A blown head gasket can be a costly repair any way you look at it, but there are some ways to make sure you get the most value out of your repair. The first thing to do is to make sure the diagnosis is correct. Then, find a reputable dealership or repair shop to handle the repair, preferably one that has a lot of experience in engine rebuilds and head gasket repair. Then, with the tips following, be sure to ask a few key questions to make sure the repair is done correctly.

   Higher temps can quickly damage an engine by causing warping of the heads or the block, or even cracking. The sooner the engine is stopped after realizing the head gasket is blown, the better the chances of rebuilding the top end without major consequences.

  The person or shop that performs the rebuild should know to check for warping of the block surface, the head surface, and to check for cracks in the head. These checks may cost a little more, but the consequences can be much more costly in the end if they are not checked. If the block is slightly warped, do ahead and have it flattened; if the head needs to be repaired, it can be decked to get the surface straight again. If the head is cracked, it will probably need to be replaced, but some have had success welding and repairing them. It depends on the location of the crack.

  Once the parts are cleaned and/or repaired, its time to have it assembled. Most shops will know to torque the heads down to specs, and to use all new studs on the head. This helps make sure that the head is fastened on securely. Using the old studs can create a situation where the head is not properly torqued because the studs will stretch when they are torques. Old stud have already been stretched, so the torque value will be different than a new stud. You can see the difference in the treads if you hold the two studs up together.

  These are a few things to look out for when having a head gasket repaired. You can look to spend between 1200 and 2000 depending on how much work needs to be done. Don't make the mistake in paying a discounted price for less experienced work. The results will cost you.

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Blown Head Gasket? What To Do, And What Not To Do!
By Matt Brooks
  The diagnosis can be a little tricky depending on how bad the head gasket is. If it is beginning to fail, the signs will be moderate, and will typically be a slight overheating, or a small amount of white smoke coming from the exhaust. If the gasket is completely gone, it will be obvious due to the rough idle, or it wont run at all. If it does run, there will be a large amount of white smoke coming from the exhaust. If the head gasket blows while driving, the biggest thing to watch out for is the temperature.
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