steam in exhaust

95 Vortec V6 making steam in exhaust. How can I test to decide if the leak is from the head gasket, or the intake manifold gasket?

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H20 is a normal byproduct of combustion and water or steam in the exhaust is normal. Some weather conditions make it more obvious than others.
Now, if the "steam" is opaque white and smells sweet, accompanied with a constantly lowering coolant level, then you might have a problem. If it is blowing coolant out the tailpipe, a cylinder leakdown test will identify the problem cylinder<s>. If all cylinders test ok, it's most likely the intake gasket.
Doc

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Hi, Thanks Doc. The weather was sunny/warm. the engine was idling for about ten minutes when I found a leaky heater core and thought oh goodie!. So I bypassed the heater core, and let the engine idle for a long long time hoping to also charge the battery. Steam was lightly exhausting enough to make my hand moist. water would dribble slowly from the pipe.
There is no water in the oil, and there appears to be clean water in the rad although it dissapears.
I wish I had better tools like a leakdown tester.
Is the intake leaking a more common problem?
Here is some photo's http://ca.geocities.com/thenippleliquor /

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Sounds normal to me. At idle the exhaust isn't hot enough to completely vaporize the water and you get the dribbling out the tail pipe and some steam. If you have a compression tester and an air compressor you can do a leakdown test although on an Astro it's gunna be a PITA getting the compression gauge's hose into the plug holes!
Did the exhaust smell sweet?
Neither the head nor intake manifold gaskets are a "common" failure item on this engine, but that's not to say that isn't the case with yours. You really need to pressurinze those cylinders and see what's going on.
Doc
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Well , I didnt really notice a sweet smell, and the water was clear. One thing, if I shut it off for a few minutes and try to restart, it is extra difficult for the starter to crank over untill it gets one or two revolutions. then it cranks over easier for a while before it starts back up. (almost like a hydraulic effect when a cylinder has fluid in it.)
Thanks Doc, I will try to at least do a compression test. I dont have a compressor.

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oYo says " There is no water in the oil, and there appears to be clean water in the rad although it dissapears." ------------------------------------------------------ If the water in the radiator is "dissapearing" I would suggest that there is probably a leak in the head or intake gasket. A simple compression tester might help,but if you've got steamy exhaust,hard initial cranking,and water disappearing,you've got a leaking gasket or a crack. If you are using "clean water" ie.without coolant additive,you won't get a sweet smell anyway. Take out the plugs and check their condition then check compression.
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Air bubbles in coolant tank while it is still cold. As well as high pressure in the radiator hoses. Many times if you have a head gasket leak that allows coolant in the exhaust will also allow exhaust in your radiator.

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"'&amp;#40;oYo&amp;#41;'" wrote: > 95 Vortec V6 making steam in exhaust. How can I test to decide > if the leak > is from the head gasket, or the intake manifold gasket?
this can take a while, but it will tell you if it is a head gasket. do a compression test on all of the cylinders. if you dont want to do that, try this. with most head gasket problems (not all) you will have at least one "dead" cylinder. one by one, WITH A PAIR OF INSULATED PLIERS OR SPARK PLUG WIRE PLIERS remove the spark plug wires from the spark plug. if the engine speed changes, that cylinder is ok. if not, there is your "dead" cylinder.
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