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Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Washougal, WA
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Blown head gasket...how much do I invest?
Purchased an '88 LE (3sfe motor) earlier this fall with 240K miles as a school driver for our teenage boys. What was advertised as just a bad wheel bearing turned out to also have bad struts and blown head gasket...a gift that keeps on giving just in time for holidays! I have no confidence of the shape of the low end of the engine or tranny at this point...
For what it's worth, it does start well and drives fine.
Here is my dilemma that I want your opinions on. As I see it, we've got three options:
1. Minimal - Replace head gasket and timing belt/water pump. Pass on the head rebuild. Figure I'm out $200'ish. If it blows up, we're not out that much.
2. Medium - Replace head gasket, timing belt/water pump, buy reconditioned/have head rebuilt. Guessing we are close to $500 at this point.
3. Buy used Japanese engine and muddle through the conversion to get it to fit the car. Don't know what all that involves but have read a bit regarding some parts not fitting the US version of the car. Figure we'll be into that about $700.
Our goal was to have a daily in town driver for the boys. Nothing they'll take out on the freeway for long trips in or anything. Thought it would also be a good opportunity for them to learn how to wrench on something and learn about engines. Anyhow, would appreciate any/all opinions. Anything I'm missing or wrong assumptions?
Thanks in advance for you thoughts.