A blown head gasket, on your 3.0L Ford Escape (3.0 Mazda Tribute), isn't that hard to diagnose. It's something that the DIY'er can do very accurately without having to take the vehicle to the repair shop. In this tutorial, I'll show you the 4 tests that'll confirm or disconfirm that you've got a blown head gasket on your hands.
Contents to this tutorial at a quick glance:
- Symptoms of a Blown Head Gasket.
- TEST 1: Engine Oil Mixed With Coolant.
- TEST 2: Coolant Shooting Out of Radiator.
- TEST 3: Using a Block Tester (Combustion Leak Tester).
- TEST 4: Engine Compression Test.
- Frequently Asked Questions.
You can find this tutorial in Spanish here: Cómo Probar el Empaque de Cabeza (3.0L Ford Escape) (at: autotecnico-online.com).
Here's a basic list of what you may see if your 3.0L Escape (3.0 Tribute) has a blown head gasket:
- Your Escape is gonna' overheat.
- The engine oil will get mixed with coolant. This will turn the engine oil the color of coffee with too much creamer.
- White smoke coming out of the tail-pipe.
- Engine cranks, but does not start.
- No compression on two adjacent cylinders.
- Coolant being pushed forcibly into the coolant reservoir bottle whenever the engine idles or the engine is turned off.
If your 3.0L Ford Escape starts and runs, but overheats and you have already checked and confirmed that the water pump, the thermostat, the radiator fan motors are OK... then there's a good chance you have a blown head gasket on your hands. The following 4 tests will help find out.
TEST 1: Engine Oil Mixed With Coolant
The most common end result of a blown head gasket, is coolant entering the crankcase and turning the engine oil into something that looks like coffee with to much creamer.
Checking for this condition is fast and easy and we'll start off with this test:
Open the hood of the car and pull out the engine oil dipstick.
Check the color of the oil sticking to the dipstick.
You'll see one of two things: The color of the oil will be a milky white color (like coffee with too much cream) -OR- the color of the oil will be its normal color.
Let's take a look at what your test results mean:
CASE 1: The engine oil was a milky white color. This tells you that the coolant is mixing with the engine oil as a result of a blown head gasket.
CASE 2: The engine oil was its normal color. So far so good. You're not out of the woods yet, your next step is to see if the head gasket is leaking cylinder compression pressure into the cooling system.
For this test go to TEST 2: Coolant Shooting Out of Radiator.