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Duramax 6600 Discussion Forum for the Duramax 6600 Diesel Engine, including the LB7, LLY, LBZ, LMM & LML engine specific topics.

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  #1  
Old 12-23-2016, 02:29 PM
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Default diagnosed head gasket failure

Hi all, so after all that overheating that we finally got diagnosed and resolved (clogged radiator + water pump just to confuse things).

It looks like my head gaskets are blown. 2004.5 LLY with 240K km on it. Seem a bit premature but hey, it did overheat quite badly a few times.

I brought it to a diesel specialist in my hometown and had them do an oil change + a general diagnosis on low coolant and they identified head gaskets, mostly when the truck was cool, once warmed up it seemed to be not so bad they described.

There's other items to do as well (brakes + ball joints / control arms.. .etc) I can and will do all that but I don't think i'm competent to tackle head gaskets.

They quoted $8k (CAD) so about 6k US + incidentals to do the head gaskets.

I'm going fish around for a competent 'off the books' mechanic to see if I can get that done cheaper.

My questions are: While it's opened up what else should I do?

Thanks allot,

Gary Lucas
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  #2  
Old 12-23-2016, 04:03 PM
rapidoxidationman rapidoxidationman is online now
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clean/shave the heads
replace the valve guides and seals
replace the water pump
Clean the EGR valve, and consider installing Kennedy's EGR blocker and finger stick
Replace glow plugs (OEM!!!) if they're still original

If you really want to save some cash, there's only a few special tools you need to do it yourself (besides having the heads machined/cleaned/resealed). It takes a solid week of days and a few gigabytes of photographs and a subscription to Alldata and a pad of paper to take copious amounts of notes, but it can be done. Carefully, and with a great deal more attention to detail than any mechanic whose only interest in the truck is money. You'll cut the price in half. IF you have the time and space to do it. Book time is about 40 hours; it took me closer to 60 but I made sure it was right.
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  #3  
Old 12-24-2016, 05:17 PM
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Thanks, I've done a bunch of research and I think the only thing that is likely a guaranteed blocker is that my garage isn't long enough for the truck. I've thought of pulling the engine out (another big piece of work)... Then I could wrap the truck up in tarps and store it in the driveway.... Work on the engine and then put it back in for the install. Sounds doable but quite challenging. I think I'm going to focus on the other issues (basic stuff) and see what kind of other quotes I get and then decide. I could definitely buy all the gear I'd need and still save a ton of cash + whatever the learning opportunities are.

Gary Lucas

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Originally Posted by rapidoxidationman View Post
clean/shave the heads
replace the valve guides and seals
replace the water pump
Clean the EGR valve, and consider installing Kennedy's EGR blocker and finger stick
Replace glow plugs (OEM!!!) if they're still original

If you really want to save some cash, there's only a few special tools you need to do it yourself (besides having the heads machined/cleaned/resealed). It takes a solid week of days and a few gigabytes of photographs and a subscription to Alldata and a pad of paper to take copious amounts of notes, but it can be done. Carefully, and with a great deal more attention to detail than any mechanic whose only interest in the truck is money. You'll cut the price in half. IF you have the time and space to do it. Book time is about 40 hours; it took me closer to 60 but I made sure it was right.
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Old 12-29-2016, 09:00 AM
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If you have someone else do it, I'd want that "someone" to have experience with the Duramax head gaskets.

As guy mentioned, "any mechanic whose only interest in the truck is (your) money" might not the be the right mechanic if he hasn't been inside one of these before.

Get a written guarantee of some sort.... though that usually comes with the understanding that he decides what to replace or rebuild.
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Old 01-02-2017, 09:11 PM
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Yah, I'm waiting until christmas / NY bs is over to start talking to mechanics. I have 3 people to talk to and I'm not even sure if the first diagnosis was correct. I think I'm losing coolant, I don't see any stains under the truck but I wouldn't with all this snow. The upper rad hose is perfect, the oil always looked fine. Could be it only happens when under load in the mountains.

I'm going to want to confirm the diagnosis before getting anything done for sure.

Once I get ahold of the other mechanics I'll be seeing what experience they have and selecting based on that. I may still go back to the original shop as they have a good reputation around here (so far as I can tell... No BBB complaints and not a member. They had 2 other duramax trucks IN the shop when I was in). Part of that decision will be while I confirm everything else they diagnosed as I go through those repairs myself.

If I'm not comfortable with those other mechanics and can't stomach $8k I may try to do it myself but the problems with me doing it are substantial. Can't fit the truck in the garage and my driveway is on a slant. I'd have to put ALLOT of effort into pulling the engine out + buy a bunch of heavy equipment I'll never need again or rent it... For at least a month... Somehow get the truck - engine out onto a slanted driveway safely... Block it up... Flail at the engine for 2-3 weeks part time or take a week off and just spend the whole week (7 days Sat - Sunday) beating on it...

Taking a week off if I can pay someone else my same rate of pay to do it in less time isn't very attractive, but I do want it done correctly...

In any case this is probably 4-8 weeks off. In the meantime I've got a whole pile of work that I can definitely do myself which will save me a bundle.

if I go through it and everything that was diagnosed as an issue is indeed an issue than at least I know this shop is thorough even if they do charge an arm and a leg for labor.

But, that being said... I don't really hold labor charges against shops when their doing detailed technical work. So long as their employee's are getting a reasonable wage.

Quote:
Originally Posted by More Power View Post
If you have someone else do it, I'd want that "someone" to have experience with the Duramax head gaskets.

As guy mentioned, "any mechanic whose only interest in the truck is (your) money" might not the be the right mechanic if he hasn't been inside one of these before.

Get a written guarantee of some sort.... though that usually comes with the understanding that he decides what to replace or rebuild.
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Old 01-03-2017, 01:58 PM
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I encounter a lot of people in denial that its head gaskets. Try EGR delete, no luck. Try thermostats no luck, try water pump, no luck.

If you can pull the engine in the garage then you should be in good shape. You will want a piece of 1.5-2"sq tubing about 4' long or so to lay across the torsion bars and support the bellhousing. Check my specs.

I have a push bar that I built here years back. A section of 3" sq tube with a 2" trailer coupler welded to each end. If you are careful this will work well for pushing in and out.
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  #7  
Old 01-03-2017, 04:23 PM
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Yup, sounds about right. I found a mechanic who seems to be competent. No experience with duramax trucks but has done heavy equipment (excavators and kubotas) and other diesel pickups. I'm going to talk to him and see how he sounds / what kind of background he has and if he seems reasonable. I'll also get a couple of estimates from the local dealers (hack cough $$) but probably no more than the first estimate.

The first guy i contacted laughed and said he wouldn't touch my truck (or any other diesel) for any money. At least he's honest.

Then I'm going to do the ball joints / brakes / steering gear / inner - outer control rods / fluids and after that I'll decide if it's reasonable for me to tackle the head gaskets myself / give it to someone with more background. From the above list the only thing I haven't done (although in my youth) is the steering gear. Everything else is mostly straightforward.

"I encounter a lot of people in denial that its head gaskets. Try EGR delete, no luck. Try thermostats no luck, try water pump, no luck." <-- LOL.

We think the head gasket thing is new, probably a result of the overheating I had 2 summers back. According to the tech's it's very minor but does appear when the engine is cold.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kennedy View Post
I encounter a lot of people in denial that its head gaskets. Try EGR delete, no luck. Try thermostats no luck, try water pump, no luck.

If you can pull the engine in the garage then you should be in good shape. You will want a piece of 1.5-2"sq tubing about 4' long or so to lay across the torsion bars and support the bellhousing. Check my specs.

I have a push bar that I built here years back. A section of 3" sq tube with a 2" trailer coupler welded to each end. If you are careful this will work well for pushing in and out.
For the hitch / bar concept. How would you get it in and out. There's no room in my garage for a second vehicle in front. I'd have to have something behind pulling out and then pushing in... Or some type of pulley and gear system rigged up. It's doable... But a little sketchy...
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Old 01-03-2017, 06:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gary_lucas View Post
......

For the hitch / bar concept. How would you get it in and out. There's no room in my garage for a second vehicle in front. I'd have to have something behind pulling out and then pushing in... Or some type of pulley and gear system rigged up. It's doable... But a little sketchy...

Two trucks: your truck of discussion, and another, tail to tail. The "bar" pins to both truck's hitch receivers. It makes for an easy push-pull, as needed.

I've used a more simple device, but it won't, obviously, be as robust as John's. Just a 10' length of 2" iron pipe (NOT fence pipe), with (larger than pin) holes drilled at each end. It isn't as strong, but more than strong enough for what it's used for, and it articulates enough that it doesn't have to be as precise of a line-up between the trucks. You can get creative with this, as necessary.
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  #9  
Old 01-04-2017, 06:45 AM
rapidoxidationman rapidoxidationman is online now
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Pulling the engine is a luxury, but not a neccessity.
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  #10  
Old 01-04-2017, 07:56 AM
Kennedy Kennedy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gary_lucas View Post


For the hitch / bar concept. How would you get it in and out. There's no room in my garage for a second vehicle in front. I'd have to have something behind pulling out and then pushing in... Or some type of pulley and gear system rigged up. It's doable... But a little sketchy...
Hitch to hitch, back to back, ball to ball. Nothing in front. The reason I chose 3" sq is the direct fit to the trailer coupler. I used a thinner wall tube (15 ga?) or whatever the std step lighter is so that the bar is not exceptionally heavy.

As for the front end is it really that bad that you need to replace all those parts? the 2011+ chassis is definitely more robust, but nothing night and day. I just had a 2014 in with 398k on the clock. I was sure that I could show him slop in the pitman and idler arms, but the front was tight and 100% original except for the grease...
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