95 isuzu rodeo, blown head gasket? cracked head? cracked block?


I have a 95 rodeo with the 4 cylinder engine in it. I am getting water in the oil. I first noticed it on the dipstick. Me and a buddy took the head off and the head gasket looked fine. The strange thing was that the valve cover had a oil water mix on it but the oil on top of the head was pure oil. There didn’t appear to be any water mix on the head at all. And the water that came out when we pulled the head off didn’t appear to have any oil in it. Does anybody have a guess as to whether it is a blown head gasket, cracked head or cracked block? By the way, it ran fine untill the water got down in the radiator, then it ideled up faster than normal. The first time it happened it got a little hotter than usual but I thought I caught it in time before any major damage was done. Any help would be appreciated!! Thanks


Sometimes this muck inside the valve cover, the dipstick tube, and the valve cover filler cap is nothing more than either the oil quality and/or the driving habits.
A lot of stop and go, short hop driving, especially in damp conditions, can cause this.

Change the oil more often and taking it out on the road now and then will help.

It’s unlikely you have a cracked head or block; that is an extremely rare thing to happen on any vehicle and is something that is frequently misdiagnosed.

A head gasket can also leak and it may not really be visible to the eye.
I would strongly suggest inspecting the head with a quality straight edge to see if it’s warped. Odds are that it is and the simple act of removing the head bolts can cause the head to basically “curl up” if you want to call it that.
I do not know the specs on this model, but generally if it’s more than .002 inches per foot it needs to be resurfaced before reassembly.

Hope that helps.


Hey There, I appreciate your feedback. I am getting water in the oil, I can fill up the radiator and within about 20 miles or less I park it and let it cool and when I take the radiator cap off the water level is low. Since I have the head off now I will check it with a straight edge as you suggested. I am planning on getting it magnafluxed ( i am not sure if i spelled that right) as well to be sure. Thanks again for the imput. Keith


Water condenses at the highest and coolest locations… A 1 inch drop of the coolant level in the radiator is too little information to diagnose an internal engine leak… But you have the head off so be as certain as possible that it is not cracked or warped before replacing it. And I would also suggest using a complete set of Fel Pro gaskets and close attention to the reassembly procedures, i.e., cleaning and torquing.


Another way to get water into the oil is through a leaky water pump gasket or an unsealed bolt through a water pump. It’s not a problem on all engines. I hate to suggest more work, but you might see where the water is coming in if you remove the oil pan, if it is coming from the water pump area.


While not needed as a “must do”, I always coat head gaskets on aluminum head engines with spray CopperCoat.

I know, I know. You’re not supposed to use any sealant. Well, this is different and was/is actually recommended by some car makers.
Subaru for instance provides FujiBond (pricy) when a 3-4 dollar can of CopperCoat works just as well.
The suspended copper particles in the CC adhesive helps to fill in tiny imperfections and also aids a bit in heat transfer.
If you use CC, be sure to keep that can shaken constantly. The stuff settles fast.
Allow to tack for a few minutes, install, and properly torque those head bolts.

JMHO anyway.