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3.4 Head Gasket replacement, Help please

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Old 05-10-2012, 11:58 AM   #1
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3.4 Head Gasket replacement, Help please

So I am considering buying a 97 3.4 4x4 auto that is clean other then a blown head gasket.

The head gasket. It is loosing compression in cylinders 3 and 4 and is burning some coolant. it stats and runs fine. The block has a little rock to it, Is this normal for when one or two cylinders are out?


He claims it was never over heated and happend just down the street on his way to work. Other then that it looks really good and I would be getting a good price on it.

Whats it like doing a head gasket on a 3.4? is there anything I should look out for?
Any input would be great! Has this happend to anyone else?
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Old 05-10-2012, 12:06 PM   #2
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it's real easy to warp the aluminum heads on the 3.4L. Im not sure if I would believe him on the over heating part, if you can get it for around 3-4k then do it.
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Old 06-07-2012, 11:29 PM   #3
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I just learned that 80% of 3.4 cylinder heads are in fact cracked and not just a leaky gasket especially at 250k. usally first with cylinder 3.
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Old 06-07-2012, 11:37 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gofas View Post
I just learned that 80% of 3.4 cylinder heads are in fact cracked and not just a leaky gasket especially at 250k. usally first with cylinder 3.
Where did you get that statistic?
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Old 06-08-2012, 11:24 AM   #5
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^

I overheated my 3.4 just last year. Rad fluid was boiling. Replaced tbelt, water pump, and thermostat. I was afraid that i might have blown the head gasket. But it runs great and theres no coolant burning.

I learned an old trick to see if its blown. Leave the truck parked overnight so its cold in the morning. Then drive it around until its very hot. Then turn it off and open the radiator cap with a towel. If theres lots of pressure and it blows coolant out, then you probably have an exhaust leak in the head gasket. Follow this procedure up with a coolant test at a mech shop.
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Old 06-08-2012, 11:31 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jr97tacoma View Post
^

I overheated my 3.4 just last year. Rad fluid was boiling. Replaced tbelt, water pump, and thermostat. I was afraid that i might have blown the head gasket. But it runs great and theres no coolant burning.

I learned an old trick to see if its blown. Leave the truck parked overnight so its cold in the morning. Then drive it around until its very hot. Then turn it off and open the radiator cap with a towel. If theres lots of pressure and it blows coolant out, then you probably have an exhaust leak in the head gasket. Follow this procedure up with a coolant test at a mech shop.
Just run it with the cap off when cold. You won't have to worry about burning yourself.
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Old 06-08-2012, 11:47 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jr97tacoma View Post
^

I overheated my 3.4 just last year. Rad fluid was boiling. Replaced tbelt, water pump, and thermostat. I was afraid that i might have blown the head gasket. But it runs great and theres no coolant burning.

I learned an old trick to see if its blown. Leave the truck parked overnight so its cold in the morning. Then drive it around until its very hot. Then turn it off and open the radiator cap with a towel. If theres lots of pressure and it blows coolant out, then you probably have an exhaust leak in the head gasket. Follow this procedure up with a coolant test at a mech shop.
The problem is that a normally functioning cooling system builds pressure. The pressure raises the boiling point of the liquid.

If the head gasket is blown, it will draw coolant into the cylinder(s) and you will lose pressure. A test kit checks for the presence of combustion gases in the coolant. You will usually have water coming out of the exhaust although some water is normal as a by-product of combustion. The coolant might smell like exhaust if there's a leak. Sometimes you can see bubbles in the radiator with the motor running, but I've never witnessed that.

Buying a truck with a "blown head gasket" is a risky venture. People think they should get full value minus the price of a gasket for the truck. Most of the time it's not more than that, but it could lead to an entire motor replacement or a series of trial and error repairs.
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Old 06-09-2012, 05:43 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scocar View Post
Where did you get that statistic?
Yodaman in Santa Rosa, Ca

drove an hour south to get this second opinion.

he is Toyota specialist highly recommended from many folks in the area. he says that the metal is thin due too the 4 valves in the head and it's common issue for high mileage 3.4's. He goes on to say that 80 percent of these engines need new heads when these leaks develop.

I just discovered that my truck has coolant leak in combustion chamber. #3 cylinder becoming common with these trucks getting high miles. my truck is at 235k.
So I'm preparing to fix it and/or new truck.
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Old 06-09-2012, 06:03 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gofas View Post
Yodaman in Santa Rosa, Ca

drove an hour south to get this second opinion.

he is Toyota specialist highly recommended from many folks in the area. he says that the metal is thin due too the 4 valves in the head and it's common issue for high mileage 3.4's. He goes on to say that 80 percent of these engines need new heads when these leaks develop.

I just discovered that my truck has coolant leak in combustion chamber. #3 cylinder becoming common with these trucks getting high miles. my truck is at 235k.
So I'm preparing to fix it and/or new truck.
What is estimated cost for the repair?

Does this issue cause any noticeable vibrations to the engine/truck? I am chasing down a shimmy on my 99 with 234,000 miles.
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Old 06-09-2012, 06:32 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bhh2000 View Post
So I am considering buying a 97 3.4 4x4 auto that is clean other then a blown head gasket.

The head gasket. It is loosing compression in cylinders 3 and 4 and is burning some coolant. it stats and runs fine. The block has a little rock to it, Is this normal for when one or two cylinders are out?


He claims it was never over heated and happend just down the street on his way to work. Other then that it looks really good and I would be getting a good price on it.

Whats it like doing a head gasket on a 3.4? is there anything I should look out for?
Any input would be great! Has this happend to anyone else?
Getting a "good price" as you have stated is always a questionable matter. Yes, buying ANY vehicle with a known problem can be a risky venture. If you have a decent amount of mechanical skill, the 3.4 is not that difficult of a job to tackle on your own. Plan yourself a weekend to do it since this will be a "first time" for you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gofas View Post
I just learned that 80% of 3.4 cylinder heads are in fact cracked and not just a leaky gasket especially at 250k. usally first with cylinder 3.
I am inclined to disagree with you. I have worked on many Toyota 4 and 6 cylinder engines with blown head gaskets that were not cracked. aluminum heads do not crack easily, though they do tend to warp when hot. This warpage can, if not too sever, be decked out and the head will be fine. You can't take one person's personal experience and classify it as a rule. There are more Toyotas in the country than just the ones in California that your friend worked on.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leggo View Post
Get the coolant tested for exhaust gases, real quick and easy. If you take the head off ( do both while you are in there), get it magnefluxed and if not cracked get it planed. Get a good gasket set and Good luck! Not a small job.
This is the best idea, though it to should not be your sole diagnosis. Advance Auto I believe rents out a coolant tester. You want to check for combustion gasses in the coolant, then check the spark plugs. Look at the tip; does it look "steam cleaned" as a result of coolant/water mixture being superheated and washing the cylinder? Check the oil. Not just the dipstick, but pull the filler cap. Look for an overfilled oil level (remember oil floats on water) and/or a milky oil indicating coolant has mixed with the oil. You can also rent/buy a cylinder leak-down kit which uses a compressor(you will need an air compressor for this tool) to apply pressurized air into the suspected cylinder(s) where you will listen for air escaping. There will be some normally, but you can look in your radiator for bubbles; listen to the exhaust tail pipe for large amounts of air escaping, and your air inlet for the same. Also you can remove the oil filler cap to see if there is a gross leak past the rings. Follow the instructions 100%. The cylinder you are testing must be on it's power stroke to properly test. This will ensure that the valves are closed, and that the engine will not attempt to rotate backwards when the air pressure is applied. Good Luck!

Quote:
Originally Posted by blitzburgh99 View Post
What is estimated cost for the repair?

Does this issue cause any noticeable vibrations to the engine/truck? I am chasing down a shimmy on my 99 with 234,000 miles.
Estimates for repairs vary depending on where you are at due to the large variation in labor rates. The labor time for a head gasket job, WITHOUT having the heads repaired(decked) is 10.5 hours, if only replacing the gaskets. Parts cost list for the kit is $400-500 and the head bolts are between $70 and $100. Do not EVER do a head gasket on the Toyotas without replacing the bolts. There are Torque-to-yield bolts, which mean they stretch microscopically and can not be reused once loosened.
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Old 06-09-2012, 12:05 PM   #12
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Well nether mechanics are friends of mine. the first was toyota of Ukiah,ca

they stated that in my case the injector was going out due too coolant.
And they went on to say that they could take the heads off and check them and that most likely it would be hairline cracks around where the valves are.

they said be prepared for the worst case scenerio.

possible outcomes:
1. just worn gasket
2. cracked head
3. cracked head and do examination of cylinders and find bad scoring etc.

so that was Toyota.

So I mentioned this to a few friends and they said I should get second opinion and that is how I learned of the Yodaman (larry) he is in all the 4x4 mags and has impressive yodas and many nice yodas he was working on.
So made appointment with him.
And he said the same thing as the toyota dealership and did the leak down test.

Leak down test 100.00 done.
#3 cylinder 64% 4,5 and 6 around 27 to 36%.

a good cylinder is 19%

Estimates :
toyota 3200.00 for new head install

Larry the yoda dude: 3000.00 head install have of these estimates are labor.

and both said they would only do the work if the cylinders checked out and bearings of bottom end.

see that is the thing when these mechanics tear it down they are unsure of what is up until further testing. So no telling what they will find but both said that most likely one would need new heads.

neither would even install manufactured heads either.


I have yet a third mechanic next to my home that will take yet a third look monday or tuesday. this mechanic will be most likley to tear it down.

btw, out this way the cheapest quote I got for rebuild engine and install was 5k.

your don't disagreeing with me you are disagreeing with them.

I was just passing along what I learned from these mechanics.

Gawd I only hope it is the gaskets. I would be so frekin happy.
http://www.yodaman.net/
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Old 06-09-2012, 12:13 PM   #13
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oh haha
this is the second injector that went out.

the first one was over a year ago. and at time it was missing.

I wish i done the leak down test around 3000 dollars ago..lol

engine hard to start in morning when it gets bad. and sounds/feels like it's missing. engine light never came on either.

no noticeable coolant loss as of yet.



Quote:
Originally Posted by blitzburgh99 View Post
What is estimated cost for the repair?

Does this issue cause any noticeable vibrations to the engine/truck? I am chasing down a shimmy on my 99 with 234,000 miles.
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Old 06-09-2012, 03:57 PM   #14
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now 5 thousand dollars to rebuild the engine? you did tell them that it was for a toyota truck and not the Nascar toyota.

toyota 3200.00 for new head install.... did you ask them if that screwing came with Vaseline?
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Old 06-09-2012, 04:29 PM   #15
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I just recently did the headgaskets on my 2000 4Runner when it shot the #3 spark plug out of the head. Including the time in the machine shop, it took about a week. The timing belt and cams are nice and easy on these motors.
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Old 06-09-2012, 07:26 PM   #16
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Jesus they are expensive out there! A complete upper end rebuild at my shop including rebuilding the heads completely, plus head gaskets and everything is less than $2300! asking over 3k for a job like that is insane!!
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