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5.3 Head Gasket Failure


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#1 BlitherinIdiot

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Posted 25 May 2006 - 04:35 PM

So my Chevy 5.3 with 50,000 miles has a blown head gasket on the right side. I just bought the truck a few weeks ago. I guess I know why it was unloaded. Is this a common problem with this engine? It looks like it will be about $675 to have it replaced and the dealer is suggesting I have both replaced while they are in there. What do you think? It will be another $300 to have the left side done as well.

The symptoms were loss of coolant with no visable leak. I took it to the dealer today and they confirmed that the head gasket is blown on the right side. The dealer has offered to take 10% off the bill as a sign of goodwill as they claim to have not seen this before.

Chris

#2 ZOOMY

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Posted 25 May 2006 - 07:42 PM

I've never heard of a head gasket failure on the truck small blocks, but I guess nothing is perfect. As far as the price, that's within $50 of what it cost my sister to have a 4 cyl head gasket replaced. I think that's a reasonable price. I'd just get it done and have the assurance of at least the 12/12 warranty on dealer work.

#3 pm26

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Posted 25 May 2006 - 08:20 PM

This could very well be the assembly line issue - maybe somebody forgot to torque the head bolts properly. Or, one gasket was defective and they did not notice it during the installation.

Anyway, replacing the head gasket is not that big a deal. A lot better problem that the piston slap, for instance.

#4 ZOOMY

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Posted 26 May 2006 - 05:52 AM

I thought I read somewhere that GM changed something around 2002 to fix the piston slap? Is this true? I had an 87 cavalier with a 2.0 that had bad piston slap, yet it never used anyoil.

#5 snoman

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Posted 26 May 2006 - 06:32 AM

So my Chevy 5.3 with 50,000 miles has a blown head gasket on the right side. I just bought the truck a few weeks ago. I guess I know why it was unloaded. Is this a common problem with this engine? It looks like it will be about $675 to have it replaced and the dealer is suggesting I have both replaced while they are in there. What do you think? It will be another $300 to have the left side done as well.

The symptoms were loss of coolant with no visable leak.  I took it to the dealer today and they confirmed that the head gasket is blown on the right side.  The dealer has offered to take 10% off the bill as a sign of goodwill as they claim to have not seen this before.

Chris

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>



Normally there is little trouble with them and when they do let go it is usually because the engine has been overheated which can cause heads to warp a bit and then allow gasket to blow. Do not replace gaskets without having the head and block checked for flatness and redecked as needed because if warpage is present and surfaces are not trued, the problem will likely return. I suspect that the previuod owner knew that there was a problem when they traded it in. Used cars can abe a gamble at times. Also, if the otherside is not leaking, I would not disturb it. Close inspect of gasket and surfaces can tell you a lot about the cause of leak and how long it has been leaking.
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#6 BlitherinIdiot

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Posted 26 May 2006 - 10:46 AM

Thanks to all for the quick response. The dealer has ordered the parts and should have it back together on Tuesday. They confirmed that they will check the block and head for warpage.

Will a blown head gasket cause a lack of power? I have my 5.3 truck with 3.73's and a 5.3 Yukon with 3.73's. My Yukon tows my boat far better than the truck. Any chance having this head gasket replaced will improve my towing performance?

Edited by BlitherinIdiot, 26 May 2006 - 10:46 AM.


#7 snoman

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Posted 26 May 2006 - 04:00 PM

Thanks to all for the quick response.  The dealer has ordered the parts and should have it back together on Tuesday.  They confirmed that they will check the block and head for warpage.

Will a blown head gasket cause a lack of power?  I have my 5.3 truck with 3.73's and a 5.3 Yukon with 3.73's.  My Yukon tows my boat far better than the truck.  Any chance having this head gasket replaced will improve my towing performance?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Not likely unless it was blown between cylinders and when that happens with a aluminum head you can get flame cutting that can damage head. On the towing, vehicle weight and tires size is a factor here too as is fuel octane. 87 is not a good choice for towing with a 5.3 (or any modern V8 really) as it will reduce performance because the ECM will here the knock before you do and retard spark (to limit consumer complaints) and with it power and MPG. The ONLY reason that the engine even has a knock sensor it to keep engine quiet when consumers burn cheapest gas possible. If they did not have one people would be more aware of the true octane requirements of their engines today.
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