Blown head?

jeep

#1

About a month ago the water pump failed on my Jeep Liberty, and the engine overheated, but didn’t boil over. The mechanic warned at the time that the head gasket may fail, but that he didn’t see anything at that time. Within a week we began smelling burning oil (at least i think its burning oil) and I placed card board under it and am catching about 2-3 drops every time i park (thats it). I’m checking the oil level regularly and there is no noticeable change. The burning oil smell continues.

Couple questions:

  1. Could this be a head?
  2. If it is, and is a small leak, could a product like stop leak be used?

#2

Yes, this could be oil seepage from the head gasket.
At this point, as long as there is no evidence of coolant in the motor oil, the situation is more of an annoyance/inconvenience than anything else.

However, what is currently just a case of oil seepage to the exterior could morph into a case of coolant contamination of the motor oil, and if/when that happens, the life of the engine will be drastically shortened. I would suggest monitoring the dipstick for evidence of coolant contamination at least a couple of times per week, in order to avoid disaster.

Instead of stop-leak, I would suggest that you try a cooling system “conditioner”, such as is sold at Subaru dealers’ parts department. This can be effective for preventing head gasket problems, as well as halting the progression of those problems, but it is not a cure-all if the problem is severe.

You should have your mechanic re-torque the head bolts (if they are re-torque-able), or have him replace them if they are the type that can only be tightened once. Re-torqueing/replacing the head bolts might resolve the problem, but you should first have him check the valve cover bolts, as the leak could merely be seepage from the valve cover gasket.