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86-95 Trucks & 4Runners 2nd/3rd gen pickups, and 1st/2nd gen 4Runners with IFS

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Old 09-12-2011, 09:03 PM   #1
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Bad headgasket..good compression??.. stumped!

Hi, this is my first post here so let me give you guys a little run down. Not my first toyota truck but my first 4runner, i bought it about a month ago from a local seller. It currently has 230k miles. It is a 95 4x4 5spd 3.0l v6. The first week i brought it home and started driving it, the leaky valve covers started leaking bad and onto the manifold so it was smoking like crazy. Ive changed the driver side (easy side) but havent got to the passenger side yet. The passenger side isnt as bad. Well the first time i tried to take it on a long trip (300miles) it started to run hot with the a/c on going up hills only. I quickly noticed and i could return the temperature back to normal operating temp by turning the heater on. The next week i had to make another 150 mile trip and again on hills with no a/c on this time it started running hot again. When i got to my destination i figured id try to change the thermostat before i headed home. As soon as i hit the freeway on my way home the first incline it started running hot again. Everytime it ran hot i could bring the temp back down with the heater.

Well i made it home so i decided i better test the new thermostat. It passed the test so i went ahead and bought a brand new radiator. Filled up the radiator and burped it properly. I decided to take it for a test drive, about 40 mile round trip. It was kind of hot outside around 90 degrees so i decided it would be a good test to see if the truck would over heat. I also had the a/c on so if it was going to heat up i would know quickly. Well it didnt overheat at all, not even on inclines, but it didnt run so well. Real rough idle and the engine is missing almost like a bad plug or bad plug wire. I get home let the engine cool off, check the radiator, and its empty. Hmm, thats weird. I sniff the radiator and i can smell fuel, or combustion. Seems like bhg symptoms. So i decide to check my oil. Level is perfect. I recently chagned it so its still brand new golden color. I take my oil cap off and i see this:
Click the image to open in full size.


I just did a compression test and it went like this :
cylinder 1 - 150
cylinder 2 - 160
cylinder 3 - 150
cylinder 4 - 150
cylinder 5 - 150
cylinder 6 - 150

Good compression? 150 across the boards seems awesome to me. So now im stumped. I was going to attempt to change the headgaskets on my own but after doing the compression test i dont know what to do. I dont want to rip the engine apart if the compression is perfect. But why is my oil cap milky and where did the water go from my radiator? The plugs are brand new, nothing about them looks abnormal. Maybe someone can help me out. Thanks
Ian
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Last edited by 954x4runner; 09-12-2011 at 09:53 PM.
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Old 09-12-2011, 09:57 PM   #2
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That sucks. Could be leaking at the oil cooler. or possibly the headgaskets leaking from the water jackets to the oil drain holes. compression test not real good for blown headgasket. unless theres a massive leak compression will be fine. how low was the radiator. may be there were some air bubble in the rear heater that burpped up. maybe change the oil and the smaller hoses the go to the oil cooler(about 3/4in) loop them so they by pass the oil cooler. make sure the oil level is full to the top and them test drive it again and see if the milkly oil comes back. if coolants going in the oil the level will raise. maybe very slight though. Good luck
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Old 09-12-2011, 10:03 PM   #3
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Are you talking about coolant hoses that go to the oil cooler? Thats the thing that the oil filter screws into correct? So just bypass the coolant lines to the cooler and dont use it? Ill try that tomorrow and let you guys know how it goes. Could i drive it with no water going to the oil cooler? It wont mess anything up right?
Thats what i didnt understand, if the oil cap is milky i would expect the oil level to rise on the dipstick but its at the correct level. The water inside the radiator was low enough that i could clearly see the tops of the fins and it looked dry.
Thanks for your help sir .

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Old 09-13-2011, 06:44 AM   #4
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You can have a bad head gasket & still have good compression; it only has to be between the oil & water jackets. Not certain if you are continuing to but if so STOP RUNNING THE ENGINE IMMEDIATELY or you WILL ruin the main bearings (at a minimum).

The only sure fire method to test for HG is a coolant pressure test. You can buy a good test unit @ Sears for @ $50.
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Old 09-13-2011, 08:22 AM   #5
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That milky oil reads hg failure to me. It's a long shot but call a dealership and give them your vin to see if the hg recall was done. You might luck out and get the dealership to replace it for free. Chances are slim but it's worth a shot. I wouldn't drive it until you get it fixed. Moving parts in an engine don't like water much.
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Old 09-13-2011, 11:54 AM   #6
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I haven't driven it at all. Its in the garage ready to be torn apart. Guess I'm gonna start ripping it apart. I've never done a headgasket on a v6 before. Most of my experience under the hood is mostly hondas. I've done countless number of engine swaps in hondas/acuras and even a turbo mr2. I'm hoping it won't be too bad.
Since the compression numbers are still good, after I get the heads off, should I still take them to a machine shop to get milled, pressure tested?
I have a friend at the dealer maybe I can have him run my vin and check if the recall has been done. I'm pretty sure the later 95s didn't make the recall, but its worth a shot.
Thanks again for all the help guys.
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Old 09-13-2011, 11:55 AM   #7
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Also how does a coolant pressure test work?

Another thing, where would the "missing" come from? Howcome the truck runs bad? Is it because of the oil/coolant mixture? It runs similar to my turbo mr2 when one of the cylinders lost compression, that's why the first thing I wanted to check on the runner was the compression. But it tested out good so that's a good thing I guess. There's also a huge lack of power. The day that I did drive it was super hesitant.

Thanks again for all your help guys. I've read a few of the headgasket builds: katie, tnrabbit, and morph and its giving me confidence to tackle this project.

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Old 09-13-2011, 11:59 AM   #8
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Head gaskets

It depend where the gasket is leaking. Generally you can get oil mixing with coolant, compression leaking between cylinders and compression leaking into the cooling system. I just bought a 90 4runner for parts and it is leaking a little compression into the cooling system. You can see the bubbles with the radiator cap off. Otherwise the truck runs great! 3.0s are known for headgasket issues.
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Old 09-13-2011, 12:17 PM   #9
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with a coolant pressure test, youre basically pressurizing the coolant system from where your radiator cap goes on, the tester will have a gauge on it. pump up the system to whatever pressure your cap is (should say on the cap) and let it sit, you can tell if there are leaks without it being hot by watching the pressure go down....
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Old 09-13-2011, 12:21 PM   #10
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Well there's def pressure because after the truck is run you can open the cap and it makes a "whoooooosh" sound releasing a lot of pressure. Similar to when u open the fuel cap. Even if I started the truck and checked the cap a couple days later the system has a lot of pressure, just seemed weird to me cause I don't remember that happening before all this went down.
Ill ask a few friends and see if I can borrow a coolant pressure tester. Thankss
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Old 09-13-2011, 12:32 PM   #11
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the statement "Even if I started the truck and checked the cap a couple days later the system has a lot of pressure" guarantees you have a head gasket issue. you are getting compression in your coolant system from the cylinders. See the exact same thing happen on big rigs (semi's, i work at a freightliner dealership). congrats man, youve got your work cut out for ya, but no fear, youll find all the help you need right here!!!!
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Old 09-13-2011, 12:33 PM   #12
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get a coolant system pressure tester though, hook it up and run the truck, i bet youre getting a good solid ammount of pressure in that coolant system from those cylinders, more than what would be considered "normal" anyways.
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Old 09-13-2011, 12:38 PM   #13
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you know what a head gasket looks like, right? well...

you don't have to have leakage into the cylinders to get the milkshake as pictured.

you most likely have leakage among the many little holes, not into the 3 big round holes. is there white smoke? white smoke = coolant into the cyls. your leak appears primarily oil into the cooling system.

sounds like you picked up a truck that had been sitting a while, and in driving it you blew out the aged gaskets.

don't waste your time pressure testing your cooling system, the milkshake confirms your leakage. you'll need to have the heads checked, decked, etc.

but hey, you'll have a rebuilt motor right from the start. enjoy your new rig!

p.s. get toyota OEM HGs
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Old 09-13-2011, 01:15 PM   #14
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No white smoke at all.
Previous owner i bought it from came from Washinton. It was his daily driver so i dont think it was sitting. He owned the truck from 120k-230k and he said he doesnt remember doing any (expensive) maintenence besides normal oil changes, brake pads, and shocks. The front differential was changed as well as some ball joints and stuff. But he doesnt remember ever changing the tbelt or waterpump. 230k on original headgaskets i guess its about time. So maybe its a good idea that im ripping the heads off so i can change all of that. Id also like to throw on a set of headers to prevent any future bhg possibilities, and also for the extra umph. At first i was intimidated and wanted to take it to a shop. But this site has givin me extra confidence that this is a job i can tackle. Its gonna take me awhile because lack of funds but im gonna start ripping it apart this week. Ill keep you guys posted.. thanks again

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Old 09-13-2011, 01:38 PM   #15
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What did the dealership say about the recall?
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Old 09-13-2011, 01:42 PM   #16
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One bit of advice, and take this from a guy that had his engine out and completely ripped apart for an overhaul, TAG EVERYTHING YOU DISCONNECT!!!!! I did not, started too and thought "aw hell...ill figure it out", and at the time, i planned on having it put together fairly quickly and was going to rely on my memory to get the job done, however, the job took me nearly a month after waiting for machine shop and parts and what not to arrive...get some masking tape and label absolutely everything, will save you a lot of headaches in the future when reassembling as i got a feeling it may be awhile before you reassemble. Also bagging/tagging your bolts is a really good idea. you shouldnt have any problems man, and will save yourself a ton of money if you do it right yourself rather than paying a shop $90-$100/hr to do it.
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Old 09-13-2011, 01:44 PM   #17
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Quote:
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What did the dealership say about the recall?
still waitin on my friend (works at the dealer) to text me back
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Old 09-13-2011, 01:50 PM   #18
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yeah i learned the hard way. I ripped out the engine in my old turbo mr2 and when it came time to put the new one back in it was months later i had to figure everything else out all over again. I have masking tape, a sharpie, and a box of ziplock bags to start my adventure.

Im 26 and ive been on many forums ive had about 10 cars before the runner. All hondas/acuras and toyotas. But this is by far the best forum ive been on. Theres so much help available. Coming from honda forums im used to not getting any help from anyone.

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Old 09-15-2011, 12:27 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 954x4runner View Post
No white smoke at all.
Previous owner i bought it from came from Washinton. It was his daily driver so i dont think it was sitting. He owned the truck from 120k-230k and he said he doesnt remember doing any (expensive) maintenence besides normal oil changes, brake pads, and shocks. The front differential was changed as well as some ball joints and stuff. But he doesnt remember ever changing the tbelt or waterpump. 230k on original headgaskets i guess its about time. So maybe its a good idea that im ripping the heads off so i can change all of that. Id also like to throw on a set of headers to prevent any future bhg possibilities, and also for the extra umph. At first i was intimidated and wanted to take it to a shop. But this site has givin me extra confidence that this is a job i can tackle. Its gonna take me awhile because lack of funds but im gonna start ripping it apart this week. Ill keep you guys posted.. thanks again
well then, it sounds like it could use a good rebuild and be set for another 100k. just confirm your bottom end is ok before you rebuild the top end. i wasted a boatload of $ doing that once.

download the FSM if you haven't already, spend the next few nights pouring over the picture-filled how-to's that are posted here, start buying up the parts you'll need, and you can definitely do the job if you're willing and have the tools.

good luck!
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Old 09-15-2011, 12:34 PM   #20
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Quote:
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just confirm your bottom end is ok before you rebuild the top end. i wasted a boatload of $ doing that once.
Are the good compression numbers a sign that the bottom end is ok? 150 across the boards.
I was reading about people rebuilding with oversized valves, and ill probably be throwing on some sort of headers. Can someone give me some more insight on oversized valves, and where do you get them? Engnbldr?
Id like to buy parts from engnbldr but I'm pretty set on toyota oem gaskets.
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Old 09-15-2011, 12:34 PM
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