Hi everyone. I wanted to ask those who are mechanically inclined for advice.
This morning when I was driving to work in my 2006 Double Cab Tacoma w/ 91000 miles, everything seemed to be fine. All of sudden, I see a small patch of white smoke come out from the left of the engine, near the driver side windshield. It looked more like steam. The temperature gauge was fine. The needle was in the middle of H and C. Then the Check Engine light lit up. So I looked at the temperature gauge again and it was still fine. I was in traffic driving about 20mph. I drove for another 5 minutes and exited.
I stopped at a stop light and then smoke/steam started coming out of the engine again. This time there was more steam and the temp gauge went all the way to H! When the light turned green, i drove another 5 minutes and the gauge went back down to the middle. The steam was gone. I'm guessing the wind during driving cooled the engine back down. I did not notice any white smoke coming out of the tail pipe. The truck did not seem to be losing any noticeable power.
When I parked, I popped open the hood and more steam came out. I looked at the source of the steam and it appeared to be coming from back of the valve cover (more towards the windshield). There is coolant on the top back of the valve cover and it's also where the steam is coming from. The radiator appeared to be fine.
When I tried to start the car again to check it out, it turned on, then immediately died after 2-3 seconds. It made like a weird rattle noise when it was turning over. I checked the oil and there is oil present. It did not look muddy.
I called the shop and they say that it's the head gasket. Before I get ripped off, what are the possible problems that this could be? I'm really hoping that it's not the head gasket but I'm thinking it's the source. I guess I'm just hoping it's a hose or something.
Also, if it's the head gasket, the shop informed me that I would need to replace my valves, water pump, and fan clutch.
However, another shop said that all i need to do is replace my head gasket since the engine is still new.
Who should I trust? Money is tight right now and I don't want to replace anything that is still in good condition and doesn't need to be replaced.
For the head gasket and valve job, I was quoted $850 for parts and labor. They both said that it's a 16 hour job.