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Castech Heads


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#1 Jim664

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Posted 26 September 2010 - 03:52 PM

2005 Sierra 5.3 130k miles with coolant leak. I got coolant in the oil. I know the castech heads have cracking problems. Is there any way to tell if I have castech heads other than removing the rockers and the rail they are sitting on? Can I run the casting numbers anywhere to find out if they are indeed castech heads? Thanks

#2 snakedoctor

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Posted 26 September 2010 - 04:07 PM

Heres the TSB on castech heads

http://ww2.justanswe...nt_loss_5.3.pdf

Edited by snakedoctor, 26 September 2010 - 04:14 PM.


#3 Jim664

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Posted 26 September 2010 - 04:31 PM

I have read it, but the logo is under the rocker rail. Is there any way to run the casting numbers to see if they are the castech heads without pulling the rockers to find the logo?

#4 snakedoctor

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Posted 26 September 2010 - 04:35 PM

Can't help you on that. I don't know if the casting numbers will tell you who made the heads. I have a 2005 and so far I have had no problems. I am keeping my fingers crossed...

#5 Jim664

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Posted 26 September 2010 - 04:39 PM

I hope you dont have any problems. If I had a blown head gasket, shouldn't I be giving off smoke, and a rough idle? I have only been losing coolant, no smoke, no codes, or rough idle. I pulled the valve covers off and one of the oil holes it talks about in the bulletin is shiny like it says. On the other head, it is all oily but not shiny like the one hole on the other head. Do you think I have a cracked head?

#6 Jim664

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Posted 26 September 2010 - 06:01 PM

I discovered the coolant in the oil today while changing my oil. The first of the oil to run out was like pudding. After taking off the valve covers and analyzing if the heads are cracked, I filled it up with new oil ( so I can drive it to a shop) and when i cranked it up it is rattling/knocking. It kinda sounds like a lifter, could be a rod? It rattled/knocked for about five minutes then smoothed out. Have I ruined the motor driving it for a while without realizing that the coolant was going into the oil? Should I just swap heads, or just swap motors due to me possibly damaging the botton end?

#7 pm26

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Posted 26 September 2010 - 07:25 PM

I discovered the coolant in the oil today while changing my oil. The first of the oil to run out was like pudding. After taking off the valve covers and analyzing if the heads are cracked, I filled it up with new oil ( so I can drive it to a shop) and when i cranked it up it is rattling/knocking. It kinda sounds like a lifter, could be a rod? It rattled/knocked for about five minutes then smoothed out. Have I ruined the motor driving it for a while without realizing that the coolant was going into the oil? Should I just swap heads, or just swap motors due to me possibly damaging the botton end?


I do not think you hurt the motor. Motor oils contain detergents and emulsifying agents that can absorb some water or ethylene glycol based coolant in this case. Boat outdrives sometime leak water when the prop shaft seal fails, and water mixes with oil to form a milkshake like emulsion.

Edited by pm26, 26 September 2010 - 08:47 PM.


#8 USMdude

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Posted 26 September 2010 - 09:52 PM

It is probably all right....... Pudding in the crank case = water.......... Sounds like you need 2 new heads and some new gaskets.....

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#9 rdnkcpa

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Posted 27 September 2010 - 07:49 AM

I discovered the coolant in the oil today while changing my oil. The first of the oil to run out was like pudding. After taking off the valve covers and analyzing if the heads are cracked, I filled it up with new oil ( so I can drive it to a shop) and when i cranked it up it is rattling/knocking. It kinda sounds like a lifter, could be a rod? It rattled/knocked for about five minutes then smoothed out. Have I ruined the motor driving it for a while without realizing that the coolant was going into the oil? Should I just swap heads, or just swap motors due to me possibly damaging the botton end?


I have an 2004 5.3 with 117k and I noticed loss of coolant with no visible leaks, lifter noise at start up, and a puff of smoke at start up. I did a search on the forums and came across the Castech head threads and TSB. I thought the worst and decided to pull the valve covers to take a look. Passenger side head looks like it just came off of the assembly line. Driver's side is a wreck. The valve cover is coated with the Dex-Cool/Mobil 1 snot mixture. One of the oil drain back holes is clean, just like the TSB says it will be. I pulled the rocker arms off and sure enough I'm doomed with the Castech casting mark.

I too am worried about the bottom end, from what I've read the pan needs to be dropped to make sure there is no Dex-Cool/Mobil 1 sludge build up. My dad has been a mechanic for 50 years said, not to worry.

My goal is to get it apart this week and buy a set of heads in the near future and get it put back together over the winter. I'm lucky, this is not my daily driver so I can pick at little by little. One other question I'm debating is whether I should change out the water pump while I have everything apart.

Kicker is, I know somebody that is in the market for a new truck last week and asked me how I liked my Chevy. I went on and on how what a reliable truck it was, never left me stranded, best vehicle I've owned, blah blah blah. I doomed myself!!

#10 Jim664

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Posted 27 September 2010 - 07:12 PM

Yeah it is pretty depressing to have to work on a new truck. I got a 69 chevy truck that can sit up for 6 months, and I can crank it up and drive it on a five hundred mile trip with no worries. All these newer vehicles have the possibility of being crappy. Although I got friends with these 5.3 that drive like the stole it for 350k miles with no problems. Rather push a chevy than own a ford.
Any how, are you going to drop your oil pan? Does your dad think that after i swap my heads this weekend should i run some seafoam in my oil to clean pudding out? Maybe like two or three times on short runs? Also do you think that the lifters will ever quit rattling on start up?

#11 Robertabf

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Posted 28 September 2010 - 12:11 AM

does anyone know if 862 heads can leak, or is it just the 706's?

#12 jro909

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Posted 28 September 2010 - 02:31 AM

i wish gm would remedy this problem...its a giant design flaw that cripples driveability...i can live with driveline clunk and squeeky brakes because they do not effect whether a truck can be driven or not...so instead of saying hey anybody with castec heads, we will warranty the repair, they just let people take it in the ass...sad
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#13 rdnkcpa

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Posted 28 September 2010 - 07:09 AM

Yeah it is pretty depressing to have to work on a new truck. I got a 69 chevy truck that can sit up for 6 months, and I can crank it up and drive it on a five hundred mile trip with no worries. All these newer vehicles have the possibility of being crappy. Although I got friends with these 5.3 that drive like the stole it for 350k miles with no problems. Rather push a chevy than own a ford.
Any how, are you going to drop your oil pan? Does your dad think that after i swap my heads this weekend should i run some seafoam in my oil to clean pudding out? Maybe like two or three times on short runs? Also do you think that the lifters will ever quit rattling on start up?


I plan on dropping the pan to make sure it is sludge free. I don't want to sink this much in money and effort and have a bunch of sludge on the bottom end. I'm not sure about the Seafoam. I know it does wonders for fuel systems, but I'm not sure if it would be prudent to put in the crank case. The lifter noise is troubling, I may break down and put a set of lifters in as well. We'll see what the budget allows for.

#14 KMGZ400

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Posted 28 September 2010 - 07:49 AM

Yeah it is pretty depressing to have to work on a new truck. I got a 69 chevy truck that can sit up for 6 months, and I can crank it up and drive it on a five hundred mile trip with no worries. All these newer vehicles have the possibility of being crappy. Although I got friends with these 5.3 that drive like the stole it for 350k miles with no problems. Rather push a chevy than own a ford.
Any how, are you going to drop your oil pan? Does your dad think that after i swap my heads this weekend should i run some seafoam in my oil to clean pudding out? Maybe like two or three times on short runs? Also do you think that the lifters will ever quit rattling on start up?



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so is this only a problem on 03-05 trucks or something?

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#15 rdnkcpa

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Posted 28 September 2010 - 09:42 AM

Yeah it is pretty depressing to have to work on a new truck. I got a 69 chevy truck that can sit up for 6 months, and I can crank it up and drive it on a five hundred mile trip with no worries. All these newer vehicles have the possibility of being crappy. Although I got friends with these 5.3 that drive like the stole it for 350k miles with no problems. Rather push a chevy than own a ford.
Any how, are you going to drop your oil pan? Does your dad think that after i swap my heads this weekend should i run some seafoam in my oil to clean pudding out? Maybe like two or three times on short runs? Also do you think that the lifters will ever quit rattling on start up?



Posted Image



so is this only a problem on 03-05 trucks or something?


2001-2006. There is a TSB on it. If you have coolant loss with no leaks, lifter noise on startup, or a puff a smoke at start up these are signs of the problem.

Here is that TSB that you are referring to:




Service Information
2004 GMC Truck GMC C Sierra - 2WD | Sierra, Silverado (VIN C/K) Service Manual | Document ID: 1986750 #06-06-01-019B: Information on Gradual Coolant Loss Over Time with No Evidence of Leak Found - (Jun 12, 2007)

Subject:Information on Gradual Coolant Loss Over Time With No Evidence of Leak Found
Models:2004-2006 Buick Rainier

2001-2006 Cadillac Escalade Models

2001-2006 Chevrolet Avalanche, Blazer, Silverado, Suburban, Tahoe, TrailBlazer Models

2001-2006 GMC Envoy, Jimmy, Sierra, Yukon Models

2001-2004 Oldsmobile Bravada

2005-2006 Saab 9-7X

with 4.8L or 5.3L VORTEC® GEN III, GEN IV V8 Engine (VINs V, T, M, B, Z -- RPOs LR4, LM7, LH6, L33, L59)

This bulletin is being revised to include engine RPO L59. Please discard Corporate Bulletin Number 06-06-01-019A (Section 06 - Engine/Propulsion System).

Some vehicles may experience a gradual coolant loss over time. A very low percentage of cylinder head(s) manufactured with an embossed Castech logo may develop a porosity crack in a very specific area.

Inspect the cylinder head assembly to determine if the casting was manufactured by Castech. This can be accomplished by inspecting for their casting logo located on top of the intake port, under the rocker arm support rail and in the spring deck cavity portion of the cylinder head.

Important: If the cylinder head(s) are Not a Castech casting, follow normal diagnostic procedures in SI to determine the cause of the coolant loss.

Refer to the following illustrations on how to identify Castech casting and/or the very specific areas of the cylinder head(s) for a coolant leak from porosity.




Cylinder head(s) location of the Castech manufacturing casting logo (1).




Close up view of the cylinder head(s) showing the Castech manufacturing casting logo (1).




If the cylinder head(s) is a Castech casting (1), inspect the area around the five oil drain holes for witness marks indicating coolant seepage over time (2).

Important: If No evidence of coolant loss is found on inspection of Castech casting cylinder head(s), follow normal diagnostic procedures in SI to determine the cause of the coolant loss.




The crack location can be found in any of the five cylinder head(s) oil drains. This can be seen as a clean or shiny area, on an otherwise stained surface (1). Pressurizing the cooling system at this time may reveal coolant, air, or a combination, weeping in the described area. If inspection reveals evidence of coolant witness marks (1), replace the entire cylinder head(s) assembly.

GM bulletins are intended for use by professional technicians, NOT a "do-it-yourselfer". They are written to inform these technicians of conditions that may occur on some vehicles, or to provide information that could assist in the proper service of a vehicle. Properly trained technicians have the equipment, tools, safety instructions, and know-how to do a job properly and safely. If a condition is described, DO NOT assume that the bulletin applies to your vehicle, or that your vehicle will have that condition. See your GM dealer for information on whether your vehicle may benefit from the information.


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at this point in the truck's life, I seriously doubt anybody would want to do anything based on what the truck might have been put through (liability issues)


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