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Discussion Starter · #1 ·

Here is my basic info
2002 Mustang GT 5-speed (stock)
145,000 miles
just bought it at 144,000
it's my DD

I had a nasty surprise the other day when i went to top off my oil. I pulled off my oil cap and it was milky on the inside of the cap and the visible areas when you look down at the cam.

I am have done a head gasket replacement on a 4 cylinder back in college, so I am not a foreigner to the job and how extensive it is. However the lack of symptoms my car is showing leaves me a little confused in the full diagnosis process. Below are some of the things i have done to try and identify what kind of Head Gasket failure i may be having or if it is something else entirely.

Dipstick shows no sign of coolant. Looks clean. (I will be changing the oil soon, so when I do that, I'm sure it will show me a lot more.
Oil and Coolant both have a slight leak, but nothing drastic. I put 0.5 qts of oil and 1 liter of water into coolant in about ever other week

no Check Engine lights, or anything at all, oil pressure and operating temperature have never fluctuated from dead center

no white smoke out of tailpipe
the block seems to have a darkened/stained look on the driver's side where the head meets the block. Other than that, no visible exterior signs of leaking oil or coolant.
Bottom side of engine seems to have pretty typical high-milage wet spots near the oil pan and bell-housing mate surface. (this could be the ATF fluid though as i am also in the process of diagnosing a slow trans leak. ) but no signs of milky residue, just oil.

did a cold start with the radiator/overflow cap off to see if it would bubble at all (I believe this would identify an intake/exhaust gas leak into one of the coolant paths on the head or block). Ran the car for ~5 minutes and didn't see anything at all. the coolant was low, but was completeley still.

Some tests I plan to do soon
  • Compression test - gauge in spark plug hole and see if each cylinder holds compression
  • Block tester (with fluid) - it draws air in from the radiator and the test fluid will turn yellow if exhaust gases are present.

Based on the information I gave you any tests, assumptions or further direction in this process would be appreciated. I am determined to work smarter, not harder. Instinctively I want to rip the top end off and just assume the worse, but I have done things like that before only to find out it was a simple fix if I had just done my due diligence in research and thinking it all through.


P.S. - I will try and keep this thread posted with further tests, final diagnosis and pictures of the repair process.
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