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Chevrolet Cavalier: Head Gasket Issues

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Comments

  • how can I be certain that I do have a blown head gaket. There are problems with loss of water & over heating. The oil remains clean not milky.
    Help in Miami....

    1996 chevy cavalier, 4cly. 1.6 or 2.2 litre engine.
    Thank you for your help
  • My 95 did exact same, try another thermostat. Test it first. Radiator clogged? Another possibility Block could be warped, not allowing good seal around where block and head meet. This is gonna sound funny, try new spark plugs. I had gasket leak for months without realizing it. Old plugs, car ran fine but back pressured through resevoircouldnt burn coolant fast enough, i assume. Put new plugs in, no doubt gasket leak. Blew white terribly.
  • blowing white out of tailpipe is good sign. Those 2.2 motors notorious for blowing gaskets. Make sure you are using antifreeze and not straight water. H2o evaporates. Check water pump and thermostat first.
  • badness15badness15 Posts: 3
    edited January 2012
    another thing you might try, take resevoir cap off. start motor, look for bubbling, also a good clue, your gasket is faulty.
  • ase25ase25 Posts: 1
    I don't want to be rude but I been listening to the same thing for over 25 years, I wish one of you burber flippers could explain to me how you can get water in the oil in an ohv engine without having a bad intake gasket on a V type engine. As for white smoke, once the engine warms up and the converter is working you may not see white smoke unless the gasket is real bad.
    As someone else has already stated, step one buy a block tester, it is a kit that will look for combustion gasses in the cooling system if it fails the test take the head off send it to the machine shop and have it checked for cracks and warpage, once you get it back install it with new head bolts from GM follow the instructions to set the torque angle. Then pressure test the system to make sure you don't have any leaks. Then unplug the cooling fan and crank the car, as it is warming up feel the cores of the radiator and make sure the top and bottom are warming up at the same time, if the bottom is cold take the radiator out and have it rodded out or replace it. If the top is cold, turn the engine off and full it up with more coolant. DON'T LET THE CAR RUN TOO LONG WITH THE FAN UNPLUGED you don't want to over heat it and blow the headgasket again. Make sure you flush the old coolant out and install fresh clean coolant in it and DONOT USE GM SEAL TABS. If the radiator starts to warm up evenly turn the engine off, plug the fan up and start the engine and let it run with a/c off, it will have to get to around 223 degrees before the fan will come on, make sure it does.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,835
    Well you can have a break in the head gasket between a water and oil galley---the coolant, under pressure, will enter the oil galley. So, too, a leak between the combustion seal on the head gasket and a water galley will cause back pressure into the radiator. A crack in the head might also do the same thing.

    What isn't so common is oil in the radiator.

    MODERATOR

  • I work as a mechanic and had just recently ran into this problem. Customer brought me a 1996 Cavalier that kept overheating. After finding a bad thermostat, bad head gasket and cracked head, I went ahead and corrected these issues. Car STILL overheated. Approximately 6 weeks prior, I had installed a new water pump. No blockage, coolant flowed freely. It was then that I noticed something - the water pump was pushing the anti-freeze in the opposition direction than it should have, so the thermostat was not opening. After a little research, I solved this problem by relocating the thermostat near the water pump to the housing next to the coolant temperature sensor. I was able to do this by using a 1995 Cavalier set-up, which has the thermostat located at the coolant temp sensor. It was a straight bolt-on deal. Problem solved!!! I noticed Chevy used this oddball set-up for 1996 and 1997 Cavaliers only. Sometimes you have to out think these idiotic engineers. Hope this may be of help to someone out there after 10 days of frustration for me.
  • danfodanfo Posts: 1
    thanks kingpalm61.....

    brother and i had the same issue with a 97 sunfire with a replaced motor from a 96 or 07 ..Cav... we changed head gasket because of a bent valve ..its because of snapped timing chain ... it would spill antifreez everywhere after a short drive .. but never at idle ... head scratcher !!... after doin compression checks and the likes ... with no issues !! my brother decided to try yr options ... he cut the upper housing containing the temp senser to accomadate the lower thermastat ..... it held the thermastat no problem ... it does not leak . and not throw liquid !..:-D... "NO issues" yr quote ..lol!!!... thanks again !! :-) .. engineers and their "back flow" issues !? lol
  • car_go1car_go1 Posts: 1
    My brother has the 1997 with the thermostat at the water pump area. Still having problem with overheating!
  • Yeah, I got a 98 cavalier 2.2L and notice the thermostat is no longer there on the right end of the head--it has a black pipe running out the left end of the head around the alternator bracket and across the front side of engine to hose going to radiator and heater core. NOW I CAN'T MOVE THE THERMOSTAT TO THE HEAD END FROM THE LOWER RADIATOR HOSE THAT RUNS INTO THE BOTTOM AREA OF THE BLOCK. PULLING COOLANT AWAY FROM THE THERMOSTAT IS JUST PLAIN STUPID---GM ROCKET SCIENCE WAS SMOKING DOPE WHILE COMING UP WITH THIS NEW DESIGN? WHY HAVE THE THERMOSTAT BEFORE THE WATER PUMP??? WAITING FOR THE HEAT TO GET TO THE THERMOSTAT WHEN IT WAY TO LATE THAT THE HEAD AND BLOCK IS NOW AT 212 DEGREE??? WHERE IT SUPPOSE TO BE AFTER THE WATER PUMP AND AT THE HIGHEST END OF THE ENGINE WHERE HEAT RISES. YOU WILL NEED TO RIP OUT THE THERMOSTAT, SEALANT AND BOLT IT BACK UP (OPEN) AND MODIFY A NEW THERMOSTAT HOUSING UNIT WITH TWO MALE ENDS, CUT UPPER RADITAOR HOSE AND ADD IT THERE MAKING SURE THE SPRING END OF THERMOSTAT FACED THE ENGINE.
  • OK, boys and girls, my second posting here. These so-called engineers are at it again. We have a broken shift cable on a '98 Camry. Turns out the end that connects to the transmission side is made out of plastic. Guess what, after a bunch of shifting the plastic breaks, duh. Well the greedy dealer wants to charge me $173 for this cable, and my customer definitely did want to pay that ridiculous price. So I found a junkyard that sold me one for $40 out of a 2000 Camry. Evidently, Toyota knew about this problem and quietly changed the design in 2000. The new cable has a an all metal end by the transmission. Get one of these. There are only 2 modifications to make this sucker work. First, carefully pry the plastic bushing out of the end that goes on the shifter, because they are different. The old bushing snaps right into place. The other is that the cable is slightly shorter. Easy fix, re-route the cable directly over the starter instead of around on the little hook that the old comes off of. Problem solved. And by the way, allow yourself some time, you have to tear apart the interior, and don't forget to take the little plate out of the way below the heating ducts. Have fun getting those 2 10mm bolts out.
  • My third posting. I continually searched the internet and saw questions and complaints on this problem but no real answers. Naturally, Kia knows about this problem but wants you take your car to the dealer so they can bend you over. Well, now I'm about ready to punk these guys, because here is your answer. The problem is definitely in the Idle Air Control Valve, but don't be in a hurry to go out and buy one, because they are expensive, and it won't solve the problem. There are three wires to the IAC. First, grab your test light and check the middle connection, that is the power side, make sure you have power. If you do not, you have a short somewhere in that wire. Second, if you have a 1505 or 1506 code, locate the white wire with green stripe. Find it on the PCM side, PCM is located on the floor in the middle, just ahead of the console. Take your Ohmmeter and touch both sides. My customer's Kia read between 5 to 7 ohms, not acceptable. Now check both connections and make sure they are good. Cut this wire, it is so frickin' skinny that you can easily see it is prone to failure. Put a good wire in there. I put my ohmmeter in, now I have .1 ohms, perfect. Try to start car, still no go. I'm wondering, is there a double whammy here? Pull the IAC off it is full of black soot and the little valve in there is sticking. Why? Because there is a vacuum hose from the valve cover into the throttle body that is directly opposite of the openings for the IAC. With all the vacuum going on inside the throttle body, it is pulling black soot into the IAC. Enough of this black stuff gets in there the IAC can't open and close properly. Clean the IAC out within an inch of it's life. Put it back in, car now idles. Now, for codes 1507 and 1508, follow the same procedure only now you're dealing with the white wire with yellow stripe. One final note: this will also apply to the Sportage and Spectra.
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