I'm new to the forum(posted my intro in the newbie section) so please call me out if I post incorrectly or skip a step.
Hit a deer this past December with my 2014 LT 1.4L Cruze at approximately 77K miles. Trying to do all repairs myself and do preventative repairs while everything is torn apart.
The main issue I'm having is after I started taking the car apart I noticed the coolant was low but there is/was no puddle under the car and I can't narrow down any obvious leaks visually. I removed the intake manifold to do the PCV V2 fix and noticed nasty sludge in the center port. I'll post some pictures. Checked the oil cap and it also had the sludge on it as well. I assume this means there is coolant in my oil and I'm trying to narrow down how it's mixing/leaking. From what I've read it could be head gasket, water pump, or oil cooler that can cause this issue. I hope it's not the head gasket but I want to be sure if it is. Unfortunately I already tore apart half the front end before I noticed this issue so I don't think I can perform a compression test on it with everything I already took off the car. (Never performed a compression test before)
My main question is (sorry if this is long winded) is there any way to tell where the coolant is going without taking off the head/water pump/oil cooler and replacing the gaskets. I don't know how to troubleshoot to figure this out and I know it will be more difficult without being able to crank the engine.
Here is a list of what I have removed already and will be replacing:
Intake Manifold(not replacing, just modifying)
Valve cover (not off yet but have an obvious oil leak on the front end so figured why not replace it)
Upper and Lower Radiator Hoses
Front Bumper with all the trim engine cover and upper radiator cover/support pieces
Transmission fluid replacement with flush (I did just a drain and fill at roughly 60K miles but didn't know there was a way to get all the old oil out and replace with all new)
Also I would love to hear any advice on preventative maintenance I can do with the car already taken apart.
See below for pictures of what I have so far and thanks in advance for any help.