head gaskets on our cars are not that bad...the most important things I can mention are....cleanliness...be sure you clean the head and block very good and very carefully....timing...must be done right...trust me on this one....if the gasket is blown badly and the car overheated I would take the head to a machine shop to be checked out....and carefully look at the cyl walls for cracks.....those are some of the things that pop into mind....heck while ya got the car down that far replace the water pump....and do not forget the new timing belt....even if you replaced it anytime more than 5000 miles ago...but if yoiu are stuck on reusing the belt then be sure to mark the direction of travel so you put it back on the same way....but for my piece of mind it would be wrth the 40 or so bucks for a new belt as well as the small investment of a water pump....but that's just my bits....have fun and do not rush it....esp if it is the first time you have done this
My 86 wagon all of a sudden belched white smoke from the exaust after I started it up at the local shopping mall. This was 6 years ago but the weather was the same as we are experencing right now in Pa. I thought damit Im not putting a head gasket on outside so I took it to the dealer who said about $300 for a head gasket. They called me with the bad news and said the head was cracked. $800 dollars later the car ran better than it ever did. But given a choice before any work was done I would have junked it before fixing it. I sold the wagon to a co-worker 3 years ago and at 205,000 miles its still running daily. A bit rusty by now. You have to determine how much you want to spend and how long you want to keep the car. My 92 wagon I drive uses a little antifreeze and misses for 3-10 seconds when I start it up. You can smell the antifreeze in the exaust when it starts up and the 2nd plug gets funky. I allready scouted out heads at the local "you pull it " junk yards but in the mean time I added Bar's leak powder and it fixed it 100% since the summer. I got lucky, I hope you do to.
I know Advance Auto here can get the head sets for a decent price...and while you havethe head off take it to a reputable machine shop and have it checked out...with the age I would also get the vallve guides replaved and the valves cleaned and reseated...while you have it out...also if you are interested in getting it ported and polished intake and exhaust this would be a good time...if you would like e-mail me and I will get you the prices and part numbers from here
WATER OUTLET GASKET 1
O RING 1
VALVE COVER (NITRILE) 1
THROTTLE BODY 1
OIL SEAL 2
O RING 4
INSTALLATION AID 2
VALVE STEM SEAL-VITON 16
SURGE TANK 1
EXHAUST MANIFOLD 1
INTAKE MANIFOLD 1
AIR VALVE RING 1
HEAD GASKET 1
EXHAUST PIPE FLANGE 1
is this worth $180 US ? or should I just get the Head gasket for $55 ?
all of it except for the valve stem seams - but they're the cheapest part anyway - so yes, that's what you need.
plus a new timing belt. you're gonna kill yourself if you don't shell out $15-20 for a new one and replace it while you have the chance... and i don't care if you put it on yesterday, a month ago, 10 years ago, if you've had it on, take it off, and plan on putting it back on an interference engine, you're asking for it.
and make sure you know how to set timing. seriously.