How To Test A Blown Head Gasket (1990,1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995 3.0L Nissan Pathfinder, D21, And Pick Up)

This tutorial will help you find out if your 3.0L V6 Nissan Pathfinder (D21 or Pick Up) has a blown head gasket.

In a nutshell there are four tests that you can perform on the engine to find out if one or both of the head gaskets are blown.

In this tutorial I'll explain all four in detail so that you can perform the test at home.

This tutorial applies to the following vehicles:

  1. 3.0L V6 Nissan D21: 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993.
  2. 3.0L V6 Nissan Pathfinder: 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995.
  3. 3.0L V6 Nissan Pickup: 1994, 1995.

Symptoms Of A Blown Head Gasket

For the most part head gasket problems can be categorized into two different types of failure.

Either the head gasket failure will cause the engine to not start or the head gasket failure will permit the engine to start but it will overheat.

Although the following list is not a complete list of symptoms of a blown head gasket, these are the most common:

  1. Your 3.0L V6 Nissan Pathfinder (D21 or Pick Up) is overheating for no apparent reason. All engine cooling system components (like fan motor, water pump, etc.) are working fine.
  2. White smoke is coming out of the tail-pipe and it smells like anti-freeze being cooked.
  3. Your Nissan won't start.
  4. The engine oil is thick and a tan to an off-white color.

TEST 1: Engine Oil The Color Of ‘Coffee With Too Much Creamer'

Engine Oil The Color Of Coffee With Too Much Creamer. How To Test A Blown Head Gasket (1990,1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995 3.0L Nissan Pathfinder, D21, And Pick Up)

In the majority of cases when one or both head gaskets get blown, you're going to see that the engine oil looks like coffee with too much creamer.

This is due to the fact that one or both head gaskets are allowing engine coolant into the crankcase.

The end result of this is that the engine oil looks like coffee with too much creamer.

We can easily check for this condition by simply checking the condition of the engine oil that's sticking to the engine oil dipstick.

Let's get started:

  1. 1

    Open your Nissan's hood.

  2. 2

    Pull out the engine oil dipstick.

  3. 3

    Check the color of the oil sticking to the engine oil dipstick.

    You'll see one of two results:

    1.) The engine oil looks like coffee with too much creamer.

    2.) The engine oil is its usual normal color.

Alright, let's analyze your test result:

CASE 1: The engine oil has the color of coffee with too much creamer. This test result confirms that one or both head gaskets are blown on your 3.0L V6 Nissan Pathfinder (D21 or Pickup).

CASE 2: The color of the engine oil is normal. This is the correct and expected test result.

The next test is to see if the engine's compression pressures are escaping into the engine's cooling system (radiator). For this test go to: TEST 2: Coolant Shooting Out From Open Radiator.