Head gasket leak, is it possible....?

hey again. 1990 Cherokee 4 L

sorry to bother you all with this jeep again but…

I ve noticed for a while that the jeep has been loosing small amounts of coolant, I assumed it was from my non sealed over flow tank.

my oil does not appear to be contaminated.

what I am seeing now scares me tho. I have coolant, it appears, slowly dripping from somewhere in the region of under my exhaust manifold.
is it possible that my head gasket is leaking in such a way that it drips coolant out side my engine?

See posts #6 and #8 in the thread below. It could be just a leaking freeze plug.


thank you @jesmed1, your a good man Charlie brown.

this sounds like it.

weird that it leaks more when sitting. I look under it every time I go out and drive and stop at a store from habit. it never seems to be dripping then. I m gonna save that link too. thanks again.


p.s. any other input is welcome :slight_smile:

oh yeah, @Rod Knox , I learned that it was converted to non pressurized system

I know that when an engine sits the temp raises over time. I have seen leaks show after the car has sat for an hour or more. It’s like cooking meat. The temp of the meat rises more after it is removed from the oven.

man. I can t find it for sure. it looks to be coming from above temp sensor, but nut sensor itself. I wiped every thing and felt and looked as much as possible. I can t tell.

I m ready to just put some of that sealant crap In the coolant and see if that stops it. I could live with it if it was only me, but my better half is just not good at maintaining things and paying attention to gauges and stuff. she will check things for a week or two after we talk about it. but then just lets it go. the car won t last if I m not around.

I hate to put that gunk in there but I guess I will. can t pull the engine or pay anyone else to.
I could probably change the head gasket, especially if my son has time to advise or help, but if its not that I don t want to do it.

whoever said that this jeep was effecting my sanity is becoming correct. I should just add fluids and drive it til it dies. @#!$%# the rest.

what will the coolant additive ruin besides heater core? heat is a luxury anyway, I took out my trucks heater years ago to get to a spark plug. lol

It looks as if there is a freeze plug above it.

“is it possible that my head gasket is leaking in such a way that it drips coolant out side my engine?”

Absolutely. Happened on my daughter’s Cavalier. Coolant passes from block to head through passages that traverse the head gasket. Coolant can leak inward to a cylinder and be burned, or inward to an oil passage and contaminate the oil (or vice versa), or outward and drip on the ground.

it definitely stopped soon after I started engine. it was dripping steadily this morning when I came out.

does that fact indicate the freeze plug or head gasket do you think?

anyway I have to leave it alone for now and finish my brakes, I have to go get x ray steroid injections at 6 30 tomorrow morning. and can t take the ford cause mrs cant drive it and I ll be too groggy to drive after. thanks. I ll check back later guys. have a good one…

@Knfenimore; "It’s like cooking meat. The temp of the meat rises more after it is removed from the oven. "

Thats why it’s important to scarf the goodies down before it get’s so hot it burns your tongue.


the thing is that it leaked after sitting all night. after I started it today it stopped leaking. then it sat from 2 o clock til 7 o clock and did not leak another drop. then I drove it for a bit and stopped and drove again. still no leaks. I ll check it at 6 am tomorrow and see if it leaks after sitting all night. it seems to only leak when totally cooled down. the link that jesmed1 posted may be the answer. not sure. I searched with hands and eyes for an hour at least and could not pinpoint source, but it was a steady leak or leaks it seemed. maybe freeze plugs, or head gasket leaking outwards. did not seem to be temp sensor or block drain unfortunately. I could have reached them with difficulty. my stinkin hands are cracking from all the oil on them this weekend.

on the bright side I got my back brakes done. the works. wheel cylinders, hardware, adjusters and shoes.

no coolant leaked over night. it had been sitting for about two days when I noticed it yest. morn.

maybe I ll just pretend it didn t happen. lol.

The coolant leak might be coming from the intake manifold gasket.

They run coolant thru intake manifold to prevent icing of the throttle body/intake manifold during cold temperatures.

If you look, you’ll see that the intake manifold and exhaust manifold are tandem mounted to the engine. So if you replace the intake manifold gasket you also have to replace the exhaust manifold gasket.

When the intake manifold gasket started leaking on the wife’s 91 Cherokee, Instead tearing everything apart to replace the gaskets, I just added a tablespoon of black pepper to the coolant. And the leak stopped.


the one place I did not search @tester. I m a bit loopy from the goofy juice this morning, so I ll check tomorrow after mind and body return to their normal state of disrepair.

if I don t take my better half fishing or crabbing this weekend, she won t be happy…

oh, I did flush the coolant this past weekend too, so maybe whatever clog was blocking the leak was flushed out enough to start leaking and the remaining crap has now re clogged it. it stopped almost Immediately after starting it up yesterday…

lol, I wish we had another car for her to drive. I kinda want to pull the head now just to see if I can do it…(just kidding God)

It is possible for coolant to leak externally from a bad head gasket. A friend of mine had a 1978 Oldsmobile Cutlass with the same 260 V-8 engine that I had in my 1978 Oldsmobile Cutlass. Both our cars were only 2 years old. I actually saw the coolant spurting out. He had the head gasket replaced on the left bank that was causing the problem. I was concerned that this might have been a weakness in the engine design, but the head gaskets on my Oldsmobile were still fine after 33 years and 240,000 miles.

yep, @triedaq, that is definitely possible too. I could not find the source exactly after much effort and grease yesterday. I see how it can happen from the engine coolant passage diagram I saw somewhere.

I guess id better at least change valve/rocker cover gasket to look at head bolts for tightness. my manual says loos head bolts can cause external coolant leak too

i need to find her another old cougar, they had virtually no repairs necessary

well no coolant has leaked the past few days and I am just baffled