TEST 2: Coolant Shooting Out From Open Radiator
This second test is another super easy test. But you do have to take one very important precaution.
This is that you have to make sure that the engine is completely cooled down before you open the radiator cap. So be careful take off safety precautions and remain alert all the time.
What we are trying to confirm, with this test, is to see if the head gasket is letting the combustion/compression pressures (from inside the cylinders) escape into the engine's cooling system.
This test is probably the second most performed head gasket test and it's one that we need to do before we move on to the next section.
NOTE: The ‘radiator cap’, on the 2.5L V6 Stratus/Cirrus engine is not on the radiator itself. It's on the engine, but I'll still use the phrase ‘radiator cap’ to describe it.
OK, these are the test steps:
Remove the radiator's cap. Add engine coolant if necessary.
Crank the engine with the help of helper, while you stand at a safe distance from the open radiator neck.
You'll see one of two results:
1.) The water or coolant inside the radiator will shoot up and out of the now open neck.
2.) The coolant will not be disturbed. In other words, cranking the engine will have no effect on the level of the water or coolant inside the neck.
OK, let's take a look at what your results mean:
CASE 1: The coolant bubbled out or shot out from the radiator. This test result let you know that you do have a bona fide blown head gasket on your 2.5L V6 Dodge Stratus (2.5L V6 Chrysler Cirrus). No further testing is required.
CASE 2: The coolant DID NOT bubble out NOR shoot out from the radiator. This is the correct and expected test result. In other words, the normal test result is that the engine coolant should not disturbed while the engine is being cranked over.
You're next test step is to check for a blown head gasket with a block tester. For this test go to: TEST 3: Using A Chemical Block Tester (Combustion Leak Tester).
TEST 3: Using A Chemical Block Tester (Combustion Leak Tester)
Doing a block test on your 2.5L V6 Dodge Stratus (2.5L V6 Chrysler Cirrus) requires a special tool. This will be of course, a block tester and its liquid chemical.
The block tester usually runs about 40 bucks (including its liquid chemical). You can run down to any auto parts store and buy it or you can save a few bucks and buy them online.
Either way, a block tester is the most accurate way to diagnose a blown head gasket. This test comes in handy the cases were the previous three tests did not confirm or rule out a blown head gasket yet the engine overheat every time you take the car out on the road
In a nutshell, this is how a block tester works:
- A blue liquid chemical, which is blue in color, is placed in the tester (see photo above).
- The tester assembly is then placed on the open radiator neck (you may have to drain some of the coolant in the radiator since this tool needs to ‘gulp’ some of the air inside the radiator).
- The rubber bellow is then squeezed to suck in the air up through the two fluid-filled chambers. As the air bubbles up through the fluid, it will cause a chemical reaction.
- If the blue chemical turns yellow (for gasoline engines) then combustion gases are entering the radiator thus confirming a head gasket, a cracked blocked, or cracked cylinder head issue.
- If the blue chemical doesn't change color, then you can conclude that you don't a head gasket, a cracked blocked, or cracked cylinder head issue.
Where can you get the chemical and block tester? At your local auto parts store or here: