Leaking Cylinder Head Gasket

I have a 1995 GMC Sonoma pickup truck with supposedly a blown cylinder head gasket. It only has 53K original miles on it. It overheated and I had it towed to a service shop. They put in a new water pump, new coolant, new thermostat, new radiator hose and did an oil & filter change. Well, 100 miles later, I noticed my water coolant was disappearing and the oil pressure was rising. I brought it back to the same shop and after looking at it for five minutes they informed me it was a blown cylinder head gasket. They said they had no way to determine this when they were doing the repairs the first time. So, I ask the following: 1-Was it proper for the shop to do the first repair without checking for a potential head gasket leak? 2-Is there some type of testing that could have been done by the repair shop to check for coolant leaks into the engine oil? 3-Would I have saved money (labor) by having this taken care of at the time of the initial repair? Thanks. ~bob

  1. No, a leaking head gasket is a common cause of overheating and is one of the first things that they should have checked for.

  2. There are several ways to check for a head gasket leak, including a pressure leakdown test, a coolant pH test for acidity, and a visual check to see if there are bubbles forming in the radiator while the engine idles. Not to mention checking the oil for the presence of coolant.

  3. Yes, if they had diagnosed it correctly the first time you would have saved the cost of the new water pump, etc, plus labor.

If your water-pump was leaking badly, it would have been impossible to do a pressure test until that was repaired and any other coolant leaks fixed…

What size engine is installed in the truck?

  1. absolutely not

  2. yes, there are a number of ways.

  3. absolutely

  4. the next thing you should change is your shop. This one clearly isn’t working. A reputable shop will diagnose the cause before trying to fix it. This one is trying to fix it without diagnosing it.