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#1 (permalink) Old 02-16-2008, 04:56 PM
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ok so there is white smoke coming out of my exhaust and my coolant level is low. Im pretty sure i need to replace my head gasket. i can get the gasket so i was wondering how tedious/ hard is it to replace a head gasket? like how hard is it to take the head off and what else should i look out for. im handy and have every tool needed, i was just wondering if its doable.

2006 cobalt ss/sc-black recaro racing edition (just got it w/19000 miles)
Mods:K&N Typhoon cold air intake, Vibrant header/ Downpipe, 3 inch Vibrant cat back exhaust, Stock 18's painted black, Debadged, ZZP 2.7 modular pulley system (18psi), NGK bkr7e (1 Step colder) spark plugs, HP Tune, Ported Supercharger, Front mount heat exchanger, ZZP whisper resonator.
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QUOTE(rochestertc @ Nov 3 2007, 08:24 PM)
thats sweet, so does it bring you up to 600 hp or just give you the same sound as everyone elses?
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#2 (permalink) Old 02-16-2008, 04:58 PM
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where's lo bux?

anyway, for me, i would just take that into the ol dealership. that is a bit more than i would ever want to try to do. unless, i had damon at my side and lance by the phone.

just saying.

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#3 (permalink) Old 02-16-2008, 05:31 PM
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It is NOT a job for every guy out there. It involves A LOT of work and is NOT easy. I would do some more testing before jumping into head gasket repair time. Leak down test or comp. test would be good easy tests that don't involve 10+ hours of work.

Eric

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#4 (permalink) Old 02-16-2008, 06:08 PM
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Check the oil and see if it's mixed in there as well if it is do not run it anymore. Check the plugs if you see a wet one bingo, shouldn't take long to diagnose unless it's very small. If you are somewhat mechanically inclined it is not as hard as it seems. The most daunting to most is all the wires etc seen underhood. 99% of the time they only can go one place so don't let them scare you. A cheap haynes manual can and a little tool handiness and it shouldn't be a problem. You will need to replace other gaskets such as intake and exhaust. Easiest way is to start disconnecting everything going to the engine such as wires hoses etc marking them as you take them off. Then go for the harder items such as intake/exhaust manifolds, front accessories (don't disconnect the AC lines just unbolt it and lay it to the side) Turn the motor over to TDC and mark if need to and remove the timing assembly. Lastly the head bolts IN ORDER! <---important and is usually found in the haynes manuals. Remove all traces of the old head gasket being very careful not to nick the surfaces. voilla reverse order torquing everyting to spec and specifically the head bolts in the proper sequence. This is a general procedure for a 4 cylinder in general so the might be a small step here and there as I haven't been inside one of these yet but to give you an idea that is a basic outline. I can do 2 on a v8 in less than 10 hours being quite inclined so an average joe on a 4 cylinder with decent access shouldn't take that long.
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#5 (permalink) Old 02-16-2008, 10:11 PM
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See when people like this ^^^ get on here and start saying a head gasket is easy, it makes people think they can do it when in fact they can not. The headgasket isn't a simple job, nor is it easy. It involves a lot of work and is not easy. With the 2az-fe you are looking at removing the entire intake tract (Filter to intake manifold), exhaust manifold, valve cover, accessory belts along with some acc. that run off the belt, front T-Chain cover (not as easy as a T-belt cover as it is siliconed on there pretty nicely), T-chain tensioner, T-chain (this entire procedure is done with what? about 2-3 inches of room on the front side of the engine), THEN you can finally start unbolting the head (which has to be done in a certain order since it is aluminum I believe) and then its off. Once its off, you have to make sure not to make even a knick on either surface or you will be getting it machined. Then its re-install and you better know how to get your cams in time or you will be pulling the front cover and valve cover off again. Yes I basically repeated everything he just said but once again he made it sound simple. I can make anything sound simple. To drop the engine and tranny all you need to do is take off the engine mounts and take all the electrical plugs off and its out.

It is a very in-depth procedure and again, is not for your average work in the garage tech. Am I saying its not do-able? NO. Am I saying it is A LOT harder than what the guy above made it sound like? Yes.

I can't be a judge of what you can and can't do, only you can.

Hope this helps,
Eric

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#6 (permalink) Old 02-16-2008, 10:21 PM
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For someone who has done more involved engine work, it is not that complicated if you follow the procedures. IF you have not, then you are probably going to feel a bit overwhelmed. I would do it without hesitation, but I have had the heads off of plenty of cars in my time

Bottom line, if removing the intake, both manifolds, the head and the timing parts makes you feel a bit uneasy, then dont try it unless you have someone else there to help you that knows what they are doing.

If you do it though, I would send the head to a machine shop to have it checked out once it is off to be sure you dont have a cracked head. If it is the gasket, you should see signs of where it was leaking if you know what to look for.

But whether or not you or someone else is going to look at it, you need to do it somewhat soon. If the leak suddenly gets terrible enough, there is a risk of hydrolocking the motor at worst case.

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#7 (permalink) Old 02-17-2008, 12:08 AM
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I would also do it in a heart beat. But I have experience, on top of that I had a seized 2az-fe at my disposal at work and got to do everything I wanted to it. Basically bare block, head etc. etc.

Eric

The object of life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting,
"What a Ride!!!"

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#8 (permalink) Old 02-17-2008, 01:55 AM
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QUOTE (buderic @ Feb 16 2008, 09:08 PM)
Quote:
I would also do it in a heart beat. But I have experience, on top of that I had a seized 2az-fe at my disposal at work and got to do everything I wanted to it. Basically bare block, head etc. etc.

Eric[/b]

Guys, lets not forget to mention the tools... a 12 piece craftsmen ratchet set won't do the trick....

Find out fo sho that you need a new one. Did you overheat? if it was bad enough, you may need more than a gasket

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#9 (permalink) Old 02-17-2008, 11:31 AM
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ok the reason why i think its my head gasket is because my coolant levels were just below the "low" level and i have actually never really paid much attention to it otherwise. I USED to be told there was white smoke coming out of my exhaust but there isnt any more. If my engine is "using" coolant, wouldnt that mean i have a bad head gasket? just wondering. If any of you guys have any other ideas just let me know. i prob wouldnt be the one doing it now so i dont wanna have to pay mad money if everything is fine. btw, i havent touched my coolant level until yesterday and i have had the car for 2 years now.

2006 cobalt ss/sc-black recaro racing edition (just got it w/19000 miles)
Mods:K&N Typhoon cold air intake, Vibrant header/ Downpipe, 3 inch Vibrant cat back exhaust, Stock 18's painted black, Debadged, ZZP 2.7 modular pulley system (18psi), NGK bkr7e (1 Step colder) spark plugs, HP Tune, Ported Supercharger, Front mount heat exchanger, ZZP whisper resonator.
Mods to come: Meth kit, Engine and tranny mounts.


R.I.P Turbo tc. 2006 nautical blue 5 speed. 10.5 psi. Threw a rod at 25000 miles so I moved onto a new already boosted project.

QUOTE(rochestertc @ Nov 3 2007, 08:24 PM)
thats sweet, so does it bring you up to 600 hp or just give you the same sound as everyone elses?
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#10 (permalink) Old 02-17-2008, 11:38 AM
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Just losing coolant doesnt mean you are needing a head gasket. A very slow leak in the right place will burn off and possibly not make an obvious mess on the ground. Or, it can be dripping on the splash gaurds. If it is small enough, that alone may cause you not to notice it right off. Top off the coolant and watch it closely to see how fast it is dropping.

If it isnt smoking when you are watching it, or it has just happened once in the past, I would not start tearing it down.

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