Opinion: Replace head-gasket or nah?

thekitchensink

SILVER Star
Joined
Jul 12, 2017
Messages
220
Location
Atlanta, GA
Hey guys, looking for some advice here.
I've had my '93 FZJ80 for about 3 years now, and it has been great. However, I've been fighting cooling issues ever since I bought it (starting with the PHH, and now with an all new cooling system and a busted HG). The truck has 185k miles, and in general is in pretty good shape. Last week I noticed coolant leaking out of my catalytic converters, and the smoke out of the tailpipe got noticeably thicker, thus starting the path towards replacing the HG.

- I took it to a shop (Apollon Auto Repair in Chamblee) and they verified the HG is blown and estimated $3k for the repair.
- I called Merriam Automotive and talked with Peter. He said $3k seemed a little high but hasn't given me an estimate yet. He mentioned it might not be worth it to repair the HG as it can make the motor burn more oil than normal and cause other problems.
- ACC Garage is booked out through the beginning of December.

My questions:
- For those of you that have replaced the HG, have you noticed it burning more oil than normal?
- Are there any other shops that y'all know of that I can get an estimate from? Would it be worth the wait to get it into ACC?
- Due to the big list of "while you're in there"'s, is it even worth the repair? Should I sell?

I would love to get it back on the road for as inexpensive I can since I'm paying for school and don't have a great flow of income. Any suggestions are welcome. Here are a couple pictures of it:

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Joined
Jan 16, 2013
Messages
420
Location
Atlanta, GA
I'd wait for ACC to do it. I talked with Brian last time I was there and he had maybe two rebuilt/refinished heads sitting waiting to be dropped in for HG 80s. He told me it would take 2 days to finish. If they are booked out to the beginning of Dec then the time frame for having it back running well is about the same as any other shop trying to get it into a machine shop to get all that work done and then dropped back in. With that said, if you feel like you want to get a head start on the work, I have a 80 head (complete but disassembled) that you can bring to whatever shop and have them start working on it before they tear yours apart or you can do the work yourself. Once the head is off and rebuilt the job seems pretty easy (coming from looking at the FSM about it not actually doing it, and seeing all the 80 guys with 0 mechanical experience doing it).

No clue about the oil consumption after doing it, but i don't think there are any issues with doing the HG and driving it another 200k miles. Tons of people have done them and have had no issues. The right guys doing it should be able to make it right so stick with people who know LCs well though, and that's all ACC does. It'll probably be expensive anywhere to get it done by a shop, which is why tons of people do it themselves. I think its around $1500 on the cheap side for rebuilt head and all the OEM parts and that is the bare minimum work. A lot of people do other stuff that is probably worth doing while your in there.
 
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