Engine Burns Coolant

Have a 1988 turbo that overheats and consumes

coolant (quart in 20/30 miles). There is no external dripping, no visible steam in the exhaust, and the oil looks normal. Could this

be something simpler than a head gasket or

cracked head?

No, it could not.

Start with a compression leakdown test. That’s a test where air pressure is pumped into the cylinder and the cylinder’s ability to hold the pressure is measured. A test kit is cheap and the directions will come with it.

There are other telltale signs. Bubbles out the radiator hole when the engine is running is one. The combustion gasses will blow through a hole in the head gasket and migrate to the highest point, the radiator hole. But the pressure leakdown test is the best indication.

The only one other place it might be going if it has an automatic transmission is in the transmission. There’s a transmission fluid cooler in the radiator, and if it’s developed a leak the coolant could be going into the tranny.