Blown Head Gasket Symptoms | How To See A Diesel In Danger

Thinking that you may have a blown head gasket? Do you know the blown head gasket symptoms? This could be a serious engine problem and should be addressed immediately by any diesel truck owner. We go over the signs of blown head gasket and what the cost of repair that you might incur if the problem is left alone. This is a huge problem in Ford 6.0L Powerstroke engines, but could easily happen to any diesel. Even though a Ford 6.0 diesel head gasket replacement maybe in your future, Diesel Addict is here to make the experience a little less painful. You need to know the signs of a blown gasket because knowing is half the battle.

What Do Blown Diesel Head Gasket Symptoms and Blown Cylinder Head Gaskets Look Like?

blown head gasket symptoms

This graphic above shows us what certain blown head gasket symptoms would look like. These are a few common place problem points and the symptoms to look for with these broken head gasket areas.

Blown Head Gasket Symptoms:

  • Blowing coolant/overheating
  • Coolant out the degas bottle
  • Crankcase smoking
  • White smoke coming out of tailpipe
  • Engine running rough or misfiring
  • Engine overheating
  • Milkshake type substance in your oil
  • Oil substance in your coolant

Blown head gaskets have notoriously been known to be expensive and big jobs and likewise no one wants to shell out the money for one. Sometimes people look past these common blown head gasket symptoms because they do not want to know they may have a big problem on their hands. This can lead to even more money down the road. Pay attention to these important blown head gasket symptoms! Likewise you need to be 100% sure that you do have head gaskets problems. That is why you can buy a block tester which is a simple test that you do and can read more about below.

blown head gasket testerHow To Test For A Blown Head Gasket With A Block Tester?

If you vehicle is experiencing any of the symptoms listed above you may want to run a test to finding out if you have a blown head gaskets, cracked head gasket, or some other problem. You do not want to be replacing head gaskets unless you have to because of the amount of work required to do so. To test for a proper seal with head gaskets a block tester (combustion system gas analyzation kit) is used. This kit is cheap and simple to perform. It can be purchased at most local automotive parts shops and this piece of equipment tests to see if there is carbon dioxide in your system. The detector is a sure way to find out that exhaust gases are leaking into your cooling system and pressurizing the cooling system beyond what it can handle and overheating your system.

How Much Does A Diesel Head Gasket Replacement Cost?

You have diagnosed blown head gasket symptoms and have run a test and have determined that is the problem. Now to the meat and potatoes what about the cost to fix? Depending on what other problems may have risen from a blown head gasket the price can range greatly. It can also range from vehicle to vehicle. During a head gasket replacement it is recommend to upgrade your head studs if they are stock. An average price for a head stud and gasket install from your local shop will on average run you about $3,500. However, you can reduce the cost greatly if you perform the maintenance yourself. That would be a very hard installation though.

If you were to badly overheat your truck you could possibly be charged to machine your cylinder heads. In a worst case scenario you could break a cylinder head or damage your engine block making those a pieces needing a full replacement and likely driving up the cost greatly. Remember that heat is the enemy, and if you run your truck low on coolant you may cause more problems which could result in these worst case scenario situations. Checking and knowing the symptoms of a blown head gasket seems pretty important now doesn’t it?

How Long Does It Take To Perform A Diesel Head Gasket Install?

This is a very long job! It will take probably a day and a half or more if you do it at home (not recommended) so don’t get into this installation if you can’t handle the job due to lack of knowledge, parts, and tools. This can typically require lifting the entire cab of the truck to get to the gaskets. We would recommend taking your truck to a local diesel repair shop to do this job.


Now that you know the diesel blown head gasket symptoms, how to go about testing for a broken head gasket, and even the cost to get it fixed you are now equipped with more information on what to do if you think you have a broken head gasket. This can lead to a serious problem if left alone. So go out there and get if fixed or maybe even tackle the job yourself. If you have any questions or want some free advice you can always give us a call toll free at: 1-866-737-4966. Maybe wish to just order online? We got you cover at there as well.

Check out our diesel head gasket section!

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  • Chance says:

    I’ve got a 96 7.3 turbo diesel coolant coming out of reservoir while I’m cranking it no smoke runs smooth no bad noises could someone help me I’m stuck like a lump on a log

  • tbreddiesel says:

    Coolant is coming out while you are cranking? Are you not getting pressure in the degas bottle while the truck is running? You could have either an injector cup issue of a head gasket issue. It doesn’t necessarily have to make noises or smoke for that matter to have either of those conditions.

  • Mike Cardenas says:

    I have a 2008 F250 6.4 L have engine coolant coming out of the reservoir while driving. Engine runs smooth and no smoke. Have pressure In reservoir. what could it be?

  • tbreddiesel says:

    It could be a head gasket, cracked head or block, or an EGR cooler failure.

  • tbreddiesel says:

    If it has a crank position sensor it could keep it from starting. 98.5- some 2000’s had crank position sensors.

  • Warren Poehlman says:

    Can it also cause piston and cylinder damage

  • Darin Fiedler says:

    I have a 2006 Ford F350 with the 6 Leaker. While driving it I was getting strong diesel smells in the cab when idling. When i start cruising smell goes away. It runs fine with no issues, all the temps are good. When I opened my hood I notice that de-gas bottle was low on antifreeze. When I opened it up, I had diesel mixed in. Do you think this is more of a injector cup issue or could this be a cracked head/gasket issue?

  • tbreddiesel says:

    Diesel smell could be up pipe leaking, very common. Fuel in coolant could be a cup which is where you would start. Also could be a head gasket but if you are having pressure on the coolant system that is abnormal, suspect a head gasket.

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