Sunday, January 21, 2007


Well, looks like SoDak has a blown headgasket. Someone, who shall remain nameless, drove the car for an unknown period of time "in the red" on the temperature gauge about a month ago. I thought it would be OK, but evidently it is not. Symptoms...
  • When starting the car, coolant reservoir pressurizes even though the car is not warmed up.
  • Loss of coolant with no coolant leaks
  • Difficulty starting (it still starts at -5 F with no block heater)
  • Faint odor of ethylene glycol (coolant) in the exhaust
  • More white smoke out the tailpipe that usual
  • RPM-dependent heater output (my guess is that combustion gases are entering the cooling system and preventing it from functioning normally)
  • Periodic slight increases in coolant temperature (temp has always been rock-steady, again, gas pockets in the cooling system preventing proper cooling)

The definitive test for a blown head gasket is to test for hydrcarbons in the coolant reservoir using an exhause gas analyzer. Notice that coolant/oil mixing is nowhere on the list. Coolant oil mixing is NOT diagnostic of a blown headgasket as the oil cooler on this vehicle is liquid-cooled and is part of the oil filter assembly. The owner before the owner before me (a professional Volvo mechanic from Sweden no less) tore off the head to repair a "head gasket" and found that it was just fine and that the oil cooler had failed, a very unfortunate mistake...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear that, good luck with the repair.


1:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you found the solution for your Volvo head gasket problem already? My friend got the same problem so I’m helping him through research. I’m hoping to find an answer as soon as possible. If any has an idea, I hope they’d have the chance to post it here. Thanks!!!

8:06 PM  
Blogger Mr. Winberg said...

I won't have time to do the headgasket until the first week in april as that is my spring break from teaching.

5:42 PM  

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