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LiveOak

Head Gasket....it finally happened......got LOTS of questions

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This morning the wife took her truck to drop off some cayacks to my daughter and she is gone for about 10 minutes and she come back telling me there is white smoke coming from the exhaust.  I got take a look, start the engine and sure enough a notable plume of white smoke (steam) is coming from the exhaust just idling.  I immediately turn the engine off, pop the hood and open the oil filler cap and the crank case is pressurized slightly as I can hear the pressure escape when I removed the cap.  (I think this is a secondary issue of mud daubers clogging up the crankcase vent tube as the truck sets 97% of the time)  I pull the dip stick and there does not appear to be evidence of coolant in the oil so I take a look at the crank case breather tube and notice fluid dripping from the front axle.  I look up and it is coming from the engine.  Long story short, the driver side of the engine is soaked in what appears to be a oil (possibly coolant).  :doh:

 

I have not done a cooling system pressure check yet but I am about 99.997% sure the head gasket is blown.  It is probably the original head gasket that has corroded/rusted through as the truck has never shown any signs of over heating and has always run well.  It still starts right up and aside from the steam show and engine leak you would never know.  

 

So.......time for a head gasket. :duh:  Nothing is ever that simple so I am trying to plan ahead for when the head gets pulled.  I am going to replace the 21 year old head bolts with head studs.  What would be the best head stud to go with? 

 

I am thinking there is a possibility of a cracked exhaust manifold.  If that is the case what would be the best after market manifold to get?

 

Also thinking about getting a set of exhaust manifold locking bolts.

 

This would be a great time to check the injectors for pop pressure & spray pattern.  (stock injectors currently installed & engine has just under 180,000 miles on it)

 

If what appears to be oil leaking on the engine driver's side, probably need to check to make sure it is not the tappet cover leaking due to the obstructed crank case vent tube.  Basically, probably should replace/reseal most if not all of the gaskets. 

 

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the head is not warped or cracked but will probably at minimum need resurfacing as will the block deck (at least cleaned up really well).

 

I remember Mike had to do this awhile back but darned if I can find his post about it.  Mike, if you could post the link to when you replaced your head gasket, I sure would appreciate it.  Any other thoughts, suggestions, or recommendations welcome.  

 

With 3 herniated disks and not much if any shop space, I am going to let the local repair shop do this so I want to have as much of parts and other things thought about and on hand as possible.  Thanks!  

 

  

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Posted (edited)

For head work I’d say find a shop that does heavy Diesel engines, I had to do that when I replaced the head gasket on mine. Was cheaper, and I feel they did a better job. Got lucky and the head was in good shape. As for block cleaning, I used a surfacing stone, basically a knife sharpening stone, Used pb blaster for oil and brake clean to clean it off often. 
 

the tappet cover on the drivers side is easy to replace with the head off, it takes longer to clean the cover and the gasket area that to remove and install. 
 

for a manifold, I’m happy with my DPS 3 piece, Using stock bolts.

 

if you do end up doing it yourself, I really enjoyed using the engine cherry picker to r&r the head. 
 

 

Edited by Towrigdually
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11 hours ago, LiveOak said:

  :doh:

 

I have not done a cooling system pressure check yet but I am about 99.997% sure the head gasket is blown.  

 

I am thinking there is a possibility of a cracked exhaust manifold.  If that is the case what would be the best after market manifold to get?

 

If what appears to be oil leaking on the engine driver's side, probably need to check to make sure it is not the tappet cover leaking due to the obstructed crank case vent tube.  Basically, probably should replace/reseal most if not all of the gaskets. 

 

 

 

  

 

 

I wouldn't assume anything without more trouble shooting. Did you check/clean the crankcase vent? Then start the truck again?

 

Check all your exhaust manifold to head mounting ports for wet spots. Same thing for your turbo to exhaust manifold mounting gasket for a wetness. If you find a wet spot touch it with your finger and then taste it. Coolant has an obvious taste, oil not so much. If all is dry then check your turbo to exhaust pipe flange for wetness. Raw oil leaking out the back of the turbo can cause white smoke.

 

What is the indicator of a cracked exhaust manifold? It should be obvious if it is.

 

If the truck sits a lot, check for a rat nest in the filter intake or box. High vacuum from a plugged intake might suck oil past the turbo seals or the turbo might be bad. Pull the intake hose off and check for play in the shaft.

 

Engine oil leaks on the drivers side of the engine is usually the vacuum pump or tappet cover. If the vent is plugged oil can leak everywhere.

 

A head gasket leak to the outside is fairly common, inside not so much. Do you change coolant regularly? 

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, NIsaacs said:

 

 

I wouldn't assume anything without more trouble shooting. Did you check/clean the crankcase vent? Then start the truck again?

 

Check all your exhaust manifold to head mounting ports for wet spots. Same thing for your turbo to exhaust manifold mounting gasket for a wetness. If you find a wet spot touch it with your finger and then taste it. Coolant has an obvious taste, oil not so much. If all is dry then check your turbo to exhaust pipe flange for wetness. Raw oil leaking out the back of the turbo can cause white smoke.

 

What is the indicator of a cracked exhaust manifold? It should be obvious if it is.

 

If the truck sits a lot, check for a rat nest in the filter intake or box. High vacuum from a plugged intake might suck oil past the turbo seals or the turbo might be bad. Pull the intake hose off and check for play in the shaft.

 

Engine oil leaks on the drivers side of the engine is usually the vacuum pump or tappet cover. If the vent is plugged oil can leak everywhere.

 

A head gasket leak to the outside is fairly common, inside not so much. Do you change coolant regularly? 

I'm going to have a look at the crank case vent tube once the weather cools off.  I am hoping the exhaust manifold is not cracked when it gets removed but am just trying to plan ahead.  The big concern is the huge plume of steam coming from the exhaust pipe.  Unless I am missing something, that can only come from coolant entering one or more cylinders and vaporizing in the combustion process.  I have been drawing out a gallon of coolant and replacing with new on a periodic basis over several years.  The green stuff is cheap but needs to be changed more often.  I will be changing this truck over the Shell ELC coolant too.  

11 hours ago, sooxies said:

Here is @dripley thread on his replacement  

 

and

 

@Mopar1973Man

 

 

Thanks!  That was the post I was looking for.  I am in the process of reading through your head gasket experience.  :thumbup2:

10 hours ago, Towrigdually said:

For head work I’d say find a shop that does heavy Diesel engines, I had to do that when I replaced the head gasket on mine. Was cheaper, and I feel they did a better job. Got lucky and the head was in good shape. As for block cleaning, I used a surfacing stone, basically a knife sharpening stone, Used pb blaster for oil and brake clean to clean it off often. 
 

the tappet cover on the drivers side is easy to replace with the head off, it takes longer to clean the cover and the gasket area that to remove and install. 
 

for a manifold, I’m happy with my DPS 3 piece, Using stock bolts.

 

if you do end up doing it yourself, I really enjoyed using the engine cherry picker to r&r the head. 
 

 

There is a wide range in pricing on exhaust manifolds.  The DPS 3 piece seems to have the best price.  What in particular made your decision to go with the DPS 3 piece?  Right now, I have zero shop space and with 3 herniated disks in my lower back, I doubt I will attempt this myself.  

Edited by LiveOak
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Posted (edited)

The issue of head studs is a hot topic when it comes to replacing the head gasket.  Which brand and type to get?

 

ARP, IFG, Extreme, Xotic, A1 Technologies, etc.  What I am finding out and I may be mistaken but it appears that nearly all of these with perhaps the exception of Extreme are made in China.  If for no other reason, I am leaning towards ARP for their past history of good quality products.  

 

The best price I have been able to find on the ARP # 247-4202 is $419.95 with free shipping.

 

https://www.parleysdieselperformance.com/products/arp-head-studs-for-1998-5-2019-dodge-ram-24v-5-9l-6-7l-cummins-247-4202  

Edited by LiveOak

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3 hours ago, LiveOak said:

There is a wide range in pricing on exhaust manifolds.  The DPS 3 piece seems to have the best price.  What in particular made your decision to go with the DPS 3 piece?  Right now, I have zero shop space and with 3 herniated disks in my lower back, I doubt I will attempt this myself.  


honestly, the price. Plus I heard and read good things about them. I’ve had zero issues with it after 5ish yrs. 

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Okay.  I have on order the following for the head gasket replacement:

 

FUEL INJECTION CROSSOVER TUBE WITH O-RING ('98.5-'02, 5.9L) - 6 each

 

FUEL INJECTOR - 275HP - BOSCH ('98.5-'02, 24V-RV) Bosch part # 0432193635 - 6 each

 

ARP-247-4202 Cylinder Head Studs, Pro Series, 12-Point Heads, Dodge, 5.9L, Cummins Diesel, 24-Valve, Kit - 1each set

 

Stage 8 STG-6935 Header Fasteners, Bolts, Locking, 12-point, Steel, Nickel Plated, Dodge, 5.9L Diesel, 6.7L Diesel, Set of 12

 

 

I have had really good service with Shell ELC coolant in my 2002 HO and am planning to change this truck over to SHELL ROTELLA ELC NF 50/50 ANTIFREEZE

 

https://rotella.shell.com/en_us/products/lubricants-heavy-duty-products/antifreeze-coolant.html

 

From what I have been able to determine, the coolant capacity of the 5.9 is about 6 gallons from a dry fill.  I draw out a gallon and replace with new every year to keep the coolant additives up.  Do you think 2 cases (12 gallons will be adequate to change this engine over to the Shell ELC coolant and have extra for future replacement each year?)  

 

I talked to the owner of the shop I am taking the truck to and he is good with these components and will take care of any additional parts that may be needed.  

 

I am trying to front load the parts so when they get to work on the truck, ALL or as many of the parts that will be required for a trouble free re-assembly will be new, OEM or better quality, and ON HAND so there will not be any delays or train wrecks at the end.  Can anyone think of anything else that I may have omitted, or forgotten?  

 

Diesel parts and components are NOT cheap!  I have not taken the truck to the shop yet and I am already into this repair for a little under $1,600!  :cummins:

 

When you figure this engine is almost 22 years old, that is not bad for service. Other than normal maintenance and a major brake job replacing ALL the brake components, hoses, lines, and fluid, as well as a few other things, that comes to about $200 per year for parts, a bit more if you count tires.  

 

 

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On 7/21/2020 at 1:01 AM, CUMMINSDIESELPWR said:

replace valve seals while the head is off

 

Good call!  :thumbup2:  I called the shop today and they are going to send the head out to a shop that specializes in this and give the head the total work over and check everything out.  Probably going to cost me even more but I want the head and everything else 100% correct for reassembly and want to get it right the FIRST time.  

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I am pretty sure there was a mud dauber nest in the front crank case vent tube that may have cause the tappet cover gasket to blow out.  I'm thinking about buying one of these and have it installed while the head is off.  

 

Billet Tappet Cover

 

It uses an o-ring instead of the leak prone gasket.  Can this be installed WITHOUT removing the VP-44 injector pump without a lot of pain in the neck?  

Any links or suggestions to a tappet cover catch can/vent fitting/hose kit would be MUCH appreciated as well!  :thumbup2:

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You can remove the tappet cover with head off. With it on you pretty much have to take the VP off. One bolt is blocked. As far as the tappet cover I dont know anything about the one you linked. My OE is still working fine. I changed the gasket out while doing my HG repair.

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3 hours ago, dripley said:

You can remove the tappet cover with head off. With it on you pretty much have to take the VP off. One bolt is blocked. As far as the tappet cover I dont know anything about the one you linked. My OE is still working fine. I changed the gasket out while doing my HG repair.

Thanks!  That was what I was hoping would be the case.  I ordered one just to be on the safe side but my wife really doesn't care about that kinda stuff so maybe I'll save it to put on my truck's engine. :cheers:

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