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Head gasket/cracked head test       #: 379
 Moderated by: NoPower, Mike69, MaDMaXX
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 Posted: Tue Dec 19th, 2017 11:44 pm
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RonD
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The Glove test
Low tech and 100% accurate

You will need a latex glove and rubber band, or a balloon, or even a condom for the test

Remove radiator cap, coolant should be down at least an inch from the top, down farther is fine, drain some if it is high

Remove Overflow hose from rad cap opening, and plug the opening; gum, putty, tape, vacuum cap, ect........

Put glove over rad cap opening and seal it on with rubber band(or use balloon or condom on rad cap opening)

Unplug the Coil/coil pack, you want a No Start

Crank over the engine and watch the Glove, it will be instant feedback

If glove starts to bounce up and down then you DO have a blown head gasket or cracked head.

If glove just lays there then you do not, 100% accurate

If Glove does bounce, then you can ID which cylinder(s) are leaking.

Remove 1 spark plug, and crank engine again, then remove 1 more spark plug and crank engine again, ect......

When Glove stops bouncing , last spark plug removed is from leaking cylinder, reinstall spark plug to confirm



Useless why it happens info:
When you heat up metal it expands, heads of engine get the hottest so expand the most.
Every time an engine heats up and cools down the head gasket is compressed as head metal heats up and expands, head bolts hold it in place so it can only expand down toward the block.
And when engine cools down head metal shrinks back to regular cold size.

So head gasket must be firm but also allow for this daily expansion and contraction.

If an engine OVERHEATS that means the head will expand even more, and this can crush a head gasket, so blown head gasket.
Head metal can also crack if it expands too much, and cracked head has same symptom as blown head gasket.
A blown head gasket used to mean coolant in the oil, that can still happen but is less frequent with newer gasket material.
Glove test will tell you


So if water pump goes out or coolant hose breaks, or coolant gets low, then an engine can overheat, and this can be very very bad, crushed head gasket.

So do NOT try to make it home, pull over and let engine cool down.
A $5 hose can cost you $600-$1,000 if you run engine HOT

A blown head gasket doesn't "just happen" on its own









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 Posted: Wed Dec 20th, 2017 12:15 am
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JAMMAN

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RonD wrote:
A blown head gasket doesn't "just happen" on its own



100% true but a weak one weakened by overheating can be blown by excessive acceleration if it isn't already bad. If it is getting hot, stopping is the best advice I have ever heard. Can mean the difference between replacing a hose or a thermostat compared to 2 cracked heads. Never pour cold water in a radiator of an overheated engine. Bad news.



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 Posted: Wed Dec 20th, 2017 12:30 am
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mhoward
Hey look ↓ they ↓ bounce!


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Excellent write up, Ron! Cheap and reliable test that anyone can perform. :)



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 Posted: Wed Dec 20th, 2017 09:46 am
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Chris

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Just an observation from a long term mechanic - head gasket failure doesn't only happen between a cylinder and the water jacket.

Many failures are between cylinders especially on straight 4  & 6 cyl engines . The glove will stay limp under these circumstances.



Best advice for petrol (gas) engines is to use a compression tester ( cheap to buy) on a regular basis at service intervals and head off potential failure on the road - which usually happens in the dark, in the rain, miles from anywhere ....



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 Posted: Wed Dec 20th, 2017 05:35 pm
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RonD
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Yes, a head gasket failure between cylinders can happen but symptoms would not be those of a blown head gasket or cracked head, i.e. white "smoke", overheating, full and/or bubbling overflow tank.

Breach between cylinders would be a mis-fire issue, which would be diagnosed with other methods, like a compression test
Blown head gasket or cracked head often won't cause mis-fire until later stages


The Glove Test is done because it is simple(no tools) and free, and it either takes a blown head gasket or cracked head off the table, or confirms it, so you don't waste time or money on non-fixes.
It is just a step in diagnosing possible problems

Last edited on Wed Dec 20th, 2017 05:46 pm by RonD

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