Odd sludge deposit = Head Gasket or PCV? - Turbo Dodge Forums : Turbo Dodge Forum for Turbo Mopars, Shelbys, Dodge Daytona, Dodge SRT-4, Chrysler PT Cruiser, Omni and more!

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post #1 of 6 Old 12-28-2016, 10:08 AM Thread Starter
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Odd sludge deposit = Head Gasket or PCV?

I noticed some brown sludge the other day under my oil fill cap and thought it would be the head gasket (especially after I ran my finger under the inside edge of the cover through the fill cap port). But when I pulled the valve cover yesterday, instead of sludge everywhere, I found the sludge spot was very localized (pics - underside of valve cover fill cap and same area on the head). The oil on the end on the dipstick is of regular appearance but there were some brown deposits near the top of the dipstick. There is no sign of this sludge anywhere else. I developed the theory that the stud was leaking coolant from the gasket. A pressure test of 15 lbs at the radiator cap for 20 minutes showed no leak of fluid or air from that stud (it stayed clean as a whistle - pic). I'm not sure what to make of this... maybe negative pressure was drawing in humid air from the atmosphere through the cap and dipstick? Could the PCV do this?
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post #2 of 6 Old 12-28-2016, 11:18 AM
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Re: Odd sludge deposit = Head Gasket or PCV?

Does the car get driven much? Long enough for the engine to get up to full operating temperature and then run for a while after the initial warmup? Cars that do not get run very much or for only short drives will often collect moisture by condensation in the engine and the moisture never gets a chance to be burned off or evaporate under the heat of the engine.

If this engine is not using or leaking coolant it's a given that it can't have a cracked head, blown head gasket, or a leak. If you don't know the service history of the engine, or what it's typical utilization and run time was then your first course of action would (may I suggest) be to simply give the inside of the cover a really good cleaning, get all that baked on goo off there, and of course the milky sludge, install a new pair of end pieces with some RTV (or a new gasket if it's the 89+ 1 piece design) and re-install the cover.

No need to crank down real tight on the 9 bolts that hold the cover down, and be sure to place the cover straight down on the engine because the right rear corner (as you look over the engine)likes to get hung on the cam cap and tightening the RR corner bolt will snap off the valve cover corner if the cover is caught on the cam cap underneath. Work your way around the cover a turn or two at a time till all the bolts are snug. The 4 corner bolts are the ones that crush the end seal to make a good oil tight barrier. It's good to then let it sit about 12+ hours to give the RTV time to cure and form a good tight seal. If you didn't know, the valve cover is frequently a source of oil leaks and doing this seemingly simple job right, will help avoid them. Also it's not bad to come back at 500+ miles to check those 9 bolts to be sure they are still snug.
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Last edited by ILIKESHELBYS; 01-11-2017 at 05:02 PM.
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post #3 of 6 Old 12-28-2016, 07:57 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Odd sludge deposit = Head Gasket or PCV?

ILS,

I'm betting you are right about that sludge deposit... I had the thermostat out for the last few months, knowing I would be draining the system to repair the leaking exhaust manifold stud (which I am doing now-I disassembled the turbo hoses and airbox for access and have high temp red permatex for the seal and a fail-safe thermostat). Should I re-torque the head while the cover is off (up to 90lbs min, per final turn specs)? Also, where do I get end pieces (I had the fel-pro gasket and it did leak)? What concerns me about the atv is the mess of scraping and cleaning the bond if I need to go back in). What is the rate of application to prevent squish out into the head cavity with those end pieces on there? After cleaning the sludge, I was going to put a few ounces of seafoam in and change the oil (due anyway) after 50 miles. I might as well change the oil pan gasket as it is leaking and clean it out. Might I change the oil pump while in the pan (187,000)?

Thanks, Your input on this matter has been much appreciated.
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post #4 of 6 Old 12-28-2016, 10:47 PM
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Re: Odd sludge deposit = Head Gasket or PCV?

I don't run a PVC on any of mine, just an open hose off the valve cover nipple and never get sludge like that, even in -40 temps.

However, I always run a T stat so if you're not, that would be my guess.

I don't even use T stats with the 1/8" bleed hole in winter as it can decrease heater output temp.

A 192 T stat and a good run with an open hose should clear that up in short order.

Our Turbo 8 V Engines generate lots of crank case heat so sludge is rarely an issue

An oil pump caution, many new ones aren't that good so check it carefully before using.

I always try to run a good used factory pump whenever possible.

I retorque every head, starting lower than the finishing # to determine the difference.

1989 Turbo valve cover should have the one piece "rubber string" gasket. ??

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post #5 of 6 Old 01-11-2017, 04:28 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Odd sludge deposit = Head Gasket or PCV?

Follow up: *Good outcome* I cleaned out the valve cover and put a thermostat in as suggested by Ilikeshelbys...the outcome is that running at operating temperature the sludge has not returned. I have Seafoam in for a couple more days before the oil change and I am still trying to decide if I want a one piece Felpro oil pan gasket ($40) or fight with the 4 piece and atv ($16 + $5 for atv). Thanks for all that input...that sludge freaked me out a bit
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post #6 of 6 Old 01-11-2017, 05:02 PM
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Re: Odd sludge deposit = Head Gasket or PCV?

I have not seen a one piece oil pan gasket for the non-common block engine, only the common block and I think that the good quality FelPro 1 pice for the common block is good stuff. The earlier engines use two rubber end pieces and two cork side rail pieces. Throw the cork away, it's useless and I guarantee it will leak no matter what. Use only the end pieces and put something like Mopar RTV or Permatex Ultra Black or Grey in place of the cork. It's important to lay a dab in the corners where the rubber end pieces meet the oil pan side rails. This would be where the end of the cork would touch the end of the rubber seals. A solid round 1/8" or 3/16" bead down each side is more than enough for a good seal. After you apply the bead, let it set for a few minutes before you install the pan and do your best to not nick the bead during the install. After the install, no need to muscle down on the bolts either, just snug them down, and then wait 12-24 hours before you run the engine to give the RTV time to set and harden. Be careful to not get RTV adhesive by the way. If you make this mistake, getting the pan off in the future will not be quite so easy!

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