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Coolant loss, Castech Heads

This is a discussion on Coolant loss, Castech Heads within the Technical / Maintenance forums, part of the General Discussion category; I have been losing coolant at the rate of about 1/2 gal every 3-4 weeks. I see no signs of ...

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    Coolant loss, Castech Heads


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    I have been losing coolant at the rate of about 1/2 gal every 3-4 weeks. I see no signs of it leaking anywhere. Also the oil and tranny fluid are not foamy. I read here about the castech heads that are bad and coolant leaks into the heads. I opened the oil fill cap last night and it looked foamy / milky inside. I have to pull the valve covers this weekend but I am about 90% sure I am one of the lucky ones with these junk castech heads. The truck only has 90k miles. I plan on just replacing them with a used set of stock heads. Are there any stock heads that are good or are there any others that I should stay away from (other then castech). I found a set of 799 heads off a 06 with 30k miles. Are these ok to use. I think I read somewhere that the are slightly better then my stock heads. Also what is a good price for a set of used heads? Thanks.

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    Re: Coolant loss, Castech Heads

    If you do indeed have castech heads and they are the culprit, I think you would be covered under a warranty or technical bulletin, something like that. I don't see why you would be out the expense of replacing heads when GM knows that this happens.
    00 RCSB Z71/JBA cat-back/Z71 Tahoe valance/EBC slotted&drilled rotors with SS lines & SS braided hoses/Edelbrock headers/BB tune/6000k HID low beam & fog lamps/Auto-headlight disable mod(nice)/Vette servo/LT1 E-fans/LED gauge cluster/Titan 18" wheels/Rollpan/Belltech rear sway bar/2-4 drop

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    Re: Coolant loss, Castech Heads

    From what I read, since I didn't buy the truck new and it isn't a life threatening defect, GM won't do a thing about it. So looks like I am going hunting for heads at some salvage yards.
    Last edited by cowentz; 12-22-2009 at 12:24 PM.

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    Re: Coolant loss, Castech Heads

    Well, if replacing the heads ends up being the case, might as well have the replacements decked a little bit to bump the power a bit before you install them.
    engina likes this.
    00 RCSB Z71/JBA cat-back/Z71 Tahoe valance/EBC slotted&drilled rotors with SS lines & SS braided hoses/Edelbrock headers/BB tune/6000k HID low beam & fog lamps/Auto-headlight disable mod(nice)/Vette servo/LT1 E-fans/LED gauge cluster/Titan 18" wheels/Rollpan/Belltech rear sway bar/2-4 drop

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    Re: Coolant loss, Castech Heads

    What year/engine do you have?
    99 Silverado ECSB 4X4, LQ4, Patriot Stg. 2 243's w/ 59cc chambers, TR224-112, Pacesetter LT's, Nelson tune, FLT Lvl 5.5, PI 3400, UD pulley, 160* t-stat, E-fans, 6'' Fabtech lift, 3'' body lift, 37'' XTerrains, 4.56's, 4'' shackle flip 13.3 @ 99mph on 37's or 13.0 @ 101mph on 31's

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    Re: Coolant loss, Castech Heads

    Sorry I didn't put that in the original post. It is a 2004 1500 with the 5.3l motor.

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    Re: Coolant loss, Castech Heads

    Well those 799 heads will lower your compression, unless you get them milled about .030". I would look for some non-Castech 862's or 706's and have them milled a hair to make sure they're straight. Or have them milled a lot to bump up compression for more power!
    99 Silverado ECSB 4X4, LQ4, Patriot Stg. 2 243's w/ 59cc chambers, TR224-112, Pacesetter LT's, Nelson tune, FLT Lvl 5.5, PI 3400, UD pulley, 160* t-stat, E-fans, 6'' Fabtech lift, 3'' body lift, 37'' XTerrains, 4.56's, 4'' shackle flip 13.3 @ 99mph on 37's or 13.0 @ 101mph on 31's

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    Re: Coolant loss, Castech Heads

    How much can I have milled off a stock head and still be safe to run 87 octane gas? I believe I read in stock form the heads have right around a 61cc-62cc chamber and the stock compression is 9.5:1. Also if I mill the heads I shouldn't need to change anything else correct? Thanks!

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    Re: Coolant loss, Castech Heads

    Do you have a tune? If not, plan on getting one if you mill your heads. Taking .030" off a set of 862's should bring you around 10:1. Also, you may want to switch to a shorter pushrod length.
    Last edited by bigbob6988; 12-24-2009 at 10:12 AM.
    99 Silverado ECSB 4X4, LQ4, Patriot Stg. 2 243's w/ 59cc chambers, TR224-112, Pacesetter LT's, Nelson tune, FLT Lvl 5.5, PI 3400, UD pulley, 160* t-stat, E-fans, 6'' Fabtech lift, 3'' body lift, 37'' XTerrains, 4.56's, 4'' shackle flip 13.3 @ 99mph on 37's or 13.0 @ 101mph on 31's

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    Re: Coolant loss, Castech Heads

    just got some time and pulled the valve cover. I couldn't see the casting mark because of the flat piece under the rockers, but it is a cracked head. The whole underside of the valve cover is covered in the milky looking sludge.

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    Re: Coolant loss, Castech Heads

    Just had my heads changed. Both were castech heads and both were cracked. I'm out $1,500 and now I still worry about the life of the bearings in the bottom end due to having water in the oil. Other then changing the oil a few times with short interval of run time, is there any thing else I can due to get the water and possibly even sludge out of the bottom end? Also I know it is cold out but it seems to smoke more then it should. Is this possibly just burning out the left over water / gunk in the motor, cats ect? I really like chevy's but I am starting to think about a different make vehicle.

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    Re: Coolant loss, Castech Heads

    If the problem is fixed with the replacement heads and all that, whatever residual water is in the crankcase will evaporate normally through regular driving.

    Keep your eye on the coolant level and the amount of smoke out the tailpipe. I had a friend bet the farm on a used Toyota 4runner with a 4.0 V6 only to find that he probably bought it with a cracked head gasket. I'm more than likely going to be pulling those heads and doing the work for him. Other than an occasional hard start and a mysterious coolant loss, there were no other symptoms that his engine was ingesting coolant so don't let the smoke out the tailpipe method be your indicator of whether or not the problem is fixed. Also, just goes to show you, the same thing could happen if you were to buy one of those "reliable" Japanese vehicles. I do feel bad for folks with Castech heads though and they are time and again getting shafted by what GM should be taking responsibility for.
    00 RCSB Z71/JBA cat-back/Z71 Tahoe valance/EBC slotted&drilled rotors with SS lines & SS braided hoses/Edelbrock headers/BB tune/6000k HID low beam & fog lamps/Auto-headlight disable mod(nice)/Vette servo/LT1 E-fans/LED gauge cluster/Titan 18" wheels/Rollpan/Belltech rear sway bar/2-4 drop

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    Re: Coolant loss, Castech Heads

    Do not mean to bump an old thread, but it seems I have this problem on my 2005. I just bought it and have not made a payment on it.

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    Re: Coolant loss, Castech Heads

    Quote Originally Posted by chunkee View Post
    Do not mean to bump an old thread, but it seems I have this problem on my 2005. I just bought it and have not made a payment on it.
    TAKE THAT SONBISH BACK!!!

    I am in the middle of a battle with GM about this same problem, except I have to throw in a new engine. I would go and talk to the dealer you bought yours from. Also, check to see if the truck has a drive train warranty on it. GM will have to honour it if it's still current.

    04 Sierra ECSB - Cranked on 33s - 6000K HIDs

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    Re: Coolant loss, Castech Heads

    Little more detail for you. I bought the truck in KY, I live in E. Tennessee. The truck up there had the features I wanted, color etc. It has 67000 miles on it now, had 66,000 miles when I bought it. I drove it home Christmas Eve. Afterwards, I took it to local Chevy dealer for new tires, brake rotor turn down and have the differential fluid changed. The rough idle looked at and the knocking noise. They reprogrammed the PCM for the idle...did not do anything...the idle is okay, just flutters a little bit. I then took it back for the knock again. To be minimal, the tried using Lucas Oil treatment first. I drove it around. It quieted it a little bit. I took it to a independent mechanic...he drove it around a while, scanned it found nothing. The noise was not existent at that time. Drove it home. It started doing it again and the idle was rough. I researched a long time. I cleaned the Mass Air Flow Sensor and cleaned the throttle body. Not that dirty. Upon looking in the intake, behind the butterfly, I notice peanut buttery looking substance, and it appeared there was a small leak of coolant to the outside. I had the local GM dealer look at it again to verify the peanut butter stuff in there. Service Manager called me back and said it was going to be expensive to start tearing it down to find the knock and the culprit of the crud in the intake.

    He called the dealer in KY that I bought it from and they stated they would honor the 50/50 warranty, but I had to bring it up there. Their findings: bad intake gasket, they replaced it. The valve cover ares where the PCV tubes were clogged, and there was condensation occurring in the intake. They claimed the knock was not pronounced enough to diagnose and to just drive it. They also said they cleaned out all the gunk in the valve covers and replaced some tubing on the PCV system. I pick it up drive it home (2 hours) I check the intake...Peanut butter in there...they did not clean that one out..? I cleaned it all out. I drive it around for 15 minutes and check again. There is some more stuff in there, but it is different looking..more like snot now. The knock is still there. I noticed they put in 10w30 this time. SIGH...I have not made a payment on this truck yet, and am worried it is a dud. I paid the bill for the work they did and have some sort of paper trail of the beginnings of this attempting to get it fixed. But replacement heads etc..thats going to cost a lot of money. If it is defective heads, I feel GM should pay for that...

    Any one else have any ideas? Other things I can check myself or what I should do? The GM dealers say just drive it and not worry about it...yeah sure...should have bought a Dodge? Good lord..I was so excited, I finally had enough money to buy a truck..and feel like i have been screwed. Most of the dealerships here have shut down, and I thought it was a good idea to buy an American truck ( my car is an infiniti) to help out the economy and do the right thing. I was looking at Titans and Tundras also but decided to get the Chevy...

    Quote Originally Posted by RFT View Post
    TAKE THAT SONBISH BACK!!!

    I am in the middle of a battle with GM about this same problem, except I have to throw in a new engine. I would go and talk to the dealer you bought yours from. Also, check to see if the truck has a drive train warranty on it. GM will have to honour it if it's still current.

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    Re: Coolant loss, Castech Heads

    Quote Originally Posted by chunkee View Post
    Little more detail for you. I bought the truck in KY, I live in E. Tennessee. The truck up there had the features I wanted, color etc. It has 67000 miles on it now, had 66,000 miles when I bought it. I drove it home Christmas Eve. Afterwards, I took it to local Chevy dealer for new tires, brake rotor turn down and have the differential fluid changed. The rough idle looked at and the knocking noise. They reprogrammed the PCM for the idle...did not do anything...the idle is okay, just flutters a little bit. I then took it back for the knock again. To be minimal, the tried using Lucas Oil treatment first. I drove it around. It quieted it a little bit. I took it to a independent mechanic...he drove it around a while, scanned it found nothing. The noise was not existent at that time. Drove it home. It started doing it again and the idle was rough. I researched a long time. I cleaned the Mass Air Flow Sensor and cleaned the throttle body. Not that dirty. Upon looking in the intake, behind the butterfly, I notice peanut buttery looking substance, and it appeared there was a small leak of coolant to the outside. I had the local GM dealer look at it again to verify the peanut butter stuff in there. Service Manager called me back and said it was going to be expensive to start tearing it down to find the knock and the culprit of the crud in the intake.

    He called the dealer in KY that I bought it from and they stated they would honor the 50/50 warranty, but I had to bring it up there. Their findings: bad intake gasket, they replaced it. The valve cover ares where the PCV tubes were clogged, and there was condensation occurring in the intake. They claimed the knock was not pronounced enough to diagnose and to just drive it. They also said they cleaned out all the gunk in the valve covers and replaced some tubing on the PCV system. I pick it up drive it home (2 hours) I check the intake...Peanut butter in there...they did not clean that one out..? I cleaned it all out. I drive it around for 15 minutes and check again. There is some more stuff in there, but it is different looking..more like snot now. The knock is still there. I noticed they put in 10w30 this time. SIGH...I have not made a payment on this truck yet, and am worried it is a dud. I paid the bill for the work they did and have some sort of paper trail of the beginnings of this attempting to get it fixed. But replacement heads etc..thats going to cost a lot of money. If it is defective heads, I feel GM should pay for that...

    Any one else have any ideas? Other things I can check myself or what I should do? The GM dealers say just drive it and not worry about it...yeah sure...should have bought a Dodge? Good lord..I was so excited, I finally had enough money to buy a truck..and feel like i have been screwed. Most of the dealerships here have shut down, and I thought it was a good idea to buy an American truck ( my car is an infiniti) to help out the economy and do the right thing. I was looking at Titans and Tundras also but decided to get the Chevy...
    I know how you feel, I felt the same way with mine. I also had a knock, which turned out to be a lifter (caused by the coolant in the oil). That was the first sign for mine, other than power loss.

    If the dealership said they would honour the warranty then call them on that. There is a (http://www.gm-trucks.com/forums/inde...0&#entry477800) about this problem. You did get gypped on the intake gasket work, that isn't a problem on the 4.8L/5.3L. Talk to the dealer and tell them you know about the TSB and if they said there were going to cover the work before, they should for this too.

    04 Sierra ECSB - Cranked on 33s - 6000K HIDs

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    Re: Coolant loss, Castech Heads

    Did yours sound like this?

    http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo...eat=directlink

    Thanks for the replies.

    Quote Originally Posted by RFT View Post
    I know how you feel, I felt the same way with mine. I also had a knock, which turned out to be a lifter (caused by the coolant in the oil). That was the first sign for mine, other than power loss.

    If the dealership said they would honour the warranty then call them on that. There is a (http://www.gm-trucks.com/forums/inde...0&#entry477800) about this problem. You did get gypped on the intake gasket work, that isn't a problem on the 4.8L/5.3L. Talk to the dealer and tell them you know about the TSB and if they said there were going to cover the work before, they should for this too.

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    Re: Coolant loss, Castech Heads

    Quote Originally Posted by chunkee View Post
    Did yours sound like this?

    http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo...eat=directlink

    Thanks for the replies.
    Yep, exactly like that.

    Mine was coming from the driver's side (sounds like the exact spot yours is too). I think I also had a sporadic misfire on cyl 8 if I remember right.
    Last edited by RFT; 02-04-2010 at 07:33 PM.

    04 Sierra ECSB - Cranked on 33s - 6000K HIDs

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    Re: Coolant loss, Castech Heads

    yeah I had the tapping noise also. I put seafoam through it and it did stop the lifter from tapping but obviously didn't help with the cracked heads.

    I had a local shop replace my heads and in total was right at $1,500. I bought re manufactured heads from a place in Texas and specified I did not want castech heads as replacements. I got both heads for $420 and that included shipping for the new heads and shipping to return your old ones as a core. If you interested let me know and I will look up the company info.

    Also if anyone gets anywhere with GM let me know but from what I have heard My warranty was out so it is just a waste of time. I saw some guys email in another forum "hutchens@wavecable.com" so I emailed to talk to him. He has at least 13 people that emailed him with the same problem. How many need to be screwed up for them to issue a recall?

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    Re: Coolant loss, Castech Heads

    well, I called the dealership...they are basically denying me any more work on it and say the continuing is just residual, which is crap. I looked at the PCV tube(s) and they appear to be clean, how is that stuff getting inside the intake manifold? I am not sure how it is getting in there and pooling in the bottom?

    Cowentz, I would like the information regarding the place where you purchased the heads. I would greatly appreciate it.

    Thanks guys...big part of me wants to say screw and go and get a new Ram. lol

 

 
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