Blown Head Gasket In A 5.7 Hemi Engine: Symptoms And Causes

The blown head gasket is one of the most common engine problems, especially in the 5.7 hemi engine. It is caused mainly by poor engine coolant levels or a faulty thermostat. 

The primary purpose of the head gasket is to form a seal between the engine cylinder and the block. However, if damaged, the repair will be more expensive.

You know when the car stops functioning properly, and you realize the head gasket is blown. Immediately you start thinking about the cost and the stress of fixing the damage. 

Just like every other part of your car engine, the head gasket is an Important seal that sits between the two engine elements. This article will look at the head gasket and how to prevent it from blowing. 

What Does A Head Gasket Do?

Just like the skeleton of every car, the head gasket is a crucial component of your car frame that you must take seriously.

A head gasket is a seal between the engine block and cylinder head. It resides in every modern car and helps to prevent engine fluid leaks.

Head gasket
A head gasket helps to prevent engine fluid leaks
Source: gmperformancemotor.com

Here are some roles of a head gasket:

  • Control Temperature

Head gaskets are responsible for oil and coolant requirements in engine parts, which exposes them to high pressure and temperature. The thermostats regulate the temperature in any vehicle. It helps prevent engine wear and hazardous deposits from forming, leading to toxic chemical emissions.

  • Deal With Pressure

Manufacturing companies make head gaskets in a way they can deal with high pressure. As a result, they are constructed primarily with the best materials for high-performance research. A head gasket’s job is to keep the cylinders sealed to achieve maximum compression. 

  • Seal The Cylinder Head

It also functions as a seal to your car’s cylinder head to help the engine develop the necessary compression to keep your car engine running smoothly. It prevents coolant or oil from leaking into other areas of your engine, which might cause it to overheat and catch fire.

Read more: Can You Engage Tow/Haul Mode While Driving?

Symptoms Of A Blown Head Gasket 5.7 Hemi

The symptoms of a blown head gasket are not always visible. However, the wide range of pressure it withstands mostly leads to a leaky or cracked head gasket. Below are the typical symptoms of a blown head gasket 5.7 Hemi: 

8 Symptoms Of A Blown Head Gasket 5.7 Hemi
If you have experienced one of these signs, check head gasket to avoid issues in a long run

Overheating

Overheating induces head gasket failure. However, when the head gasket blows, it can also cause overheating of the engine. In addition, due to a clogged radiator or coolant leak, hot gases from the exhaust will slowly enter the engine’s cooling system and the cylinders. In either case, it will result in an overheated engine.

The alloy-made cylinder head may warp if you drive your car while overheating. The catalytic converter may also be damaged by steam, ultimately increasing the cost of repair.

Leaking Coolant And Oil

A coolant or oil leak is the mildest symptom of a blown head gasket. It comes from a ruptured cylinder head gasket, but it is still dangerous. If the coolant level falls too low, it will cause an engine problem. 

Also, a leaky oil could get onto the hot exhaust, causing acrid smoke and possibly fire.

White Smoke Out Of The Exhaust

The most common symptom of a failing head gasket is the sweet-smelling white smoke emerging from the exhaust. It comes from an antifreeze flowing from the gasket into the cylinders, and the smoke changes to steam during the combustion process. 

A leak from an oil route to the cylinder, which would result in blueish smoke, is less common but still possible.

Losing Power

The cylinder’s compression reduces if a failing head gasket enables compressed air or fuel to get away. Also, the engine runs rough and produces less power because of the decrease in compression. The sound of an exhaust leak usually follows this type of failure.

Milky White Oil

One of the visible indicators of a head gasket rupture is the milky slime on the bottom of the dipstick oil or the filler cap. It’s often called a ‘milkshake’ and results when the coolant enters the oil and vice versa. 

Driving your car while there’s ‘milky white oil’ will quickly ruin the engine’s bearings since antifreeze has contaminated the oil. Flushing the engine is necessary to replace the contaminated oil and stop the damage that comes with it.

Unexplained Coolant Loss

If the coolant level in the engine drops but there is no visible leak, it could mean there’s a ruptured head gasket. A leaking external head gasket would cause coolant to leak from the exhaust manifold. This usually occurs after the engine is thoroughly warmed up. 

Choppy/ Rough Idle

When the head gasket fails, the cylinders’ effective compression ratio of your vehicle will reduce. As a result, the car won’t run at a steady rate, and this problem can cause a blown head gasket.

Bubbling In The Radiator

A leak in the head gasket allows exhaust gas into the coolant and the combustion chamber, resulting in bubbles in the radiator or coolant reservoir. It gives the coolant the appearance of boiling even when it is cold. 

The bubbles become exhaust gas that forces their way into the cooling system and destroys the radiator during the process. 

Symptoms of bad head gasket demonstrated on Dodge

Read more: Dodge Charger Cranks But Won’t Start: Why? How To Fix It?

Causes Of A Blown Head Gasket 5.7 Hemi

While there are numerous reasons for your head gasket to fail, the most common ones are the following:

5 Causes Of A Blown Head Gasket 5.7 Hemi
Check for the causes of a blown head gasket is very important to fix them and prevent further damages

Overheating

Due to a clogged radiator or coolant leak, hot exhaust gases seep into the cooling system and cylinders, resulting in an overheated engine.

Poor Engine Coolant Level

The engine will overheat and blow the head gasket if there isn’t enough coolant to keep it cool. So a burst head gasket can be both the cause and a symptom of low engine coolant.

Low Coolant Flow

The engine will overheat if there isn’t enough coolant running through it. A faulty radiator or water pump could be to blame.

Faulty Thermostat

The thermostat’s purpose is to keep the coolant flowing in and out of your Ram’s engine under control. The engine can get hot enough to shatter ahead or blow a head gasket if it refuses to open.

Head Gasket Failure

The major reason why it’s common for head gaskets to break is due to poor engineering in the various car makes and models.

Read more: Dodge Challenger ABS & Traction Control Light On: Causes & How To Reset

Preventing A Blown Head Gasket

To prevent your engine from having a blown head gasket, you must do the following:

It is better to spend a few dollars to prevent than several hundred dollars later to repair a blown head gasket

Ensure There Is No Coolant Leakage

The simplest way to stop your car’s head gasket from failing is to ensure the engine’s coolant is at the right level in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations. Ensure you check it if you notice coolant leaks on the ground or garage floor.

Keep The Coolant Working

A head gasket will frequently fail due to overheating. So, keeping your engine’s cooling system in good working condition is another way to stop the head gasket from failing. 

It is simple to inspect the cooling system. All you have to do is check all the pipes and joints for leaks. If you notice dampness, there is a leak. 

Ensure The Parts Are Functioning

Next, ensure the thermostat opens properly and the radiator is functioning correctly, then top up the coolant to the required level. Also, to increase efficiency, ensure that the fan is operational (all of its blades).

Maintain Carbon Dioxide Level

The primary test for detecting a failed head gasket is to look for combustion gases in the engine’s cooling system. The test will reveal whether compression has seeped into the engine’s cooling system. It will also ascertain if you’re dealing with a blown head gasket.

However, if there are other failure points in the head gasket, they will not be visible.  Therefore, when carbon dioxide is absent in the engine’s cooling system,  you’re still not assured of a properly functioning head gasket.

Also, some head gaskets fail due to insufficient robustness and poor design. This used to be more of a problem with older metal gaskets, which would only last so many years of going from cold to hot before failing.

FAQs

Can I Fix A Blown Head Gasket By Myself?

No. Unless you are an ex-technician or very experienced with the necessary space and tools, towing your car to a garage is best for you. It is not easy to install a head gasket. It involves the removal of the cylinder head, which is a complex service that is time-consuming and leaves a lot of room for error for the average person. 

Is It Safe To Drive With A Bad Head Gasket?

It is not safe. Aside from the engine damage, driving with a bad head gasket can be dangerous. A hot escaping coolant can cause burns and even start a fire. Therefore, it is critical to obtain a head gasket sealer or repair the head gasket.

How Much Does It Cost To Replace A Head Gasket On A Dodge Ram?

Head gaskets are not expensive, but the labor cost is mostly not affordable. The typical cost of a head gasket–parts and labor, is around $1200. Depending on the model year and engine, they can be much higher.

Conclusion

It is better to spend a few dollars now than several hundred dollars later to repair a blown head gasket. Although the replacement gasket is not expensive, the dismantling and reassembly are labor-intensive, raising the cost of repair, especially on modern vehicles.

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