Alero possible head or manifold gasket leak?

I have a 2000 alero 3.4 w/ 144000 miles and it was missing off of a cold start for a while. And I had to add antifreeze once. I replaced the surge tank cap and I didn't have to add anymore. But I still had
the missing. I bought a code scanner and it said it was missing on the #1 cylinder. I checked the spark plug and found that inside the ceramic it was rusty. ( I happened to have snapped it in half taking it out. It seemed to have broken easily. Maybe it was cracked already.) The end that sits in the head looked fine. No corrosion or anything. Just normal wear. Since I replaced the plug it has not recorded a missfire. But 2 days ago i drove it and it overheated. I replaced the thermostat and it now runs fine. I have not seen any white foamy oil or oil in my antifreeze. And it does not put out strange smoke from the tailpipe. Early on in this ordeal you might smell antifreeze when you were near my car but I never saw any anywhere, and not more than once or twice. It didn't throw any other codes. It has only overheated the one time. Should I buy a combustion leak detector and see what it says? And if so will it tell me if the manifold gasket is leaking or just the head?
Thanks in advance for your thoughts and suggestions.
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I had a 2001 and it blew the manifold gasket by the thermostat.. bolts loosened off.. Replaced the manifold gasket and all good

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It still misses when it is cold. Just started doing it again.
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It still misses when it is cold. Just started doing it again.
Did you check/replace the manifold gasket as Chevrolet suggested?
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I have not replaced it. I do not see any external leaks. What else would I check for, without taking it apart.
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wrote in message news:c4b41919-0985-40dd-

You can try pressure checks of the cooling system. Some of those leaks may show up externally, others may leak internally. Since you had to add coolant, it makes it a bit suspicious.
People used to blame the DexCool, but I think it goes further than that. The gaskets themselves were questionable, and installation methods have been blamed as well.
FelPro has a set of gaskets that I would use if I were going to do this job. I wouldnt use DexCool, but it has nothing to do with the gasket issue.
You know, of course, that any time you remove a spark plug cable, as you had to do when you replaced the plug, there is a definite risk that the cable may fail due to its delicate internal structure.
Im not saying you DO have a leak, but dont dismiss the idea just because you cant see coolant running down the heads or block.
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ignition modual or coil pack combined with bad wires was an issue with my Alero 3400sfi motor.. stuttered when cold
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You know i looked at the ignition module end of the spark plug wire and it was a bit corroded. I am going to clean it and see if that makes a difference.
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wrote in message

Up down up down up down, like a toilet seat. That's what this thread is. Who said what, and when? Who the f*** knows?
Ordinarily I snip and rewrap any post I reply to, but this one is so marvelously confusing and wonderfully obfuscated by various clueless pogo-posters as to be virtually impossible to follow. For this reason I have left it as-is, as an example.
Add to that Outhouse's total failure to wrap quotes properly and you have a complete mess. Disgusting.
Sorry for the OT rant. Rant mode is "off" now.
--
Tegger


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Hell - a good rant is a good rant. I use Outlook Express and I don't have any problem posting consistently beneath the applicable text. No wrap problems either. The pogo stick thing is purely a poster issue, not a reader issue.
--

-Mike-
snipped-for-privacy@alltel.net
  Click to see the full signature.
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Easy to happen. When you have the DIS system, you won't stutter with just one cylinder...automatically two will be weak..
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Are you still loosing water? Usually if you are leaking in to a cylinder that plug will be very clean when u pull it as the water steam cleans the cylinder.
At this point I wouldn't be assuming head gasket without more proof.
Steve B.
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I am not losing any water now. I did take another look at the old thermostat and it seemed to be physically stuck. And it had scrape marks on it. I just cleaned the plug wire connection on the coil pack a little bit ago. We'll see when I go home if it does the trick.
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In my experience, you seldom can estimate the condition of a plug wire just by looking at it (unless it is burned in two, of course.) Measure the resistance with a good VOM, or just replace them if you think they are bad.
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the weakest point of the cooling system is the intake plenuim gasket in the 3.4 and the 3.1 look real close below the thermastst housing on top of trans belhousing for trails of coolant stains if the intake is leaking
jdmcfish wrote:

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