Cracked Block Maybe? - Team Camaro Tech
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old Mar 26th, 01, 03:56 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: garland,texas,usa
Posts: 3

OK guys. This is not a Camaro we are working on, but since I owned a 72RallySport at one time and I know all Camaro fans are diehard Chevrolet fans, I thought you might help me.

I think this problem could be seen in any V-6 or V-8 engine.

I have a 1998 half ton Chevrolet pickup with a V-6. Automatic transmission, A/C and other normal creature comforts.

A week ago I noticed a water leak on the garage floor after I moved the truck outside.
The truck had been sitting from Friday evening until Sunday afternoon in the same spot without being started.

The leak was originating from between the block deck and the cylinder head at the number 5 cylinder. There was a very fresh water trail that had run from this area all the way down the block to the side of the oilpan and then of course onto the ground. About 2 tablespoons full.

I looked all over the engine very carefully suspecting a leaking hose but of course their are no cooling hoses or fittings this far back on the engine. All are up front like a typical V-8 Chevy.

I decided to carefully drive the truck the next day for a short trip to see if the leak continued. No leak after the engine warmed up.Infact the leak did not show up the next day. Continued to make daily observations with short drives and could not recreate the leak.

Sorry this is so long but it is getting to the point.

This past Friday the truck was driven and then parked until this Sunday. Guess what I found Sunday evening. Thats right! The leak had reocurred in the same place as before. About as much water again 2 tablespoon fulls and a fresh trail down the side of the block originating around the number 5 cylinder. No water trail on the head or above it.

One mechanic I have spoke with suggest a cracked block. Stateing that the block has to cool down for 48 hours before the crack emerges. I can maybe see this. I thought 24 hours would have been long enough for this to show up. Maybe not.

I took the truck to the Chevrolet dealership today for this problem since the truck is still under warranty. 31,000 miles in 2 years and 10 months is not much use. This truck has been well taken care of and not abused when driven.

Would a pressure test of the cooling system show a possible crack in this situation since the problem seems to only occur after 48 hours of not being used. And if so would the same test be accurate in as little as 24 hours.

Can anyone shed any light on this problem? Have you heard or seen such a problem before even with a V-8, or could this maybe be just a bad head gasket.

Again if you made it this far I greatly appreciate your time and patience and look forward to some positive suggestions so that I will know what would be the proper procedure for fixing this.

Thank you.

Long Live Camaros and God Bless all Chevrolet fans.


[This message has been edited by tony burge (edited 03-26-2001).]
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old Mar 26th, 01, 04:52 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Posts: 52

I seriously doubt you have a cracked block. Chances are the head gasket is leaking. What did the dealer tell you? One other thing that comes to mind, some dye in the cooling system and a black light would tell the story. Maybe there could be a leak somewhere else that is running to that spot. Definitely have it pressure checked cold.

Mark Perkins
ASE Master Auto/Truck
67 RS Convertible
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old Mar 26th, 01, 04:53 PM
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: durhamville,ny,us
Posts: 26

i would get some coolant system dye. add it, let it circulate, then let the truck do it's thing. after it leaks, check the area thoroughly with a black light. this should pin point your leak. many of those v-6's leak around the outer edges of the intake manifold, but seem to 'drip' in other spots. try the dye and go from there. hope this helps.

71 camaro ss 66 chevelle 396/4spd
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old Mar 27th, 01, 03:21 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Stuart, Florida
Posts: 567

I second the dye trace. A leak down pressure test on the cooling system should also help.

I know its not your problem, but I had to laugh. We have a very anal guy living just down the street. He is always building some race motor for his car, that will be the fastest thing in town, but never seems to get out of the 15's. Anyway, put his latest motor together and proceded to haul a$$ up and down our street. If you knew this guy, you would know it is not worth you time to tell him about safety and kids playing in the street. That night, I put a small amout of anti-freeze in and under his tail pipes. We have done it on and off for about 3 weeks. The good news is that the car has not left the yard, the bad is that he is probably pulling his hair out!


1992 Firebird 355/Six Speed (Soon to be LT1)
1991 RS 350 / 700-R4
1987 Toyota Pickup 383 / 500 + HP 10.963 @ 119.95 Slicks / 11.997 @ 114.23 Radials
"Speed KILLS, so drive a FORD and live forever!"

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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old Mar 27th, 01, 12:43 PM
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: durhamville,ny,us
Posts: 26

mark, that's cruel, but man, oh man, is that funny!!

71 camaro ss 66 chevelle 396/4spd
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old Mar 27th, 01, 02:51 PM
Join Date: Aug 1998
Location: Waldorf Md. USA
Posts: 3,280

Probably a head gasket. Chevy 4.3's are not really known for blocks cracking unless the get frozen with no antifreeze. Kind of unusual with that few miles on it, but it happens. Could also be a head bolt loose, causing the head gasket to leak. Either way, the head will probably have to come off to check it out. At least it's under warranty.
Hope this helps,

Bill Koustenis
Advanced Automotive Machine
Waldorf Md
1971 Chevelle "Heavy Chevy" original owner
1973 Z-28 family car...Brother bought it new in 73
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old Mar 28th, 01, 05:37 AM
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Location: holliston, mass
Posts: 622

Pressure check the coolant system, including the cap. It is possible the water is channeling through a head bolt that doesn.t have enought sealant on it. I use PST, by loctite on my head bolts

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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old Mar 29th, 01, 02:19 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: skiatook, ok
Posts: 3,692

Try retorquing the head bolts...particularly the lower ones. They are a pain to get to with the exaust system in the way but like Dennis said, you could just have a loose head bolt.
Good one Mark! I know exactly what your talking about...the road I live on has only 2 houses on it for a 1 mile stretch, so a lot of people think they have to fly down the street right in front of my house. Around Christmas time last year a 17 year old girl rolled her dad's for explorer and landed in the ditch in front of my house. She was OK, but the explorer was done for. I have no problem with people laying rubber or hauling a$$ out here in the country but NOT IN FRONT OF MY HOUSE!!!! When I find out where the owner of the red chevy truck that lives out here somewhere I am going to pull the drain plug on his oil pan some night.
375hp 78 Chevy truck
77 Chevy Nova
95 Chevy Lumina 3.4L
and building a 78 Nova

[This message has been edited by travis (edited 03-29-2001).]
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old Mar 29th, 01, 04:48 PM
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Location: Glendale,AZ.U.S.A.
Posts: 966

I had a 4.3 in the shop a few months ago.It had the same problem.The head gasket was blown.I sent sent the heads to the machine shop for a valve job/resurface.W hen I was retorquing the cleaned head bolts,one of them snapped at about 55-60 ft lbs.Aaahha,I found the reason for the blown gasket!

68 z28 ,68 rs 327 ,73 454 vette, 2 goofy kids
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old Mar 30th, 01, 03:17 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: garland,texas,usa
Posts: 3

Thanks to everyone for the help.
Turned out it was a leaking manifold gasket.
The water was running down the back side of the cylinder head on the drivers side and getting on the block. DUH!
Thought I had checked every angle possible but that was one place I could not see very well.
The idea about the dye was a great one. That is how the dealer found the problem.
I applaued you Mark. Great way to keep hime busy in the garage and not on the street.

Thanks again for everyones help and input. I knew I could count on some Chevrolet fans to help me out.
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