Cost to have head gasket replaced? - Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board & Forums
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-19-2017, 05:05 PM Thread Starter
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Cost to have head gasket replaced?

I have looked over some threads on replacing a head gasket and the procedure looks too complicated and/or time consuming for me. I might reconsider depending on cost.

What is the approximate going rate to get a head gasket replaced on an S4 these days? The most recent cost estimate I find on the site is 2006, which isn't much use to me a decade later.

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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-19-2017, 05:21 PM
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Pete, The biggest problem I see is fining somebody to do the job. You do not want somebody learning on your car. You need a real Alfa mechanic who done this job before many times.

Richard
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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-19-2017, 05:23 PM
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At a good indy, I'd estimate 6-8 hours total to remove and replace. Have to factor in the cost and possibility of having the head shaved (no sense not to do this). Need to R/R antifreeze as well. If its just a head gasket I'd think 4-6 hours total.

This is not that complicated but I understand your reluctance to tackle the job. Like any others, its a lot easier the second time around (long story, not the car's fault!).

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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-19-2017, 05:50 PM Thread Starter
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Pete, The biggest problem I see is fining somebody to do the job. You do not want somebody learning on your car. You need a real Alfa mechanic who done this job before many times.
I am not sure I want ME learning on my car, especially if the time sink will do more harm to my marriage than writing a check, but the boss will have the final say. I am trying to figure out how much grovelling I need to do when all is said and done - and to figure out if this is something I will do now or over the winter.

If I pay someone, and I suspect I will, it will be a mechanic in his 49th year at an Alfa shop. He can change a head gasket with his eyes closed.
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-19-2017, 07:11 PM
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it is not a good idea to "shave" an aluminum head as a matter of course. If the head is warped it should be pressed. An hour spent with solvent and a razor blade is as much better long term investment.
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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-20-2017, 06:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WithanF View Post
I have looked over some threads on replacing a head gasket and the procedure looks too complicated and/or time consuming for me.
Hi Pete,

You did not mention why it is that you want to change your head gasket. Do you have oil in your coolant or coolant in your oil? Perhaps your cooling system is becoming over pressurized by exhaust gasses. Have you asked your mechanic how much the job will cost? It is not the worst job to do but it does require some tools and equipment, basic knowledge, work space and a helper.

Mark
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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-20-2017, 05:35 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by IRONBLOCK View Post
Hi Pete,

You did not mention why it is that you want to change your head gasket. Do you have oil in your coolant or coolant in your oil? Perhaps your cooling system is becoming over pressurized by exhaust gasses. Have you asked your mechanic how much the job will cost? It is not the worst job to do but it does require some tools and equipment, basic knowledge, work space and a helper.

Mark
I got a quote today. $1,200 or $1,300 plus gasket and fluids, probably another $200 or so. Sounds like $1,500 total to me.

Not in the budget considering I just had a lot of other work done (and did some myself). Perhaps over the winter.

It is a fierce, piercing shade of yellow, aglow with passion and defiance,
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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-20-2017, 06:22 PM
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As others have asked, what are the symptoms which cause you to think about changing the gasket? Chocolate mousse under the oil filler cap, oil in the coolant container?

You first might just retorque the head. It worked for my 91S 164 when I found some mousse under the cap. Has held now for 90k miles without trouble.

Otherwise, if you have the time, changing just the gasket is not that difficult a job, esp if you can get a copy of the workshop manual, which you should always have. Takes a little courage and patience, but you can do it, and save a bundle. Have done it myself with the Alfa 4 banger, with no problems.

Del

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62 Morris MiniMinor 850, 67 Austin 1275 Cooper S (Downton 3/4 race), 64 Giulia Sprint GT (1st red one made), 72 Fiat 128 Sedan, 75 Alfetta Sedan, 78 Alfetta Sedan, 78 GTV, 81 GTV6, 86 GTV6
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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-20-2017, 06:34 PM
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As mentioned, takes a bit of patience and courage but it can be done with basic tools.

Here is my thread, step by step.

http://www.alfabb.com/bb/forums/spid...procedure.html

Good luck,

Vin

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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-20-2017, 06:35 PM
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I used to do them in my garage on the weekends You know ..side jobs for cash for 300 bucks with parts......Oh wait....that was in the 80's

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post #11 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-20-2017, 06:58 PM
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Pete I was a bit unsure as well about my ability. I followed Vintre's excellent write up and it wasn't to bad at all. I brought the head to a machine shop where they cleaned it and looked for warpage. You may want to give it a go...

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post #12 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-20-2017, 07:55 PM
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I would have the head gasket changed by a professional and not listen to any owner. I repair and restore Alfas and would never recommend changing a head gasket without experience. The cylinder head normally does not leak unless the head is not flat, head could be cracked or o-rings are damaged and allowing oil to leak out of the head.
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post #13 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-20-2017, 08:13 PM
Del
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That's one opinion. Often the head gasket leaks coolant into the oil only because the head is not torqued down as it started out, and leaky O rings are replaced anyway in a gasket change. I've rarely seen where a head was not straight enough to seal unless the engine was really cooked, more just that the head was not as tight on the block as it was intended. It never hurts to try the retorque first. I would worry more if the engine had been overheated to the extreme. Then yes, check the head for flatness.

Yes, there might be additional problems, would never deny that, but do the simple stuff first. We once did have a 2 liter head which leaked coolant. Turned out there was an open pore in the head, allowing coolant to leak into an exhaust passage downstream. That had to be welded up, but that was a very rare failure. However, changing the head gasket was the only way we found that out, as it did not change the situation. Head gasket kits are just not expensive in comparison to a full Monty job.

We still haven't heard why the owner thinks the head gasket should be changed.

Del

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1991 164S, stock
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1972 Morgan 27

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62 Morris MiniMinor 850, 67 Austin 1275 Cooper S (Downton 3/4 race), 64 Giulia Sprint GT (1st red one made), 72 Fiat 128 Sedan, 75 Alfetta Sedan, 78 Alfetta Sedan, 78 GTV, 81 GTV6, 86 GTV6
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post #14 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-20-2017, 08:24 PM
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I would err on the side of caution, and get someone, at least marginally, experienced for this. Anyone who has r/r head gasket knows full well how difficult it can be to get the head off, especially without the right tools. Not a job for a true novice if it breaks bad.
It's common to lose the hg on any 4 cyl alfa motor.

You can try retorque but it's a 5% chance . Gasket has already taken a set I would bet.

Find a guy that works on benz or old beemers or for that matter, older us iron. Alfa gasket r/r is no harder (in fact easier) than most American v-8 cars of the 60-70 era.

If u sure u need a head gasket u could also try local high school auto shop; I am pretty sure they could do it with the right instructions

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post #15 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-21-2017, 04:15 AM Thread Starter
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I have some oil in coolant. I have a slight oil leak onto my garage floor. Not sure the source, but my mechanic said something about O ring. Have not noticed any coolant in the oil. I have no milkshake stuff.

I've had a problem with my fans. They are getting fixed now. The problem was intermittent. I thought I fixed it twice before on my own. Work fine on a test drive. A week later they don't work when stuck in traffic. I fix them again. Rinse. Repeat. Good on a test, but bad thereafter when stuck in traffic,

I might have cooked my gasket.

It is a fierce, piercing shade of yellow, aglow with passion and defiance,
vibrating with the energy of a thousand suns, of thunder at dawn.

Pete
Have - 93 Spider Veloce (2006)
Had - 86 GTV-6 (1987-2006)
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