Cracked Head


What Are You Trying To Say?

The first picture is from a 2004 GMC Sierra with a 5.3L engine that had developed a crack in the cylinder head that GM TSB #06-06-01-019B addresses. This usually results in a slow, unexplained/unseen coolant loss. GM states that some engines that were manufactured with “Castech” cylinder heads may develop a porosity crack in a very specific area. To verify this condition the valve covers are removed and the cooling system is pressurized. This customer came in right away at the first sign of trouble, which was a message on the Driver Information Center (DIC) that said “LOW COOLANT LEVEL.” Cylinder heads were replaced, which wasn’t inexpensive, but certainly much cheaper than replacing an engine. This customer should get many more miles of reliable service from this truck.

The next picture was from a 2000 Cadillac Escalade with a 5.7 engine. This vehicle came in on a tow truck due to severely overheating the engine. There were many warning signs way before it got to this point. This customer ignored the warning Malfunction Indicator Lamps (MIL’s), gauges, and sounds of impending disaster. The final nail in the coffin was a water pump that eventually quit working and leaked so profusely you would have had to have a garden hose hooked to the engine to keep the cooling system filled. This was in addition to the radiator that leaked and leaking intake manifold gaskets. What could have been a relatively inexpensive repair(s) turned into needing a replacement engine due to ignoring warning signs.

Finally, I had a customer that recently brought in his 2001 Cadillac Deville for a similar warning message as the ’04 truck-CHECK COOLANT LEVEL. What was unique on this vehicle was it was in the shop last year for HVAC repairs. At that time the CHECK COOLANT LEVEL message was being displayed on the DIC, even though the cooling system was filled. I had to talk the customer into fixing this. My thinking was it’s never a good idea to ignore warning MIL’s, gauges, and messages. If there were a problem, how would you know? At this time, the message being displayed was correct-the cooling system was low. A replacement radiator took care of the leak and this was done before any serious engine damage had occurred.

My advice- heed the warning signs before it costs you a lot more money.

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