We have a 1999 Camry 4 cylinder with 218,000 miles that has one foot in the grave. The repairs it would need to stay on the road long term dont make financial sense. So we’re going to buy a different car, but we’re going to be really screwed if the Camry dies before we can use it to find one. I’m trying to figure out if Blue Devil Head Gasket Sealer would likely be effective in temporarily keeping this car on the road.
The day after it passed inspection (with no issues, much to my relief) I noticed the temp gauge going up to the high end / into the red. When it happens it erratically cycles between the middle of the gauge (normal) and high / red for pretty brief periods. It’s also lost coolant, had erratic heater performance (plus gurgling in the dash / engine area), and rough idling when started.
I took it to a shop that pressure tested the cooling system and tested the coolant for combustion gases. This is what they wrote on the invoice: “Pressure test showed no external signs of leaking — Block test showed signs of internal head gasket leak”. They told me that the coolant tested positive for combustion gases and that is a sure sign of a head gasket leak (or cracked head or block). They told me the rough idling is from coolant leaking into the cylinders. They suggested that Blue Devil might fix the problem temporarily. They said they could apply the Head Gasket Sealer (not the Pour-N-Go version) for $250 and based on their experience they estimate about a 60% chance of success at fixing the problem for 6-12 months.
That’d be a good value if it bought us that much time or even less – I just need to buy enough time to get a different car without having to rush into a bad deal (e.g. drive a rental car to a dealership).
I had about decided to go for it yesterday, but was reading up a bit before pulling the trigger. The FAQ for the product has a question “My car is overheating. Will BlueDevil correct this?” with an answer that starts off “No.” My understanding was that my car is overheating as a result of the head gasket leak. So if the product seals the leak, wouldn’t it correct the overheating in this case? That’s clearly the implication of the shop suggesting it to me.
Then I was reading some Amazon reviews. A comment by “Alex P.” really got my attention. Note, the comment is on a review of BlueDevil Pour-N-Go Head Gasket Sealer. The shop quoted me the price for an application of the BlueDevil Head Gasket Sealer (non Pour-N-Go) that requires a more rigorous procedure. The comment starts off quoting that FAQ entry I mentioned. It goes on to say that exhaust gases in the coolant means an overheating issue and the Blue Devil product won’t help with that. It then says that the product is more effective in cases where coolant is leaking internally (into cylinders or crankcase) or externally, and not effective in cases where exhaust gases are getting into the cooling system.
Does anyone know if Alex P.'s comments about the Blue Devil not being effective in cases where combustion gases are getting into the coolant are accurate? And why? As I noted, the comments were related to the Pour-N-Go version of the product. Does anyone know if there’d be a difference in that regard between the Pour-N-Go and non Pour-N-Go versions?
I’m also wondering if using this product would interfere with being able to replace the head gasket later. Probably the only chance of selling this car for more than scrap value is to someone who wants to make the repairs it needs, including the head gasket, themself.