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dissapearing coolant/overheating


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i have a 97 concours with 120k miles

i have no visable sign of leaks

about a year ago i was blowing white smoke and fouling spark plugs until the car warmed up then the smoke stopped rx:headgasket

i can also smell burnt coolant when i put in the garage

i installed the product thermo-gasket and it has seemed to work no more smoke and no more fouled plugs

but i've always still had to add coolant from time to time

i just had another radiator/combustion gas test and it came back yellow not dark green so it seems i still have a small headgasket leak

my mechanic suggests another treatment of thermo gasket, i would like to find a repair shop to do a headgasket but the several shops in the boston area i talked to wont touch it

they suggest a new engine

i guess what im looking for is a little advice as to which direction to go

thanks brian

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Sounds like pulled headbolts to me...

Check for combustion gases in the coolant.

If they're present it's time to Timesert this motor or install a reman motor.

IF you put in a used motor you stand an excellent chance of having the same problem again.

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Thermogasket (Repair In A Bottle) is temporary at best. If you find someone to do the repair, be sure that they Timesert all 20 bolt holes and the engine should out last the car after that.

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Any good machine shop or engine rebuilder that does inpatient repairs or that takes engines from the loading dock and does limited (not complete engine overhaul) services should be able to do the Timesert job. In fact, it's within the realm of the do-it-yourself mechanic, although it's best done with the engine out because it's difficult to pull the rear head and work on the head bolt holes with the engine in. Don't pressure a mechanic that isn't comfortable with the job to do it because you want the person doing the work to believe that it will succeed; you don't need a "who cares" attitude in someone working inside your engine.

Your mechanic can remove the engine, send it to your designated machine shop, and re-install it when the work is done. Other than find a machine shop or one-stop-shopping mechanic that is comfortable with the job, you should watch out for these things:

  • Make sure that they use TimeSerts. TimeSert is the GM OEM repair for stripped aluminum threads anywhere in any of their engines. TimeSert also is the OEM aluminum thread repair for Ford, Honda, and VW. Don't believe any BS about Helicoils -- they may be good for thermostat bolts and non-engine aluminum threads but not for head bolts.
  • Before you commit to the machine shop, make sure that they have TimeSert experience with good results. Ask for references.

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