RWD - Out of blown head gasket woods?

Volvo RWD 900 Forum

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Out of blown head gasket woods? 900 1994

Dear U.S. Diver,

Hope you're well. A few questions. What were the likely time interval(s) between belt failure, temp gauge rise, and your shut-down? What was the ambient temperature? How long did the car sit, before you drove it home?

Headgasket failures are more often the result of complete coolant loss, caused by failure of a heater control valve, a heater/radiator hose, etc.

Because your engine did not lose its coolant - the coolant overheated - it is not likely the engine block or head temperature rose far enough for long enough to over-stress the headgasket. That only a small amount of coolant exited the the system - via the overflow tank cap - suggests the overheating was brief.

A brief over-heating - under a minute, when ambient temperatures are "low" (say 50⁰F = 10⁰C) - is not likely to over-stress the headgasket. The overheated engine will lose heat more rapidly (to surrounding cool air), than will be so, when ambient temperatures are "high" (e.g., 90⁰F = 32⁰C).

Cast-iron and aluminum expand at different rates as the engine's temperature rises. That expansion-rate difference creates a shearing movement, that the headgasket absorbs. A brief overheating is little different than that which occurs, when the engine is run "hard" and ambient temperatures are "high".

In short, I'm pretty sure you'll go many miles, before a headgasket change is needed.

Hope this helps.

Yours faithfully,



New Out of the blown head gasket woods? [900][1994]
posted by  U.S. Diver  on Tue May 14 11:39 CST 2019 >

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