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Infamous 3.0 Head gasket problem, Any Ideas?

Old 10-14-2005, 06:36 AM
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Infamous 3.0 Head gasket problem, Any Ideas?

Hey everyone,

Just stumbled (like my 4 Runner lately) upon the BB. Lots of great people and great answers. This is my first post, so please bare with me.

I have a '95 4Runner with the great <sarcasm> 3.0 VZE motor. Well, it is time. Looks like the HG blew the other day. Extreme smoke from the exhaust w/ coolant smelling smoke, radiator bone dry after a few trips, rough idle, temp gague pegged to red.

I have 120K on the motor. When I bought this in 11/02, I was told to check to see if it was included in the HG recall and after running the VIN, I was told that it wasn't. So, off I went.

Been a good SUV, I am a Toyota fan from way back (even worked for them at one time in parts).

Questions are:

1. What would one expect to shell out for a repair of this job, including parts?
(I know it needs to be torn apart to assess the extent of the damages). Just a ballpark for minimum and maximum?

2. Should the timing belt and water pump be also taken care of at this time?
(I am also thinking of replacing the radiator, as it looks like there might be some small seepage around the top welds near the cap).

3. What other things should be addressed while the mechanics are in there?

Thanks in advance for the answers!

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Old 10-14-2005, 06:58 AM
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Hey! Welcome to the forum!

Go ahead and get a new timing belt. It's about time for one and they have to take it off anyways. Waterpump would probably be a good idea too. They are cheap and will go out sooner or later, so go ahead and get it replace too. Get a new thermostate, and you may have to replace one or both of your idler pullies if they are in bad shape.

If you do get a new radiator, check out Modine. I've been using one for about 3 years now and no problems at all. Cheaper than OEM and seems to be pretty good quality too.

I don't have an answer to your price question becuase I haven't had to replace my head gaskets (thankfully). I do know the timing belt, waterpump, and thermostate would run around $160, but I'm sure the headgaskit kit cost a lot more. Plus labor. If you did it yourself, then I'm guessing $400, maybe?

Just my $.02.
Have fun all.
Daniel
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Old 10-14-2005, 07:23 AM
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So far I have got well over $800 or maybe more in my Head gasket project. But I'm also cleaning up alot of things in the motor and painting too. Head gasket kit from engnbldr is $122 and about $12 shipping regular ground. Great guy to work with.

As far as the heads...you may have warped them when you said the temp guage went up in the red. Best way to see is pull the heads and get a straight edge and feeler guage. I got the whole process saved here somewhere. I just bought remanned heads off ebay for $300. With the machine work on both heads and grinding the valves and checking the springs and making sure they are shimmed right...will probably run you well over $300. Call around to machine shops in your area.

I got my engine pulled for this because I had several oil leaks too. So I put in new brass freeze plugs for extra insurance. Degreased the whole block. But this is all stuff I did to ensure that this motor isn't going to come back out in a while. Hopefully...but with the timing belt and heads...I'd say at least...$600-$800. Thats ripping it apart and doing it yourself...besides all the machine work on the heads.
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Old 10-14-2005, 07:50 AM
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oh, yeah. I forgot about all the machining stuff. I knew somebody could chime in with a more accurate figure.
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Old 10-14-2005, 07:54 AM
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And IF you do it yourself...make sure to get a 3/8" drive 12 PT 14mm socket for the heads or you will have to take the cams out to get them off and back on. I had to go to Sears and get one. Plus Torque wrench. Oh yeh...to get my cam gears off I used an adjustable wrench and put it on the cam to hold it in place and used a breaker bar to break the bolt loose.

Last edited by callmej75; 10-14-2005 at 08:11 AM.
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Old 10-14-2005, 02:14 PM
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Thanks for all the answers. ^5

I don't mind doing the minor stuff (brakes, tune up, oil changes,belts,hoses,etc.). But, I am not even going to even try to tackle this type of job.

That said, looks like a $2,000-2,500 job (by calling around) if things aren't too far gone. Then again, won't know until the heads are pulled off to check. I kinda hesitate to find a mobile guy to do it. Although, that might be the most cost effective way.

Decisions decisons!
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Old 10-14-2005, 02:24 PM
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Originally Posted by DaveInCali_4Runner
Thanks for all the answers. ^5

I don't mind doing the minor stuff (brakes, tune up, oil changes,belts,hoses,etc.). But, I am not even going to even try to tackle this type of job.

That said, looks like a $2,000-2,500 job (by calling around) if things aren't too far gone. Then again, won't know until the heads are pulled off to check. I kinda hesitate to find a mobile guy to do it. Although, that might be the most cost effective way.

Decisions decisons!
It is a time consuming job...and this is my second time ever doing a motor...last one was american and much easier! But if you take your time and label everything like vacuum hoses and wiring...then it is no problem. Get a FSM and follow it by the book. You can do it...put your mind to it and you can do anything!
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Old 10-14-2005, 02:46 PM
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[. You can do it...put your mind to it and you can do anything! [/QUOTE]

Now your learning......... :pat:
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Old 10-14-2005, 03:22 PM
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If you can do brakes and such, I think you can do it. I did my timing belt and and knock sensor (requires the lower intake to be removed) without ever doing any kind of car work prior to that (besides oil changes). I still don't know how to do brakes. It is a bit intimidating at first, but I think you can do it.

Have fun all.
Daniel
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Old 10-14-2005, 06:14 PM
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We are in the middle of doing my sons 88 for the second time. First time went great but it had 2 cylinders with 30psi compression. Took it back down gaskets were good so pulled the engine and found 2 broke pistons on the dead cylinders. Broke right below the second ring grooves. So we had another short block that was in decent shape we honed the cylinders, new rings, new bearings and gaskets from ENGBLDR $233 shipped, valve job $101 per head, crank polish $25. Still need an oil pump and water pump. But it will be in good shape when we are done.
Not everyone has the equipment , time or facilities to do something like this though. I know I have added greatly to my tool chest for this job. But it is a learning experience for my son too.
Just thought I would post some more prices and options for ya.
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