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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My LBZ truck is starting to have head gasket issues. Driving around empty, you'd never know. Hook up a trailer and head for the hills, starts blowing coolant out the overflow. It's got about 220,000 miles on it (350,000 Km's). The truck itself is not in great shape. Still looks good from far, but the box sides are gone behind the flares, both front fenders are gone behind the flares and the rockers are starting to get soft. Interior is decent except for the sagging headliner. In addition to the HG issue, it also has the dreaded starter grind. Hasn't left me stranded yet, but it's just a matter of time. I have a quote for around $10K CDN from a local shop to replace the head gaskets and flexplate. If the body were in better shape, I'd probably go for it. My concern is that I fix the truck and then something else like the tranny goes and then I've spent more on repairs than the truck is worth. I'm in the middle of building a house, so I don't have time or space to repair it myself. When the new house is done, my garage will be big enough to get the truck inside to work on it. Do I just keep adding coolant and hope it survives until I can fix it? I'm guessing the truck is worth about 5k as is and maybe 15k after being fixed. Sometimes I feel like pushing this thing off a cliff!
 

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My LBZ truck is starting to have head gasket issues. Driving around empty, you'd never know. Hook up a trailer and head for the hills, starts blowing coolant out the overflow. It's got about 220,000 miles on it (350,000 Km's). The truck itself is not in great shape. Still looks good from far, but the box sides are gone behind the flares, both front fenders are gone behind the flares and the rockers are starting to get soft. Interior is decent except for the sagging headliner. In addition to the HG issue, it also has the dreaded starter grind. Hasn't left me stranded yet, but it's just a matter of time. I have a quote for around $10K CDN from a local shop to replace the head gaskets and flexplate. If the body were in better shape, I'd probably go for it. My concern is that I fix the truck and then something else like the tranny goes and then I've spent more on repairs than the truck is worth. I'm in the middle of building a house, so I don't have time or space to repair it myself. When the new house is done, my garage will be big enough to get the truck inside to work on it. Do I just keep adding coolant and hope it survives until I can fix it? I'm guessing the truck is worth about 5k as is and maybe 15k after being fixed. Sometimes I feel like pushing this thing off a cliff!
could it be fan clutch or thermostates?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
could it be fan clutch or thermostates?
Fan clutch and thermostats have been done. Also replaced the coolant reservoir cap. The truck does not run hot. Quite the opposite, it runs too cold most of the time. When towing up a steep hill, it will get a bit hot and then come right back down as soon as the fan clutch engages. If 210 is straight up on the temp gauge, it gets to maybe 225 and then comes back down to 185-190 where it stays most of the time.
 

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It's probably worth a shot. $4 is a hell of a lot cheaper than $10K!
Read the instructions or call Bar's Leak (they make those for GM) to know the quantity required. I forgot, but think it's something like 2 tablets per gallon, depending on the size of the tablets. Some tablets are bigger than others. Genetics - lol. But seriously, the GM tablets, while made by Bar's Leak and relabeled for GM are not the same size.

Get this, I seem to recall reading somewhere that GM even recommends Corvette owners add these back to the system after a maintenance flush. And leave them in. And not just for after an issue, but to prevent an issue because GM doesn't spend the time to get their heads perfect. Also, I think they're made of ginger and walnut shells.

I do so much research that many times my mental files get placed in the wrong file, so check all this out for yourself to make sure I'm not off target ;-)

Oh, and please do update us here how it goes so others may benefit as well. Good luck!
 

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Used those tabs decades ago.
They have a place but not on a head gasket issue pushing coolant. The downside of continuing to drive it is it will keep eroding the deck and cylinder head at the point of the leak. If you search HG failures on this site you will find people who had to R&R the block to have the deck resurfaced due to pitting.

Now, it still may not be head gaskets. I've seen bad coolant reservoir cap/o-ring not hold pressure and allow coolant to escape out the overflow hose. You can have someone do a hydrocarbon test of the cooling system and if the overflow reservoir is turning black that's a bad sign of carbon building up in the cooling system.

From what I've read leaking EGR coolers are pretty rare.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I imagine the truck will need head gaskets eventually, but if some coolant stop leak helps me limp it along until I have time to deal with it, I might give it a shot. Nothing to lose really. Since I need to change the flexplate as well, it's actually less labour to do a complete engine change.
I have already replaced the coolant reservoir cap, made no difference.
The biggest issue I have right now is time. I'm in the middle of building a new house and can't afford to have the truck down for a week or more. All my "spare" vehicles are summer only, so I need to wait until spring before I can tear into the truck.
I even thought of buying a cheap 1/2 ton to use for now and let the D-max rest until I can fix it. Don't really need to tow anything heavy until spring, just haul construction materials and the occasional dump trailer load unitl the house is done.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Tried the AC Delco cooling system sealing tabs this weekend. Rigged up a bottle to catch the overflow. So far, so good but I haven't driven it much or done any towing yet. Time will tell.
 

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I imagine the truck will need head gaskets eventually, but if some coolant stop leak helps me limp it along until I have time to deal with it, I might give it a shot. Nothing to lose really. Since I need to change the flexplate as well, it's actually less labour to do a complete engine change.
I have already replaced the coolant reservoir cap, made no difference.
The biggest issue I have right now is time. I'm in the middle of building a new house and can't afford to have the truck down for a week or more. All my "spare" vehicles are summer only, so I need to wait until spring before I can tear into the truck.
I even thought of buying a cheap 1/2 ton to use for now and let the D-max rest until I can fix it. Don't really need to tow anything heavy until spring, just haul construction materials and the occasional dump trailer load unitl the house is done.
Your original post stated that you're only having issues when towing. If you're not towing anything for the winter, I would just take it easy on the ole gal and wait it out until the house is finished. Spending money on a 1/2 ton is only going to cut into your repair budget when that time comes anyways.
 
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Bit of an update, I added the AC-Delco cooling tabs and topped off the system. Been running it like this for a few weeks. No hard use, mostly driving around town empty and one load with the dump trailer (towing maybe 4000 lbs total). I rigged up a water bottle to catch anything coming out of the overflow. So far nothing in the bottle, but I'm still losing coolant somewhere. I've had to top it off twice in the last few weeks. Doesn't leave a puddle in the driveway and doesn't seem to be burning coolant out the exhaust. No water in the oil. What else should I be checking?
 

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Bit of an update, I added the AC-Delco cooling tabs and topped off the system. Been running it like this for a few weeks. No hard use, mostly driving around town empty and one load with the dump trailer (towing maybe 4000 lbs total). I rigged up a water bottle to catch anything coming out of the overflow. So far nothing in the bottle, but I'm still losing coolant somewhere. I've had to top it off twice in the last few weeks. Doesn't leave a puddle in the driveway and doesn't seem to be burning coolant out the exhaust. No water in the oil. What else should I be checking?
Have you checked the weep hole on the underside of the water pump?
 

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Bit of an update, I added the AC-Delco cooling tabs and topped off the system. Been running it like this for a few weeks. No hard use, mostly driving around town empty and one load with the dump trailer (towing maybe 4000 lbs total). I rigged up a water bottle to catch anything coming out of the overflow. So far nothing in the bottle, but I'm still losing coolant somewhere. I've had to top it off twice in the last few weeks. Doesn't leave a puddle in the driveway and doesn't seem to be burning coolant out the exhaust. No water in the oil. What else should I be checking?
I've heard about the EGRs going out. There's a transmission cooler inside the radiator. Have you pulled the transmission dip stick? :unsure:
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Have you checked the weep hole on the underside of the water pump?
Been meaning to. Just not super motivated to lay down in the snow and freeze my butt off. I checked it in the summer when I first started having problems. It was dry then, but that doesn't mean anything now.
 
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