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Discussion Starter #1
I want to start off by saying that I LOVE my mechanic and I trust him, but I am concerned that he got this one wrong...

So, I had a complete engine rebuild/reseal about 10 months ago. At that time, they put on a new head and exhaust manifold (3pc) and studded the head. It ran ok until about 4 months ago, when I had them put on a pac-brake exhaust brake. Within a few days, there was a high-pitched whining sound, like an exhaust leak and the motor just didn't sound right and had a different vibration. I told them about it that day.

Shortly after the pac-brake went in, I was really concerned about the sound of the motor and I took it back in. They said that my fan clutch had failed, so I scheduled a time to replace it. Upon replacement of the fan clutch, they opened the radiator to find that there was a bunch of oil in the coolant. They said that my oil cooler had likely failed.

They replaced the oil cooler, and put some kind of liquid into the coolant and asked me to drive the truck for a day or two to clean all of the oil out of the coolant system. After driving it on day one, I heard a strange bubbling sound that I'd never heard before. Then after driving it again later that day, I heard the same bubbling sound and then saw water/coolant or whatever it is pouring out of my floor vent on the passenger side. facepalm

So, I took it back in and they said that my heater core failed. I then left it with them and said don't give this thing back to me until EVERYTHING is fixed. A week later, they called to tell me that even after replacing the oil cooler, there was still oil in the coolant. They thought it was a crack in the block until they pulled the head and found that the head gasket had blown....

Now here is where it gets interesting. When they tried to put it back together, they wrestled with trying to get the head properly seated for 4 hours, and eventually called to tell me that there was a dowel that was bent or fouled up so they ordered a replacement dowel. When I went back to pick it up, I talked to the actual guy doing the work and he said that even after they replaced the dowel, the head didn't seat right. He said that he found that the fuel pump or some kind of pump on the side of the head was keeping it from seating properly and the fix was to grind out a little metal on the part of the head that was hitting the pump so that it could seat properly...

So here's my question...

IF the head (the same NEW head they put on 10 months ago) DIDN'T FIT on round 2 because the pump was in the way and the head had to be ground out to properly seat... Wouldn't that mean that the head was NOT PROPERLY SEATED to begin with when they did the fix 10 months ago? Can anyone explain to me how it could have been properly installed before, without the grinding modification to fit over the pump that was in the way? Am I crazy here?

MY assumption is that when they did the work 10 months ago (That mechanic is no longer at the shop, of course!), the head wasn't properly seated. When they installed the pac brake, and I used it, it created more pressure and blew the gasket where the pump was impeding a proper seal. Then I'm assuming that the blown head gasket caused the other issues? Maybe not the fan clutch failing, but the heater core and oil cooler failures??

I don't pretend to understand motors like you guys do, but common sense tells me that I shouldn't have to pay them to fix some of this work as it was their fault for not doing it right in the first place? It is my understanding that the whole point of studding the head is to prevent blown head gaskets??

If I am wrong, please set me straight. I really value the insight and expertise that you guys have and will diligently read and try to understand any responses you provide. I have this massive bill i'm going to have to pay to my mechanic, and if I'm wrong and owe him 100%, then I'll gladly pay him, but this just doesn't seem right to me.

Happy to answer any questions you have if it helps you to provide me with better understanding. MANY THANKS to all who take the time to read and respond.

Sincerely,

Josh
 

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I want to start off by saying that I LOVE my mechanic and I trust him, ........
Your "mechanic" is leading you down the primrose patch. He has to be one of the most incompetent 12 valve "mechanics" I have read about. With stock turbo and injectors there isn't any reason to install studs. What was wrong with the original head? They seldom fail, especially if the engine is stock. My exhaust brake (Jacobs) requires a gasket in front of the butterfly or else it will have an exhaust leak when the brake is activated. There is nothing on the p-pump that will interfere with the head seating. There is a notch that sometimes has to be enlarged in order to remove the OFV. Replacing the oil cooler was a desperation guess, or a down right rip off. They too seldom fail. The rest of it sounds sketch as well, including the heater core failure. I'm glad you love this guy. The least he could do is kiss you when it's over.
 

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Your "mechanic" is leading you down the primrose patch. He has to be one of the most incompetent 12 valve "mechanics" I have read about. With stock turbo and injectors there isn't any reason to install studs. What was wrong with the original head? They seldom fail, especially if the engine is stock. My exhaust brake (Jacobs) requires a gasket in front of the butterfly or else it will have an exhaust leak when the brake is activated. There is nothing on the p-pump that will interfere with the head seating. There is a notch that sometimes has to be enlarged in order to remove the OFV. Replacing the oil cooler was a desperation guess, or a down right rip off. They too seldom fail. The rest of it sounds sketch as well, including the heater core failure. I'm glad you love this guy. The least he could do is kiss you when it's over.
Thank you for your reply.

The original head had cracks in it. When they were doing the rebuild, they took it to some place where they use some kind of magnetic material to find cracks in heads... It had a bunch of little cracks in it, so they replaced it.

My question is, can a blown head gasket cause the oil cooler to fail, the engine to overheat and the heater core to fail? Is my hypothesis correct that a studded head should NOT blow a gasket, normally but if it was improperly seated, it could/would???

Thank you for your help.

J
 

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Yes a bad head, even studded could do all of those things and more, well maybe not the oil cooler but if that didn’t fix the oil in the coolant then well, it wasn’t caused by the head to begin with. My advice would be to pay for the work rendered. Believe me you won’t win in litigation against a mechanics shop it seldom works out in the customers favor. Once you have your truck back (god willing running properly). Never ever return to that guy again sounds like a terrible shop with poor quality control. 4 hours jacking around with seating a 12 valve head is ridiculous. Even if the pump some how was in the way. That should have been noticed at minute 1 of the head not sitting properly on the block. Getting sold all this junk you don’t need as well is pretty grotesque. Studs on a stock motor. Hell I would venture to say unless you are pushing over 70psi you don’t need studs. I never lifted a head or pushed a gasket running 65psi in a daily. Furthermore, Oil coolers can be diagnosed, head gaskets can be diagnosed, but it sounds like your boys are skipping the entire diagnostic process to begin with. Get your truck and run away. Find a better more competent person to service your equipment.


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About the heater core, I’m thinking whatever they put in the coolant helped clean out some crap( or created some) and clogged up the heater core causing it to leak. Just a week after replacing my coolant without doing a flush and I had a cracked heater core and radiator.
 

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Yes a bad head, even studded could do all of those things and more, well maybe not the oil cooler but if that didn’t fix the oil in the coolant then well, it wasn’t caused by the head to begin with. My advice would be to pay for the work rendered. Believe me you won’t win in litigation against a mechanics shop it seldom works out in the customers favor. Once you have your truck back (god willing running properly). Never ever return to that guy again sounds like a terrible shop with poor quality control. 4 hours jacking around with seating a 12 valve head is ridiculous. Even if the pump some how was in the way. That should have been noticed at minute 1 of the head not sitting properly on the block. Getting sold all this junk you don’t need as well is pretty grotesque. Studs on a stock motor. Hell I would venture to say unless you are pushing over 70psi you don’t need studs. I never lifted a head or pushed a gasket running 65psi in a daily. Furthermore, Oil coolers can be diagnosed, head gaskets can be diagnosed, but it sounds like your boys are skipping the entire diagnostic process to begin with. Get your truck and run away. Find a better more competent person to service your equipment.


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The block was not cracked. Once they notched the metal of the head so that the pump wasnt in the way, they put it back together and that fixed it - no more oil in the coolant. It just seems to me that all or most of these issues were caused by the blown head gasket, which should not have happened with studs, but did happen because it wasn't properly seated when they put it back together 10 months ago.
 

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When the mechanic put the either of the NEW heads on were they checked to see if they were warped before putting them on? Just because it's new doesn't mean it's not warped a little.
 
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Think the studs could have been to line up the head because they couldn't get the bolts to go through because it wouldn't sit right for them?
 

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wow.

New head . What type/brand and where did it come from .

If the old head didnt hit anything the new one shouldn't . RED flag #1.
 

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When the mechanic put the either of the NEW heads on were they checked to see if they were warped before putting them on? Just because it's new doesn't mean it's not warped a little.
That was going to be my question. I’ve heard that some of the new Chinese heads aren’t particularly flat from the factory, but I don’t have first hand experience.
 

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None of this sounds like stuff a competent shop would do.

12v headgasket is straightforward, routine job. With or without studs.

I would question the original head having cracks. I've seen it, but never in a Dodge with a stock/mild engine. I ran one without water 60 miles. Temp gauge pegged on the freeway to get home. That head had a few thou bow to it, but cleaned up fine.
 

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When the mechanic put the either of the NEW heads on were they checked to see if they were warped before putting them on? Just because it's new doesn't mean it's not warped a little.
Thank you for your question. The new head he put on 10 months ago is the same head he put back on recently. He also sent it off to make sure that there weren't any cracks in it before re-using it.
 

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Think the studs could have been to line up the head because they couldn't get the bolts to go through because it wouldn't sit right for them?
That's a good question, but I don't think so. We had talked about possibly running a bigger turbo or upgrading the injectors at some point in the future. He suggested that if I was going to do anything to increase HP (it only has 4" exhaust with no cat and a TST power plate #11) that I should get the head studded now while they were doing all of the work, so I said to go for it.
 

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wow.

New head . What type/brand and where did it come from .

If the old head didnt hit anything the new one shouldn't . RED flag #1.
Both great questions. I don't know where he got the new head from. There's been so much work done on my truck that I don't recall. I could find out. If I remember correctly the new head was like $900 just for the part. Again, my memory is fuzzy on the cost, but that's what I remember. He doesn't usually get cheap parts. He knows from our conversations that if he's replacing something I want the most robust part he can put back on. Yea, I hear what you're saying about it not fitting the same as the old one. I honestly just don't know enough to give you an intelligent response to that. I just figured that it was something that happened all the time with new parts for a 24 year old truck???
 

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Do you have a picture of where the pump interference was exactly?


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I don't, but I wish I had thought to ask him to show me and to take a photo at the time.... When I went to go check on the progress on my truck, it was at that time that the guy actually doing the work on my truck mentioned the real reason why they couldn't figure out how to get the wobble out of the head and properly seated even after replacing the dowel. Which is precisely why I'm asking for help from you guys since it seems to me that if they couldn't get the head they took off to actually fit back on, that it was never properly fit when they originally put it on. Which is why it blew the gasket after they put on the pac brake.
 

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None of this sounds like stuff a competent shop would do.

12v headgasket is straightforward, routine job. With or without studs.

I would question the original head having cracks. I've seen it, but never in a Dodge with a stock/mild engine. I ran one without water 60 miles. Temp gauge pegged on the freeway to get home. That head had a few thou bow to it, but cleaned up fine.
Hmmm. Thanks for your comments. I'm starting to feel really shitty about all of this. I've probably spent between 15-20k at this shop in the last 2 years. Granted some of that was replacing the dash, and putting in new PSC box and borgeson shaft, but a lot of it was engine related. I had low compression on some of the cylinders after a massive oil leak, so in addition to doing a total reseal, they bored it out 20 thousandths and replaced all of the heads/rings etc. Then when they put it all together the exhaust manifold didn't line up, so they put on a new exhaust manifold and new head because the old one was cracked. That job came out to 8k on the motor with the studding by itself. Ugh
 

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So, if the head gasket was blown, would that cause overheating? What could have caused the oil to get into the coolant, or the heater core to fail? Is this all related? I have to know how to approach this with the mechanic when I go in to see him on Friday when he gives me his bill. This is frustrating. Thank you all for your continued advise/help.

J
 

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Hmmm. Thanks for your comments. I'm starting to feel really shitty about all of this. I've probably spent between 15-20k at this shop in the last 2 years. Granted some of that was replacing the dash, and putting in new PSC box and borgeson shaft, but a lot of it was engine related. I had low compression on some of the cylinders after a massive oil leak, so in addition to doing a total reseal, they bored it out 20 thousandths and replaced all of the heads/rings etc. Then when they put it all together the exhaust manifold didn't line up, so they put on a new exhaust manifold and new head because the old one was cracked. That job came out to 8k on the motor with the studding by itself. Ugh
Manifold didn’t line up? Man run away run far far away from these guys.


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man... good luck with all of this. to answer your question... your mechanic is an idiot. in this space, anyway. maybe he kills it on toyotas.
 
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