Sanity check - smoke from coolant port on head = head gasket failure - Defender Source
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  #1  
Old September 14th, 2015, 03:19 PM
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Sanity check - smoke from coolant port on head = head gasket failure

Checking in with the forum for a sanity check on a recently identified issue on my OM617. I'm about to lose my mind as I realize that this project is very likely about to come to a halt and go backwards many months and many dollars.

This is a recent install from a running donor vehicle. Truck is 98% complete - but aside from a bench start and a few <60 second runs to test start/shutoff I haven't run it in much. Coolant hasn't been added. On recent run to test a shutoff solenoid, I noticed smoke/exhaust coming from a coolant port on the head. This port receives coolant from the heater and is located at the top of the head between the 4th and 5th cylinder.

The video simply shows smoke or a vapor coming from the hose which is connected to the port. This vapor comes out within 15 seconds of running. after shutdown, this vapor continues to come from the hose for some time.

Link to video: http://youtu.be/Xtyq4EtsXhw



Common sense tells me this is a head gasket issue or some other substantial leak in the coolant system which is sending exhaust through the now-empty coolant system. Are there any other less catastrophic explanations? Could this merely be steam from remaining coolant residue? Anything?

Truck runs and idles smoothly. It ran and idled smoothly before removing from donor vehicle. It had coolant in the donor vehicle, and showed no major issues but I never ran it beyond idle or basic revs due to a transmission issue.



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  #2  
Old September 14th, 2015, 03:47 PM
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You could always do a leak down test.
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Old September 14th, 2015, 03:48 PM
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did you put your thumb over it to see if that is just steam or actual combustion pressure ?
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  #4  
Old September 14th, 2015, 03:52 PM
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Probably just steam. Don't run it without coolant.... Areas in the engine will overheat quickly.

The easiest way to tell is to smell it. Does it smell like coolant or exhaust?
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Old September 14th, 2015, 04:03 PM
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Just noticed you started this thread too - pure coincidence that I responded to the OM617 thread.

My guess would be vapor. Every time I've test started mine the exhaust is smoky from sitting and that looks a lot more clear.

------ Follow up post added September 14th, 2015 04:05 PM ------

And what did you end up using for an shit down solenoid? I have been looking for one myself so it turns off by the key.
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Old September 14th, 2015, 04:25 PM
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  #7  
Old September 14th, 2015, 05:49 PM
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Don thanks for the input. My local independent that works on my non-defender cars didn't think much of it when I swung by there this evening. His argument is that the unfinished cast of the coolant tract holds a great deal of moisture/coolant that does not evaporate quickly. That was comforting.

I used the original over boost valve/solenoid. When it is turned off it is open - so I set it up with vacuum run from the brake booster line t-fitting, through this, to the shutoff diaphragm. I have it hard wired with a simple rocker switch which I am putting in my cubby. It will not go through the key switch or a keyed 12V source. The hope is that while tedious, it will be a good theft preventative



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Old September 14th, 2015, 05:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Douglas View Post
did you put your thumb over it to see if that is just steam or actual combustion pressure ?
Thanks Doug. I tried this but it isn't enough flow to produce pressure. This, paired with the consistent flow of vapors after shut down makes me think this is steam. For cylinder exhaust gasses to flow this much after shutdown it would have to be more than a bad head gasket... It would have to be a large hole in the cylinder wall.
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Old September 14th, 2015, 06:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ontheway View Post
Thanks Doug. I tried this but it isn't enough flow to produce pressure. This, paired with the consistent flow of vapors after shut down makes me think this is steam. For cylinder exhaust gasses to flow this much after shutdown it would have to be more than a bad head gasket... It would have to be a large hole in the cylinder wall.
You are thinking right, since this is a sanity check. Coolant is 12-14psi depending on your cap, and yours is empty. Diesel combustion chamber pressures = 350ish or better. My point was, if that was exhaust it would likely be accompanied by considerable sound and pressure. I'm thinking you are fine.
Hole in a diesel piston or cyl wall = oil ejection from dipstick tube etc. Ask me how I know.....
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Old September 14th, 2015, 06:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ontheway View Post
I used the original over boost valve/solenoid. When it is turned off it is open - so I set it up with vacuum run from the brake booster line t-fitting, through this, to the shutoff diaphragm. I have it hard wired with a simple rocker switch which I am putting in my cubby. It will not go through the key switch or a keyed 12V source. The hope is that while tedious, it will be a good theft preventative
That is a smart alternative way to shut the engine off, but your kit should have contained a vacuum shutoff button.
Before locating the vacuum shutoff button, I looked into the same setup you have, but the engine wouldn't restart because the solenoid would hold vacuum on the pump shutoff.
How did you get around this?
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Old September 14th, 2015, 06:32 PM
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Robert I had the shutoff switch you supplied installed and merely replaced it with this valve. No issues with holding vacuum to speak of. I may run into issues with long run times... We'll see!
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Old September 14th, 2015, 07:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ontheway View Post
Robert I had the shutoff switch you supplied installed and merely replaced it with this valve. No issues with holding vacuum to speak of. I may run into issues with long run times... We'll see!
Dave:
I am excited that you were able to get the shutoff working.
You might want to rethink where you put the switch as each and every time you shut down, you'll need to flip it.
Does it have power only when you are running and then is not powered when the engine is not running or the other way around?
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Old September 14th, 2015, 07:36 PM
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With this setup, It must be 'on' for the engine to run. One risk here is that if it goes out for some reason, the engine shuts off. The saving grace here is that all I need to do to run in the event of a valve failure is just unhook one end of the vacuum hose. With this setup if I keep your switch/button in the on-board tool kit I can swap out real quick in the event of a failure.
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Old September 14th, 2015, 08:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ontheway View Post
With this setup, It must be 'on' for the engine to run. One risk here is that if it goes out for some reason, the engine shuts off. The saving grace here is that all I need to do to run in the event of a valve failure is just unhook one end of the vacuum hose. With this setup if I keep your switch/button in the on-board tool kit I can swap out real quick in the event of a failure.
I am not sure the solenoid you're using is rated for continuous use.
The one I found for continuous use would open suck vacuum and shut the engine down one time, but when closed held the vacuum on the IP shutoff so the engine wouldn't start again.
You should keep the button I sent you handy just in case.
It's mechanical and will bleed off the vacuum so the engine can restart if you hold the button for 4 seconds.
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UD: "Just Power through it man!"
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Old September 18th, 2015, 11:24 AM
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An updates Dave?
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UD: "Just Power through it man!"
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  #16  
Old September 18th, 2015, 11:59 AM
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Robert - got the last few hose connectors yesterday so I added coolant and ran her for 5 minutes. No issues so far except for an oil leak from the pressure sender. No signs of any head issues!

Going to wire up the Taurus fan today and then doing gauges tomorrow (egt, water temp)

Should be able to get it to the exhaust shop next week
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Old September 18th, 2015, 05:00 PM
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Good to hear Dave!

Thanks for the solenoid info - forgot to respond earlier.

Robert - any link to the constant on solenoid that you found? One guy on peachparts had a few diagrams for solenoid turnoff. One model had 2 of them and the last model has a pin-hole in the line coming from the IP in the schematic.
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