Ever wonder what it’s like to tear into your engine to replace a simple gasket? Well look no further I will detail the insanity of wrangling an infernal engine repair. When you blow a head gasket you would think colloquially, “blowing a gasket doesn’t sound as bad as blowing a tranny.” You would be wrong, the repair costs are similar, the only difference is a blown gasket can be replaced at home for a much lower price.
Not a quick fix
The difference in price is due to the amount of labor a mechanic is going to put into a blown gasket. There are a lot of bolts to remove, and some that need to be replaced due head bolts stretching out when torqued. If you like looking for a wrench for five hours, you’re gonna love this because not only will every other bolt be a different size there will be plenty of things attached or in the way. In general you’re going to want a variety of tools and maybe a crane to just pull the engine and work on it while it’s outside of the car. But don’t worry, by this time you will have realized that you forgot something at the auto parts store. Make sure to drain all the liquids out and keep fire and electricity out of the way by disconnecting the battery.
Torching manifold bolts
Your manifold bolts get hot and cold often. They may rust or become seized into the hole. Use extremely hot flames to expand the metal and smoke them out. Or just shear them off when you round off the hex to a circle. How much could a manifold bolt cost? Not much.
Being a car doctor
If your exhaust is thick and white with a reported “sweet smell” (I did not care to breath them in), and your antifreeze has oil in it, a gasket or two has gone bad. Mine may have just been an intake gasket but I didn’t care to risk it and break the block after not replacing the head gasket.
Labeling parts removed
Something is going get lost, and if you have a bad memory you should label everything. All I did was label rods, rockers, and distributor/spark plug wiring. Putting it back together should be easier for most people, unless your a NASCAR person and can only turn left.
All in all it was an experience that took me far too long, but some times you have to hold your breath and dive into freezing waters. There’s a first time for everything and now I can finally cross hitchhiking to work off my bucket list.