How can I tell bad head gasket vs bad intake manifold?


Asked by May 24, 2015 at 09:34 AM about the 2005 Pontiac Aztek STD

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

Have an '05 Pontiac Aztek with the GM V6. Started having overheating issues. Car has 73000 miles only. New radiator cap, changed thermostat, no fix. Noted air everytime I bleed valves, all hoses are good, did a cap pressure test was ok and held pressure for 30 mins in system w/ no leak. THEN I noted, when the car is running, there is bubbling in my coolant reserve, when it's running warm, the bubbling is more frequent. So I'm getting air in the system, bad gasket right? A few shops qouted me in range of $2-3k, but if it's the intake manifold gasket would that be an easier/cheaper fix? Is there much difference? It's been a good vehicle, and I've kept it in good shape I'd but it's not worth that repair cost...

2 Answers


Should add, I did get the coolant flushed after the thermostat, was rusty but not sludgy. No white smoke in exhaust. Rare/occasional shuddering in low idle, but otherwise drives well.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

It's the 3.4L V6 so it's going to be the head gasket. I'd put money on it. They're notorious for failure!! The 3.8L V6 eats intake gaskets. HTH. -Jim

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