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Do not use stop leak or sealer. It will invariably clog other passages in your cooling system or heater core.

The question is what is the truck worth to you? You could do the head gasket, or even a full long block. Wouldn't be cheap (either way) but if the rest of the truck is nice and you think you'll keep it another 4-5yrs, it's worth repairing. If you think you're going to want a new truck in a year or two, see what you can do on a trade.
 

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Discussion Starter #23
Do not use stop leak or sealer. It will invariably clog other passages in your cooling system or heater core.

The question is what is the truck worth to you? You could do the head gasket, or even a full long block. Wouldn't be cheap (either way) but if the rest of the truck is nice and you think you'll keep it another 4-5yrs, it's worth repairing. If you think you're going to want a new truck in a year or two, see what you can do on a trade.
Honestly it’s an 04 with 250k+. It’s held up for a long time but idk maybe I should just trade it in now while it still has value. It’s a tough decision.
 

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how did you test it?

since it cools down at idle and low speeds, that usually is a sign of a bad/clogged/old radiator because its cooling when the engine is not under a load. all the headgaskets I had would pressurize the system and get hot all time. when it was a slow headgasket leak, I always had to add water. your signs are not of a headgasket unless you have continually add coolant.

do you have one spark plug that is clean and nice looking and the rest look normal?
 

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nevermind, I see where you said you keep having to burp it and it seems like you have air in the system. I agree, head gasket. to find out where, pull the plugs and find the clean one/ones and you will know if its just on one side, or both. since you caught it early, you could pull the head and check for warpage. if its straight, you could just drop a new hg on it and go, or have a check and mill it for a minimal amount of money and put a new hg on and be back on the road.

while you have it off, clean the chambers and do a visual with a flashlight and magnifying glass for cracks between the valves and from the valves to the spark plug threads too.


it will be cheaper to fix then 30-55k for a replacement truck, if you really like it.
 

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Discussion Starter #26
how did you test it?

since it cools down at idle and low speeds, that usually is a sign of a bad/clogged/old radiator because its cooling when the engine is not under a load. all the headgaskets I had would pressurize the system and get hot all time. when it was a slow headgasket leak, I always had to add water. your signs are not of a headgasket unless you have continually add


do you have one spark plug that is clean and nice looking and the rest look normal?
My problem is it heats up at idle. Like it’s all good until I stop to get food and it’s idling in a drive through, then it shoots up to 3/4 high and only drops once I get it on the road again. It seems to do it only after 20-30 mins of driving.

The mechanic did a combustion test with the test liquid on the radiator cap. He claims it’s leaking head gasket but I have no loss of power, nothing has changed. I will look at the spark plugs, I didn’t think to look at them. I’ll post back
 

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If your guy did a chemical test for exhaust gases in the coolant, that's pretty close to foolproof, provided it's done correctly.

I've seen a blown gasket to the water jacket cause no issues for a long time until one day it finally goes while the vehicle is parked, and all of a sudden, you have a hydrolocked cylinder and the engine won't turn over. Not worth the risk, in my estimation (and I speak from experience in my youth - I got off lucky for $800 to fix it in an older little car of my wife's). If you have a blown HG, get an estimate to get it fixed, and compare that with an estimate to replace the motor with a new long block and an estimate to replace with a low-miles boneyard motor. One of the three is either a palatable option, or it's time to get a new truck.
 

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Discussion Starter #28
If your guy did a chemical test for exhaust gases in the coolant, that's pretty close to foolproof, provided it's done correctly.

I've seen a blown gasket to the water jacket cause no issues for a long time until one day it finally goes while the vehicle is parked, and all of a sudden, you have a hydrolocked cylinder and the engine won't turn over. Not worth the risk, in my estimation (and I speak from experience in my youth - I got off lucky for $800 to fix it in an older little car of my wife's). If you have a blown HG, get an estimate to get it fixed, and compare that with an estimate to replace the motor with a new long block and an estimate to replace with a low-miles boneyard motor. One of the three is either a palatable option, or it's time to get a new truck.
I guess I just didn’t want to believe it was true. I’m going to get some prices and figure out what to do. Car trouble always comes at the worst times it seems. Thanks for all the help.
 

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If it makes you feel any better, I just did a trans fluid change, oil change, radiator flush, and full brake job on my son's 2000 F150 (front rotors are spindle mount, not floating, so new wheel bearings and everything!), and two days later, his AC went out to the tune of $600.

And I spent $500 on getting an oil leak fixed on my boat after the shop had it for a month. Got it back, still doing the same thing - shedding oil from the same location. It never ends. Sorry you're having this fun right now!
 

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Yup, I would agree. It's pretty set. Check those options and make the bummer choice

My favorite 79 320i bmw did that same thing your truck does. It lasted almost a year and finally went out completely in horrible traffic when the MPs evacuated the base from a bomb incident. So I was on the side of the road, 2 miles from the building with the possible bomb and no car. It sucks
 
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