OH NO… not again

Well, as of today, October 23, 2013… I realized that I am now going to have to do at LEAST a new top-end gasket set for my jeep, after going through lots of issues in the last month with hesitation.. what seemed originally to be a fuel delivery issue, then possibly a vacuum leak issue or some other number of things I thought the “issue” might have been, turns out all along was most likely a blown head gasket on the 2,4,6 and 8 cylinder (passenger side) head.

The symptoms that I was experiencing were the following:

  • Start-ups were fairly normal, but on idle it was a little rough
  • Putting in gear and moving forward with very little touch of the accelerator seemed a little off, it kinda seemed ok then would hesistate just slightly, hard to notice if you weren’t driving it
  • when moving faster in gears 2-4 it was much more noticeable hesitation… especially if at highway speed, trying to “maintain” crusing speed, resting your foot on the gas and when it would come up to a hill the motor would start stumbling pretty bad but when you let up it seemed to snap out of it for a second, then when you get back on the gas it would stumble again.

Things I tried to fix it by doing:

  • I replaced the fuel filter, no luck
  • I replaced the fuel pressure regulator, no luck
  • I got a new vacuum line setup for the fuel pressure regulator, after noticing a crack in the vacuum tube elbow that was big enough to see a pinhole of light through, no luck.
  • Checked and re-gapped the plugs

Then after re-gapping the plugs and changing the fuel pressure regulator, I started it up and drove it down the street, and by the time I got to the turn around it was stumbling so bad that I didn’t want to go any further so I immediately turned it around and limped it home and parked it in the garage and gave it a few minutes to cool down before coming back to it.  When I got back to it, I tried to start it up and it wouldn’t crank over.  VERY strange, especially since I was still thinking that it was a fuel delivery problem the whole time.

SO, now that it wasn’t cranking over, I decided to have the battery and starter checked at the auto parts store, both came back good.  SO, next thing I decided to do was pull the plugs to make sure the motor hadn’t seized up or something like a timing belt break or some freak thing…. and when I pulled the spark plugs, I started from the number 2 cylinder (pass side, front plug) and pulled it and it looked fine, then pulled the number 4 cyl plug, and it was a little wet looking, but didn’t smell like gas,……weird.  THEN I pulled the number 6 cylinder plug and it started pouring out radiator fluid…. NOT what I wanted to see.  SO, at this point, October 23-2013, I am going to spend the next few days tearing down the front end of the jeep, pulling the head and seeing what that head gasket looks like. Here is what the plugs looked like after I pulled them…the front of the motor would be the bottom of the picture..so you can see that the number 4 and 6 cylinders are the ones that have the problem area:

Plugs pulled from motor show wet 4 & 6 cylinders

I talked to a local shop and the guy was super cool, told me that he’d bet 99% sure that it’s a blown gasket because the OEM head gaskets on the chevy vortec motors used a plastic center stip among the aluminum gasket… and the plastic part would poop out the side and cause things like this to happen.  SO I will find out soon and post here in “the saga” section. Stay tuned!