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Mike V.
Mike V., Nissan Technician
Category: Nissan
Satisfied Customers: 24003
Experience:  Nissan factory trained and Certified Subaru Technician.
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Maxima: Actually, I'm looking on how to determine

Customer Question

Actually, I'm looking for information on how to determine whether my car needs a head gasket or not.. I currently have the valve covers and upper / lower intake off with camshafts exposed.
The issue originally surfaced after the car was driven, and the radiator went. Upon investigating that issue, I realized that there was some oil in the overflow tank. I towed it home, and found the hole in the radiator. I drained the rest of the fluid from the system , but no oil was found. It was the same color as it usually is. Drained the oil and it appeared to be the correct consistency as well.
What else should I be looking at to figure why there was oil in the overflow? Since oil floats on top of water, I was thinking that there was a small leak over time. I also don't really know how to tell which head is the issue.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Nissan
Expert:  Mike V. replied 1 year ago.
Hi there, Do you have an misfire codes? Or did you when the engine was running?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

There were not any misfire codes and the CEL was not on.

Expert:  Mike V. replied 1 year ago.
Ok, basically there are 3 methods you can use for checking the head gaskets.Two of which you can do without the engine running.First would be a leak down test. Basically with a leak down test you put compressed air into each cylinder one at a time. Then listen for bubbling in the cooling system.The second would be a pressure test on the cooling system. Put a pressure tester on the radiator for about an hour. Then remove each coil and plug aand look down into the cylinder with a flashlight. If there is a leak you will normally see coolant on the piston.Third would be doing a combustion test. When doing these the engine has to be running and the coolng system is tested for exhaust gases.Other then oil that looks like a milkshake these methods are best for checking the condition of the head gaskets.Please let me know if you need anything further. Also, please remember to rate my answer. I really appreciate it.Thanks so much!