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Blown Head Gasket - Sell or Repair?

Jeff D Desantis

Proven Member
54
4
Nov 5, 2018
Rochester, New_York
Bought this 98 GST and fixed up the body this past winter and babied it. It would over heat from time to time idling but never driving which was kind of weird and I always thought it was lacking power. The coolant bubbled and the pressured popped off the coolant backup even. I went digging for info and it appears I have a blown head gasket and it also shoots out the white smoke when it over heats. I put in so much time and money into the restoring the car and got a list of mods from the owner which appear to be pretty good. Are there any guys who can do this repair near Rochester new York? Or any shops I can reasonably take this to? Or is this going to cost me an arm and a leg and its worth just getting rid of the car? Mods list.

99 GST BLOCK
arp headstuds
cometic head gasket
bc 272/272 camshafts
fic 1200 cc injectors
aem fpr
walbro 255 fuel pump
light weight fly wheel
act 6 puck clutch
energy suspension motor mounts
holset wh1c turbo
jgs external wastegate
fmic
hallman pro boost controller
DSM link v3 full, running speed density
aem wideband

(also have sound system installed *new* and racing seats)
 

BLACK'98DSM

Proven Member
3,595
1,279
Feb 9, 2019
Alabama
Yes it stops the overheating!! Temp gauge goes down and steam/bubbling completely stops. I have no idea why this happens. with the heat on car has zero overheating issues
Are both of the radiator fans working? Coolant flow is restricted or not getting properly cooled.
 

curt-s

Proven Member
1,582
338
Dec 21, 2008
Winnipeg, MB_Canada
That is what I would.be led to believe. If a tiny heater core, a radiator essentially, can dump enough coolant temp to stop it from overheating then your primary is either badly clogged, the fans arent working, or both. The latter also will show itself as an uncontrollable temp increase during idle but not cruise.

Look at flushing your rad and checking your fans are being turned on when they should.

Blowing white smoke isnt great. Bubbling coolant means you have reached the boiling point of the mix but without knowing numbers its hard to say whether that you reached the upper limit of when you start getting head warpage. If a simple heater core keeps your temps under control, I myself would lean away fron significant headgasket issue involving coolant but I have never popped one before.
 
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Brembo

Proven Member
415
78
Aug 17, 2014
Clifton, New_Jersey
Just sharing my experience. I had Lincoln LS that the fan would stay on high and temps would be around 232. As soon as you turn the heat on the temps went down. Also when the fan was on their was no hot hair blowing in my face from the radiator. The decision was made to check the easy stuff first and that was thermostat. What I found was stuck thermostat that would not let the coolant circulate thru the radiator and once you turn the heat on, the heater core acted as radiator. I would first make sure their is circulation and fan controls. Then do leak down with the funnel on the radiator neck.

Also love the title. That is why these cars hold no value. Very few amount of people actually fix them and keep the wheels rolling.

Good luck and post what you find.
 
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ThunderChild

Supporting VIP
3,758
1,125
Jan 5, 2012
Rathdrum, Idaho
Personally I'd check the rad, and do some cheap maintenance items like a thermostat, hoses, maybe the sensors to be sure they're working 100% correct first.

Back flush the rad, replace if flow is low or it has a large amount of junk coming out. Replace thermostat cuz it's dirt cheap and you don't know if/when it's been done. Hoses because same as above. Sensors test first to verify full functionality, replace only as necessary.

Make note of the coolants state as you empty it from the car, look for particles/junk, goopy residue, color etc. If it's extremely nasty, consider doing a vinegar boil/rinse a couple times to get as much stuff out as possible.

Might also be wise to rent a coolant pressure tester to make sure it holds appropriately. If you suspect a HG leak, a leakdown tester can be rented to perform that test as well.

Last thing to consider is the water pump, but usually you can tell if it's functional by watching for coolant movement during warm up if you have the cap off. Just be careful that it doesn't get too warm, open the t-stat and geyser on to you or anything else.

I'd say try to keep it and get it fixed, but it all depends on if you're paying a shop to do the work or DIY.
 

mitsubishikid

Proven Member
1,115
218
Jun 8, 2009
Turlock, California
^ what Thunderchild said.

There is other factors to consider here, If the car is your only means of transportation, then it would be best to get another cylinder head and have that rebuilt, and inspected at a reputable shop, less downtime, maybe throw some goodies into the mix while your at it like, arp head studs, upgraded valve springs, oil return tear drop port mod, kiggly hla, etc if you have a second car then you might be able to just take the old head off and see if it can be saved at a shop.
 

rEclipserGST

Supporting Member
1,704
55
Nov 17, 2007
Columbus, Ohio
You have dsmlink v3. What is the coolant temp reading? While "overheating" and after you turn the heat on?

When was the last time you did a coolant flush? Swap the thermostat. Stant has one that is a 170*. I just put one in my car. And i even drilled a couple more holes in it.

Also buy another radiator cap. Do not throw away your old parts yet. Until you find the culprit.
 

Brembo

Proven Member
415
78
Aug 17, 2014
Clifton, New_Jersey
I don't necessarily agree with all the recommendation here but I will say this. The op has given zero clear data on the car and I just saw another thread about the same issue and over there he says his fans never worked. I call it sell it or do what everyone else is doing....part it out and put a title on it 1400hp build part out because lost interest.
 

K_81_K

Proven Member
58
14
Jun 1, 2018
Ontario, ON_Canada
regardless of weither its a head gasket or fand or just an air bubble its a clean dsm and they're always worth fixing!
and neither is overly difficult of a job to do yourself with a litthe research or overly expensive!
 

Kai Hefner

Freelancer
469
230
Jun 21, 2018
Calgary, AB_Canada
regardless of weither its a head gasket or fand or just an air bubble its a clean dsm and they're always worth fixing!

Agreed, these cars are getting pretty rare.

If you do part it out though, dibs on the link v3 ROFL.
 
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