Severe Water/Coolant Leak-Nissan Sentra

Recently I bought a 1987 Sentra with 168,000 miles. It soon started to leak coolant, and a mechanic said it needed a new water pump. I installed a new pump myself which helped, though there is still a bit of a trickle from the same area. However, when I fill the radiator, water/coolant leaks from a seam in the muffler and from the exhaust pipe, and thick white smoke bellows from the tailpipe whenever I fill the radiator. Every time I use the car, I always have to pour at least one gallon of water in, and the engine continues to overheat after a few minutes. Obviously something is wrong here. I don’t know if maybe I damaged the head gasket from driving with it overheated prior to the water pump repair. Anyone have any ideas what’s likely going on?

Most likely a BHG (Blown Head Gasket). Your mechanic will be able to tell you the cost for repair. I’m sorry to report that it will probably be expensive.

Don’t Even Start It Any More Until The Head Gasket Is Replaced.

More damage will be the result.

This is the automotive equivalent of arterial bleeding. As was said, DO NOT even start the engine. Have the car towed to a competent mechanic (NOT any kind of chain operation) in order to get an estimate on what is at least a head gasket replacement. Since you continued to drive the car with some really severe symptoms, you have to expect that there will be repairs needed in addition to the head gasket replacement.

Despite the fact that the car does not have many miles on it for a 22 year old car, you have to expect some very bad news at this point. Truthfully, I think that the cost of repairs may well exceed the car’s book value. Sorry for the bad news!

You don’t want to put much money into this car (age and mileage). Use a product like Block Seal (someone may have already, before your ownership). Change the motor oil. You might get some more use out of the car.

Ok, after reading your reply I went to an auto parts store and bought a bottle. I’m just waiting for the radiator to cool and then will give it a try. Thanks, I hope it works!

If Not, Let Us Know And We’ll Just Walk You Through A Head Gasket Replacement.

I tried the block seal, put it in last night, following all the directions. Now the car won’t start! I mean, I turn the key in the ignition and there’s absolutely NOTHING. Zero. Not a sound, nothing. What happened!!! I’m charging the battery to see if it helps but every time I check at intervals, it’s the same…totally dead. That stuff must have done something.

Well, it could be the ‘put a band-aid on a chain saw wound’ problem. The car won’t start because it has MAJOR problems, not because of the bottle of stuff you put in. It sounds like it’s too far gone. And CSA, very funny!

Did You Use Large Curd Or Small Curd Sealer?

Seriously, that gasket was so far gone that the Mechanic-In-A-Drum may have flowed right through and glued your piston rings to the cylinder walls. Did you notice any sealer running out of that seam in the muffler or the tailpipe where the water was gushing before the repair?

My Other Guess Is “Hydrolock”.

Water could have leaked down into the combustion chambers. Water does not compress easily in a car engine and locks it up on a compression stroke. I’m not sure why you can’t hear the starter click at least. You could take the spark plugs out and see if it cranks.

Just don’t stand over the plug hole!

At least before I used it, the car was drivable and I could have gotten it to a mechanic.

Texases was merely attempting to point out that the sealant that you added to the cooling system is not the source of the no-start problem. I understand that you are frustrated because you bought a car with a lot of problems, but the people on this site are not the source of those problems. Next time you buy a car, invest in a thorough pre-purchase inspection by a mechanic of your choosing.

First off, you do not understand that I am frustrated. I wasn’t frustrated until I started reading some of these responses. Second, if that’s what he was attempting to do, then he could have done so without the smart remarks or sarcasm. It’s highly uncalled for here. It’s not the sort of help, advice, or comment I was looking for. I’m perfectly capable of fixing the problem or having it fixed; what I was looking for was specific information to troubleshoot so I could determine whether or not I wanted to proceed, and how best to do so. This is an online discussion forum, so if you don’t have anything positive or productive to say, I’d appreciate it if you’d take your comments elsewhere. At least don’t respond to my post. Third, I believe you are wrong, that the liquid sealant is indeed the cause of the no start problem. Or have you driven my car and you are so familiar with it that you want to start making a diagnosis? You should see the answer below about the piston rings being glued. THAT is useful information, the sort I was looking for, because it’s specific and useful. Take a lesson and learn.

I ask for no further communication from you.

The first time I tried starting it after the liquid sealant treatment, I heard the starter clicking, and the engine gave a little chug as if attempting to turn over. But then right after that, nothing. Totally, totally dead. I know it’s because of that treatment. I’m sure of it.

Whoa, boy, I wasn’t trying to make fun of you. You have a major problem, not likely caused by the bottle of stuff, and you need major repairs. You’ve completely misinterpreted my post. No offense intended.

You know nothing of the kind.

Your engine is supposed to be an air pump. It draws air in and compresses it, then adds fuel, burns it and pumps it back out. Because of your failed head gasket it now allows an uncompressible liquid into the combustion chamber. This liquid may easily have filled the cylinder enough that it won’t allow the engine to turn on the starter because the piston can no longer move in a water filled cylinder.

On the other hand, since your head gasket has apparently failed so dramatically it is entirely possible that your engine’s oil is so diluted with water that when you drove it to get the sealant (“Ok, after reading your reply I went to an auto parts store and bought a bottle. I’m just waiting for the radiator to cool and then will give it a try”) you may have destroyed the engine bearings and siezed the motor.

Either of the above scenarios is far more likely than your improbable “I know it’s because of that treatment. I’m sure of it.” scenario.