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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
So, my 3.4L V6 has a blown head gasket, I'm pretty sure.

My reasons for claiming this, is because I've had overheating problems, while making sure all other cooling components were running, and there was the necessary amount of coolant in the car.
Also, I've been getting the dreaded white smoke pouring out of my tailpipe, and to top it off, when I run the engine with the radiator cap off, the coolant has air bubbles coming from inside the radiator.

So, with that all said, I was considering getting the job done at a shop, but I'm having second thoughts.
I did some number crunching, and figured it'll be cheaper to do it myself. (With help of course.)
I was considering, instead, making this a DIY job.

So, here what's I was thinking I would need. I would greatly appreciate if anyone with knowledge and/or opinions would contribute.

  • An engine crane/cherry picker
  • 2-3 pairs of helping hands
  • An engine stand
  • A gasket kit
  • The necessary tools

    If anyone could assist me in letting me know what else you'd think I'll need, don't be afraid to say something, because I know I'm nowhere near everything I'll need.
    I've only listed the big stuff.

    And about, "The Necessary Tools" if you guys know any of the wrenches/sockets measures or any other special tools I'll need, just let me know, thanks.

    P.S.: If I'm asking any noob-ish questions, well, that's 'cause I am one.

    Thanks folks.
 

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Scratch the cherry picker and engine stand. The heads can be removed with the engine in the car. You will need a full set of metric 1/4" and 3/8" drive sockets and metric wrenches. For the head bolts you may need a breaker bar or a pipe that will fit over a 1/2" ratchet. You will have to remove the exhaust manifold from the head,so soak those bolts along with the doughnut bolts for a few days before you start the project. When you buy the gasket kit, make sure it is a master head kit. This will include all the gaskets from the intake to the heads. Don't forget the anti-freeze and thread lock. There is more, but the book should guide you the rest of the way. I use the haynes manual for projects like this. You can buy one at any autoparts store. Try to find your gaskets and tools at amazon, they have good deals. I saved about $100.00 thanks to my wife searching amazon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hey Lenny, thanks a lot for the info! I was kinda wondering if the engine had to be removed, but I just didn't think it all the way through. I figure when I tackle this job, it's gonna be a really tight fit, huh? But not impossible, for sure.

Anyways, I went over your advice a few times, checked out everything you said I'll need and looked up some things.

Here, lemme list 'em out.
(Money isn't an issue by the way, seeing that this whole thing is gonna be cheaper to do myself.)


Now, I have a few questions about your reply...

1) Where exactly is the exhaust manifold? Is that the silver metal piece atop the engine block that say 3.4 SFI?

2) In regards to the exhaust manifold, when you say to 'soak' them, you mean with WD40 (or something alike), right?

3) What do you mean by "doughnut bolts"? By you calling them that, will I know them when I see them?

Lastly,
4) What do you mean by "thread lock"? :ugly_gruebel:

Sorry for any dumb questions, I just want to know as much as possible before tackling this ordeal.
Thanks Lenny!
You have no idea how great it is to hear I won't have to lift the engine.
 

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1-buy the Haynes manual today and read the head gasket chapter a couple of times. This will help to answere alot of questions you have.

2- Thread lock is used to hold nuts and bolts to the set torque, even through hot and cold cycles.

3- Exhaust doughnut is the gasket that goes between the exhaust manifold and the exhaust Y pipe.

4-The exhaust manifold is located to the side of the head, probably rusty colored by now and is attached to the exhaust Y pipe.

This a good project for a first timer. Take your time. Follow the book. Ask questions. No question is a stupid question. I will look up the site where i bought my master head gasket kit from Amazon and forward that to you later tonight.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Alright man.
I'll go pick up the book today. It's good to have anyway.
Thanks a lot.
 

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I know a lot of people like the books but I like to use alldata, its generally a lot more in depth and helpful especially for some of the less common projects and problems. Bot for a head job the Haynes manual will probably be fine. Other than that all this looks good
 

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I know a lot of people like the books but I like to use alldata, its generally a lot more in depth and helpful especially for some of the less common projects and problems. Bot for a head job the Haynes manual will probably be fine. Other than that all this looks good
F alldata use ondemand5.com way better system. Also I say you would save money doing it yourself. About $1200. Mitchell and Alldata are away better system to use than that stupid haynes or chilton.Also they have a labor chart to tell you the flat rate hours which is how long the job is and how much it will cost to fix it. Most places are $85 and hour for flat rate but cost will very depending on the person if they wanna leave it in the engine in the car or not.

Also when you use a Torque to head bolts and studs do NOT use an extension because it will throw the torque setting off.

Also another thing is you must removing the a/c compressor and set it on jack because it is required to remove it.
 

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The Haynes manual is for back yard mechanics such as ourselves. It includes pictures and a complete break down of what ever project you happen to be doing. The Chilton is a ref. book for those who have gone through training and need a refresher on specs and procedures. It also will have those federal guide lines of how many hours should be charged for a particular job. The Haynes is $12.00 and alldata is $30.00 per question. All of them are good ways to do it your self, but you can't beat having the book right in front of you while you tackle the job.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
But you can't beat having the book right in front of you while you tackle the job.
^x2^

Bought it yesterday, started some under-the-hood studying last night.
But I'm stuck. But I'll figure it out today.
 

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lol, every gasket you need comes in a head gasket set from advance auto..

ran me about 100$

Autozone blows imo.

as for pulling the motor, there is no need. At least in my 3800, everything was taken off from the engine bay.

8-10, 12-18 in sockets and possibly i needed a torx (sp) screwdriver for one bolt (at least i needed one.)
 

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T The Haynes is $12.00 and alldata is $30.00 per question. All of them are good ways to do it your self, but you can't beat having the book right in front of you while you tackle the job.
alldata is 50 bucks for 5 years of access to that particular vehicle...20 bucks for additional and its far more in depth than either of the books since its not limited by the amount of paper they'd have to use :p

But I agree the manuals are definitely useful far more than nothing at all for sure.

and Mitchell is good too but its definitely focused more towards a shop IMO..
 

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alldata is free for me, I have the schools sign-on info, they give it to eveybody....lol
 

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^ sounds like a good deal lol
 

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The Haynes manual is for back yard mechanics such as ourselves. It includes pictures and a complete break down of what ever project you happen to be doing. The Chilton is a ref. book for those who have gone through training and need a refresher on specs and procedures. It also will have those federal guide lines of how many hours should be charged for a particular job. The Haynes is $12.00 and alldata is $30.00 per question. All of them are good ways to do it your self, but you can't beat having the book right in front of you while you tackle the job.
Hey Lenny, on discussion of this post, besides this being time consuming, how easy is this job? I’ve done some work on my car by watching videos and reading forums, but opening the engine seems intimidating. I am not a mechanic by any means, but love to do things myself to not only learn, but to not get ripped off. Any concerns a first timer should look out for? I don’t want to mess up my chains or anything.
 

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Hey Lenny, on discussion of this post, besides this being time consuming, how easy is this job? I’ve done some work on my car by watching videos and reading forums, but opening the engine seems intimidating. I am not a mechanic by any means, but love to do things myself to not only learn, but to not get ripped off. Any concerns a first timer should look out for? I don’t want to mess up my chains or anything.
Also, my biggest concern/ worry is messing with the timing chains during this. As a first timer messing with this, should I be concerned? Any tips?
 

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Scratch the cherry picker and engine stand. The heads can be removed with the engine in the car. You will need a full set of metric 1/4" and 3/8" drive sockets and metric wrenches. For the head bolts you may need a breaker bar or a pipe that will fit over a 1/2" ratchet. You will have to remove the exhaust manifold from the head,so soak those bolts along with the doughnut bolts for a few days before you start the project. When you buy the gasket kit, make sure it is a master head kit. This will include all the gaskets from the intake to the heads. Don't forget the anti-freeze and thread lock. There is more, but the book should guide you the rest of the way. I use the haynes manual for projects like this. You can buy one at any autoparts store. Try to find your gaskets and tools at amazon, they have good deals. I saved about $100.00 thanks to my wife searching amazon.
This is a good one. I have read or watched this somewhere.
 
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