About two years ago I wrote about a product called Steel Seal. A revolutionary product that claimed to fix a head gasket and minor crack without any major engine work, here is an up to date review on its progress and some advice that may help you in the future.
So first of all what is a Head Gasket?
A head gasket is one of the most important seals in the engine, designed to withstand the intense heat and pressure of the combustion process as it forms the seal between the cylinder head and the engine block. This position makes it responsible for sealing the combustion chambers, as well as the oil and coolant passages that run between the cylinder head and block. The head gasket has a tough job, helping to keep the intense forces of combustion confined to the combustion chambers rather than the coolant system or oil ways. There are three types of head gaskets. The first is the multiple layered steel or mls, it is included in most modern head engines, and consists of three layers of steel. Another type is the solid copper head gasket. It is a solid sheet of copper and usually requires special machining called o-ringing, in which a piece of wire is placed around the cylinder to bite into the copper. Gaskets made in this way is are extremely durable. The last type is the composite type, which is made from asbestos or graphite, but is more prone to blowouts than newer metal gaskets.
How do you know if your head gasket is going or has blown?
While the head gasket is designed to perform this vital function for the life of the engine, a variety of factors can cause it to fail prematurely. Among the most common causes of head gasket failure is engine overheating, which can cause the cylinder head to swell or warp, breaching the head gasket seal. Engine misfire or detonation is another problem that frequently leads to failure of the tough head gasket seal, the force of it damaging the combustion armor in the chamber, leaving the head gasket directly exposed to the heat and pressure of combustion, eventually forcing the seal to give way. The signs of a faulty head gasket are namely, presence of coolant in the engine oil, engine oil in the coolant, or overheating. If your head gasket is leaking coolant, your engine won't run long because it will quickly overheat. If it is leaking compression, you can keep driving but you'll notice a significant loss of power. Any number of things might have caused the head gasket to fail. One of the most common causes is engine overheating. If the engine overheats for any reason and gets really, really hot, thermal expansion between the cylinder head and block can literally crush the head gasket armor around one or more cylinders (usually the centre cylinders because heat concentrates here more than any other place in the engine). Once the armor has been crushed, it loses its seal and starts to leak compression and/or coolant. The gasket quickly erodes and the condition gets worse and worse until it can't be ignored any longer. If overheating was the cause of the head gasket failure, it's important to figure out why the engine overheated so it doesn't happen again. If the water pump, radiator, hoses or engine is leaking coolant, the leaks have to be found and fixed. If the engine got too hot because the cooling fan wasn't working or the radiator was clogged, these problems need to be diagnosed and repaired. Otherwise, the head gasket may fail again if the engine is running hot.
How does Steel Seal work?
Steel Seal is added to an antifreeze/water mixture and poured into the radiator of a cold engine. Once the engine is started and reaches operating temperature, SteelSeal is distributed through the engine. The product is drawn into the damaged area and seals the crack with a thermo-chemical bonding action process. This is similar to that of an epoxy resin just in liquid form!
So what do you need to do if you’re using Steel Seal?
Well it not as complicated as you might think, here are the instructions from our web site:
Steel Seal needs to be introduced to the vehicles cooling system for best results,
1. If you have tried inferior products or run an antifreeze other than an ethylene glycol flush your cooling system with water after disconnecting bottom radiator hose. Do not use a flushing agent.
2. If you have flushed system reconnect bottom radiator hose.
3. Engine must be cold, turn the heater to maximum but not the fan.
4. Using factory recommended antifreeze (ethylene glycol), pre- mix one Litre of water and one litre of antifreeze with recommended amount of Steel Seal. Do not use with any other antifreeze! Before starting the engine, pour the pre-mixed solution into the radiator or header/overflow tank first, then top up the radiator/cooling system if is not yet full with an additional mixture of 50% water and 50% antifreeze.
5. Tighten the radiator cap back on.
6. Start the engine. Holding the Revs at around 1,000RPM. Continue this process until the temperature has reached 210f/99c degrees (This is normal operating temperature, just wait until the fan has kicked in) then stop the engine and allow it to cool for one hour. After the engine is cool, start it again and be certain that the temperature reaches 210f/99c degrees again and then allow it to call once again. Repeat this step one more time within the same day. After the thermostat has opened release all air within the system and top up the radiator with more coolant if required, replace radiator cap on tight let the engine cool completely.
7. Now you can drive vehicle as usual. To carry out the above sounds more complicated than it is. It is a relatively simple activity.
These directions are for people that have a lot of pressure building in the cooling system, usually shown as bubbling in the header tank or air forcing past the coolant cap.
1. Locate the cylinder causing the bubbling in the overflow tank or backpressure. (Remove plugs one at a time till bubbling stops)
2. Follow the directions above up to and including No.5.
3. Before starting the engine, remove the spark plug or injector from the cylinder that was causing the bubbling in the overflow tank or backpressure. If accessible, remove injector wire from that cylinder. This will limit the amount of unburned fuel going into the combustion chamber.
4. If you can not find the spark plug that is missing, run the engine with the coolant level down to the top of the radiator core and with the radiator cap off.
5. Continue with direction No.6 above. Make sure to run the engine two times up to temperature with the spark plug /Injector out and for the one final time with the spark plug/injector back in place.