Does this mean big engine trouble

tx65stanger

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Aug 31, 2010
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Austin, TX
As soon as my engine in my '65 heats up i smell coolant inside the car. I opened the hood and vapor - lots of it - is coming out of the oil breather cap. I'm wondering if I've got a head gasket leak, cracked block or something else that is feeding coolant into the crankcase. Anyone else smell coolant or have lots of vapor coming out of the oil breather cap?
I checked the dipstick and don't see any water in the oil but then it might all be evaporating off through the breather.
Thanks for advice!!
 
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pyroman

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Jul 28, 2002
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At first I thought your heater core might be leaking but it's probably just the vapor from the engine seeping into the passenger compartment. The most logical thing to me sounds like a head gasket. Could you give some details on the engine? Age, recent work, etc? I've never had that problem before but maybe a little more information might help me and others diagnose your problem. :)
 

tx65stanger

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Aug 31, 2010
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As far as i know it is the original engine. (I suppose i could check the VIN to be sure...duh.) I bought the car from an estate so they didn't know much about it. I expect that not much work has been done to the engine although from outward appearances it looks very clean. You are probably right - head gasket could be coolant leaking. I'm thinking the vapor could be oil vapor caused by blow-by due to bad rings.
Who knows.
Anyone else haveto a mechanic who will probably be able to figure it out but thought it might help to have opinions of other Stang guys before i do that.
 

tim95gt

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Jun 26, 2005
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i have seen 1 engine where you couldnt tell there was water in the oil by checking the dipstick. You could do an oil change to get a better look at the oil.
 

robbz28

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Sep 23, 2009
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If the oil looks milky then there is water in it. Another thing you can do is pull the spark plugs and see if any look fouled or rusty from water in the cylinder (that is if water is leaking into the cylinder, which is where head gaskets usually blow). That can also possibly pinpoint at least which side you will need to work on, but if replacing head gaskets I would do both anyway.
 

Pony66

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Jul 23, 2010
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I like to start with the easy things. Check the PCV on the right Valve cover. Turn it upside down and the bead should fall open.
Pull a spark plug and post a pic. Do you ever see liquid in the tail pipe? It could be condensation or a gasket.
If you have white steam coming out the breather, it sounds like a head gasket. I have never seen that but I aint seen a lot.
Are you loosing coolant? It still could be the heater core. Put some paper in the passenger floor board to check for drips. I blew 2 heater cores before I got the correct Heater Hose Elbow that goes in the intake manifold. The correct one has a pressure restriction.

I hope you dont have a head gasket but its not that hard of a job. I think I would rather do a head gasket that the heater core again. I hope its something simple.
 

bartman

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Jan 2, 2004
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Check to see if you have bubbles in your radiator. If you have bubbles you have blown head gasket or warped head. Compression will push air into cooling system.
 

rbohm

SN Certified Technician
Apr 12, 2002
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i am going to say that likely you have two problems here. with the apparent age of the engine, it likely has a good amount of blow by indicating that the rings are gummed up or the engine is worn out and needs a rebuild. the second issue is likely a heater core leak. i had the same issue with my mustang, and eventually the tiny leak turned into a flood one day on my way to work.
 
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