The 3.3L V6 engine comes equipped with two head gaskets and testing them, to see if one or both have failed, is not hard.
In this tutorial I'll explain the 4 tests you can perform to find out if your mini-van has a blown head gasket problem.
By the way, two of those four tests don't require any tools to perform.
Contents of this tutorial:
You can find this tutorial in Spanish here: Cómo Probar Los Empaques De Cabeza (3.3L V6 Chrysler, Dodge, Plymouth Mini-Van) (at: autotecnico-online.com).
APPLIES TO: This tutorial applies to the following vehicles:
- 3.3L V6 Chrysler Town & Country: 1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007.
- 3.3L V6 Chrysler Voyager: 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003.
- 3.3L V6 Dodge Caravan: 1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007.
- 3.3L V6 Dodge Grand Caravan: 1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007.
- 3.3L V6 Plymouth Voyager: 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000.
- 3.3L V6 Plymouth Grand Voyager: 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000.
Symptoms Of A Blown Head Gasket
When the 3.3L V6 engine suffers a head gasket failure, you'll either have a 'cranks but does not start' engine problem.
Or the engine starts and runs, but it will overheat for no apparent reason. Usually, it'll start to overheat in a matter of minutes after the engine has started.
Here's a basic list of the most common symptoms a blown head gasket:
- The engine overheats.
- White smoke is coming out of the tail-pipe and it smells like anti-freeze being cooked.
- The engine does not start.
- The engine oil is thick and a tan to off-white color (mixed with coolant).
Whether the engine starts and overheats or doesn't start, this tutorial will help you find out if the problem is due to a blown head gasket problem.
TEST 1: Oil The Color Of Coffee With Too Much Creamer
For the first blown head gasket test, we're gonna' pull out the engine oil dipstick and check the color of the oil sticking to it.
The oil should not look like 'coffee with too much creamer', but if it does, then you can conclude that one or both head gaskets are blown.
If the engine oil is OK, then the next test is TEST 2.
This is what you need to do:
Open the hood on your 3.3L V6 equipped mini-van.
Pull out the engine's oil dipstick.
Check what the color of the oil is and how thick it is.
You'll see one of two things:
1.) The oil on the dipstick is a creamy, off-white color and is thick as syrup.
2.) The oil is its normal color and viscosity.
Let's examine your test result:
CASE 1: The engine oil looks like 'coffee with too much creamer'. This confirms that one or both head gaskets are blown on your 3.3L V6 equipped Chrysler (Dodge or Plymouth) mini-van.
CASE 2: The color of the engine oil is normal. This is the correct and expected test result.
The next step is to check to see if compression/exhaust gases are leaking into the cooling system. Go to: TEST 2: Exhaust Gases Shooting Out Of The Radiator.