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Discussion Starter #1
I was loosing coolant in my 2000 Concorde, 3.2, having to put in about 16 oz. a week in the reservoir, but no overheating. I read that a common problem that causes the leak with these vehicles is the o-ring under the lower intake manifold where heater tube located going bad. I had the o-ring/gasket replaced a few days ago. Coolant still leaking after work done so I took to another shop and had pressure test done and was told the head gasket is blown (yeah I should have and the pressure test done first).

Are there any head gasket sealers that work for this type of vehicle, and if so, what is the brand?
 

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do you have a miss?
where is the leak?
head gasket problems aren't common without over heating.
lower intake manifold gaskets and the oring onthe tube are common leak points on the engine.
pinholes in the return tube are also common.
when was the timing belt/water pump last replaced?
does your engine have a miss? run rough?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
There was some strange rattling coming from engine a few months ago when coming back home from a town 3 hours away, but it stopped the next day...no missing since then.

I said the lower intake gasket/o-ring was replaced yesterday.

I had the pressure test done and the mechanic said where water was shooting out indicated blown head gasket, but I don't recall specifically where he said leak was coming from. He said before pressure test that there was coolant near transmission.

I purchased the car used about a year ago and do not know if or when timing belt replaced.
 

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You've checked all the other hoses related to the cooling system?
Over the transmission there are 2 hoses that go to the heater core. If you have no proof of the work being done, then the safe assumption is they are now 20 years old, unless you replaced them at the same time as doing the o ring on the LIM.
 

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well, sometimes the intake can be too corroded around the oring seal and even a new one might not fix the problem.
or, as stated, there are heater hoses and lines that come out above the tranny, at the back of the engine.
take the air cleaner hose off and have a look around behind yourself.
maybe they screwed up with the intake gasket replacement.
you'll have to find out exactly what is wrong before you can repair it.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Does the tranny have to be removed to check the hoses?

Regarding your comment about maybe gasket replacement was screwed up, I thought about that too, but I'd have to pay labor again to remove the manifold and check the ring/gasket which was $200 last time.

A mechanic told me today that Blue Devil head gasket sealer works excellent. Ever used it yourself? If hoses check out ok, I may try that.
 

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Sounds like a "Shade Tree" mechanic to me. None of the "Snake Oil" sealers are worth a crap. Find the actual source of the problem and fix it right.
 

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just the air cleaner hoses. maybe get a mirror to look around under the throttle body.
at worst, you might remove the wiper tray to get a real good look, but shouldn't be necessary.
and if you find the lower intake leaking, i'd take it back for warranty.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
If the lower intake manifold/o-ring job not replaced correctly, then wouldn't the pressure test done on the engine show leaking from that area? As I said in previous post, the pressure test done indicated blown head gasket because that was where leak coming from.


just the air cleaner hoses. maybe get a mirror to look around under the throttle body.
at worst, you might remove the wiper tray to get a real good look, but shouldn't be necessary.
and if you find the lower intake leaking, i'd take it back for warranty.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
If it's not a simple / inexpensive fix, I'll sell the car because it needs few 100$ of front end work done.

Someone told me that because the car has 173K miles it's risky to try to replace head gasket since head could be cracked/warped and/or other issues when trying to replace it.


Sounds like a "Shade Tree" mechanic to me. None of the "Snake Oil" sealers are worth a crap. Find the actual source of the problem and fix it right.
 

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can you see the tube where theoring is?
that's why i'm telling you to look.
investigate and find it for sure.
why did your mechanic replace the oring if it wasn't the problem?
he should have verified where the leak was before performing any work.
any monkey can turn bolts.
it takes a good mechanic to actually find the problem and fix it right.
 

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For what it's worth, the cylinder head gaskets are a multi layer steel design, usually the 'upgrade' for cars known for having a problematic issue with blowing head gaskets. I will echo what other members have said, get a second opinion on the issue.

I'd start with the heater hoses, and inspect your overflow tank for any visible cracks as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
After I had the work done mentioned in my 1st post, problem seemed to get better by reservoir not needed to be filled as often. Today I filled up the reservoir before driving out of town drove about an hour away and on the way back home the tranny light came on and then the oil filler light, and then the temp. needle went all the way to "H". I was able to pull off the interstate within a few hundred feet after that happened. I waited for engine to cool and I pulled up the red handle on the cap and fluid started gushing out a small hole about the size of a pencil eraser head located in the top center edge of the reservoir...not a crack but looks like done by the factory. I put more fluid in the reservoir but engine wouldn't start...just sputters when turning the key. I had to have the car towed home. Any suggestions to troubleshoot car not starting, and is the small hole in the top of the reservoir supposed to be there?
 

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The hole is supposed to be there. It's in the unpressurized overflow section of the reservoir to let air in and out of the overflow section as coolant moves in (due to system overpressure) or out as the engine cools off if it is low in coolant and pulls the needed amount in from the overflow section thru the check-valve construction of the cap.

The fact that when you pulled on the pressure-relief lever, coolant started coming out the hole, means that the main system was still highly pressurized - forcefully blowing coolant into the overflow section of the reservoir.

When you refilled the reservoir, did you clamp shut the overflow tube, overfill the reservoir using a funnel that seals to the reservoir fill hole, crack the bleeder until only coolant came out of the bleeder, then unclamp the overflow hose so that the overfill went into the overflow section like the FSM prescribes? That leaves your system full of coolant with only small pockets of air remaining, plus some in the overflow section to displace any remaining air in the system with some to spare as make-up for small leaks or long-term evaporative losses. After doing that, after driving around for a full heat-up/cool-down cycle to push any remaining air in the system into the reservoir, let it cool down totally, then add any coolant needed to bring back up to "full" line (wouldn't hurt to fill a little over that - it would just push a little extra into the overflow section at regular system pressure as a little extra reserve the next time the engine gets to normal operating temperature).

The air purge and leaving some excess in the overflow section as a starting point is essential.

Disclaimer: I haven't re-read your OP to see if you mentioned properly refilling, but if you didn't do that, your system would be low in coolant (large pockets of air), and you really need to give that a shot before coming to any conclusions about blown head gasket or whatever.

I'm not saying there isn't a problem, but you need to give the system a chance to work like it's supposed to by properly filling.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
The hole is supposed to be there. It's in the unpressurized overflow section of the reservoir to let air in and out of the overflow section as coolant moves in (due to system overpressure) or out as the engine cools off if it is low in coolant and pulls the needed amount in from the overflow section thru the check-valve construction of the cap.

The fact that when you pulled on the pressure-relief lever, coolant started coming out the hole, means that the main system was still highly pressurized - forcefully blowing coolant into the overflow section of the reservoir.

When you refilled the reservoir, did you clamp shut the overflow tube, overfill the reservoir using a funnel that seals to the reservoir fill hole, crack the bleeder until only coolant came out of the bleeder, then unclamp the overflow hose so that the overfill went into the overflow section like the FSM prescribes? That leaves your system full of coolant with only small pockets of air remaining, plus some in the overflow section to displace any remaining air in the system with some to spare as make-up for small leaks or long-term evaporative losses. After doing that, after driving around for a full heat-up/cool-down cycle to push any remaining air in the system into the reservoir, let it cool down totally, then add any coolant needed to bring back up to "full" line (wouldn't hurt to fill a little over that - it would just push a little extra into the overflow section at regular system pressure as a little extra reserve the next time the engine gets to normal operating temperature).

The air purge and leaving some excess in the overflow section as a starting point is essential.

Disclaimer: I haven't re-read your OP to see if you mentioned properly refilling, but if you didn't do that, your system would be low in coolant (large pockets of air), and you really need to give that a shot before coming to any conclusions about blown head gasket or whatever.

I'm not saying there isn't a problem, but you need to give the system a chance to work like it's supposed to by properly filling.
"When you refilled the reservoir, did you clamp shut the overflow tube, overfill the reservoir using a funnel that seals to the reservoir fill hole, crack the bleeder until only coolant came out of the bleeder, then unclamp the overflow hose so that the overfill went into the overflow section like the FSM prescribes?"

I really don't understand what you meant by most of that. The car was stalled on side of the interstate when overheated and I don't carry a FSM around with me. I just put coolant in the reservoir and checked level after towed home and it's filled to the brim.

"After doing that, after driving around for a full heat-up/cool-down cycle to push any remaining air in the system into the reservoir, let it cool down totally, then add any coolant needed to bring back up to "full" line (wouldn't hurt to fill a little over that - it would just push a little extra into the overflow section at regular system pressure as a little extra reserve the next time the engine gets to normal operating temperature)."

The car won't start, so not able to "drive it around". My goal now is to determine why car won't start.
 

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What's the oil look like?

Maybe you happened to break a timing belt at the same time as a coincidence?

Maybe popped one or both head gaskets?
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I checked the oil on the dipstick and it looks normal and there's no sludge under the oil filler cap. I took the car to a shop two months ago and they did a compression test and I was told the head gasket was blown. However, I have been driving the car since then about once a week and was still putting some coolant in the reservoir, and the vehicle was not overheating, so I assumed I was given an incorrect diagnosis. I have a feeling the timing belt may be broken.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I got a loaner compression tester from AutoZone. Before starting the test I removed the fuel pump fuse inside the panel of the dashboard and the fuel pump relay and injector fuse in the engine compartment. I then checked compression in 2 cylinders (after testing the 1st plug I reinstalled it before testing the 2nd) and both cylinders jumped erratically while my son turned the key for about 5 seconds. I decided not to test any more cylinders after that.

I saw on some youtube videos that all plugs removed before starting test. Does it matter if each cylinder tested separately then plugs reinstalled vs. all plugs removed and then doing the tests?

Also some youtube videos said engine has to be warm before starting the test but I'm not able to start the car to warm it up...is it correct engine has to be warm before testing?
 

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Typically you would take out all the spark plugs so it's easier to crank. You took out the fuel pump fuse which is good.

When cranking you should also floor the gas pedal to allow as much air in as possible through the throttle body.

The gauge with be erratic as you saw but will eventually climb to it's highest reading and remain steady. If it continues to bounce around and you don't get a steady reading, it's possible there's a leak at the spark plug fitting of the gauge? I wouldn't worry about the "Warm Engine" part.

Let us know what you get for readings.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I didn't tighten the hose very hard because after doing the test the chance of not being able to remove end piece (approx 2") that attaches separately from the main hose. Should the hose be turned as tight as the spark plug?


Typically you would take out all the spark plugs so it's easier to crank. You took out the fuel pump fuse which is good.

When cranking you should also floor the gas pedal to allow as much air in as possible through the throttle body.

The gauge with be erratic as you saw but will eventually climb to it's highest reading and remain steady. If it continues to bounce around and you don't get a steady reading, it's possible there's a leak at the spark plug fitting of the gauge? I wouldn't worry about the "Warm Engine" part.

Let us know what you get for readings.
 
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