturman
1,365

ouch then more than likely it has had a temp fix before then and the person hasnt sorted the problem out for the long term barrs is only a temp fix till you can sort out the problem properly and isolate it where it is. i wish you luck with your car and hopefully you will cane the warenty on it to fix it properly and get them to replace the pump and the belts at the same time to teach them a lesson on trying to dupe the fairer sex if you can

bghurc
60

Havent tried coolant pressure test or bi carb test yet. working 2 jobs I only get to my cars on the weekend usually. Dam thing's just sitting right now. I'm going to purchase a rad cap, do the bi carb trick, and check out the heater this weekend. I have noticed that when I turn the heat on inside the car it only vents. I usually have to fiddle quite a bit to get the heat to circulate differently, turning the knob back and forth until it works.

melly8989
180

Ok went for compression test , negative for blown head gasket , new therm in with gasket , question please somebody answer this the overflow plastic jug , the cap on that inside is warped and doesn't seal well , does this plastic cap have anything to do with air getting in , again. Negative for blown head ppl ! Thank u god my fear is over on that one!

John Sturman
1,365

the header tank doesnt need to be gas tight have you done the bi carb test yet?

Andrew Olsen
6,725

Did you get a new radiator cap yet? The resivoir cap isnt that important.

melly8989
180

I'm going I get a reg cap for it , when I went the first time to the parts store they gave the kind with the valve , not sure I like that cap at all , first of all I can't the damn thing off , piece of crap !! Even when u pull up the red valve wowww wat a time I have getting that cap off to check it , anyhow when I leave here its the first place I'm stopping to get another but not with the valve . Here's wat happen yesterday , while parking his car at the supermarket it was pouring rain wen I got out I could see a rainbow coming from under my car 2 different times yesterday in the rain puddle ,Definately coming from my car happened twice yesterday M I noticed it last week but wash sure of the circumstance until this happened , on too on the good toward front where u pickup on the lever to open ur hood I have too stains that run down the grill of the car , under the hod I can see two rusted spots on the good itself this is the part where u can't see the top of the radiator unless u unscrew everything , anyhow I'm getting the cap regardless and shortly

melly8989
180

And thanks Andrew for all your help , this is my easy as I'm a woman and this leak is driving me nuts ,I appreciate it !

Andrew Olsen
6,725

Maybe the top of the radiator has a pinhole leak? Something is washing down clearly. Get a regular cap. Have you had the cooling system pressure checked? Glad to hear its not a head gasket. Make sure there is no debris in front of the radiator.

Andrew Olsen
6,725

I just re-read everything. If there was enough corrosion and "chunks" going through it then maybe some. Passages are clogged. Also is there actual coolant in your system or just water? Tap water is bad for the radiator.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
melly8989
180

Yup the gasket under therm housing was bad or not properly sealing , got a cap and pressure test idk ,I went to my mechanic and paid for the compression test , thank god I don't have a blown head , all cylinders are firing correctly , I think they thought had it pegged with the gasket but thee could be several leaks , it's a process of elimination , just got cap going home now

bghurc
60

OK! Had only water for the meantime, it's only run about 1 hr total since dumping the coolant. I replaced the rad cap with a new one, then put in some Blue Devil. Blue Devil - when added to coolant, is supposed to seal any gaps in the the head gasket. After putting Blue Devil in the coolant and running 40 minutes we noticed the engine was smoking from the backside and we started smelling burning oil. The temp held steady at a normal rate. During acceleration the smoke came out more heavily and as we got on/off the accelerator it made a loud knocking. The oil light came on during idle and would go off during acceleration. A tiny bit of oil dtipped onto the ground, but I'm not positive it was related. I didn't even make it to the heater today, sheesh! Hopefully melly8989 isn't having the same issues as me. I'm about to drive this car into a wall!!!!!

melly8989
180

Not having smoke or oil issues , I changes the rad cap yesterday and haven't lost coolant yet , I'm pointing to the water pump at this point , I went for a compression test to relieve my mind no blown head that was my main concern since I just got the car , u never know wat ppl are trying to pass onto to you ! Ok since the new rad cap my fluid is still up , I'm keeping my fingers crossed over here . If I hear a gurgle when I shut that car off I'm moving to the water pump , they don't need to have a full blown leak to be bad ! Wat I'm doing is keeping that fluid topped off ands long sure it's full while I do the process of elimination ! This car only has 78,000 on it runs beautiful not a tick or knock ! This is why I wanted to know about the head on it because u don't have to have a a blown head symptom to have a bad head , overheat alone is enough ! It's a scary thought and yea very frustrating ! Did u do a Pressure test or a compression test? I needed to rule out that head before I went further

melly8989
180

Also I did not go to the place I bought the car from to have that compression test , I went and paid for this test after a very lengthy conversation about this car with my garage who is very reputable , shit is done right and paid for so I know somebody isn't trying to pull the wool over my eyes , man dude I was sure they were gonna call and tell me it was my head , nope firing correctly and all was well , so now it's a process of elimination now for me , these cooling systems suck

Andrew Olsen
6,725

bghurc, was the smoke blue or white? I personally hate additives that do anything that "stops leaks" becasue if they can seal a big hole somewhere what can they do to the inside of the system? Especially when it comes to the trans. Also after you run your car what does your oil look like?

melly8989
180

Me either I'm not a fan of any temp fix , Nothing normal about adding glue to ur motor , never will I use any stop leak ur wasting time and money and in the end Watever is wrong u need to replace

bghurc
60

Smoke was white. I'm not a fan of additives either but I was trying to get this car on the road ASAP. It's only a commuter car that I wanted to use for another year or until we moved closer to my job so I went the "easy" route. Oil looked fine to me, at this point I'm not sure if its the oil sending unit, timing, or something worse. I'm not sure what the knocking could be. Maybe the sealant work and filled a gap which cause a leak elsewhere.

Andrew Olsen
6,725

White smoke is coolant burning. Either a blown head gasket or cracked block. Probably the first. Your lucky if your oil hasnt turned milkshake yet. Chances are your radiator will shoot coolant/ exhaust out if you leave the cap off and rev it because your radiator is now exhaust pipe.

melly8989
180

I hate to be the burden of bad news but this isn't gonna be ur commuter car , none of those additives work they are a waste of money , Relist it on Craig's list for parts and get another dont waste ur time or money unless u really feel this car is worth the repair , you wanna believe that's wat I was gonna do with mine. It's a bad bad headache I wouldn't play the game of it were me , especially as a commuter car

melly8989
180

3 rad caps later 2 thermostats later , 2 hoses later , several bleeds later , I have antifreeze on the ground under over tank tank dripping to the ground puddle of green fluid , top of overflow completely dry , wat is r answer ???????

melly8989
180

Totally frustrated at this point the leak is at the passenger side in from of the tire where the overflow tank sits , the leak just needed to get bigger to be noticeable big puddle on the ground , bought a overflow tank at junk yard gonna put it in tomm and do another bleed. I can believe that nobody has found this leak when it is clearly pouring out on the ground , I don't get it ?

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
johnnyz
20

you need a new radiator

melly8989
180

It was a blown head just didn't have all the typical signs u see with one yup I was without a cat for two week while they fixed it but they at least they fixed it

johnnyz
20

Ok. Glad you got it fixed.

melly8989
180

Yea it's cool but I'm getting rid of it in a couple months uh I'm sure this head gasket will blow again personally I don't think these things are meant to be messed with ur talking about a manufacture job and then taking t apart , tidious job and I don't think everyone does it correctly how they should. Let's get real so u really think this dealer is gonna give me the time of day? hahahaha nope I think not . Wat I think is he did it the cheapest way possible obviously , I don't have proof he even took the was to a machine shop to be shaved , wat am I gonna do start fighting with everyone, nope I think not . And it's a lesson learned and it's a lesson for them because I will not put a good word out there for ya and u won't see me back either . So bad business will come back for ya , ita comin down the road for him legally .he knew he had to do something for me because of warranty and that the only reason do he did a shitty job I'm sure , thanks for all ur help

JA326
0

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JA326
0

Bar's Products corruption has no limits Bar's products pays important auto repair websites and when your post a comment regarding Bar's, the website deleted it after a few minutes But, the website keeps bogus and fakes reviews fabricated by Bar's. WalMart also do that. WalMart is telling you to be the first to review Bar's and after you do that, your comment is deleted. Some search engines will post your complaint, but they will never list your complaint on the same page as Bar's Products, so the people looking to repair a head gasket will see only fakes reviews and lies posted by Bar's Products and got duped by that

Andrew Olsen
6,725

you know what fixes a head gasket? a head gasket

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.
Melissa Jacobson
20

Listen these cars are junk , get rid of it if u haven't done so already since this post , while Andrew has the correct answer it won't fix it for long before it blows again , these cars are garbage , pure and simple ! Mine had the jumping and skipping and dogging out after the I got the head gasket replaced . Omg after that everything went the hoses were blowing off left and right , overheating again on a trip and took me over 6 hours to get home from a 30 mike trip . Never again would I buy a piece of shit plymouth . I lost alot of money on this car . Ended up putting it on Craig's list for 500 bucks . Better than selling for scrap . I told potential buyers exactly what they were getting into . If u can fix it then it's yours . As for me I bought a brand new Toyota Camry . It was long overdue . Never am I buying American car again , fuking garbage !

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.
johnnyz
20

I agree with Mark, you need a new radiator

Mark Wilsing
0

Had some of the same issues. Found that Front freeze plug was leaking, running down the rail and ending up under the coolant tank. Freeze plug is behind alternator bracket. Verry hard to see. ( and fix)

Melissa Jacobson
20

I'm so glad I got rid if this piece of shit , mine was the head gasket and I got it fixed and they sis not so it Correctly I gave up and bought a brand new car , no more once they Blow u for big issues even after they are fixed

Chris Kranjec
80

iuhuow

Chris Kranjec
80

I ve got a 95 civic. Drove 1000 miles with the signs of a blown head gasket, white exhaust, bubbling water tank and radiator, losing anti freeze, but my car still runs. If and when the temp gauge does say its overheating, the engine its self doesn't actually get hot, meaning i can touch it without burning my self, and only the cooling system smokes. So if it can run that long, but still have signs of gasket being blown, what could be the issue?

Chris Kranjec
80

also the lid for the water tank and radiator cap still expel smoke when on., so maybe they are not tight enough. not sure though

Matt Rockwell
0

Hello I had to get on here and inform some of you that oil in antifreeze is not always a head gasket I bought a van that ended up having a white/yellow foam in the radiator I thought it was a head gasket then I noticed my tranny fluid disappearing after research I found my radiator had a hole on inside and on the side my trans lines went so I disconnected them and bought a heater core/small radiator from the junk yard and connected the lines to it I tell u what that 750 dollar van ran like a champ until I wrecked it a year later hope this helps good luck bars leak is no good the guy with defrost problems definitely a heater core easy fix you will notice that its hard to clean your window that what I have experinced

hojac7
0

Hi, I am having the same problem as one of the ladies, i have radiator fluid leaking, but i can find it. i have fixed my all of the hoses and the smell of the antifreeze is back. so it is good to know that behind the alternator there is yet another hoses that i did not know. but befor i give up i will fix the heat core because i notice that every time it get cool my windows would be a great deal of problems trying to clean them. I think that some one called it th mitrix or something like that. those two thing i havent tryed so, if some one has info on how that came out for them please let me know.

skinner1971
0

my 99 breeze was also gurgling an was told by two shops it was blown head gasket...Not it was a $5 fix it was my radiator cap.

Lori Kimball
0

Hey guys, we either cracked a head or lost a gasket. My car was rattling, and my dad said the fluid can cause that (when you push on the gas). It wasn't overheating, but if you used the breaks and not the gas very soon, it'd shut off. There's coolant in the 3rd cylinder or something like that. Im hoping it is a gasket, and not a head or a rod. Any ideas guys (ps, if I come up as a guy on here, I must be under my man's account). My man and his dad are amazing with cars, so I'm thinking the 2 of them should be able to replace a 4 cylinder Ford Escort gasket, but what do u guys think. No coolant on the ground, and I am not sure about the exhaust, but there is fluid coming out the cylinder, so I don't know if that's enough info, but any tests they can do to confirm??

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