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Billy
Billy, Chevrolet tecnician
Category: Chevy
Satisfied Customers: 511
Experience:  Over 25 years experience,GM grand master for 8 years,certified smog and government safety inspector
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How can you tell that your intake gasket is bad and not your

Resolved Question:

How can you tell that your intake gasket is bad and not your head gasket?
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Chevy
Expert:  Billy replied 7 years ago.
Hello and welcome to just answer.

Well that depends, but generally a bad intake gasket will cause a vacuum leak (head gaskets will not) and intake gaskets may leak coolant inside the oil pan/intake but not inside the cylinders.
If your car is loosing coolant, then pull the plug, top-up and pressure test the cooling system, and check to see if coolant accumulates inside the cylinders.

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Best regards,
Billy.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
That all sounds pretty complicated is there any easier way to tell. I also found some (looked like) oil/water mix plugged up in the EGR valve. I'm not a mechanic, just trying to do it myself to save some money.
Expert:  Billy replied 7 years ago.
Hello again,

Does the engine oil look like "milkshake" when you pull out the engine oil dipstick?
What type of vehicle are we talking about here?
Model, year and engine size please?

Billy
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
No, engine oil is clean under the oil cap and on the dipstick. 1995 Chevy Corsica 3.1 L
Expert:  Billy replied 7 years ago.
Hello again,

If the engine oil/filler cap is clean and the car doesn't loose coolant, then I wouldn't worry to much at this time. EGR valves tend to get plugged up sometimes from short driving distances and/or incomplete fuel burning in the cylinders from the same reason.
Clean or replace the EGR valve, clean the passages, install a new PCV valve and make sure the vacuum hose at the pcv is not damaged, collapsed or disconnected.
Then just monitor the system and all fluids.


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Best regards,
Billy.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

So let me get this straight. You feel that the head gasket is not blown and that by replacing the intake gasket I have fixed the problem. Oil is not on the cap or dipstick and that I should clean or replace the EGR valve. Thanks for your help.

Expert:  Billy replied 7 years ago.
Hello again,

Interestingly, now after all this time your initial question just came through in full with the rest of the information you have already posted (year, model, white smoke, etc...)
Hmmmm....must be a glitch in the system.
The white smoke put a different spin on the situation. If the engine keeps on emitting white smoke all the time or at start up, then it is possible the the head gasket is blown and coolant will leak inside the cylinders.
Intake gaskets leaks will not have the same affect.
You will need to keep an eye on the coolant level as well as you can go to a local shop and they can measure the HC emission in the cooling system while the engine is running. Generally a blown head gasket could be diagnosed this way.

Best regards,
Billy
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Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Thanks for your help.