I have 319k on my truck, no major repairs, just coil packs, alt, Radiator, Hubs. Head pitted around the water neck and leaked coolant and has been patched with JB weld for over 200k. I drove my truck home from work Friday and there was no problems. I went to start it up Sunday and it went Thunk. I had a couple of probs with the starter some I installed a new one on and it did the same Thunk. Let down of jack stands. Yes it is 4X4 but I'm fat and needed the extra room for my belly. Turned the key and it turned over, but I had to pump the gas" never had to do before" It started. Noticed steam coming out of exhaust and shut it down. My question is This trck has only been hot 2 yrs ago when I had to replace my Radiator. I know the obvious answer is the Head Gasket, but I have heard that there were problems with the intakes pitting and developing leaks. Is this true? What steps would you recommend I take to insure proper diognoses. I would hate to have to pull the heads and rplace the gaskets if not needed really dont want to pull the motor. Note that my oil is not milky and truck ran great when I parked it 2 days prior. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
A faster/cheaper test might be to do a pressure test on the cooling system, and if it will not hold pressure and has no visible leaks, you can be pretty sure it's a head gasket. Restarting it and seeing more steam from the exhaust would tend to confirm, after this pressure test.