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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This used to be a minor annoyance, but 2 days ago, I drove 500 miles and lost 2 quarts of oil, dripping out and coating the trailer I was hauling. My mechanic had added florescent oil additive and told me there was a major leak from head gaskets. A life-long MOPAR guy who's owned every type of Hemi car and 340 car ever made said that was probably wrong, it was from valve covers.
I added 2 quarts of oil to the driver side valve cover oil filler hole, the truck was parked slightly uphill. At least a quart of it poured out on ground immediately, just like there was a hole in the head gasket and the tube was blocked as it was supposed to drip down into the engine. I have a fresh trail of oil down my street to prove it.
2 questions:
1. Has anyone heard of this happening?
2. Can head gaskets be changed effectively without pulling the motor?

I have changed gaskets in a small block Chevy while under the hood, but I'm wondering if it's practical. Then engine only has 150k. At 120K the motor was pulled from a 95 wrecked Dakota, had a high volume oil pump installed, pan cleaned, and all reinstalled before being dropped in my current 95 Dakota, 5 speed, 4WD, SLT.

My other questions I'm facing...
??? Now, do I spend $1800 on pulling and replacing all the gaskets as the mechanic recommends, or pull the heads while in the truck, maybe take the savings and put aluminum heads back in place and keep truckin'? Or do I buy a crate 318, 360 or modify and put a 5.7 Hemi back in the truck?

I failed to mention, it was my daughter's highs school truck. We've had it 17 years. I'm old enough to say that if it lasts 15 more years, I'll no longer need a truck, maybe a hearse! I'm not going to sell it. I'm going to drive it until I can't push the clutch in anymore.

Thanks,
KennyG
 

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Dude.

If you have that much oil leaking from the HEAD GASKETS, it ain't running. Besides, if it poured out that fast, it'd have to be going around where it drains down, not where the oil pressure is. And THAT ... is not where there's oil PRESSURE. (Drain is into the valley, there isn't even any oil in the heads themselves ... oiling of rockers are through the push rod bores off the lifters, and all the oil that's up in the head is as it drips back down into the valley to get down into the pan.)

Your valve cover gaskets have failed; time to re-do them.

And the mechanic who's swearing it's the HEAD gaskets ... fire him/her, find someone who's competent.

RwP
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
RwP, thanks for you comments. I looked at a diagram and there are no drain holes for oil through the head gasket, only water and head bolts. Thanks for posting. My Mopar expert was probably right. It's the valve covers. I already bought valve covers a few weeks back, they're in the truck's back seat, but the leaking had seemed to be negligible then. Now that it is so evident, I'll pull the covers and install them.

Good advice. Not using that mechanic for this problem. I'll post up what I find.

KennyG
 

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If you've got valve covers, be sure to get gaskets; if you mean gaskets, which ones did you get?

On my LA 3.9, which has only five bolts to hold the valve cover on (that's why the Magnums got 10 - due to leakage!) I found the Fel-Pro rubber ones were much better at sealing.

For a Magnum 5.2, I'd opt for the Fel-Pro VS50419R and be sure to torque them properly - FSM states 95 lb/in (yes, pound INCH, not pound FOOT.) If using a lb/ft torque wrench, that's about 8 lb/ft (!!!) so be very careful tightening.

RwP
 

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2. Can head gaskets be changed effectively without pulling the motor?

[. . .]

My other questions I'm facing...
??? Now, do I spend $1800 on pulling and replacing all the gaskets as the mechanic recommends,
I wonder why I'm not surprised that the same guy who told you that you were blowing literal quarts of oil out through your head gaskets wants to pull the engine & do your gaskets.

In answer to the first question, though, I'd bet that if head gaskets can be changed on a Taurus with a 3.8 with the engine mounted sideways while in the vehicle, they can be changed on a Dakota without pulling the engine.
 
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