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  #1  
Old October 11th, 2018, 19:59
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jbeintherockies jbeintherockies is offline
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Requesting advice regarding coolant contamination in oil

The following was provided by Blackstone labs about a week ago:

"The coolant leak has gotten worse since 11/2016. The increases in potassium and sodium show more coolant contamination in the oil, and that will need addressed sooner rather than later. But coolant isn't causing poor internal wear at this point, and it didn't thicken the oil above grade or cause a lot of oxidation (insolubles are okay). This is probably a head gasket leak, or maybe a cracked cylinder head. The TBN is strong, but we suggest no more than 3,000 miles between oil changes."

I am looking for advice; I'm not sure what to do?

I need to buy new tires NOW, which is one of the reasons why I am posting this. Should I buy the tires that I have always had (BFG AT's, which last almost 70k miles) or go cheap with the expectation that it isn't going to last much longer (36k tops) due to the head/head gasket issue? My current plan is to keep driving it, change the oil every 3k, and continue to do the oil analysis every 6 months or so. Once the oil gets bad, then make a decision. But that doesn't help me with tire selection now.

Background info on my Cherokee:

The vehicle is a silver 2000 XJ Limited with 199,150 miles and the polished Rubicon wheels from 2003. I have owned it since September of 2002. I bought it with 36k miles on it off lease. The Jeep is completely stock, has some rust, but is clean, especially interior. Fluid changes have been by the book, new rear leaf springs installed two years ago, new Bilstein shocks last year, the front diff was rebuilt at 82k (no current issues). Earlier this year I had a new windshield installed, transmission and coolant flushed, new battery and new serpentine belt. This summer I installed new front wheel bearing assemblies, new rotors and calipers (factory bleeds had seized), new u-joints (all). The trans seems fine, rear main seal leaks (not bad enough to fix), the transfer case leaks (getting close to bad enough to fix), the rear diff makes some noise (sounds like pinion bearing, not bad enough to fix). The rear diff’s wheel bearings and seals were done two years ago; drums were rebuilt then too. It will need a new exhaust eventually (still on stock exhaust). Water pump is about 3 years old and radiator is about 1 year old. I installed H4 beams including upgraded wiring harness over a year ago. It has an Alpine stereo system with sub and amps. It starts and runs great; still gets well over 20 mpg on highway! I have the ability to do the job myself and I have the money to pay someone else to do it, or buy a new vehicle. So this isn't about money. It is more about making a good decision on how to proceed.

I have successfully done heads on an old car (340 Plymouth) and various other stuff. I haven't done major vehicle tasks, like engine/trans/diff rebuilds. So doing the head myself isn't out of the question. I have the tools and friends to help if needed. It just takes time to do the job. I have to locate a replacement head, have the machine work done, buy all the gaskets and misc. parts, deal with seized bolts, etc. Getting everything taken care of before I start the job is a must. Then I worry what else is going to go after I do the head. However, my brother has 285k+ on his '96 Cherokee and it still runs perfectly. So these things (as you all know) will go for 250k+.

What would you do?

Thank you in advance for reading my long-winded post and providing feedback.
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  #2  
Old October 11th, 2018, 20:56
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alexgalexg alexgalexg is offline
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Requesting advice regarding coolant contamination in oil

So heres what I recommend. Just do the head gasket. Sinking as everything turns jeeps are easy to rebuild.

I would recommend replacing the head as well. Chrysler is a very bad company and put their cheap junk head that is known for cracking on 2000 and 2001 cherokees which is known for blowing so replacing the head with an 0630 head is highly recommended. This is an older head that performs much better and isnt known for cracking. It may not be plug and play as far as spark goes because you have coil packs, most XJ vehicles have a distributor so you may want to Google that.

As for a simple head gasket change that is easy. All you'll head is the following
Head gasket
Exhaust manifold gasket
Valve cover gasket
Assembly lube
New head bolts
Coolant
Oil
Filter
Fuel injector o rings (12 o rings for both sides of each injector)
Loc tite for head bolt to the right of the thermostat.

It's an easy and inexpensive fix. If you want some pointers here is my video on the job. Just click around you dont have to watch start to finish
https://youtu.be/9RF8pe2x3n0

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  #3  
Old October 11th, 2018, 21:13
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Requesting advice regarding coolant contamination in oil

This is disassembly. Again just click around. Reassembly video includes torque specs
https://youtu.be/zTAmSDXdFek

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  #4  
Old October 12th, 2018, 18:51
md21722 md21722 is offline
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Re: Requesting advice regarding coolant contamination in oil

I would buy the tires you have always run & just replace the head and head gasket. You can buy an 0331 TUPY head online from eBay shipped to your door. Fel Pro gaskets from NAPA, Auto Zone, or wherever you like to buy parts. If it's your only vehicle and you aren't too familiar with working on the engine because its been so reliable, you can do some practicing ahead of the job. For example, take out the air box and crack the manifold bolts loose and stuff like that. I ran into a similar problem with my 2001 XJ. I also bought it at 36,000 miles. In 2011 it had an overheat incident from a failed shut thermostat. I monitored it with oil analysis and changed the head in 2014 when it worsened slightly. My Jeep has a lot of highway miles, so parts lasted a really long time. The factory alternator went out around 286,000 and about a year later I did the springs & steering. The AW4 is one of the longest lasting transmissions every made and routinely outlasts the engine. The NP231 transfer case also last a long, long time.
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  #5  
Old October 13th, 2018, 10:50
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jbeintherockies jbeintherockies is offline
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Re: Requesting advice regarding coolant contamination in oil

Thanks guys for the advice. Alex, the videos are helpful, too.

I located a TUPY head not far from my residence. Sometimes things just work out.

I will get the head, disassemble it, take it to my machine shop and go from there.


I bought the KO2's yesterday. They look real good! I am changing my diffs/TC fluids today.


Have a great weekend!
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  #6  
Old October 15th, 2018, 14:27
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alexgalexg alexgalexg is offline
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Requesting advice regarding coolant contamination in oil

Good luck. Make sure you keep the push rods and rocker arms in order unless you are getting new sets

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  #7  
Old October 15th, 2018, 15:02
RCP Phx RCP Phx is online now
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Re: Requesting advice regarding coolant contamination in oil

Quote:
Originally Posted by alexgalexg View Post
Good luck. Make sure you keep the push rods and rocker arms in order unless you are getting new sets

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Push rods and rockers don't matter at all. If you pull the lifters then you need to keep track!
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  #8  
Old October 15th, 2018, 15:18
TommyD TommyD is offline
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Re: Requesting advice regarding coolant contamination in oil

X2 on replacing the head. My went at 112K. The videos were extremely helpful. IIRC you'll need a 12-point 13mm deep socket. Every set I have are all 6-point. I bought this at my local Home Depot:
https://www.homedepot.com/p/Husky-1-...13MM/202934377
The socket necks down inside and I had to enlarge the opening in my drill press to get it to fit over the head bolt.
Also, I advise cleaning the lifters after scraping off the old gasket. A piece of the old gasket could fall off, get in the lifter, and the result is a stuck lifter. Easiest tool for removing a lifter is something like this:
https://www.harborfreight.com/15-lb-...ool-95933.html
As noted, keep track of what goes where, especially lifters.
That head is heavy! If I ever have to do it again I'll use my engine lift.
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Old October 17th, 2018, 08:45
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alexgalexg alexgalexg is offline
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Re: Requesting advice regarding coolant contamination in oil

Quote:
Originally Posted by TommyD View Post
X2 on replacing the head. My went at 112K. The videos were extremely helpful. IIRC you'll need a 12-point 13mm deep socket. Every set I have are all 6-point. I bought this at my local Home Depot:
https://www.homedepot.com/p/Husky-1-...13MM/202934377
The socket necks down inside and I had to enlarge the opening in my drill press to get it to fit over the head bolt.
Also, I advise cleaning the lifters after scraping off the old gasket. A piece of the old gasket could fall off, get in the lifter, and the result is a stuck lifter. Easiest tool for removing a lifter is something like this:
https://www.harborfreight.com/15-lb-...ool-95933.html
As noted, keep track of what goes where, especially lifters.
That head is heavy! If I ever have to do it again I'll use my engine lift.
That's a good idea. 4 times now I've had these heads only held by my fingertips arms fully stretched trying to install it perfectly as to not damage the gasket lol

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Old October 17th, 2018, 10:59
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lazyxj lazyxj is offline
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Re: Requesting advice regarding coolant contamination in oil

Quote:
Originally Posted by alexgalexg View Post
That's a good idea. 4 times now I've had these heads only held by my fingertips arms fully stretched trying to install it perfectly as to not damage the gasket lol
To go a step farther, several times I have clamped the head to the bench and installed both the intake and exhaust manifolds before using the engine hoist to drop the head onto the block.
The manifold bolts on my 2001, with a Banks header, are very difficult to access even when on the bench, installed, they are just about impossible to reach. YMMV
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Old October 17th, 2018, 18:32
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alexgalexg alexgalexg is offline
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Requesting advice regarding coolant contamination in oil

If you decide to dig in and remove the head feel free to PM me. I have the torque specs you'll need saved to my computer

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Old October 20th, 2018, 21:16
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jbeintherockies jbeintherockies is offline
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Re: Requesting advice regarding coolant contamination in oil

Got the head today, along with an AC compressor and a like-new water pump; all for $150.

However, the AC compressor is for a 2004 Grand Cherokee; so it doesn't fit my 2000 XJ. I didn't realize that until I got it home. I'm not sure the water pump does, either. If it doesn't, I will post an ad on craigslist and try to sell the compressor and water pump.


https://drive.google.com/open?id=1Iy...ueuQxOlyxmTQM7





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Old October 20th, 2018, 21:59
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alexgalexg alexgalexg is offline
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Requesting advice regarding coolant contamination in oil

Rock auto has new parts for cheaper than what auto stores sell "refurbished" I would get new compressor and water pump and thermostat if you have the money. But priority to the stuff you'll need for the head such as assembly lube, loc tite for bolt 11 I think (bolt to right of thermostat), gaskets, oil ect

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Old October 21st, 2018, 06:35
RCP Phx RCP Phx is online now
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Re: Requesting advice regarding coolant contamination in oil

Be careful, you need a "thread sealant" not a "thread locker". I use Permatex....... https://www.permatex.com/products/th...hread-sealant/
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Old October 21st, 2018, 07:01
RCP Phx RCP Phx is online now
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Re: Requesting advice regarding coolant contamination in oil

BTW: the front exhaust stud is a "wet" bolt also.
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