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Ball park figure for a head gasket replacement job


mark7's Avatar
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01-29-05, 05:38 PM   #1  
Ball park figure for a head gasket replacement job

I have a 1994 pontiac Grand prix that I think has a blown head gasket.It was running high temp and the low coolant light come on.I got it home right away,added coolant and found it was down almost a quart of coolant.I didnt see any heater hose leaking or anything else,but I checked the exhaust pipe and it was very moist,wet actually.I dont think that I overheated it,but can anyone tell me how many hours the book says it takes to repair this?It is a 3.1 litre.Is there any thing to check to make sure.Someone suggested that I look in the radiator,which I did.and there is a little bubbling action going on,not much,but I was hoping that that was from the water pump moving the coolant .Any input,suggestions,comments are greatly appreciated.Thanks.

 
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the_tow_guy's Avatar
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01-29-05, 05:49 PM   #2  
One of the pros should be along with an exact figure, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was 6 hour job and ran in the $800-1200 range. At that age you're going to want to do both banks even if you could determine which one was blown. Probably a good idea to do a pressure/leakage test on the cooling system to confirm the problem.

How's your oil look on the diptsick? Any sign of water or does it have a peanut butter appearance to it? Any sign of whitish smoke/steam out the tailpipe while it's running and/or does the exhaust smell sickly sweet while running?

When you get it done, or do it, make sure the heads are sent out to a machine shop to be checked. Doesn't take much overheating to warp the head in today's engines and of course a cracked head is not out of the realm of possibilities either. Probably a good time to replace the water pump if it has any age to it.


Measure it with a micrometer; cut it with an ax.


Last edited by the_tow_guy; 01-29-05 at 05:59 PM.
 
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01-29-05, 10:00 PM   #3  
imspacy
bubbles in the rad are a bad sign, when you combine that with a wet tail pipe you can be fairly sure that you've got a head gasket blown, maybe a cracked or warped head, and in worst case a cracked block. check your oil for water in it also, if it looks milky on the dipstick then you have water there also. in the newer cars with aluminum heads you get warped heads alot easier. if you get the head gaskets done you'll want to have them check the heads for warpage and cracks also, any good machine shop can do that and usualy not very costly. if you doit yourself, do the whole top end, alll gaskests and seals, saves from head aches later on. also the water pump and any belts and hoses that have much age on them. i believe it is about a 6 to 8 hour job, my book(laptop) is down right now , sorry can't give you the accual flat rate time on it. hope this helps :mask:

 
billys68ss's Avatar
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01-30-05, 01:58 PM   #4  
IT would help to know what engine you have. There is a difference. Either way as far as labor guide, you are looking at 10.5 hours possibly plus a few based on condition (rust and that sort of thing). A quart of coolant is no where near enough to damn a head gasket. Get the coolant system pressure tested you will know then if you have a leak of any fashion. Then get a block test performed. This test is to determine if there are combustion gases escaping into the coolant system. Which would certainly mean a head gasket or damaged cylinder head or both. I would think that it is a fair assumption that its plenty cold in Wisconsin this time of year. Steam coming from the exhaust and moisture, even small puddles, in the tail pipe are not a 100% guarantee that you have a mechanical problem or any problem for that matter. You mentioned bubbling in the radiator. Is it actual bubbles or just the coolant moving around in a sort or steady motion? This is a very important descriptive here. The wrong word can cost you alot of money here. Especially since we cant see what you are describing.
How high did the coolant temp get when you first noticed this problem? I dont put much stock in the low coolant light because those sensors are problematic, but in this case it may have helped you since you said the coolant was actually low. High coolant temp means running hot however.
If you have the 3.4L engine there is a specific bleed procedure for the coolant system where there is none for the 3.1L engine.
Get back to us soon.
Hope this is helpful to ya,
Billy

 
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02-01-05, 04:44 AM   #5  
chuck_zc
Don't be supprised if your mechanic finds a snapped cylinder head bolt. I've done a few head jobs on the 3.1 and found a snapped bolt on a couple of occasions.

 
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