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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I read an article on Rx mechanic for a good temp fix involving a "steel sealant. " but I haven't got clarification on that product. Does anyone know what I should use?
Also for a rookie, how long do you realistically think it would take to actually change that gasket if one had to?
I'd rather try the sealant first.
 

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Sealants are not good for the engine much beyond the 5min it "might" help get you home in an emergency.

The head gaskets typically aren't the issue on these engines, it's 99% of the time the coolant passages on the lower intake gaskets that need updating to the aluminum version before you spin a bearing.

It only takes an afternoon to get into the top of the engine. I'd pick up a set of gaskets and go that far to seal it back up. If the issue is deeper, you can re-use them until there's many more miles on them. Check out a few videos to get all the details on what goes where, and when you'll need to apply RTV and teflon tape during the process, too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
OK my car isn't towed yet. Should I start off by taking off the valve covers etc before doing anything else? And if I find the water in there then it's def the manifold gaskets or could it still be head gasket?
Thanks
 

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You don't even need to pull a valve cover, but you haven't told us what's going on. Have you looked at the dipstick? In my experience, bad intake gaskets have shown up as milky oil but relatively clean coolant. Both intake gaskets and head gaskets can cause coolant to seep into the oil, but 3800 heads seal very well. If your coolant is relatively clean, then the likelihood of having a head gasket problem is incredibly slim. I'd be more concerned about head gaskets if your radiator contents looked the same as your oil pan contents, but I've never seen a 3800 do that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Spark plugs are all dry. It's manifold gasket and not head gasket pretty sure?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
You don't even need to pull a valve cover, but you haven't told us what's going on. Have you looked at the dipstick? In my experience, bad intake gaskets have shown up as milky oil but relatively clean coolant. Both intake gaskets and head gaskets can cause coolant to seep into the oil, but 3800 heads seal very well. If your coolant is relatively clean, then the likelihood of having a head gasket problem is incredibly slim. I'd be more concerned about head gaskets if your radiator contents looked the same as your oil pan contents, but I've never seen a 3800 do that.
Yeah the coolant is clean. Dip stick looks like light chocolate milk, and the case is so full of milk it's coming out the valve cover which I'll have to replace also.
 

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Valve cover gaskets and grommets for the bolts are pretty cheap on RockAuto, as are the new style AC Delco intake gaksets.

You could even confirm your head gaskets are fine via compression test by borrowing the tool from the store with deposit. After you do the intake and have some fresh oil in it (I'd do a cheap oil change round for a day, then oil change of choice)... Pull all plugs, yank fuel pump relay, and crank over for 3-5 rotations and note max value on each cylinder (throttle open or closed, be consistent). Values should be within 10-20psi across all 6, hopefully even closer. One that's way lower would indicate an issue.
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Compression tests are OK, cylinders dry. Replace lower intake manifold and got chocolate milk again after first run. Looks like it lost more coolant again after ran it for 15 minutes
 

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I'd try a pressurization test on the radiator cap at this point. I think they rent those, too.

Has the car been overheated recently that'd cause a head to crack or blow an HG? Those are usually a cause of this. Just trying to get an idea before you drop $75 on HG's and bolts, for it to keep happening. Front cover is the only other place besides the top end where these 2 fluids are kept separate by a small gasket.
 
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