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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
3.8 1993 wagon with only 90K original granny miles.



What tips can you give me for gasket job?


What are chances heads warped and need shave, what are chances valves burned and need valve job???


Any reason to also do timing chain and water pump or can I just wait for pump to blow in its own good time if only 90K on engine?


PS-I'm planning on have some Mobile Mechanics from Craigslist (I know) do this. Their ad says they specialize in Head Gaskets. Anything I or they should know about 1993 3.8Liter head gasket job?
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
You will need new headbolts.
thx, I see they are for sale all over.


any recommendations on brand of Head Gasket set and bolts?


one of my pet-peeves is that a timing belt is so cheap but generally a PIA to replace. Shop will charge $700 to replace a $20 part with limited life. I'd gladly pay 6X more for a belt that lasted 1/2 again as long. Or better yet, a belt that gave some WARNING it was gonna bust its guts, like how they put a squeal layer in brake pads, but diff.
 

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why? I"m blowing huge steam out exhaust and after it cooled a bit it was running rough. So I know at least some cyl will have pressure issues due to blown gasket. I'm planning on doing both heads.

Because it could potentially keep you from replacing parts that don't need to be replaced.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Because it could potentially keep you from replacing parts that don't need to be replaced.

I'm still not getting it.


I'm thinking once you have an obviously blown HG, then results of LDT will always be "COULD be burned valves from the overheat, but COULD be just partly blown HG".


I'm 1000% sure LDT would show massive leak on at least one cyl, due to massive steam out exhaust, but could mean all sorts of stuff if it shows SOME leak on other cyl, correct?


Can heads be inspected just by pulling them and looking at valves etc, then re-installed with confidence?


Is there a range of LDT that says EITHER "blown gasket" OR "bad valves/rings"?
 

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The 3.8 Essex uses a timing chain, not a belt. Assuming the engine has had regular oil changes and hasnt been beat into the ground, the timing chain should last the life of the engine. $700 for a timing belt is outrageous! I can change the timing belt on my 88 Turbo Coupe 2.3 OHC turbo engine in 45 minutes and the belt itself is around $12.
 

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You probably wouldn’t “have” to replace the timing chain or water pump, but if you are doing the heads why not spend the extra few bucks? Just like using new radiator hoses and checking the motor mounts while you are close enough to at least check them. Depending on the oil changes, getting up to 90,000 miles dirty oil can really hasten wear on the chain.



I once thought I had a blown head gasket but it was the front gasket behind the water pump. Those blow out a lot on the 3.0 Vulcan, I don’t know about the Essex other than what is online. The compression test would help confirm the head gasket unless you don’t have a tester or access to one. That said there is a lot of info that says they have a notable head gasket failure history. As far as the other things like valves, I would say 50/50. (If it was my engine the odds are more like 90/10 in favor that a head would be warped and it would have gotten so hot as to take the temper out of the piston rings.) I would get rebuilt heads if you can afford them they would make sure the heads are true and valves/valve guides/springs are good. Plus the repair would go quicker and no waiting an a machine shop to prep your old heads.



Did you run low on water or have any idea why it overheated? I like Fel Pro but can’t really say they are “better” than other gaskets now days. A head gasket set is not that expensive and will have all the gaskets you will need. (Also, a crack in the head can seem to be a head gasket.) Any water in the oil, oil in the water or bubbles/pressure in the cooling system? Regarding $700.00 for the belt, my daughters old Mitsubishi Eclipse and my son’s Eagle Talon were not 45 minute jobs. More like 6+ hours and a super PIA. Of course I could change the belt on my 2.0 Pintos on the side on the road in way less than 45 minutes.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
after I bought car I discovered some Head Gasket Repair stuff in the rad. (what can I say, it was only $1200 and I was in need of car with A/T due to foot injury.)


ran low on water and I didn't see the temp because I have a bad habit of placing big smart phone on speedo panel blocking temp readings.


didn't see until too late and had an appointment that meant more than the cost of car, so took a chance.


further use of Gasket Fix not working, so I'm planning to use CA State Buy Back and get $1000.


Anyone local to East SF bay area wanna trade 2 tires? I just put new 15" tires on the front. Cheap but new.
 
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