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Is my 1991 Plymouth Sundance dead?

Hello, my wife was driving my ’ 91 Sundance when she said it started pinging real bad. (Not sure if it was overheating at that time as the guage doesn’t work) Trying to call me about it on the phone, her phone didn’t have coverage, so she kept driving it. It started to lose power, then it backfired and a little cloud of white smoke out the tailpipe. She pulled in to the driveway, turned the key off and it kept running for about 2 minutes. Once it shut off then the engine was steaming. I’m thinking a blown head gasket? Any ideas? Thanks in advance!!

Sure sounds like a blown head gasket

Use a block tester to be sure

This is what I mean, in case that term doesn’t mean anything to you

These are available at major auto parts stores, by the way

By the way, there’s a fair chance that the engine was damaged by the overheating. If it was, the car’s probably not worth fixing. No offense intended, but a 1991 Sundance isn’t worth much any more.

Word of advice, and I don’t mean to sound insulting. It’s not a good idea to drive vehicles with malfunctioning coolant temperature gauges. If the engine was running hot, you’d never know, until it was most likely too late.

Somebody I know, their wife also made a similar mistake. The oil pressure light came on, and even admitted that she saw it. She kept driving, hoping to make it home. The car never made it back home.

When the engine is cold, remove the radiator cap and see if there’s any coolant in the radiator. If not, add water. Start the engine and watch if bubbles form in the radiator. If they do that’s a blown head gasket.