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Dan, Technician
Category: Chevy
Satisfied Customers: 23964
Experience:  Independent Shop Experience, 2 Year Automotive Diploma, & Access to Information Database
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Chevrolet Cavalier: I removed the cylinder head for my 2000

Customer Question

I removed the cylinder head for my 2000 Chevy Cavalier 2.2 to change what I believe is a blown head gasket. Before this I had tried a quick fix by pouring two cups of sodium silicate into the radiator to seal the cracks which only worked temporarily. Upon inspecting the cylinder water jackets, I noticed almost all of them had partial clogging. Some could be scraped or picked away, others were set like solid rock or steel which I'm having a hard time removing. The corresponding water jackets on the block don't have as much clogging and its easier to remove the scaling. I'm assuming that this is the hardened sodium silicate or "liquid steel head gasket". On the old gasket, I can't clearly observe any real cracks especially between the cylinder and the water jacket holes.

1. How else could the coolant leak into the cylinders if not through a blown gasket?

Also, the new Felpro gasket that I ordered matches almost exactly with the old one except that it does not have the corresponding holes for the water jackets. There are tiny pin holes but not the matching v shaped or wing shaped holes. I dont get it.

2. Can I drill or cut the corresponding water jacket holes into my new gasket?

Thank you

Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Chevy
Expert:  Dan replied 4 years ago.
Welcome to JustAnswer, my name is Dan and I'm here to help get your problem resolved. The only other thing that would cause coolant to leak into cylinders is a cracked block or a cracked head. You can drill holes in gasket as long as you do not damage the gasket but I would bring head to a machine shop to have it tested for cracks, if good then replace the engine because the block is cracked. Let me know if you have questions or if there is anything else I can do to help. Thanks.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Is it normal for a new head gasket not to have the corresponding water jacket holes?

Expert:  Dan replied 4 years ago.
No, it sounds like there was a manufacturing problem with the head gasket, it should definitely have the holes. Let me know how it goes or if you have any questions, thanks.