saturn head gasket failure


Old 01-24-04, 08:53 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 208
Angry saturn head gasket failure

I have a 95 saturn sc1 (sohc) with 109k miles. The other night my wife was coming home from work and she called me to say the heat wasn't working (-10 here). I told her it was probably a thermostat or something and I would check it out when she got home. She called back a couple minutes later saying the overheat light came on and she has pulled over.
To make a long story short the head gasket failed which caused crack in the head (oil in coolant).
Estimated cost $2500.
I have since done some research and found that Saturn issued a "special policy" for 94-96 soch engines that extened the warranty to 6/100k.
I was never notified of this, not saying it would have helped, but I would have been more aware, as I am a strict 3000 mile oil change person.

1. How would you handle the "special policy" situation.

2. Is this something I can fix myself?

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Old 01-24-04, 12:41 PM
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Trevor, WI
Posts: 97
You could certainly do this job yourself, and probably for less than $500. Make sure that you have a repair manual to follow. Give yourself a (few) weekends to do the job - and take your time. Check out the archives and info at - there is plenty of Saturn specific help at that site. You should be able to source a rebuilt cylinder head for a few hundred, or buy a used head and have a local machine shop check it for cracks and rebuild it. Make sure if you buy a used head , the supplier will get you another if there's cracks. Also, call the dealer service dept. to find out if they recommend new head bolts or not.... they are usually available only at the dealer.

Hope this helps some... email with any other questions,

Steve H.
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Old 01-24-04, 01:06 PM
Desi501's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Boynton Beach Florida
Posts: 2,207
I really doubt the $500 figure since the heads have a history of cracking. Your going to need to have at least some prior understanding of procedures because your going to have to set up the timing and seal everything oil tight. It's not a job you'd like to have to tear down a second time because you messed something up or it leaked.
Old 01-25-04, 08:51 AM
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Trevor, WI
Posts: 97
Make some calls to local auto/engine machine shops to see if they offer rebuilt heads with a warranty. Or you could order something online... there are many companies out there. In doing a search at there were several locations with used or rebuilt SOHC heads for sale that were under $300 for the head. Of course add the head gasket (set), bolts?, oil & filter, RTV... and it does add up.

It certainly helps to be familiar with all of the systems you're disrupting when you get into it. That's why good research and a good manual is important.
Maybe you can find a friend or relative to help for a weekend. Get all of the parts ready, do a lot of research, and go to it (one step at a time). Follow all of the steps, try to stay as organized as possible. And clean all parts as best as you can (meticulous)- any dirt is a no-no.

Good luck,

Steve H.

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