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Old 11-22-2015, 12:37 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Good afternoon, doctor. Here are the patients symptoms

On Monday I noticed my car (2006 Reno, 240K miles) had a very slight rough idle when I was stopped at red lights. I could feel my face vibrating as I was sitting there! I didn't think much of it since it ran fine while driving. On Tuesday I hop in, turn the key and CLUNK! I thought "Uh oh, starters going bad". So I continue to hit the key, all the while thinking the starter will only get me a handful more starts, it keeps doing the CLUNK! thing but I can hear it trying to turn over and I'm getting 1/4 to 1/2 revolution with each key turn. After 3 or 4 tries it starts, but feels like it's not firing on all 4 cylinders. It does eventually smooth out, but then I notice the check engine light is FLASHING! Oh, no! A flashing CEL is never a good sign. As I'm sitting there deciding what to do (and who to call about what appointments to cancel) I look in the rear view mirror and notice my garage is filling up with white smoke from the tailpipe. I move the car out of the garage and into the driveway, pop the hood... nothing seems out of the ordinary... pull the dipstick and there's what appears to be coolant on it. I back the car into the garage and shut it off. I happen to notice a fresh mark on the driveway where the car was sitting, but can't tell what it is. I push the car backwards and sure enough there's a small puddle of coolant on the floor under the engine. The coolant reservoir is also completely empty, and I know it was up to the fill line since I just did a timing belt/water pump/flush n' fill the summer.

I borrowed a car in the meantime, and I haven't even looked at the Reno to diagnose any further. Naturally, like many of you, I suspect a blown head gasket. Are there any sure-fire markers to confirm this? And can someone please explain the puddle of coolant on the ground, if indeed it is a blown head gasket? The car never got up to operating temperature, the whole scenario described above was probably 2 minutes, so assuming a blown head gasket, is there any chance I warped the head? Thanks for any input!
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Old 11-22-2015, 12:51 PM   #2 (permalink)
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A colorful and detailed explanation of the symptoms! Thanks.

Yeah, head gasket or cracked head more than likely.

The difficulty in turning it over is probably coolant in the cylinders, causing a partial hydro-lock, followed by a start and volumous white smoke from the exhaust. Excessive coolant getting squeezed OUT of the piston / head area may have caused the external puddling.

Warped head, only way to tell is with a Machine Shop measurement assist.
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Old 11-22-2015, 03:21 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Bummer

Given a blown head gasket or a cracked head, a blown head gasket sounds much less costly than a cracked head. But knowing my luck, and given the external coolant leak...

That cracked head thing... is that common? I've never heard of it or knew it was possible.
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Old 11-22-2015, 03:58 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Head gaskets are more prevelent, unless the engine severely overheats, which can favor cracking.
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Old 11-28-2015, 08:07 PM   #5 (permalink)
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What's the status of a motor with a blown head gasket? Rebuild the whole motor to make it whole again? My mechanic said you can't just do a "top end" and not expect the motor to have another major issue in a very short time if you don't clean it up and rebuild it, due to coolant in the oil, which I gots...
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Old 11-28-2015, 09:07 PM   #6 (permalink)
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It is an assessment that only experience and careful inspecting can determine the needed course of action.

You should also weigh in with what contition the rest of the vehicle is in, mileage and whether you intend to keep it.
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Old 11-30-2015, 03:56 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I have found in the last few days while car shopping I can't afford a new car, or used for that matter, and the increased insurance costs. The car is in decent 10-year-old-car shape, no body damage, no rust, all electrics work, good glass, tires lil' better n' halfway, new clutch last year... the car passes inspection every year without a hitch. If PM is recommended by my mechanic, I do it. Last year he said struts were looking problematic, so I replaced them, which was about $700 all said n' done.

I found a JY motor for $750 w/80K miles. It's local and I would be able to p/u later this week. I'm currently searching for a mechanic that can do the swap in a week or so for a reasonable price. Problem at this point is everyone's out deer hunting

Question: can a 2.0 DTEC 16V work with either auto OR manual transmission (I'm manual)? Have found conflicting info on the 'net about this. Even one scrap yard guy I talked to couldn't give me a definite "yes" or "no"... but he was willing to sell me a motor regardless...
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