Tips and Tricks for a Coolant-Losing GM V-8
When GM introduced the Duramax diesel in 2001, it was truly a state of the art engine. Since its introduction, the Duramax has gone through LBZ, LLY, LBZ, LMM, and LML designations, with a number of revisions along the way. While all iterations are fairly reliable, the older ’01-’04 LB7 engines and ‘04.5-’05 LLY’s are starting to show their age. Blown head gaskets are fairly common in these earlier year trucks, as wear and tear, aftermarket tuning, and high mileage are all contributing factors to failure.
To get the down low on replacing head gaskets the right way, we tagged along with Jason Carrier at Xtreme Diesel Performance in Chico, California, to see how it was done. The truck in question was a ‘04.5 LLY, which thanks to heavy towing and a hefty tune, was in need of a new head gasket. The truck had started using coolant, a little at first, and then almost a quart a week. It was clear something needed to be done ASAP before anything else got hurt, so the truck was immediately put under the knife.
One thing to remember about a head gasket job on a Duramax is that it’s very labor intensive. Book time is nearly 40 hours of labor, which means that there’s usually nearly $4,000 in labor alone. Since it’s not something you want to do twice, Carrier walked us through some tips and tricks during the installation that will ensure the engine’s gaskets will last for decades to come. DW
Why Does it take so long??
A lot of people are incredulous that a Duramax head gasket job can take so long, so we kept track of everything that needed to be removed or disconnected and reinstalled in order to replace the head gaskets. Ready? In no particular order…
Whew! Now you know why it takes so long.
Terrill’s Aluminum Cylinder Heads
Xtreme Diesel Performance