Buying a Truck With a Blown Head Gasket...

Discussion in 'Engine & Drivetrain' started by CJ Rodarme, May 15, 2019.

  1. CJ Rodarme

    CJ Rodarme Full Access Member

    Posts:
    156
    Likes Received:
    73
    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2018
    Location:
    Kent, WA
    Name:
    CJ
    I need some opinions on buying a truck with a blown head gasket. I'm not worried about the task of replacing the head gasket in its self, rather just buying a truck with a blown head gasket and what is to go along with it. Granted the truck isn't blown up from overheating, what other damage can occur? Is doing an oil change and coolant flush enough once the head gasket is replaced?
     
  2. iamdub

    iamdub I feel ya, Mr. Cash. I feel ya.

    Posts:
    6,237
    Likes Received:
    6,439
    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2016
    Location:
    State Capitol Raceway, LA
    Name:
    Chris
    Depends on how and where the gasket failed and how long it was driven on after the failure. Some develop a small leak and people just keep adding water/coolant and continue to drive it. The oil tends to "look" okay since the water can steam off and not turn the oil into a milkshake so it's dismissed as a small coolant leak. But, the water in the oil is still damaging the bearings and the chemicals in the coolant that are left behind make the oil sludge up. I recently overhauled my brother's 5.3 for this very reason, but the leak was due to a cracked head.

    If the head gasket failures that was caught right away and the engine was shut down and left alone, then it would be much better off. If everything inside looks fine when you open it up to replace the gasket, then I'd do a couple short oil change intervals with cheap oil for diesel engines and cheap filters, then change it one last time with a high-quality synthetic oil and good filter.
     
    CJ Rodarme likes this.
  3. mountie

    mountie Full Access Member

    Posts:
    426
    Likes Received:
    250
    Joined:
    May 9, 2018
    Location:
    Bradenton, Fl., (formally Kalifornia)
    Name:
    Peter
    If the price is low for the truck, maybe it's worth the risk?
    Year/model ??

    ( A crate motor?)
     
    CJ Rodarme and iamdub like this.
  4. iamdub

    iamdub I feel ya, Mr. Cash. I feel ya.

    Posts:
    6,237
    Likes Received:
    6,439
    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2016
    Location:
    State Capitol Raceway, LA
    Name:
    Chris
    ^^^ Good point. Gen3 motors are a dime a dozen and you can just about see everything you need to know by outward appearance (unless it's been cleaned) and by popping off the valve covers, which is a 60-second task with a cordless 1/4" impact.

    If the truck is nice enough to seem worth it, I'd offer a price under the assumption that it'll need a replacement engine, unless this is a friend or family member and you know it's history.

    Also, since it's a Gen3, you should confirm if the failure is in fact a blown head gasket and not the common Castech head failure. If so, you'll need heads as well as gaskets and likely a full-bore internal cleaning.
     
    CJ Rodarme likes this.
  5. SnowDrifter

    SnowDrifter Full Access Member

    Posts:
    1,281
    Likes Received:
    745
    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2016
    Location:
    Washington. The desert side not the Starbucks side
    Name:
    Chris
    I would go into it with the expectation that the engine needs to be rebuilt or replaced. Anything extra is a bonus. Without knowing how long it was run for with a bad head gasket, or the care history, you're more or less going into it blind and there's no way to know where it's at without a teardown and inspection
     
    swathdiver and CJ Rodarme like this.
  6. mountie

    mountie Full Access Member

    Posts:
    426
    Likes Received:
    250
    Joined:
    May 9, 2018
    Location:
    Bradenton, Fl., (formally Kalifornia)
    Name:
    Peter
    We are going on little information about the whole vehicle condition.
    If ( big if)...... If the whole truck appears to be in nice shape, buy a new engine.
    The time/ effort of checking an engine that is bad internally, ...........
     
    CJ Rodarme likes this.
  7. CJ Rodarme

    CJ Rodarme Full Access Member

    Posts:
    156
    Likes Received:
    73
    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2018
    Location:
    Kent, WA
    Name:
    CJ
    So basically if the oil is discolored/milky the motor is 100% going to be bad is what I'm hearing. I'm just asking this more in general than anything, but I may be looking at a 1996 dodge 2500 with a 5.9 magnum and a blown head gasket. Dude wants to trade for my 20x14's. So the net cost for me is $850, and the truck is fairly clean. As far as I know it hasn't been extensively driven on the bad head gasket. And if worst comes to worst it comes with an extra engine but the history on it is unknown. I know this doesn't exactly relate to anything here but other forums haven't been any help at all lol and the info online has been spotty at best.
     
  8. iamdub

    iamdub I feel ya, Mr. Cash. I feel ya.

    Posts:
    6,237
    Likes Received:
    6,439
    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2016
    Location:
    State Capitol Raceway, LA
    Name:
    Chris
    Not necessarily. They may have been driving, saw the temp gauge rise, shut it down to check everything, saw the milkshake and left it off and towed it home. Unless you or they can prove that it wasn't ran much on the watery oil, the truck should be sold assuming the motor needs rebuilding or replacement. If I were selling it, or even just for my own testing, I'd drain the coolant and change the oil so it could be started and ran for a few seconds for prospective buyers. If it sounds fine and has good oil pressure (allow for 10-20 psi drop once warm at idle), I'd probably roll with it but still leave room in the bargaining for a replacement engine, even if it's a $500 junkyard pull. Of course, this all hinges on the rest of the truck being worth it to you.


    Unless you need a 2500 truck, I'd pick the GM over the Dodge, and that's not an opinion biased by being a GM or Ford or Dodge lover/hater. I believe each has their pros and cons and those vary with generations. Generally speaking, that generation of Dodge had a fairly solid drivetrain but everything else was shit. If I had to pick an engine to replace a head gasket on, I'd go with a Gen3 GM long before a Gen2 Dodge. If I had to pick it for the truck itself, regardless of the drivetrain, I'd still pick the GM.
     
    CJ Rodarme and swathdiver like this.
  9. swathdiver

    swathdiver Full Access Member

    Posts:
    7,105
    Likes Received:
    5,565
    Joined:
    May 18, 2017
    Location:
    Treasure Coast, Florida
    Name:
    James
    Subtract the price of a replacement motor plus installation and all fluids and such. Make it profitable for YOU, not the seller.
     
    CJ Rodarme likes this.
  10. CJ Rodarme

    CJ Rodarme Full Access Member

    Posts:
    156
    Likes Received:
    73
    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2018
    Location:
    Kent, WA
    Name:
    CJ
    That’s where I’m kind of stuck lol. I’d much prefer to get a gmt800 truck but there’re super expensive where I live. But I do need a truck with a bed, and it being a 3/4 ton is a plus. I was going to do the whole copart thing but they don’t have that many solid trucks and I don’t really want to deal with a non clear title
     

Share This Page