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Coolant in oil, fresh build

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How screwed am I? Should I pull the engine right away or just the head? I am certain I caught this right away, it couldn't have run more than 45 seconds with coolant in the oil but that's long enough for it to circulate and get in all my nice new bearings. Experience only here please is a flush enough, if so is there an additive I should look into for getting rid of glycol? Or am screwed here and need to pull the engine no matter what. I still don't know the origin of the leak if its a cracked head, head gasket, or cracked block but I'm tempted to start with the low hanging fruit and just pull both heads.

Here's the play by play:
Fresh build I've been hawking the oil pressure and coolant temp (both mechanical) gauges and she's held solid 180deg so no overheating.
Blew smoke through an intersection, not a little it was a lot (think Uncle Buck), she misfired a bit and I saw the temp gauge go erratic shut her down immediately. Towed it home and found coolant on dipstick.
The Build:
'71 440rb .030" over
Edelbrock Performer RPM heads 84cc
Xtreme Energy Hi-Lift 241/247 Hydraulic Flat Tappet Cam
RPM Performer Intake Manifold
Don't remember pistons but my CR was 10.x something
Felpro 1009 Head Gasket


PXL_20240529_025559745.jpg
 
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NOTE: New in box Edelbrock heads went straight into motor, not to the machinist like they probably should since the shop I was using closed on my during my build. I'm highly suspicious that they were not as flat as they should have been, I've read some horror stories on here but decided to risk it anyway... we'll see if I become another statistic.
We would like to hear about the horror stories and statistics of the heads not being as flat as they should have been.
Before diving into what the problem may be.
 
First you need to make sure it's a head gasket leaking.
Maybe they just needed to be retorqued?
The FelPro gasket is pretty forgiving.
If you can correct the leak I'd try a couple quick oil changes.
These engines aren't that delicate.
 
Edited the post. Don't wanna get distracted from the point or assume causes just meant to point out I did not have the heads prepped before install as most builders seem to recommend. This is my first build so I don't really have experience or know what I'm talking about.
 
I know what you meant but new head problems are usually valve stem height and valve seating machining.

Having your screen name match your e-mail is probably not a good idea.
Maybe check with the moderators and get it changed. :eek:
 
that flat tappet cam isn't going to be happy, I would seriously consider fresh assembly lube
 
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Get a coolant system pressure tester from Advance auto parts and find out exactly how the coolant is getting in the oil.
 
I had the same problem with a fresh build head gasket antifreeze in the oil and in a cylinder fixed the gasket two quick oil changes and it was fine still running with no problems
 
I had a problem similar with a small block fresh rebuild, leaking head gasket. Have also had bad intake seal get water in the oil.
 
Intake manifold gasket? I had coolant mix with oil through my intake manifold gasket on a 360
 
Thanks for all the replies very helpful, I've been using this forum as my go to for all my issues during the build over the past 2 years but this one I couldn't find quite what I needed just searching around

Ok so I think my current plan for tonight is this:
1. Try to locate leak using a pressure tester and looking at spark plugs
2. Retorque the heads and pressure test again to see if that resolves or improves leakage.
3. Report back and see where I'm at

I guess my only question is regarding the pressure testing won't I be pushing more coolant into whatever cylinder is leaking and don't I want to avoid doing that as much as possible? Does it make more sense to do a compression test on each cylinder?
 
Guys, Fel-Pro 1009 is a 0.039" HP head gasket for a Big Block so water does not go thru the intake. On a wet intake, this is the first place I go and ask if the customer used the cork/rubber valley rail seals. Always use RTV there as the seals WILL hold the intake up, and will dump copious amounts of water into the crankcase.

Brian, what is the bore size, and year of block?
 
Thanks for all the replies very helpful, I've been using this forum as my go to for all my issues during the build over the past 2 years but this one I couldn't find quite what I needed just searching around

Ok so I think my current plan for tonight is this:
1. Try to locate leak using a pressure tester and looking at spark plugs
2. Retorque the heads and pressure test again to see if that resolves or improves leakage.
3. Report back and see where I'm at

I guess my only question is regarding the pressure testing won't I be pushing more coolant into whatever cylinder is leaking and don't I want to avoid doing that as much as possible? Does it make more sense to do a compression test on each cylinder?
Yes, I feel that you are wasting your time doing a pressure test as you already know that water is getting into the crankcase. Remove the plugs and spin the motor with someone watching for coolant coming out of a plug hole. That would be you starting point on which head to remove. You can then inspect the head gasket and look for any cracks in the cylinder wall of the offending wet cylinder. As far as retorque goes, another waste of time. A leak this bad won't magically be cured by overtightening the headbolts. Fel-Pro head gaskets are "Perma-Torque" and do not require a re-torque as head gaskets of yesteryear...
 
Ok guys on new engines use straight water only for the first day. So when this happens you don't have antifreeze in the oil.

Sorry you had this happen, lots of work now.
 
Guys, Fel-Pro 1009 is a 0.039" HP head gasket for a Big Block so water does not go thru the intake. On a wet intake, this is the first place I go and ask if the customer used the cork/rubber valley rail seals. Always use RTV there as the seals WILL hold the intake up, and will dump copious amounts of water into the crankcase.

Brian, what is the bore size, and year of block?
Looking for pics, I wanna say its a '71. Stock bore .030" over.
 
Another thing you can try is take off the rocker arm shafts and put air pressure on each spark plug hole.
Take off the radiator cap and look for bubbles. You can find the offending cylinders that way.
 
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