A blown head gasket will cause several specific conditions. If you suspect that your 1.6L Sidekick (Tracker) has a blown head gasket, you can check for these conditions and confirm (or disconfirm) it.
In this tutorial I'll explain what these conditions are and how to check for them.
Main points of 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: Engine Compression Test.
- TEST 4: Using a Chemical Block Tester (Combustion Leak Tester).
- Frequently Asked Questions.
- More 1.6L Suzuki Tutorials.
Symptoms of a Blown Head Gasket
There are several symptoms, that you'll see when the head gasket gets blown on your 1.6L Suzuki. These are:
- Oil mixed with coolant. After changing the oil and starting the engine, it gets mixed with coolant again.
- 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.
TEST 1: Engine Oil Mixed With Coolant
When coolant enters the crankcase and mixes with the engine oil, the engine oil turns into a thick mess that looks like ‘coffee with too much cream’.
Checking for this condition is probably the very first test that techs do as soon as a vehicle with a blown head gasket complaint enters their bay (at a repair shop) and it's the first one you should do on your 1.6L Suzuki Sidekick (1.6L Geo Tracker).
Since this is one of the most common end results of a blown head gasket, it's the one that we're gonna' check first:
This is a very easy and simple test:
Open the hood of your Sidekick (Tracker) 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 is not a good result. It tells you that the coolant is mixing with the oil and that you do have a blown head gasket on your hands.
CASE 2: The engine oil was its normal color. So far so good. Now, you'll need to do the next test. Go to: TEST 2: Coolant Shooting Out of Radiator.