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Gas engine now a steam engine

I blew a head gasket. While I was driving my engine started to miss, I only had half a mile to go to work so while I was parking steam from my exhaust pipe stared to come out. I shut my truck off (1991 Nissan D21 KA24E 180,000mi).

I figured blown head gasket, looked at the water temp and it was not running hot. So I had it towed home. Sure enough blown head gasket. I replaced the head gasket started it up and it missed for a while then ran fine but the more gas I gave it the more steam it would produce. So… I took the head back off and had it magnafluxed, and a whole valve job. They took off 8 to 10 thousands due to warpage. So I put in a timing kit, oil pump and start her back up and boy does it sound & run good. … Except for the tons of steam out the exhaust pipe. I only ran it for about 2 minutes. Can you tell what my next step is. lol. Is there a way of pin pointing if it is intake water jacket, block or? Should I run it to see if the water boils or water gets into the oil?

I wonder if the moisture is just coming from the exhaust system where it is there from the first gasket leak?

Prior to installing the head, were the threads in the engine block for the head bolts chased to clean them? And did you apply oil to the threads of the head bolts prior to installing them?


When you pressure checked the engine cooling system, did it hold pressure? Will it hold pressure, now?

Probably a stupid question, but how much coolant has found its way into the catalytic converter(s) and muffler? I replaced a catalytic converter on the Camry recently. When I started it up I saw enough white smoke initially to concern me. It went away and hasn’t come back. That was just condensation. Is it possible that you have managed to pump a few cups of coolant into the exhaust system and need to cook it out?

The first time I ran it after replacing the head gasket I ran it for about 4 or 5 minutes so I figured that got rid of any water in the exhaust but I’m just guessing. Acording to vtcodger2 responce he had a few cups in his exhaust system. So I don’t know if I got it all out. First I’ll run a pressure check on the engine cooling system. Then I’ll run it longer.

Yes I chased the block head bolt threads but I applied lock tite instead of oil. I couldn’t do both. Oil does sound like a more sound way to go. Are you saying I might have gotten false tourque readings?

I did not check the first time because there was water in the oil and I could smell coolant in the exhaust. I sure will now. …Ofcourse pressure check the engine cooling system. I’ll get right on it. Thanks for the no brainer.

Not a stupid question. There is quite a bit of white smoke but don’t know how long it takes to burn off. That sounds like a good experiment to gage for the future how much smoke in the exhaust does 1,2,3 cups make. I read another blog about a ladys daughter sticking the garden hose up that “hole in the back of the car” LOL. I am hoping a pressure check turns out good and then I am going to run it long enough to burn off any water or untill any worse signs appear. Thanks to you all that took the time to answer my questions.

I thought you said that the pressure check was a “no brainer”. Why would you want to do a “no brainer” now? Is it the “right thing to do”, now?
I suppose a leakdown pressure check (to see if air is going into the cooling system) would be a “no brainer”, also? If air can go into the cooling system, from the engine cylinder(s), coolant can go the other way (after the differences in surface tension are considered). Of course, there’s nothing like hearing an idea which is too simplistic to hear, is there?

Yes sir that was it. I ran it for 30 minutes then drove around for 10 minutes I almost gave up when all of a sudden it started to slowly dissapear.