<VV> Stinking heater update (now head gasket?)

David Fasgold dfasgold at yahoo.com
Sat Dec 1 18:10:58 EST 2007

Thanks to everyone who chimed in on my heater problem. I ruled out the exhaust leaks, burning oil and downtubes. I disconnected the heater hoses one at a time and blocked them off. Turns out that the smell was coming from the opposite side of the engine than I suspected. I blocked off that side with duct tape on the hose flange, so I can at least drive to work with some heat. 

Unfortunately, I believe that the problem is a leaky head gasket, so I'm going to investigate that. There is a small "tic, tic, tic" sound that I hear from that side of the engine after it warms up (doesn't sound like a lifter). I haven't done a compression test yet. There is black gummy residue on the head below one of the cylinders. I never really suspected a head gasket, since the motor runs so well, and it has always had the smell (I've owned it 9 years and driven over 30K miles in it).

If there is indeed a head gasket leak, how likely is it that the head is damaged now? I'm wondering if I should round up a replacement before I tear it down.

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