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Old 03-27-2013, 10:58 AM   #1
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Does towing increase your chances of blowing a head gasket?

We are towing with a 2007 Buick Rainier, which is the Buick nameplate of the Chevy TrailBlazer. We're towing a 2004 Jayco 23B ultra light. The towing capacity of the Buick (it has the towing suspension) is over 2,500 gross towing weight less than what the trailer comes in at. I figure this gives more than enough capacity when you add the weight of passengers and all the stuff. Our RV and our car dealer were all unconcerned.

Still, I get a lot people at campgrounds who are surprised when they see our TV.

I'm also a little scared about something. Twice in the last nine months I've noticed that the coolant resivoir is below the Fill line. I don't see any obvious leaks or cracked hoses, and I've read that this can be indicative of a cracked or about to blow head gasket.

Question is whether towing would produce any increased failure of the head gasket? Everything I'm reading and all the numbers tell me that we're well within range, so in theory it shouldn't, but from a practical perspective, have I made any error in judgement on our towing setup?
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Old 03-27-2013, 11:18 AM   #2
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I'm not familiar with the towing capacity of your Rainier, but your owner's manual should tell you. That said, if you are within your limits, the mere act of towing should not cause anything like a head gasket to blow, assuming your head bolts are torqued down properly. The loss of coolant can easily happen if the radiator or cylinder block water passages are partially blocked, which could cause the working temp to rise above normal levels, and coolant could then be gradually forced out the pressure cap on the radiator. One way to tell if you have an internal cyl head leak caused by a partially blown head gasket is white smoke coming out the exhaust. That would be the coolant being burned in the cyl with the fuel. Hope this helps.
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Old 03-27-2013, 01:31 PM   #3
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Does towing increase your chances of blowing a head gasket?

Towing a trailer would not effect the head gaskets. If you are losing coolant you need to find out why!!!
The problem may be minor but a sure fire way ti ruin the head gaskets or engine is to overheat one. If your on the road and the leak gets bad it can leak out your coolant to the point where there is no coolant on your sensor therefore you dont get a accurate temp reading.( coolant sensors cannot read air temp) get it checked out before venture far because the price to fix is never cheap on the road. Just my .02
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Old 03-27-2013, 02:31 PM   #4
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I have found it not to be uncommon with the extended life antifreezes to have to add to them occassionally. All of my GM vehicles that have used the extended life antifreeze have "used" a bit of antifreeze. No failures of any type so far and that is 3 trucks, a Trailblazer, and a Suburban.
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Old 03-27-2013, 03:24 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tinlizzie23 View Post
I'm not familiar with the towing capacity of your Rainier, but your owner's manual should tell you. That said, if you are within your limits, the mere act of towing should not cause anything like a head gasket to blow, assuming your head bolts are torqued down properly. The loss of coolant can easily happen if the radiator or cylinder block water passages are partially blocked, which could cause the working temp to rise above normal levels, and coolant could then be gradually forced out the pressure cap on the radiator. One way to tell if you have an internal cyl head leak caused by a partially blown head gasket is white smoke coming out the exhaust. That would be the coolant being burned in the cyl with the fuel. Hope this helps.
X2

I have to add fluids to all my vehicles periodically, coolant and brake fluids most often.

You can use a laser thermometer on your radiator to check the temperature and to see if you have any blockages (look for temp differences). Just remember most radiators the hot fluid enters the top of the radiator and the cooled fluid exits the bottom. So there should be an even gradual temperature decrease as you go down the radiator.

I also like to use the laser thermometer to check my TV & TT brakes, when I stop. It is really easy to tell if you have a brake not working or if one is hanging up.
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Old 03-28-2013, 10:50 AM   #6
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X2 on the laser thermo. I have one, and use it occasionally as Jagiven says, but forgot to mention it. Not real expensive, either, and handy to have in the tool box.
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Old 03-28-2013, 01:05 PM   #7
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Don't know which engine your vehicle has, but another possibility is the intake manifold gasket. GM & Ford were at one time using a plastic intake manifold gasket on some engines that was notorious for cracking and slowly (to start) losing coolant. It's an "invisible leak" until it becomes serious by overheating or hydrolocking the engine. Here's a list of the GM engines that experienced the problem. Don't know if the problem has been fixed with a redesigned gasket or not:

Some makes and models are notorious for these failures. General Motors had problems with their 3.1, 3.4, 3.8 and 4.3 V-6 engines for a number of reasons including the use of plastic in the construction of the manifold itself and the car maker's factory fill of DEX-COOL coolant. This culminated with GM compensating complainants for the DEX-COOL related failures.

If the coolant reservoir is requiring more than a little topping off, I would suggest getting your vehicle into a mechanic and ask them to perform a coolant system pressure test. Good luck.

Edit: Another thing you can check yourself is pulling the oil dipstick and checking the appearance of the motor oil. If it has a "milky" appearance, it could be contaminated/diluted by coolant.
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Old 03-29-2013, 09:18 AM   #8
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Sounds fine to me if no coolant is found in the oil. If it returns to the normal level after it sits for awhile.
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Old 03-29-2013, 09:23 AM   #9
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weights

Not to side track your question, but your trailer is 4200lbs dry. That leaves you 1500lbs. The buick is rated for 5700lbs. Add passengers, gear, fuel, ect, you will be close to max.
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Old 03-29-2013, 11:15 AM   #10
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Not to side track your question, but your trailer is 4200lbs dry. That leaves you 1500lbs. The buick is rated for 5700lbs. Add passengers, gear, fuel, ect, you will be close to max.
Thanks to all. I'll keep an eye on it and check out some of the things mentioned here. I plan on keeping it for a few more years so I don't want to let things slide, especially if it could lead to something major.

The towing capacity is listed as 6700 is using WDH, which I have equipped.
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