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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
My faithful 2001 XE-V6 Automatic is having some very hard times, and I would appreciate some feedback.

About 206K Miles on her life. Previous owners gave her a very hard life, poor maintenance if any done. I'm struggling waiting for disability hoping for a decision real soon. My XTerra is my home, and probably the main reason I'm not back in prison on a parole violation (good ole 170hp gas generator to keep GPS charged).

Here's the issues I'm seeing: (Oops, wrong key posted this early)
White Smoke out the exhaust in the morning only, more than normal condensation.
Slight sediments developing on brand new coolant reservoir (One week old as of tomorrow)
Oil scent coming from brand new coolant in reservoir.
Coolant disappearing with no signs of external leakage.
Rough running when first started, goes away after about a minute.
Random misfire code appearing intermittently
Real hard time starting up a couple nights ago (took about 4 Minutes to fire up, strong battery, good cranking speed)

Recent work that's been done:
New Timing Belt w/water pump, seals, belts, tensioner
New Ignition system - Distributor all the way to spark plugs (almost eliminated rough running misfires)
New Cooling system - Fan Clutch, thermostat, Dual Core Radiator, Radiator Cap, Reservoir, Upper/Lower/Short Radiator Hoses
Oil Change
The Radiator was just installed with the reservoir last week with new fresh 50/50 coolant

Additional Notes:

Vehicle overheating when we first bought it due to radiator cap neck not securing the cap tight enough.
First single core radiator put in suffered massive fin damage due to mental health break down during install.
Multiple overheating issues to the point of the needle trying to pass the H, and even a code twice relating to high temperature at low load.

I'm hoping to get this vehicle to last about 3 more months before we have to do major service, as our resources are badly depleted with the recent work. Has anyone tried these snake oil head gasket repair chemicals on a short term basis?

In regards to repairs, what are some good brands for Head Gaskets on our XTerras?
We are contemplating one of three options:
Overhauled Junk Yard Heads
JDM Engine replacement (supposedly about 46K Miles)
Rock Auto (or Other) Re-manufactured Heads to swap on.

Biggest thing is to try and help the vehicle survive until mid to late Janurary before major work.

My normal commute is about 5 Miles per day <40mph. Once or twice a week about 25 mile commute <65mph. I get about 11-13mpg. Except for freeway speeds, Throttle is so light the transmission shifts between 1.5-2K rpm. Cruise control on freeways and most 40mph stretches.

BTW, people say the XTerra is a slow dog, yet my biggest slow down most of the time are the damn people in front of me. The girl has little problem very easily handling daily driving with power to spare. Still not my 300zx Turbo though. I also still say if I ever meet the engineers who designed our engines and packaging, I'm going away to prison for life (Damn #6 Plug, and why did they eliminate the 5th head bolt per cylinder the VG30's had).
 

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yeah thats a classic blown head gasket, could try blue devil but its usually just snake oil and doesnt help much. sorry to hear about all your troubles, i was helping a guy as much as i could who was living out of a mercury villager van that is a rebadged nissan quest with these same engines yes #6 is a pain but not as much so as doing it on a van where the engine is transversely mounted. remeber the vg engine was actually designed in the 80s and not used until the late 90s so many things were slapped on to bring it to the modern standards, he was having similar issues at similar mileage you were, he endfed up needing a new head gasket blue devil stopped it for a bit but then it came back
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you for your response. Do you by any chance know how long the blue devil did help the person. I know it's going to need a head gasket, but I'm just looking to hopefully put it off for a couple months.
 

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it was slowing his enough where he just needed to add coolant every now and again for a bit, not sure exactly how long he had been running it
 

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Discussion Starter #5
While I was searching around on reviews for BlueDevil Head Gasket sealer Pour and Go; I found some references to the symptoms I'm having being possibly due to a leaking intake manifold/gasket.

Pulling open the service manual, I do see how the cooling circuit does pass through the Intake manifold. Some have said if you're not seeing coolant contamination in the crankcase (ie. dipstick), then you may have an intake manifold coolant leak. It sounds like it can produce a lot of the symptoms I'm having.

What is the feel of the community, has anyone experienced issues with bad intake manifolds (or their gaskets) causing internal coolant leaks with white smoke but no crankcase oil contamination?
 

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head gaskets can leak in (oil gets dirty and you see cross contamination) or out (you are losing coolant but dont see it anywhere and get smoke in exhaust) you need a head leak tester kit, autozone and orieely both rent these and the needed fluid to use it for a refundable deposit. this will help you determine if its a head or manifold leak
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Just wanted to post an update. I did the head leak test kit today (with the windex looking fluid stuff). The fluid stayed blue after 3 minutes of idling and pumping the vacuum ball thing. Instructions said to only pump it up to two minutes, but I like going overboard when resources allow.

Earlier this week I popped open the air bleed bolt for the cooling system (the one on top of the plenum with the tag that says do not open when hot). A lot of little bubbles came out, but no air. Also while doing that, I got a misfire code on cylinder 6, which has it's runner near that bleed port. A previous misfire code (that hasn't shown up in months) indicated cylinder 4 (also near that port), and a dealership diag once told me that bank was running lean. I cleared the Cylinder 6 Misfire code and none have returned after about a week. I still have cooling playing and and go seek with me, and it seems very good at hiding. Today while idling with the radiator cap off, as I was letting it expel some of the coolant to bring the level down, majority of the time the coolant was a steady solid flow if coolant. Very minor foam when I'd rev the engine up, but no boiling or air bubbles.

I also scored a new low of about 8.x mpg with no changes in driving patterns last week.

At this point I'm thinking an intake manifold gasket issue, but I am open to any other suggestions, or ways I can test the intake gasket before I tear the plenum off. I will keep the forum informed as we make more progress, but with low finances, progress goes very slowly (<$500 a month to cover fuel, insurance, and cell bill).
 
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