Ok guys, I need some help and guidance here, I have a 1997 Camry, 2.2L 5SFE automatic with about 194K mi. I am a decent around cars and have my own tools. I put a timing belt and water pump on the car last year. The story is basically my daughter was driving back to college a couple of weeks ago and hit a tire tread in the road. This in turn took out the radiator and the car lost all its coolant. When all this happened she thought she just ran over a tire tread and did not worry about it and kept on driving for over an hour. Don’t ask me how she did not notice…. average 19yr old driver.
She called me on the phone when the car finally died and said it was smoking. I have since checked the car and I found the head gasket to be blown. The engine got so hot it melted the oil cap off. There was still about 3 qts of oil in it. She is now driving my wife’s car at college and my wife is driving my car so we are short a vehicle until I get this fixed or buy another used car for myself.
So my question is: What should I do?
-Scrap it for $400 and put the money towards another used vehicle?
-Buy a used head and new gasket set for about $200 and slap it back together and hope it runs?
-Or buy a rebuilt head and new gasket set for $450?
My concern is the damage that might have been done to the lower end… crank shaft bearings rods and piston rings… if after I do all the work on the head will I likely have a problem with the rest of the motor?
Any and all suggestions are welcome.