Could this be anything other than a head gasket? I've hear water pumps were known to leak into the crankcase.
My wife called me today saying the car overheated. By the time I got there the engine was cooled down but there was no coolant in the plastic reservoir and there appeared to be signs of coolant on the dipstick; hard to tell though but the oil didn't stick to the dipstick like a thick coat of fresh oil would. Instead the oil looked 'thinned' and not a consistent viscosity (like wine evaporating on the side of a glass). The car has 175k and is pretty beat ('95), but I'd rather replace a water pump than the entire engine since I'm not sure the car is worth that much.
was the oil a milky color? Is it leaking from the water pump? it will be right beside the power steering pump on the drivers side of the engine.
No the oil is not milky at all. It looks and smells like oil, it just appears odd on the dipstick, like the oil is trying to bead off the metal surface.
I checked the oil again after we got home (filled the reservoir and followed the wife home), car didn't overheat within that 10 mile drive.
I have to wait till daylight to see any leaks near the water pump, when I first looked I did not see any.
It is probably a bad head gasket, and it is NOT hard to fix, as stated above... Depending on your rebuild schedule, I will have a VERY nice set of heads I that will be available soon... along with a low miles oil pump, and anything else you could think of for a 3.3 except for the rotating assembly...
I'm just wondering if this car is worth all that. The engine leaks oil bad, and I'm pretty sure the struts are shot since there's a horrible knocking whenever we go over a bump or uneven section in the road.
Is it pretty likely that the heads will need some machining/rebuilding if I were to do the gaskets? Or could I get away w/ gaskets alone?
How much would you sell the heads for out of curiosity?
The knocking sound might just be your swaybay endlinks, its a common issue with 1st gens.
As for the motor, If it does turn out to be the headgaskets, I'd check my local junkyards for a lowmilage motor and swap the whole thing since yours leaks so badly. It would depend on the total cost of doing the heads vs motor and if your capable of doing either the heads or an engine swap on your own.
Hard to tell exactly where the oil is coming from. Valve cover gaskets I know for sure, but the lower leak(s) is from the front main seal. It may be the oil pan gasket as well but I'm pretty sure the main seal is a big culprit.
I'll check the JY for an engine. We're really not in any position to buy a new car at the moment.
I'll look into the endlinks as a source of the knocking- thanks for the suggestion. I do remember reaching in above the passenger wheeel and push/pulling on the strut coil; there seemed to be some slop in there which is weird because that whole assembly should be under compression right?
Thanks for all the help so far. Our luck has not been on our side this week, ...and now this.
If the heads are not damaged you can just carefully scrape any old gasket material off and clean then before putting them back on with the new gaskets. To be honest, if there is no head damage you can have them off, the head gaskets replaced and then put back together in a day.
The more I'm pricing head gaskets and pricing new cars the more appealing the head gasket fix sounds.
I'm perfectly capable of doing it myself, I've done HG's before and this seems easy since you don't need to pull the motor.
Before I go any further though I'd like to get some advice. This car has 175k on it already. What's the life expectancy of the 3.3's? Are these motors usually pretty tough? Can I do the head gaskets and expect another year or so?
I had never done any kind of head gasket work before and was terrified but that walk through is great.
My 3.3 has 225K (220K before the head work) and is still running fine. My opinion, slap $75 in parts (top end gasket kit, head gaskets, thermostat) and you should have no problem getting another year from the engine.
Anyone: as far as gaskets- will a basic auto parts gasket kit do the job (like a Fel-Pro kit or something from NAPA)?
I'm a Subaru guy and Subarus will only hold w/ subaru genuine parts from the stealership.
For now I'm going to give the car a thorough inspection; recheck the oil, start the car, look for evaporated coolant at the tail pipe, oil change and new coolant reservoir cap. From there I should be able to tell what direction to go in and how much time I can buy myself.
Felpro parts will do just fine, mine is running very nicely on them - except for the bottom end on mine. The bottom end developed a problem just before I bought it, and it has never worked itself out. The reason why I'll have a parts 3.3 to send you parts from is that I'm doing a 3.5 swap as soon as a wire harness I bought arrives.
If the engine overheats, do NOT buy yourself time, that's why mine is ticking the way it is. Mothball the car as it sits now, and rebuild the top end of it before it takes out the bottom end too!
That How-To from Occupant is a great write-up, and yes, it really is that easy.
Just a bit of an update. Today I did a more thorough investigation and some root-cause analysis. I'm thinking that what I "presumed" was water in the oil was just thinned oil and not water at all. I did see accumulations of coolant on the transaxle but it was so much accumulation that I doubt it could be coming from the head without other VERY obvious signs of trouble. My guess is that maybe the coolant was low to begin with and finally boiled over and relieved out the overflow tube, splashing the exhaust manifold and pooling up on the transaxle. I also removed the spark plugs to see if any moisture was present- all good.
So today I drove the car into town and gave the engine a MUCH needed pressure wash so I could monitor any new leaks. Just to cover some preliminary bases, I did end up replacing the thermostat, reservoir tank cap, oil and oil filter. With a clean engine and oil I should be able to see if anything new appears. For now I'm going to hope that the car was low on coolant and overheated and no other damage insued.
On the other hand, now that the engine is shiny, I can see where the leak in the valve cover gasket is; oh boy it's baaad! I'll be replacing that for sure but that may be a new discussion.