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Major update on blown head gasket

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Care, Maintenance & Troubleshooting' started by kobear18, Feb 1, 2023.

  1. kobear18

    kobear18 Junior Member

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    It will be very long detailed update. this report / summary may not be too organized though but I will try my best. It is just hard to organize because random thoughts and things pop up every where.

    I found that my head gasket was blown in July 2020. The engine was rattling and P261B water pump engine code came on too. after I did a lot of search online and youtube, I found that Bar's leak may work. I bought it and poured it in the reservoir coolant tank. It magically just worked. I did have to replace the water pump though. The engine did not rattle anymore and no more engine code. It was fine for almost a year. From July 2020 to May 2021, I poured that Bar's leak in a few more times during July 2020 to May 2021. However, it just doesn't seem to work after May 2021. I got the torque pro monitored the coolant temperature it always seemed to be a lil on the high side. Engine code came on again even if I poured more those Bar's leak in. I did more research. I thought that it maybe the water pump gone bad again so I replaced the water pump in June 2021. I also replaced the thermostat in June 2021. However, it gone bad again in Nov 2021. High temp and water pump engine code came on again in Nov. 2021. I almost thought that this car has reached it very end. Another thing I noticed that there are screaming sound coming from the water pump sometime. I did not know what was it but now I know its the water pump ran dry. No water was going through it. That maybe the reason shorten the life of the water pump. I spent more times doing some more research and thought about it 24/7 in Nov 2021. I decided to remove the thermostat and bypass the heater core too. The thermostat may increase the pressure of the entire cooling system and the temperature of the cooling system slowly gone back up after the bar's leak stuff slowly wore out. The pressure and higher heat will shorten the life of the water pump and the thermostat as well. After removing the thermostat a bypass the heater core, everything seem to running fine. Coolant temperature seem to be always stay around 150 after that. But of course I replaced the water pump again in late Nov 2021 but I could still use the thermostat housing without the thermostat inside it. I poured more Bar's leak in after that but it did not seem to get much improvement. I drove it to Tahoe without any problem but it was during winter time so of course no over heat at all. Round trip was almost 500 miles plus up hill driving. So I thought I finally got it fixed, this is the way. In late April, I was planning a road trip to baja CA Mexico from northern CA. I wanted to remove the water pump and clean it and check it but all the screws got stuck quite bad. The bottom one was stuck so bad there was just no way to loosen it. I already had this plan for this road trip in late May 2022 and I just don't want to get held back. I did multiple 4 hours continuous run around my area on free way + local roads and nothing happened. All seemed find so I just drove to Mexico all the way to Cabo San Lucas and back here without any problems. I took a rest every 4 hours drive. So I know for a fact that this Bar's leak works. I just had to keep adding water to the tank. After I came back, I drove to Tahoe again for kayaking and back no problem. However, in Nov 2022 the engine light came on again for the water pump so I replaced the water pump again. It works ok but I still saw a lot of bubbles in the reservoir tank. That means the bar's leak stuff is wearing out. I poured some in but it did not seem to reduce the bubbles much. I poured bars leak in without the thermostat and bypass heater core. I thought about it, I think it's because there was not enough pressure to push the bars leak to the cracks of the head gasket. So a few days, I decided to put the thermostat back in because I have another one with the thermostat inside the thermostat housing. The cooling system needs more pressure to push it into the cracks. So it worked as I thought because I did not see any bubble or maybe 1 bubble every 2 minutes. I think that is a pretty good result. This time I poured the bar's leak in to the heater tubes. The way I bypass the heater core is by using a 90 degree plastic elbow to connect the in tube and out tube.

    Those were all just background info and my experiences using the bar's leak. Here is my final thought on how to use the bar's leak the most correct way. The way the instruction on the bottle may not work. It may only works if you have a radiator cap in older cars like before 2005. I still remember I have a radiator cap in my 2004 Honda CR-V. I think most of the car manufacturer already noticed there is this head gasket sealer thing going on so I just remove that radiator cap. It only give you the reservoir expansion tank. You can pour the bars leak stuff in there it may work on the first time like it did for mine. However, once your head gasket is blown, there is a lot of other problems. The main thing is to avoid pressure and heat. Here is a video by youtuber chris fix using bars leak in his dad's car. As you can see that initially the coolant temperature went up very high like 238 in his car. Why it went down after that like 10 min? For the first 10min, the coolant only flows between the engine block, head and heater core. The bar's leak stuff was still on the other side of the thermostat. No bar's leak was flowing around the engine block. His thermostat probably fully opened after 220. The bars leak stuff finally went to the cracks of the head gasket. You see that the per bars leak instruction, your car can not over heat for the first 15 min in order to use this. Chris was taking a risk because his car could over heat so much and damaged some parts or even catch fires. His video -


    The most correct way is to pour the bars leak stuff into the heater tubes. WHY? Before the thermostat open, the coolant only flows through the heaters core, engine blocks and the head. In order for the bar's leak to work, it needs higher pressure in the cooling system too so that is why the instruction tell you to turn off your car right at the 170, 180 F when thermostat open. And also turn your heater to the MAX for the bars leak coolant mix flowed through the heater core, the fan will blow MAX at the heater core to reduce the temperature too. In older car, you can probably pour it in the radiator The water pump will suck the bar's leak +coolant from the bottom of the radiator to the engine block, head and heater core.

    In newer car like our 3rd gen prius, you have to pour it in from the heater tubes with the thermostat in so the pressure is high enough for it to work. I understand it is a lot of work just to reach the heater tubes. So here is what I did, I first ran the car for 15 min before thermostat open. Heater tubes are connected by the 90 plastic elbow. You don't want the bars leak in the heater core. After this 15 min in the maintenance mode (engine keep running). Took 1 hour break and then drive it in maintenance mode for another 15 min around your area and then go home stop the car. Let is rest over night. Do the same again the next day to finish sealing smaller cracks. 3rd do the same. Today is my 3rd day, I don't see anymore bubbles in the tank. I did try to re-connect the heater tubes back to the heater core and see if I get any heat. No heat for me even the coolant temp is around 170 to 190. I don't know why. I may try again later. Anyways, my plan is to remove the thermostat after the cracks are sealed in order to reduce pressure. You just can't have higher pressure in the cooling system after head gasket is blown. You only need pressure when the bar's leak is in the work. I got a quote from some mechanic who work in his garage to fix the head gasket for $700. I highly suspected that he was just gonna use bar's leak and go through the same process I did. He knows the whole process.

    This method may only work in the stable weather between 40 to 70. If you got very cold winter and hot summer, it may shorten the life of the this repair, you may need to go through this process more often. It should still work tho. How do I solve the no heater problem. I buy a propane heater to have it inside my car in winter time but it doesn't get too cold here tho. Open the windows a lil bit because the CO may fill your car. However the bad thing about using the propane heater is that it fog up the windshield. I just have to constantly wipe the inside of the windshield. My current mileage is 284000 miles. If nothing major happen, I think I can drag this to half mil. I just have to repeat this process every 9 months or so. I'm tired now, ask me questions then. Good night!!

    Please help me out too using my Amazon associate link to buy bar's leak - https://amzn.to/3JzERKq
    And the propane heater I use Mr. Heater F232000 MH9BX Buddy 4,000-9,000-BTU - - https://amzn.to/3WT3JzO
     
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  2. kobear18

    kobear18 Junior Member

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    ya but it was not easy to take the thermostat out, the oil dip stick is in the way and it was intentionally decide to block you. There are 3 bolts for the thermostat housing. The one way inside is just very difficult to remove. The the water pump bolts too. The bottom bolt some how will get stuck very bad. I think it is because the bar's leak stuff and other stuff got sip into it. It will get it completely stuck. I only hand tight it from now on. For the other 4 bolts, I only tight it 1 more round with wrench after hand tight it. The thermostat bolts too. Do not need to make it too tight.
     
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  3. Tombukt2

    Tombukt2 Senior Member

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    What you have learned here from your extensive and exhaustive research and things you've done which I don't know what your time's worth but that's a lot of nonsense You could have just replaced the engine and been done with it and been doing whatever it is you do with the car which I'm going to gather is not much if you're willing to do all of this knowing that generally this is engine failure etc so I guess you have plenty of time and not enough things to be needing the car for that you can do all this extensive research which many have tried to do before you usually in the end it's just cheaper to replace the motor be using your car to make you money or whatever you do with it and be done with it. I guess this has been a journey and a good time or something.
     
  4. mr_guy_mann

    mr_guy_mann Senior Member

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  5. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Senior Member

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    Wonder what the insides of the engine looks like. And the radiator, heater core, water pump, and so on.

    A cooling system flush with 50/50 water/vinegar may dissolve the stuff, depending on the chemistry. That's the recommendation for one stop-leak manufacturer, and the product name always eludes me. @cnc97 got this info from the manufacturer, may chime in.

    You can test efficacy of the above solution, by getting a few blobs from the reservoir, see if they dissolve.
     
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  6. kobear18

    kobear18 Junior Member

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    The water pump is new so no problem at all. I don't need to dissolve these bars leak stuff. Its fine in the cooling system flowing. How much $$ I spent on these? A few new pump and 4 bottles of bars leak. $200 each pump so 3 of those is $600 over the past 2 years. I also got a non-brand cheap one lasted for 1 to 2 months for $70. Plus a lot of time spent on it doing research and my labor work. You may say it is not worthy. But now I got it I mean I really GOT IT how everything works in the cooling system. I can just keep using bars leak every 9 months or so and squeeze the life of this car to its last second. I can only use ASIN brand. Thermostat maybe 3 of them.

    But why is my heater not working? I did bypass the heater core for a long time but last night I re-connect those heater tubes. I know for a fact that water did flow through the heater core. I heard the whining sound and both heater tubes were warm but not hot. The coolant temp stays around 176 to 190 but I got no heat at all in cabin. Only cold air blowing out. Why is that? I suspect my heater core is also cracked. I lost 70% water from the reservoir tank after the 25 min drive. Even if its cracked, I think I should still have a lil bit of warm heat ya??

    And there is some kind of smell i don't know how to describe it. kind of like metallic + plastic ... I got very bad allergy from it last time because I had the heat and fan to MAX during the 25 min drive. I'm not too sure if I want to continue to use it even I can get the heat back. I may as well just use my propane heater and have windows down
     
    #6 kobear18, Feb 1, 2023
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2023
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  7. nicoj36

    nicoj36 Active Member

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    This guy claims he was able to pull 100k+ miles on his Prius using k-seal. No clogging the cooling system, heater core, etc.
     
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  8. rjparker

    rjparker Tu Humilde Sirviente

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    I would say its not worth it. Its people who are sometimes not worthy.

    Things get worse everytime. The engine is sure to be ruined but now you can add the radiator and heater. That heater coil is a bear to change.

    It was sealed.

    Not long before the engine has a hole in it.

    Could be vaporized coolant coming out of the exhaust. The catalytic converter may be the next failure.
     
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  9. Mr. F

    Mr. F Active Member

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    Some of us are naturally attracted to quick-fixes and cure-alls; no amount of reason or advice will convince them to leave these concoctions alone.
     
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  10. PriusGuy32

    PriusGuy32 Prius Driver Extraordinaire

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    What in the what did I just read.
     
  11. Montgomery

    Montgomery Senior Member

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    I have learned having suffered through many blown head gaskets that the only fix is to have the head rebalanced/leveled and put in a new gasket. One and done! Tried all the other "short cuts" only to find out that other things get clogged up and raise the temperature of the engine again, .........thus blowing another head gasket. Yes, it takes time, money or both to do it right, but its done!
     
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  12. ASRDogman

    ASRDogman Senior Member

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    How do you rebalance the head? o_O(n):whistle:
    The head is shaved or machine so it's not warped.
    But you are correct in saying do it right the FIRST time.....
    It may cost a bit more, but you won't be wasting money before you have to fix it correctly...


     
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  13. Montgomery

    Montgomery Senior Member

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    I stand corrected, but the main thing I was trying to say was what you said, "shaved or machine"
     
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  14. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Senior Member

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    Check it first with machinists straight edge and feeler gauges, against spec*. If it’s within spec I believe it’s always preferable to avoid machining?

    * See link in my signature with head gasket repair manual excerpts. On a phone turn it landscape to see signatures.
     
  15. ASRDogman

    ASRDogman Senior Member

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    I know! (y)

     
  16. ukulelegeek

    ukulelegeek Active Member

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    I'll tell you this, I'm glad the OP went to the trouble to tell us about his "research project". I haven't experienced a blown head gasket on my 2010. But if and when i do, I want that thing replaced with the upgraded one.
     
  17. Tombukt2

    Tombukt2 Senior Member

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    Balancing is done to the reciprocating mass rods crankshaft pistons that sort of thing camshafts somewhat. Heads valves get ground seats can get reamed and the gasket services can get shaved they used to fly cut and all that now it's not anything like that they use a sanding belt that runs over a flat table they take your head but in their hands and stick it down on the moving belt of sandpaper which behind it is a perfectly flat piece of steel or the table that holds the belt that is what removes the material from the underside of your head to make it flat if you're an overhead cam engine and you shave too much off the head then there's a shim you can buy or a thicker head gasket that makes up for what you machined off or sanded off as the case may be
     
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