Head Gasket Blown - I think


#1

Here’s my situation… '98 Ford Windstar Van with 199,000 miles on it. Noticed steam coming out from the oil cap. Pulled the dipstick, and its like a chocolate malt in there. I’m almost sure its either a head gasket or a cracked head. Is it even worth trying to fix with one of these products like “Steel Seal” or “Thermagasket”?



Is it even worth trying to fix period???


#2

I don’t believe in these “miracle-in-a-bottle” products. If the head is cracked or the head gasket is leaking it needs to be repaired properly.

Whether or not it’s worth it to repair this vehicle is something only you can decide. Personally, I’d be happy with 199K miles and move on to something else.


#3

mcp is probably right and will be representative of most people on these boards in terms of an actual “repair.” I.e. it probably won’t get you anything at all. But I got curious once and did general internet searches myself, and you can find boards where people are talking about giving things like this a shot. The folks are usually working w/ vehicles like yours - at or near the end of their useful life so a lot of them are figuring wtf - all there is to lose is a little $$ & time. You’ll find reports of “fixes” that go anywhere from 3 days to 3 years.

Personally I wouldn’t put a proper head gasket fix on a 199K ford minivan. But if I wanted to try to eke another year out of it I’d be tempted to spend some time on the web & then give one of these things a whirl - on the “what have I got to lose” principle.

I would also then probably not drive the vehicle farther than about 5 miles from my house.


#4

Tough call . . if your oil is like a milkshake . . . frothy brown . . . you probably have coolant in the oil. Oil with coolant in it doesn’t lubricate properly and could cause major internal engine damage. How long has this been going on? How far have you driven it with this condition? If it were my car, I’d spend the money to have a mechanic remove the head and check the head gasket and head for cracks. If you didn’t drive it too far/long, you may not have caused much damage, and determining that further damage is hard to see without tearing it down a good bit more. Another option is a good salvage yard engine. You might find a good engine from a 10 year old mimivan with half the miles yours has and have it installed, drive it another few years. Good luck! Rocketman


#5

Sorry . . to answer your direct question . . .don’t waste your time and money on a miracle fix . . . they don’t work. You’ll end up stuck somewhere on a dark and rainy night. Rocketman