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Old 12-04-2010, 04:45 PM   #1
tgferg67global
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Default Is it possible to repair a oil leak from the head gasket without replacing gasket?

I have developed an oil leak from the head gasket 10k after a re-ring job.
Any thought on the possibliy of repairing this leak by cleaning and siliconing the oil drain back hole/s in the head/block split area by access with the valve cover off instead of replacing the gasket?

Probably should get a oil analysis also if I put the repair off.
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Old 12-04-2010, 05:01 PM   #2
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Default Re: Is it possible to repair a oil leak from the head gasket without replacing gasket

Nope, the hot oil will wash the silicone right out of there. If you did not replace the head bolts and properly torque them that is why it is leaking. If that was done then you will also have to figure out why it is leaking now. Will require a new head gasket and a new set of head bolts.
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Old 12-04-2010, 11:07 PM   #3
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Default Re: Is it possible to repair a oil leak from the head gasket without replacing gasket

I replaced the head bolts with saturn OEM.
I "carefully" marked 90 degrees using a protractor to mark the socket, then transfered the mark to the cylinder head casting when the socket was on the bolt - because I did not have the torque to yield bar. I did not use the removal sequence for the head bolts though...

I used a Victor Reinz head gasket. I did not check the head/block for flatness as I assumed if the old head gasket was sealing a new one would.

I think first I will get a Saturn PCV for crackcase pressure and change to a high mileage dino oil with the seal conditioners helps.

Last edited by tgferg67global; 12-04-2010 at 11:15 PM.
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Old 12-04-2010, 11:30 PM   #4
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Default Re: Is it possible to repair a oil leak from the head gasket without replacing gasket

Victor or FelPro should be good. My preference is for FelPro. There is a pre-torque required to set the gasket and the head bolts are to be lightly oiled and the holes cleaned.

The head bolt sets from RockAuto ( http://www.rockauto.com ) are just fine and probably considerably cheaper. It is critically important that the head and block surface be absolutely clean. I mean wiped down with acetone clean.

There are different torque values for the DOHC and the SOHC. The first torque is 48 ft-lb with dry bolts and then they are removed and lightly oiled and reinstalled and a final angle torque. They are torqued in stages, 22ft-lb, 33ft-lb, 90 degrees for SOHC. And 22ft-lb, 37ft-lb, 90 degrees for DOHC. All of this is done according to the pattern also.

If you followed the 48ft-lb gasket squeeze followed by the removal and oil steps then why it is leaking is a question to answer. Removing the head bolts in random order cold should not distort the head. The concern is when it is done hot. Why it is leaking will probably be obvious when it is back off the block.
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Old 12-05-2010, 02:56 AM   #5
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Default Re: Is it possible to repair a oil leak from the head gasket without replacing gasket

Looks like I screwed up as I never did the 48 lb squeeze.
I just oiled all the bolts, screwed them in and out of the threads to clean up. Then I hand tightened bolts > torqued 22lbs > 37lbs > then 90 degrees.

I might just run Pennzoil high mileage and watch the leak. I have only 18 more months with this car and even though the leak on the ground seems substantial, it is down only 1/4 of a quart in 5000 miles. The car does not leak or burn a drop of oil anywhere else right now.
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Old 12-05-2010, 03:51 AM   #6
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Default Re: Is it possible to repair a oil leak from the head gasket without replacing gasket

Or...
Since this is probably a clamping force issue maybe I'm wondering if this issue could be resolved with new head bolts in conjunction with removing old ones and installing new ones one at a time - in sequence ,while retaining some clamping force and never totally releasing the head.
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Old 12-05-2010, 09:37 AM   #7
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Default Re: Is it possible to repair a oil leak from the head gasket without replacing gasket

If you only have 18 months with the car I would live with the leak. Trying to get enough set on the gasket will be tricky.

If I were going to try it I would drain down the coolant, remove all bolts. The start over with new bolts. One at a time is a good way to crack it. It may work.
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Old 12-20-2010, 01:18 PM   #8
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Default Re: Is it possible to repair a oil leak from the head gasket without replacing gasket

I ended up retightening the head bolts. I used "Saab tsb" for external oil and coolant leaks as a reference.
http://www.genuinesaab.com/psi/files/headretorque.htm


Can't tell anything so far as everthing is wet with snow in Michigan.
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Old 12-20-2010, 02:02 PM   #9
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Default Re: Is it possible to repair a oil leak from the head gasket without replacing gasket

DOHC torque is 37ft-lb +90 degrees. Re-torquing torque to yield bolts usually fails if the bolts have actually reach yield stress before. The only way that will work is if the lack of the 48ft-lb pre squeeze allowed the bolts to never stress to yield then you will get away with it.
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Old 12-21-2010, 10:40 AM   #10
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Question Re: Is it possible to repair a oil leak from the head gasket without replacing gasket

olnuc;
i plead ignorance and would like to ask for you knowledge. are u a mechanic by trade?
can u explain -
1) 48 lb gasket sqeeze
2) what is meant by the +90 degrees after each torquing

tkx
...
Gerry
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2008 Astra XR black 3dr
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Old 12-21-2010, 11:55 AM   #11
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Default Re: Is it possible to repair a oil leak from the head gasket without replacing gasket

Equipment Reliability Engineer

The 48ft-lb gasket squeeze is done to compress the new gasket. The gasket is a plastic resin soaked multilayer paper/fiber composition. Each cylinder has a metal compression seal ring. So you have this plastic/paper/metal gasket and you compress it as much as possible by using the head and block as a press. This has to be done at installation time as the paper/plastic resin will expand back to a relaxed condition if the installation process is not completed promptly. The thing fluffs back up like a feather pillow. This pre-compression actually compresses it to almost the final density of the gasket. The next step is to remove all bolts and now oil them and replace. The oiled bolts are torqued to 37ft-lb (DOHC), this applies a bit more force to the gasket than the 48ft-lb torque previously applied. This also applies a tensile stress to the head bolts that is close to the elastic limit for the bolts. They will still stretch further and more stress is applied but they will no longer spring back to the unstressed length. the 90 degree turn applies a stress that exceeds the elastic limit of the bolt and it elongates and becomes inelastic. This is the point right before it snaps into 2 pieces. What all of this accomplishes is the head and block are tightly connected by bolts the will no longer stretch when any more force id applied to them. The gasket having been pre-compressed will not settle and allow the head and block to have any clearance and then leak. The OP used a procedure developed for a different engine as bolt initial clamping length, hardness and diameter play into the calculations for the torque values and thread pitch determines the angle to get to the yield point. Without the pre-compression initially the OP had a leak as a result of the head bolts not being inelastic and the gasket settling under pressure. When he used the SAAB procedure as his bolts never reached the yield point initially he probably succeed in getting the head bolts stressed properly. The various torque values are unique to each engine design and gasket design taken together. They are even different for the SOHC and DOHC Saturn engines.
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Old 12-23-2010, 06:50 PM   #12
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Default Re: Is it possible to repair a oil leak from the head gasket without replacing gasket

The leak is now gone since retorquing.
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Old 12-23-2010, 07:23 PM   #13
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Default Re: Is it possible to repair a oil leak from the head gasket without replacing gasket

I am just getting to the point where i will be re installing the head on my 1.9 dohc and was reading this thread and am a little confused I have new bolts and gaskets ,so on this motor will I be doing the 48 lb squeeze and when I do this am I using the new bolts or old bolts?????? thanks jayg
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Old 12-23-2010, 08:39 PM   #14
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Default Re: Is it possible to repair a oil leak from the head gasket without replacing gasket

New bolts, see your other thread. Always use new bolts.
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