Buick with leaking head gasket

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This is more of a Sherlock Holmes type mystery than a practical matter.
Neighbor has a leaking head gasket in his Buick bad enough so that the engine runs rough all the time. Watch does with it is not my concern.
When driving it runs cool. When sitting idling the temp increases rapidly. If he puts in neutral and revs the engine, he says it drops to normal quickly. Radiator, fan clutch, thermostat, water pump all checked out and working normally.
I'm wondering .... when the engine is turning slowly, if the the coolant pressure drops, which could be letting more exhaust leak into the coolant and raise the temp? Says when the temp goes high, he can smell antifreeze, probably blowing out the overflow.
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The exaust should do nothing. Might need radiator and system cleaned. ?
Greg
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On Fri, 17 Apr 2015 22:50:00 -0700, "Snuffy \"Hub Cap\" McKinney"

A lot of cars run hot at low RPM. One guy had to shift into park at red lights and "race the engine" to cool it down. Didn't overheat on the highway. Probable clogged radiator or bad water pump. .
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On Saturday, April 18, 2015 at 1:45:46 AM UTC-4, Snuffy Hub Cap McKinney wr ote:

uickly. Radiator, fan clutch, thermostat, water pump all checked out and w orking normally.

nd raise the temp? Says when the temp goes high, he can smell antifreeze, probably blowing out the overflow.
most head gasket leaks crate white exhaust.
if coolant leaks into oil engine will soon be siezed
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wrote:

If it has a leaking headgasket, nothing else matters. It NEEDS to be fixed (or thecar scrapped)
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snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

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On Saturday, April 18, 2015 at 8:39:46 AM UTC-4, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

l quickly. Radiator, fan clutch, thermostat, water pump all checked out an d working normally.

t and raise the temp? Says when the temp goes high, he can smell antifreez e, probably blowing out the overflow.

+1
I can't explain the behavior of why it runs hot at idle in terms of the leaking headgasket. I'd suspect that there might be another problem, like blocked radiator, that's the real problem, even though OP says that has been ruled out. If there is a separate cooling system problem, that could have allowed the car to overheat, warp the head, and that's why the head gasket is leaking. Symptom of partially blocked radiator can be overheating at idle. With the car not moving, less air moves through radiator, so it needs more radiator performance that when it's moving.
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trader_4 wrote:

Today's new cars rad. fan is thermostat controlled electric motor driven. So Air passing thru the rad. is not like old cars. If suspected we can do the rad pressure test with dye which will tell what's going on. If it is a leaking gasket problem the sooner the repair is done the better. Or bigger problems will happen.
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On Saturday, April 18, 2015 at 2:34:30 PM UTC-4, Tony Hwang wrote:

mal quickly. Radiator, fan clutch, thermostat, water pump all checked out and working normally.

ant and raise the temp? Says when the temp goes high, he can smell antifre eze, probably blowing out the overflow.

all garage needs to do to check for exhaust leak into coolant.
removed radiator cap run engine with cap off, check for carbon monoxide at caps location.
also try pressurizing cooling system with pressure tester.
if pressure goes down their is a leak somewhere.
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On Saturday, April 18, 2015 at 2:34:30 PM UTC-4, Tony Hwang wrote:

mal quickly. Radiator, fan clutch, thermostat, water pump all checked out and working normally.

ant and raise the temp? Says when the temp goes high, he can smell antifre eze, probably blowing out the overflow.

That's a good point. If it's a car made in the last couple of decades, it probably has an electric radiator fan. If that isn't running when the car needs it, ie when the temp is going up, that would cause overheating. Even many older cars had auxiliary electric fans to supplement the mechanical, belt drive one.
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snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca posted for all of us...

+1
--
Tekkie *Please post a follow-up*

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On Saturday, April 18, 2015 at 1:45:46 AM UTC-4, Snuffy Hub Cap McKinney wrote:

normal quickly. Radiator, fan clutch, thermostat, water pump all checked out and working normally.

the coolant and raise the temp? Says when the temp goes high, he can smell antifreeze, probably blowing out the overflow.
- most head gasket leaks crate white exhaust. - - if coolant leaks into oil engine will soon be siezed
Milky coolant from engine, but no water in oil.
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On Fri, 17 Apr 2015 22:50:00 -0700, "Snuffy \"Hub Cap\" McKinney"

What he should do is go buy some "block seal" in a can and follow the instructions exactly. That stuff sometimes actually works. The worst that can happen is you are out the $30 for the stuff. At this point he has nothing to lose but the $30.
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On Saturday, April 18, 2015 at 9:03:19 PM UTC-4, Ashton Crusher wrote:

quickly. Radiator, fan clutch, thermostat, water pump all checked out and working normally.

and raise the temp? Says when the temp goes high, he can smell antifreeze, probably blowing out the overflow.

but it will clog the heater.........
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wrote:

plug the heater. For the uber-cautious, it's generally not hard to bypass the heater core and even the heater valve untill the leak is sealed.
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On Saturday, April 18, 2015 at 10:43:12 PM UTC-4, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

al quickly. Radiator, fan clutch, thermostat, water pump all checked out a nd working normally.

nt and raise the temp? Says when the temp goes high, he can smell antifree ze, probably blowing out the overflow.

it clogged my heater core, the dashboard had to be taken apart to replace t he heater core. it was a dodge caravan.
i learned a costly lesson........
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bob haller wrote:

Same happened to me on Ford PU truck in winter time. It can go both ways. Solve the problem at least for the time being or else.
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wrote:

stop-leaks can be used safely without plugging heater cores. Been using them for over 40 years. The lesson I learned, was "follow manufacturer's instructions"
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concern.

normal quickly. Radiator, fan clutch, thermostat, water pump all checked out and working normally.

the coolant and raise the temp? Says when the temp goes high, he can smell antifreeze, probably blowing out the overflow.

Thanks guys. How long would you expect it to take to know if block seal works?
Engine & heads are cast iron.
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