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'88 22re headgasket(s) nightmare Help

Old 05-06-2019, 04:52 PM
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Exclamation '88 22re headgasket(s) nightmare Help

Hey Guys. I have a cascade of a story to tell to hopefully get some help from you guys here. I will try to be as quick and precise as possible.

240k miles
No lift / 22re / AC / Cruise
VIN is 1989 4runner)
- Build Date is Sept 88
- Only 88 parts fit on truck (the ones that differ, air filter etc

After owning the Truck for roughly 8 years, had it stolen twice (true story) and now had what seemed like a Head Gasket blow. It still would drive, but huge plumes of steam was coming out of the engine (getting it on the trailer to take somewhere)
  • Had the head Gasket done by someone in their own shop out of town for a small sum. (I live in an apartment and can't even change my own oil)

Truck ran for a couple months then had a new issue. Again, with headgasket problems. Checked compression and one cylinder was ˟˟˟˟.
  • This time towed the truck out to where I could do the head myself. Found out that the person who did the job did a MISERABLE job of the head gasket replacement. Over torque'd everything and didn't even install all the bolts back into my truck. (including the elusive hidden bolt. =P )

I managed to purchase the bolts, and items that he destroyed and fixed my truck. It took a long time to get the truck running again from starting issues I could not seem to grasp. But finally managed to start it with help and timed it. My father drove it around town a small amount (I was back home working)
  • I got a ride out there and drove my truck gently all the way from St. Helens, Oregon to Oregon City, Oregon. Truck drove great. Power, pull, smooth. Was very happy with the result. Truck has always lost power after it got up to running temp but I wasn't concerned as it's a "re-occuring" issue, not a new one.

That's the story as it goes. Now here's where things get frustrating.
  • On the way up the hill to my apartment, The engine shut off, rolled to a stop. Truck wouldn't start. Then after a couple minutes it fired back up and drove as if nothing happened.
  • The next 2-3 weeks my truck became more and more difficult to start.
  • Ultimately the Truck simple won't start more than half the time and NOW it is misfiring and/or has compression issues all over again. It is undrivable.

This will be the 3rd Head Gasket I have done on this truck in 15k miles. Now before I get the heat from you guys, I tore my ACL, had surgery, then had complications and had emergency bowel surgery. Basically my truck has sat for 11 months cold. My anxiety for my poor thing is building because I know what that can mean.

I'm being offered 65 dollars for scrap metal (I'm in Oregon, this truck is not getting scrapped so help me) and my Apartment Manager wants the truck out. I want my truck. What do you guys think is the first steps?
  • - Take the head, get a refurbished one and reinstall/test?
  • - Is the head fine and it's an ignition problem now?
  • - Is it just simply not worth it anymore?
I appreciate everything you guys do here and I hope I can be the next case of 22re back on the road. I love my truck and I don't want to say goodbye. ( I will supply any and all information needed to assist in any help you guys graciously offer me.)
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Old 05-06-2019, 05:04 PM
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If you want to fix it yourself (sounds like you do), you first need to find a place to work. Ask your co-workers, put up flyers, whatever. Garage is best, but you might be able to do it in someone's back yard. You really don't want to be trying to work in an apartment parking lot when you've already been told to get the truck out.

Start by checking compression. You'll need to buy a gauge. https://www.harborfreight.com/compre...-pc-62638.html Put the head gasket far down the list if compression is good. There are lots of easier explanations for your symptoms. Buy a timing light https://www.harborfreight.com/timing...nce-40963.html , and using the FSM procedure, make sure ignition timing is in the right place. Some of your problems could be fuel-pressure related, so get a fuel pressure gauge.
Amazon Amazon
(this one has the right adapter).

Do you need to buy all these tools? Yes. At least, if your time is worth more than $0.25/hour, given the time you will waste without the right tools. (You don't need all of them at once.)

Good luck!
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Old 05-06-2019, 05:47 PM
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Thank you for your response, Scope.

Compression check is definitely planned before I do anything. I didn't think about the fuel because of all the history I was probably a little over-focused on upper engine situation. Been a bad time with flake-help and nobodies who swore their advice was sound.

I will get on the comp check immediately. (and good ol' harbor freight it is!)
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Old 05-06-2019, 06:56 PM
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"Difficult to start" can be many different fuel-related issues. The key to any diagnosis is to be systematic. Rule out low compression, given your concerns about the gasket. Confirm spark at each plug at the time you're having difficulty. Confirm proper fuel pressure. This is a branching process, and if done carelessly, you will find it is full of wild geese.
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