Head gaskets? Should I attempt it? - TCCoA Forums
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 03-22-2008, 12:30 AM Thread Starter
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Exclamation Head gaskets? Should I attempt it?

Stats: 90 T-bird. 3.8L. 180K miles. Rusty.

OK well I tackled the dreaded heater core today. It wasn't so bad, just time consuming.

In doing the job, I discovered the coolant in there was really murky. Well long story short the coolant settled to the bottom and the oil settled to the top of what drained out of the cooling system. The oil looks great (had a recent oil change) and I put in new coolant today so I'll keep an eye on things. I'm not sure a head gasket is blown or on it's way so I'll keep an eye on it.

In the event the head gasket(s) need to be replaced just how big of a job is that? Obviously taking the top half of the engine off is a big job but is it doable? Has anyone got a nice web page / thread on how to do the job? I didn't see a "sticky" thread.... but I'm well aware of the 3.8L headgasket reputation!!
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 03-22-2008, 02:42 AM
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It's extremely doable, even for those without mechanical experience. All you need is a Haynes manual or similar, all the parts, the right tools, and a good weekend to devote to it. It's a very straight-forward process.


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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 04-03-2008, 01:30 AM
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I'm sure that I am a little bit late here, but I will chime in for ya.

I had absolutely no mechanicing experience at all before I did my HG's. (except for basic like plugs, and oil changes) It took me a while (2 months) to do my car, but I got it completed with a Chilton manual. Wasnt hard, just time consuming trying to juggle work, school and the car.

Long story short, best thing I have ever done to my car. I've learned so much from it, and benefited greatly. Now I could go out there with a 6-pack and a weekend and get it completed (when I have the right tools)

~X=Remember, every problem is a blessing in disguise=X~

96 3.8 NA, 180* T-Stat, PnP Upper and Lower intake, Air Silencer Removed 9" K&N added to fender well, Mild J-modded transmission, 24K B&M Supercooler, 2.25" dual Magnaflow high-flow cats w/2.25" di/do Magnaflow, JVC El-Kameleon LX-30.

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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 04-07-2008, 01:09 AM
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Ok well not sure what you decided to do but IF it were me I would probably send it off to a yard, its old, high miles, and rusty. Anything you put into it will be a loss, unless you are very sentimental with the car. In which case I would keep it and do it my self because I know what that feels like, I had to fix my car after the accident from the airbags forward.
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 04-07-2008, 03:37 PM
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Head Gasket

Mine blew about two weeks ago, I got a mechanic estimate that was right around $1800 for parts and labor, I found the gasket set for $75 bucks (felpro gaskets) for the whole engine (top end) at Autozone. But along with everything else you'll need or want to replace while you're in there (water pump, thermostat, spark plugs, wires, hoses) I think I came out with under $400. So I'm still $1400 in the positive. It took me about 5 days just working a little bit at a time and quite a few phone calls to someone who knew what they were doing. So take your time, plan on spending more than just two days on it and you should be fine, get the manuel, take plenty of pictures and make sure to organize the bolts and nuts as they come out....a good clean garage or shop and a flex head ratchet help! And technical assistantance from the web always helps....
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