head cylinders?


Old 07-16-02, 08:55 AM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
head cylinders?

Help, please? my daughter's 1991 Subaru Legacy had taken to shuddering once in a while and then, the other day, lost power on the highway. Dash board lights came on and she "smelled rotten eggs". She had it towed to the dealership and they wanted 3200 bucks to replace the cylinder heads. The mechanic , instead, did a top mount flush and said it should be okay for a while . any suggestions? should I do something else? is it safe to let my daughter continue to drive? highway? thanks so much.

Sponsored Links
Old 07-16-02, 09:03 AM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Rotten egg type odor is from too much fuel being pushed through the catalytic converter (i.e running too rich...or when you floor it sometimes it pushes the fuel through the converter and makes it work hard, hence the smell).

Ask the dealership if the car has the starting symptoms of a blown head gasket. Tell them to do a compression check and to check the radiator for the presence of hydrocarbons (a sure sign of a blown gasket). Ask for more detail as to WHY the heads have to be changed.

If the heads/gaskets are the problem, seek an independent shop out to repair them. They will be less than 3200 bucks.

A 1991 Subaru wasn't worth 3200 bucks in 1992, it's surely not worth nearly that now. .

Need more detail on WHY they want/need to change the heads.
Old 07-16-02, 09:10 AM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Thanks Joe

no, of course the 3200 isn't going into the car. It's already back in her possession. I, however, live fifty miles away and am the nervous dad. what will be the short term result of a blown head gasket? by the way, after taking it back from the dealership, i drove it pretty hard, Ac on, stop and go, 60 mph, no trouble. it is purely an intermittent thing. Thanks again. Ken
Old 07-16-02, 09:14 AM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
A blown head gasket will eventually strand her as it is consuming (burning coolant). The engine will ruin itself eventually as the oil and coolant mix and coolant is a poor lubricant .

Again, I would like to know what the dealer says about the heads and WHY they want to change them.

Bent valves? (backfiring, poor running)
Damaged/late/sticky valves? (poor compression)
Cracked cylinder head?

When's the last time this thing saw a thorough service? It could need a tune up, have a bad plug wire, etc. etc.
Old 07-16-02, 11:54 AM
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Mass.
Posts: 333
My daughter drove a 92 Grand Am with a warped head for quite a while. After we diagnosed the problem, I added an engine sealant. I don't recall the brand, but it was a small can of metalic liquid that could help temporarily seal the head. Worked fine for 10,000 miles, until we traded it in. Since I had already done a head gasket 3 years earlier, there was no way I was investing in another major repair.
Old 07-16-02, 01:27 PM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Thumbs down

The engine sealers out there cause more problems than they are worth. If you're going to keep the car for any length of time do it right or pitch it from the get go.

It's hit or miss with those things. I frankly don't think it's the valves or the gaskets. It seems like a tune up/maintenance issue. I'd start there first before tearing into the heads.

That's why I asked for some service history. If you tell me it hasn't had a tune up since REM hit the charts with "Suicide Blonde" in 1991, then we know we need a tune up at minimum as a starting point .

Old 07-16-02, 01:34 PM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Joe, I'm sticking with you. I , too, feel like a tune or maybe a filter may be the answer. I'm gonna start there and keep you posted via this message board. Thanks for your help.

Old 07-16-02, 03:25 PM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
I think it was

INXS that sang "suicide blonde"
Old 07-16-02, 10:21 PM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Yes, it was INXS.

I was thinking of that song, "This One goes out to the One I love" perhaps. Lol.

Whatever . If the vehicle has never seen a tuneup after 11 years, this is the place to start.
Old 07-17-02, 06:07 AM
the_tow_guy's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: SW Fla USA
Posts: 11,575
otter, joe was pretty young in '91, so go easy on him LOL.

o2 sensor another possiblity, since it could be original. Last time the one in my wrecker went (350 Chevy motor), it took the converter with it and no check engine light warning. Used up a tank of gas in about 50 miles.
Old 07-17-02, 07:08 AM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Lol. Otter's younger than I am by a year .

C'mon TowGuy, you're dating yourself. Lol.

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes