Manifold Gasket Leaks - Intake And Exhaust Are Both Bad
Manifold Gasket Leaks – Intake And Exhaust Are Both Bad

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Intake And Exhaust Leaks Are Both Bad

All manifold gasket leaks are bad; and as a result can cause all kinds of problems; if not fixed quickly. Intake and exhaust are both bad and do fail quite often.

Let’s Start With The Intake Manifold Gasket

So, The intake manifold gaskets are responsible for; sealing the intake manifold against the cylinder head. Apart from sealing engine vacuum; certain designs will also seal engine coolant. When the intake manifold gasket leaks; it can cause drivability problems; and even engine overheating.

Usually a faulty intake manifold gasket will produce a few symptoms; that can alert the driver of a potential issue:

  • Engine misfires
  • Decreased engine power
  • Poor acceleration
  • Reduced fuel economy
  • Coolant leaks
  • Engine overheating

When ­engines were made of all cast iron; the intake manifold was easier to seal. Consequently, all you needed was simple and relatively inexpensive metal gaskets. But, With the introduction of multiport fuel injection; the intake manifold had to seal more than just the air/fuel mixture. Manifolds became more complex; and plastic became a popular material for casting manifolds; due to its low weight and cost.

But, Today is different, On engines with aluminum cylinder heads; corrosion typically erodes the area around the coolant ports. In this case; you can’t blame the leak on the gasket.

Some manufacturers redesigned the intake manifold service gaskets; for some of their problem applications. They’ve changed the sealing beads from silicone rubber; to a tougher material called fluoroelastomer (FKM) rubber. As a result, it is much more resistant to oils; solvents and chemical attack. The original OE gaskets as well as the revised service gaskets; are usually black with orange sealing beads.

When servicing engines; pay close attention to the sealing surfaces; around the coolant ports on the heads. If this area is eroded or pitted; the intake manifold gaskets may not seal properly. Above all, Even the smallest leak in a intake manifold; can cause a fuel trim problem. Consequently, Finding a leak can be time consuming using just your eyes and ears.

Furthermore, Intake manifold air leaks will suck in air; not expel it. So, What is sucked in will influence the fuel mixture; and impact engine and emissions systems.

A smoke machine allows you to diagnose multiple leaks; in less time compared to other ­methods. Consequently, A smoke machine can pressurize the intake manifold; and put smoke or vapor into the system. Finally, If there is a leak; you will see the smoke come out.

So, What About The Exhaust Manifold Gasket

The exhaust manifold gasket; as with any gasket; acts as a sealing surface between two different metal components. The gasket is usually made of layers of metal or composite materials. Consequently, preventing leaks as the two metal surfaces go through; countless heating/cooling expansion and contraction cycles.

Generally, exhaust manifold gaskets are hardy items; often lasting well over 100,000 miles. A lack of engine maintenance and carbon buildup; however; can cause hot spots in the combustion chambers and exhaust ports. This can cause a gasket; to catch fire or expand outward. This is a good reminder to use fuel system cleaners; to remove carbon buildup.

So, A failed gasket also allows fresh air into the exhaust system; at a point it wasn’t designed for. As a result, It is not uncommon to end up with burned exhaust valves.

When exhaust manifold gaskets fail like this; the symptoms are rather obvious:

  • Increased engine noise
  • Smells or visible exhaust emissions
  • Loss of performance
  • Excessive fuel consumption

Exhaust gas typically flows through the exhaust manifold; catalytic converter, resonator and finally the muffler; which connects to the tailpipe. Finally, Each of these parts needs to function properly; for the system to work.

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