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Steam from engine bay? Head gasket?


dkleind0110

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1990
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First post, looking for some help. I have a '90 ranger, manual, and the previous owner put radiator stop leak in the coolant, which I didn't know about until I started running higher temps (still in the normal) through the death valley in CA, and boiled a ton of coolant out the reservoir when I pulled into a gas station.
Before this I have not had any problems with my ranger running hot. Anyways, tore apart the cooling system and found out that my radiator was decently clogged with pieces of almost sand grits from what I assume to be the stop leak, or pieces of the water pump. Replaced all lines, water pump, radiator, thermostat, and flushed the system 5-6 times. I idled the car to operating temperature multiple times on my driveway, flushed the cooling system a couple more times, and the car was running much cooler than it used to, with the gauge now never making it to the "r" in normal.
I then took my ranger to the gas station (about 10 mins away), and when I pulled into the gas station, a decent amount of steam was coming out of the passenger side somewhere! I checked my lines, water pump, and thermostat for leaks, but couldn't find any. So I started assuming it was possibly a head gasket leak, and tested my cooling system (glove over rad cap) for exhaust gasses, but there was no bubbling, and the glove didn't bob, so I'm pretty sure there are no exhaust gasses in the cooling system. There is also no steam coming from my exhaust. I did a compression test and all my cylinders are 115-125 PSI. I don't have coolant in my system currently, only water so I can't really smell to see if coolant is coming from anywhere.
Anyone have any ideas where this steam could be coming from? Am I in the clear or is it still possible I have blown my head gasket? I'm going to drain the oil tonight and check for water. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.
 


Rock Auto 5% Discount Code: F9A1A579ACFAD1: October 1st, 2021

RonD

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Rusted out core plug(freeze plug) possibly.

You can rent a cooling system pressure tester, just a rad cap with hand pump and gauge

Cold engine, filled up with water
Pump up system to 20psi, normal engine pressure, warmed up, is 14-16psi Rad Cap rating
Look for the leak, much easier to find on COLD engine..


Just FYI, any Stop Leak won't clog a rad or heater core, a mechanics myth
Rads and heater cores clog up just fine on their own, lol, if you don't change coolant every two years
Myth is probably perpetuated by people with already rusting cooling system and just add Stop Leak because of a rust hole.
 
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