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86-95 Trucks & 4Runners 2nd/3rd gen pickups, and 1st/2nd gen 4Runners with IFS

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Old 09-28-2010, 01:57 PM   #1 (permalink)
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1991 3.0 Head gasket Repair advice

My little brother picked up a 1991 4Runner with the V6 yesterday. Now, we got it from a private seller that agreed that after a pre purchase inspection, if there were any issues, we could renegotiate and/or get a refund. We'll see if hes a man of his word..

We paid 2k for it. It has 157k miles and other than some dents and scratches, it actually looks pretty good.

We found out from the mechanic today that it has a blown head gasket, the front half shaft's boots are torn and it needs front brakes.

Seeing as how I feel somewhat mechanically inclined (however, I have not ever done a head gasket replacement), I just wanted to see what the general public thought of the situation.. My little brother loves the truck and would really like to keep it. He also sounds interested in attempting the head gasket replacement. Is it worth it? I think all in all, a shop is thinking about charging $2500+ without doing water pump and timing belt.

How hard is the head gasket on this thing to replace? Im not too worried about the half shafts and brakes. Been there, done that.. That is unless these are different than the standard and harder to do..

Just looking for input. Worst case scenario, we are stuck with this thing and I'd rather not pay 2 grand and then some to have someone else do the work. Thanks in advance!
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Old 09-28-2010, 02:08 PM   #2 (permalink)
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$2500 vs. $100 and a Saturday?

I'd go for it. My experience with getting stuck in the middle of a truck repair has so far been that someone on yotatech has done it already and is more than happy to link to a previous post, post pictures, or just explain things.
Then you can save that money for the trail. ;-)
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Old 09-28-2010, 02:41 PM   #3 (permalink)
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It's not too hard if you have some mechanical ability. Just take your time and go slow. Read up on all the post about 3.0 headgaskets, there are a lot. Make sure you get OEM head gaskets and have the heads checked out by a shop to make sure there good.

You can probably get away with $400 for parts and that includes the water pump and timing belt since there going to be exposed in the head job. Then the truck will run good for another 100,000 miles. I love deals like the one you just stumbled on to...
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Old 09-28-2010, 02:45 PM   #4 (permalink)
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you can download the Factory Service Manual using the link in my signature...
congrats on the 3.slo

Do you have that agreement in writing?
Seems like the wise thing to do would have been negotiate the repair prior to paying for the truck since based on what you said it was to be a pre purchase inspection, so you would have known about the issues prior to buying the truck...
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Old 09-28-2010, 02:53 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I appreciate the replies. If he decides not to honor the written and signed agreement we have I may be just eating it and doing the work myself. Nothing like just learning something new. And I think that getting this done in a saturday is aiming a little too high, Im thinking this may be a weekend or so worth of work.

ocdropzone- Hindsight is always 20/20, thanks for just pointing that out I guess.. Haha.

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Old 09-28-2010, 06:54 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Why don't you get the VIN# and call your dealer for a service history? See if the HG's been done before?


You might get lucky...

The upside to doing a 3vz head gasket job is, after you're done you're practically qualified to work for NASA...
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Old 09-28-2010, 06:58 PM   #7 (permalink)
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The upside to doing a 3vz head gasket job is, after you're done you're practically qualified to work for NASA...
Sorry...but LMAO!
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Old 09-28-2010, 07:26 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tried4x2signN View Post
Why don't you get the VIN# and call your dealer for a service history? See if the HG's been done before?


You might get lucky...

The upside to doing a 3vz head gasket job is, after you're done you're practically qualified to work for NASA...

Already called, they said it was done August of 1997.

So I got one guy saying to set aside a Saturday.. I got another saying that I can work for NASA after because its so hard. Looks like I will be setting several weekends aside for this.

Crap!
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Old 09-29-2010, 04:02 AM   #9 (permalink)
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You should also set aside time to have the heads checked for flatness at a machine shop.
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Old 09-29-2010, 04:33 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Yup, totally will. Probably even set aside time for timing belt, water pump, etc.
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Old 09-29-2010, 04:59 PM   #11 (permalink)
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just some advise, make sure the machine shop you take it to checks to see if the heads were already shaved once and there is still room to shave them down to make them square again. Someone on here recently may have had this problem having a block decked and it went too far and the block is most likely toast.
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Old 09-29-2010, 07:24 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Good advice. Thanks.

So I got another question. Im starting to doubt the mechanic a little here and yet again, input is greatly appreciated.

The 4Runner doesnt overheat. It doesnt blow any white smoke and the dipstick at least doesnt look frothy. The shop we took it to (heard good things and the guys that work there sound legit, were really nice and just seemed like all around good guys) said that they put a dye in the coolant and it was positive for hydrocarbons or exhaust gasses, or something. Thats how they knew it was blown.

Im kinda feeling like I need some more tests.. Do you agree? Is the dye test pretty on target for being a key indicator? I dont have the setup to do a leakdown test, so Im thinking its time to do an oil change and see if this thing is making milkshakes.
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Old 09-29-2010, 07:32 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by RedYota91 View Post
Good advice. Thanks.

So I got another question. Im starting to doubt the mechanic a little here and yet again, input is greatly appreciated.

The 4Runner doesnt overheat. It doesnt blow any white smoke and the dipstick at least doesnt look frothy. The shop we took it to (heard good things and the guys that work there sound legit, were really nice and just seemed like all around good guys) said that they put a dye in the coolant and it was positive for hydrocarbons or exhaust gasses, or something. Thats how they knew it was blown.

Im kinda feeling like I need some more tests.. Do you agree? Is the dye test pretty on target for being a key indicator? I dont have the setup to do a leakdown test, so Im thinking its time to do an oil change and see if this thing is making milkshakes.
Most shops will do a free inspection on used vehicles - even my old local dealership would do them as long as they weren't asked to do any real extensive tests.

An oil change is a good idea but a second opinion would be even better IMO.

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Old 09-29-2010, 07:38 PM   #14 (permalink)
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A second opinion is never a bad thing.
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Old 09-29-2010, 08:01 PM   #15 (permalink)
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yeah.. how did the mechanic determine it was a blown HG? my buddy bought a 4runner that "had a blown HG" only to find out it was the water pump and rad that had gone out... compression test proved it was fine.
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Old 09-29-2010, 09:16 PM   #16 (permalink)
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doesn't overheat, there isn't milkshake oil, or steam in the exhaust, just run it till it really goes. ...
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Old 09-30-2010, 04:38 AM   #17 (permalink)
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they checked the coolant for HC and exhaust gases? okay, I've seen those tests show a false positive so i don't trust 'em. and in some cases, the colours are so close a mech by nature will just go, well, I don't want to be wrong.

Spray down and clean the block. Start it up, does it run well. leave run, monitor coolant levels, tail pipe smoke, etc. Does it overheat? Do you have white smoke constantly? Check plugs. Any evidence of nice, shiny, coolant cleaned plugs? Then get a compression test done. After all that checking you'll know either way.

as for the nasa thing, toyota techs hate these engines (myself excluded) mainly because of the amount of vacuum hoses and that stinking crossover pipe. label your hoses, good luck with the crossover pipe and it's straight forward the rest of the way. My professional opinion, once you're in there, do the Tbelt, the water pump, tensioner, and idlers all at the same time. once in, once out. drink more beer on saturday, turn less wrenches. that way you'll really know what you have
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Old 10-05-2010, 10:04 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Well, Im going for it. Put a few hours in tonight, read a lot of the online manuals (crap as far as Im concerned. Too many lists of what to do and not enough pictures of how to do it. #10 for example at http://www.ncttora.com/fsm/1990-1995...e/cylinder.pdf - How the heck am I supposed to know what each one of those are/where they are connected?!)

Here is where I am so far. Trying to get the timing belt fully exposed, but Im caught at a bit of a snag currently. I cant get the last of the belts off because the tensioner (what I believe it to be, circled in red) wont budge. Any input on how to get this thing to release so I can get the 2 belts off? Pic below.
Click the image to open in full size.

Secondly, I read all this about turning the crank to achieve TDC.. Stupid question, but does it matter which way you turn it?

Lastly, it mentions that I need Toyota's special service tools to hold the crank while I loosen the bolt.. Is this necessary or is there another tool I can get? Im sure the thing costs $80...

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Old 10-06-2010, 04:24 AM   #19 (permalink)
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it absolutely does matter which way you turn it. Clockwise, please. Make sure all plugs are removed as well, it'll make your life so much easier.

the bolt on the front of the pulley unlocks that tensioner and then there's another one underneath to adjust the tension. If you can't get the one underneath to turn, removed the front bolt altogether and you should be able to get it that way and then repair the tensioner off of the vehicle. more often then not, they're stuck/seized from age
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Old 10-06-2010, 05:23 AM   #20 (permalink)
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this pic includes a shot of what that a/c bracket looks like off the truck (3rd from the left)......there is a bolt that, when turned, provides the tension on that belt.......it's quite long....so loosen it up and wiggle the pulley and the belt will eventually be loose enough to get off.

Click the image to open in full size.

yes....turn the motor clock-wise.

there are different ways / tools to getting the crankshaft bolt off....to each his own....the most popular one i've seen is the "tap the starter" trick (which i did NOT do)...or creating a tool to hold that pulley while trying to loosen with an impact gun or breaker bar (on my 22re i tied it tight with webbing and loosened it with a breaker bar)....i have yet to tackle this on our 3vze.
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