Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Albuq, NM.
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americanjebus is quite a bit overzealous and has some wrong information. While you can do the headgasket w/proper tools and documentation w/little knowledge, it's a very bad idea to do so. It's also incredibly difficult to do with only a weekend and lacking said previous knowledge. And yes, to avoid blowing the headgasket immediately, you must get it machined. Parts shouldn't run you $600. ARP Head Studs ~$90, Fluids, Gaskets, seals, etc ~$60-100, Head gasket no more than $100. Adding in machine work, you still should be a good deal shy of $600.
However, putting on a metal head gasket w/o having the motor decked (machined) is a horrible idea. 85% of those that try a Metal head gasket with only the head machined have it pop quickly there after. However, if you want the assurance of knowing you'll never have to touch it again, Machine the head and bottom end, get a good Metal Head Gasket (Cometic makes time proven one, IIRC) and ARP Head Studs. Torque it to 80-85ftlbs and if you did it right, you should ever have to worry about it again.
On top of that, a proper manual is a requirement. If you detorque the head, or torque it in the wrong pattern you can warp it, and if you're installing it, that's a very bad thing.
Otherwise, I agree. Do it yourself, save hella money. If you want an interesting number, ask that show how much they're charging Just in labor. This is no simple 4 hour job.
1988 Mk3 Turbo Targa - 17.5psi, ~600hp, ~600tq.
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