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Pontiac Repair/Possible headgasket problem



I have a 95 Grand Am,3.1 L engine.
Low coolant light came on,checked and found it to be 1/2 gal low.
Saw a seepage from the bypass pipe oring so i replaced that.I knew the thermostat needed replacement for quite some time as the engine always seemed to run cool by the gauge. so at this time i replaced the tstat and bled the air from the system.
took it for a ride and the temp gauge climbed to past 220/240 and heat was lost,then it suddenly went back to 170 and heat was back hot. Keep doing that so i let it sit overnight and rechecked it cold,topped off and retried it. started and ran fine,no problems ,figured it was fixed.

Next day,started it and within a block,temp gauge shot to 240 plus and coolant was expelling out from under surge cap.shut it down,opened bleeder and it shot out air,topped off,reran it and it was better but kept fluctuating  and was exhausting some white smoke.after running a bit,smoke cleared and it stabilized.

Next day, i started it cold and within no time the upper hose was hard ,and coolant came out from under surge cap and temp gauge shot up.....every time this happens, i have to bleed it again and then its ok.....once i get it bled and engine warms up,its fine until cold start again.....

My question is,is this symptoms of a headgasket ?

Thanks in advance for any assistance


Hi Joe:
Yes it sounds like it's more then likely a head gasket if your lucky. not that is lucky but these engines if they are overheated enough they cheack cylinder heads! more then liekely this had a lower intake manifold gasket leaking and that is why the coolant was low and running it low on coolant makes the temp rise and then theys wind up blowing a head gasket. with out seeing it it's hard to say for sure but it sure sounds like a classic case of a blown head gasket. good luck :-)

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Todd Puccio


General auto repair,electrical issues,driveability issues,anti-lock brakes,SIR systems,HVAC,engine performance,Gm specific. I have worked at my current dealership since the 1990 model year anything much older than that I have limited exposure to. I do not have very much transmission experience so those question you may want to ask of another expert. When you send me a question let me know the exact make/model/engine and year for the car or suv you have it makes it easier to answer the questions that way. If your happy with the answer I gave you please feel free to Donate. This is a free service to you and I am not compensated at all by this web site. I have 22 years of experience to share with you and my knowledge wasn't free to me. I had to pay for my education.


Experience in the area: I have been a technician in GM dealerships for over 22 years and I am a ASE master technician. I work at a Buick and GMC truck store Previously I worked at a Pontiac GMC store for 18 years. I Served a a lead technician when dealership was on a team system. I just recently moved to a Buick,Hummer,Saab Store when my franchise was purchased by this dealership. Organizations: ASE master technician


Education/Credentials:High school diploma,2 year vocational school degree 2 year college degree. Associates degree in applied sciences (auto technology)Awards and Honors: GMC master technician

Awards and Honors
Master GMC truck technician Master ASE technician in 9 categories

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