Cracked block or bad head gasket

Ok, my daughter’s PT Cruiser had a water leak, but it was not leaking in the oil pan. This past January, she let the antifreeze leak out and diluted it until it was majority water and the water froze during a cold snap. She tried to start the car and ended up breaking the waterpump, which had frozen solid. I took the head off, had it resurfaced/planed and the valves reworked. I put a new timing belt/waterpump kit on it along with new head gasket kit. Now, prior to my taking it apart, there was not water in the oil. I am now getting water in the oil. The car runs beautifully other than this. No smoking, no rough idling, and nothing to indicate a problem other than the water in the oil. I am also noticing I am having to add water to the radiator every few days of light to moderate driving. Now, when I say water in the oil, I am barely seeing the milky residue on the bottom tip of the dip stick. The top of the dipstick is still clear oil. I am just lost right now. The head gasket did not move at all when I placed the head down. It sat on the dowel pins perfectly, so I don’t think it’s a pinched gasket. Any ideas would be appreciated.

New motor.

You seem knowledgeable and were not afraid to replace the head gasket. That tells me it is unlikely you screwed up the replacement. That’s the good news.

Now the bad news, the only conclusion I can make is cracked block or head.

Just curious, why did you remove the head? Were you going to that anyway, or was it b/c of the water pump/freezing problem. The reason I ask is b/c usually the head wouldn’t be removed as part of a water pump replacement job; and you’d do some tests before removing the head, like a cooling system pressure holding test. Cylinder leak down test. Compression test. Did you do any of those before removing the head? If so, what was the result?

I knew it had a bad spot in the gasket because it was using water, but it wasn’t going in the oil pan. I also saw white smoke coming out of the tail pipe. I was trying to take care of everything while I was there. The guy who redid the head said the valves on one side were gone and losing compression, so it wasn’t a bad idea at the time. I am just confused how I went from no water in the oil to now there is water in the oil.

It sure sounds like a crack in the block or head. I’d try radiator stop-leak.

Sounds like when the water pump froze so did the water in the head and block. Prior answers are probably on target – crack in the head or block. Either crack may be hard to locate. I would just go for a new engine if the vehicle is worth it. Water is heavier than oil so that;'s why you see emulsified oil at the bottom of the dip stick.

Might want to try a cooling system pressure test first. And maybe a cylinder leak down test on all of 'em.

I appreciate the help. I decided to take the trade-in route and she got a good deal on a new-to-her car. I just couldn’t take the chance.

I normally don’t suggest those cooling system sealants in a bottle but this might be a situation where one could limp you down the road a little while longer until you have enough money to fix it right or get a new car. You could take your chances with a junkyard motor. Until then, they make block and head type sealants you dump in the coolant. Don’t use these if you care about the car and want to fix it right. I know a guy who was down on his luck and lost his job. He bought an old beater and the head gasket must have been on its way out when he got it. He read some reviews and bought like a $40 bottle of one that was rated well. Anyway, it held until he got a new job and he could also tell it was starting to lose effectiveness. In his case this was a good deal. The transmission was iffy, the body was rusted out, and it was basically late for the crusher. He spent $40 to keep a basically junk car on the road a few months, then traded it in on a new car for $500 or whatever they said it was worth.

Again, if you wish to fix this, these types of products tend to gum and plug up your cooling system so avoid them and just fix it right. You don’t have much to lose if you just want to run it as long as you can.