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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
2013 Cruze LTZ

I took the car in the other day to have the water pump gasket replaced. Well, apparently the cap for the coolant reservoir wasn't put back, and it over heated on the freeway today. From the time it told me the AC was being turned off to the time I had the car pulled over and turned off, it was only about 30 seconds.

I refilled the water and tried to start it, but it won't start. I had it towed home, and see the oil is milky. Great... a blown head gasket. I will be changing it on my own, but I'm wondering if the car is "fail-safing" itself, or if it is seized. How do I tell? If it is in fact seized, will replacing the head gasket and making sure nothing is warped "unseize" it?
 

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Why not take it back to the place that replaced the gasket to make it right since it's their mistake the cap was off? And am I missing something? You can change the head gasket yourself but can't replace a water pump gasket?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
It comes down to time and money. I've replaced the head gasket on my Impala, but that was when I had more time. I don't really have the time to replace the head gasket myself, but I definitely don't have the thousands of dollars to have the head gasket professionally repaired. So, I don't have many options other than to rent a car and hope I can get this fixed ASAP. The water pump gasket was replaced by a small shop, and I had them do it out of pure laziness. I am working and going to school full time now, and really just wanted it done and not have to worry. The place that replaced the water pump gasket is refusing responsibility, and while I will try to have them pay in the long run, I need my car fixed now.

My main concern right now is if the engine will "un-seize". Thankfully there are only a few streaks of "milkiness" in the oil from what I can see, so I hope the damage isn't catastrophic.
 

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If the shop seemed otherwise competent and this was something they missed, might be worth talking to them. Another option if you're short on time and don't want to be caught out a lot of money, if you have full coverage your insurance would likely cover the damage from the improper repair. It would be a non at-fault event and in most states shouldn't impact your rates.
 

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My main concern right now is if the engine will "un-seize". Thankfully there are only a few streaks of "milkiness" in the oil from what I can see, so I hope the damage isn't catastrophic.
If it ran without water and the pistons expanded from the heat so much as to score the cylinders, the engine is toast. Does it turn over? If so, do a compression test.
 

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There are engines on car-part.com for $250.
One in NY has 3,800 miles and a 6 month warranty (engine only, no turbo, 2014, auto trans)
 

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2013 Cruze LTZ

I took the car in the other day to have the water pump gasket replaced. Well, apparently the cap for the coolant reservoir wasn't put back, and it over heated on the freeway today. From the time it told me the AC was being turned off to the time I had the car pulled over and turned off, it was only about 30 seconds.

I refilled the water and tried to start it, but it won't start. I had it towed home, and see the oil is milky. Great... a blown head gasket. I will be changing it on my own, but I'm wondering if the car is "fail-safing" itself, or if it is seized. How do I tell? If it is in fact seized, will replacing the head gasket and making sure nothing is warped "unseize" it?
Should be the repair shops responsibility.........is this car out of the 5yr/100k powertrain coverage?

Rob
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Car is out of warranty. I've talked to the shop and they refuse to admit fault, so they refuse to fix or pay for it.

When I try to start it (push start), it tries and tries until I push the button again to force it to stop. It just never kicks over. I plan on checking tomorrow to see of the spark plugs are flooded. I don't believe it completely ran dry, but it did loose a lot of water.
 

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These engines run so hot, they'd boil over like crazy if they didn't have pressure caps on them. It's not like an old car that runs at 160° and you could fix a leak by drilling a vent in the cap and relieving pressure.

"It's not our problem, unless you sue us, because saying 'it's not our problem' makes people like you shut up and go away 19 times out of 20"

1. Take it to a mechanic. Factory trained might be a good idea. Have him write up his diagnosis of what killed your engine. Get an estimate of what it'll take to fix the car.

2. If it's "engine destroyed by driving with cap off cooling system reservoir, replace engine, $8000", take your estimate to small claims court and ask for $8000 or your state's small claims limit.

3. Buy the best $250 engine you can find on car-part.com and use your court judgment to pay somebody, maybe the dealer, to install it. (it'll probably cost another $250 to have the engine put on a pallet and shipped to your new mechanic, but it's still a bargain compared to buying a head gasket kit, head bolts, and paying to have the head milled, then finding out your cylinders are warped and it runs like crap, just make sure the milky oil didn't kill your turbo before buying an engine without a turbo)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I am not going to run away and let them get away with it. I don't have the money to get an $8000 quote, and pay it, then take them to court over it. I will be going after them for repair costs, but I need my car now. I don't have time to wait. This is my point! I need to be able to get up and leave the house at 4:45 on Monday morning and get to school, to a program that only accepts 2% of their applicants, and that I just put nearly $40,000 into. If the chances are high that the car is totally pooched, I'll just buy a cheap car that will get me from A to B.
 

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Remove the plugs and try to crank it......stand clear as water may come shooting out of the plug holes.
If it blows water and cranks then, at minimum, the head gasket has failed.
Once removed, the head should be sent to a machine shop to check for warpage and, if it is within spec. then a gasket should be all you need.
And, of course, a oil change since some coolant is intermixed.

I tend to think of a head gasket as a 'fuse' of sorts......often it fails before any other significant damage occurs.

Regards,
Rob
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I looked at the oil quickly again this morning and still see only a couple of milky streaks. I also took the spark plugs out and they were wet with gas. I got the car to start when I was still on the side of the road, but it struggling, so I did pump the gas quite a lot. The temp was still a few lines past half (usually sits 1 line below half), so I turned the car off again to allow it to cool some more. When I tried to start it after that, it wouldn't start, but tried and tried to turn over, and I was pumping the gas again. Could I have fouled the spark plugs?

My next plan is to drain the oil and see what it looks like. I remember the oil when the head gasket blew in the Impala and it looked like overly creamed coffee.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Remove the plugs and try to crank it......stand clear as water may come shooting out of the plug holes.
If it blows water and cranks then, at minimum, the head gasket has failed.
Once removed, the head should be sent to a machine shop to check for warpage and, if it is within spec. then a gasket should be all you need.
And, of course, a oil change since some coolant is intermixed.

I tend to think of a head gasket as a 'fuse' of sorts......often it fails before any other significant damage occurs.

Regards,
Rob

Okay, I attempted to crank it, and gas shot out of it, but it looked a little dirty. I don't really know what I'm listening for, but I did record it. On the second video, it sounds kind of like a knocking sound on the video, but it was actually a "wet" glugging sound.

https://youtu.be/gzqhD6uYWQc

https://youtu.be/2ylCmFaEzX8
 

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It shot mostly out of the middle 2 plugs, and here's what it looks like.
Looks like droplets of dex cool (coolant) to me. Wet plugs, fuel or water, won't spark.....the fluid provides a ground path.

Based on your photo and cyls 2 and 3 being affected, I'm lining up towards a head gasket failure. Four bangers typically blow between the center cylinders.
Did you get much white smoke when you started it on the road?
Minimize running it though......coolant will kill the catalyst.

Rob
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
It shot mostly out of the middle 2 plugs, and here's what it looks like.
Looks like droplets of dex cool (coolant) to me. Wet plugs, fuel or water, won't spark.....the fluid provides a ground path.

Based on your photo and cyls 2 and 3 being affected, I'm lining up towards a head gasket failure. Four bangers typically blow between the center cylinders.
Did you get much white smoke when you started it on the road?
Minimize running it though......coolant will kill the catalyst.

Rob
No white smoke at all, actually. I am draining the oil as we speak and have the plugs open to hopefully help evaporate whatever's in there. I've also found all the parts I need available for immediate pick up only a couple miles away.
 
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