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Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Seattle, WA
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Angry urgent advice needed - fix it or let it go?

So here's the deal. I've got a 1987 924S, about 115,000 miles. The car is in pretty good shape, but far from emaculate - the exterior has a few minor dings, and the interior is all biege carpetting that looks like crap (stained and worn out in places).

And here's the problem: I was driving it on monday and it was starting to run really hot. When I stopped at a red light and the temp guage went all the way up, I immediately pulled it over and shut off the engine (the engine felt fine the entire time). When I loosened the coolant reservoir cap, it spewed out puke-colored coolant. I had it towed to a shop, and sure enough, the head gasket's blown (the puke color was oil in the coolant). They don't think that the block is cracked or warped, but they want to check it out using some sort of magnets and metal filing technique that I haven't heard of before.

They quoted me $2500 total to replace the head gasket. Unfortunately, I'm not really enough of a mechanic to even change my brakes, let alone something like this, so fixing it myself isn't an option. The owner of the shop said if I didn't want to fix it, he'd take it off my hands - he hasn't made me an offer yet, but I have a feeling it'll be real low.

So, my questions: is $2500 a reasonable quote to replace the head gasket? What is the car worth right now? What will it be worth if I get it fixed (and nothing else is wrong with it)? The only other wear n' tear part that hasn't been replaced lately is the clutch.

Finally, should I fix it? I do have the money, but it's gonna hurt a little. I love that car, but I don't have the time, money, or garage to really devote myself to a project car. I don't need it as a daily driver anymore, but I also don't really need a money pit that's growing wider.

I live in seattle, FWIW.

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Old 10-14-2004, 10:35 AM
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IMO, your car is worth about $2500 with the gasket fixed - $500 with a bad head gasket.

The cost of fixing the head, including shaving the head for trueness and new hardware ought to be about $1500 from a really good Porsche shop. This assumes your valves don't need work.

You want new bolts for the cam tower, new nuts and washers for the head studs, and a head gasket kit (~$200). It costs about $150 for a machine shop to clean, pressure test and shave the head. If you need a valve job, it's another $600-$700 (new valves, springs, lifters, labor, etc.).

It's about an 8 hour job at most. I did mine myself and it's really easy, especially for a trained mechanic.

Jeff
Old 10-14-2004, 11:01 AM
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Find a new shop.




This may not be the head gasket. Could be, but not necessarily.


It also is not like you 'drove it till it died'. You just pulled off and shut down.

Look around for someone that can give you an honest opinion/price.
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Old 10-14-2004, 12:38 PM
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Are you sure its oil in the coolant and not just garbage? A dirty/corroding radiator will give you sluge looking coolant aslo. If your coolant isnt clean, then you will have overheating problems as well.

How was the oil? Did it look milky?

Id find a new shop and get a second opinion.
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Old 10-14-2004, 01:05 PM
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I'm pretty sure that it was oil in the coolant - and the oil definately looked a bit frothy (plus it was reading higher on the dipstick than it did when I topped it off last). So I did call for a second opinion, and a local porsche shop (my old shop, actually, I was trying this new place to help out a friend - his shop badly needed work) esitmated $1000 for the job. I have a feeling that it could be $1500 or so by the time its all said and done, but thats still a whole lot better than $2500. I have a bad feeling that the first shop I took it to saw a porsche get towed in and saw dollar signs

Anyways, for $1000 or $1500, I think its definately worth fixing her. Thanks for the advice.
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Old 10-14-2004, 01:22 PM
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Sounds like oil cooler seals.
$1500 is waay to high for oil cooler seals =)
Definately fix it and keep it!
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Old 10-14-2004, 03:35 PM
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yeah, oil in the coolant is pretty common in these cars, very often it is the oil cooler seals and NOT the headgasket. Oil cooler seals are far cheaper to replace, don't give up yet.
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Old 10-14-2004, 08:58 PM
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Yeah, most likely it's the oil-cooler seals. Intense heat usually is the final straw for old crispy O-ring seals. To confirm, do a compression-check. A toasted headgasket will show up as low-compression in one or more cylinders. If they're all OK, it's most likely oil-cooler seals.

On an NA, headgaskets are easy. First-time mechanics can do it in one day using instructions available on the 'net, like Clark's Garage. One weekend at the most. I've even done them twice on the same car in a single day at the side of the track using not much more than the Porsche toolkit.
Old 10-14-2004, 09:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by DannoXYZ
On an NA, headgaskets are easy. First-time mechanics can do it in one day using instructions available on the 'net, like Clark's Garage. One weekend at the most. I've even done them twice on the same car in a single day at the side of the track using not much more than the Porsche toolkit.
I say give it a shot and count on your friends here at Pelican to help you get it done! The Porsche truly becomes yours when you pull the engine apart for the first time :-)
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Old 10-15-2004, 09:22 AM
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My head gasket blew out from overheating 2 years ago - IT WAS $1300 TO REPLACE. Find a new shop - those guys are overcharging and not even looking at the symptoms. I drove mine about 5 months before doing the head gasket too!
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Old 10-15-2004, 10:09 AM
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Have a compression check done first to confirm oil seals or hg. If it is the cooler seals, that's not too bad. If it's the hg, find another shop, $2.5k is way out there. Heck, I'd fly out there to do it for that kind of money.
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Old 10-15-2004, 10:19 AM
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So the car is now far away from the first shop (the one that quoted me $2500). The people who have it now said that same thing that everyone here did - that they will check the oil cooler seals first. They drained the coolant and said that it was about a quart of water and the rest was just chocolate milkshake sludge. The guy I talked to said that they couldn't be sure that whether it was the oil coolant seals or the head gasket - I didn't think to ask them to do a compression check. Its pretty easy to do, isn't it? Do they just go in through the spart plug socket?

I really would like to try this myself - I agree that really getting your hands dirty is a good way to bond with one's car - but I lack even the most basic necessities, like a garage I can work in or any real tools.
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Old 10-15-2004, 10:52 AM
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You can do either of these jobs. They look hard, but take your time and if you get stuck or have a question, we'd be glad to help.
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Old 10-15-2004, 12:13 PM
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87 924s

Goober924s,

I live in Tacoma and have changed many head gaskets and oil cooler seals and I can help you figure your car out. I will provide the labor free of charge. Let me know if interested?

Russell
(253) 229 2532
Old 10-15-2004, 12:22 PM
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Re: 87 924s

Quote:
Originally posted by WaA420
Goober924s,

I live in Tacoma and have changed many head gaskets and oil cooler seals and I can help you figure your car out. I will provide the labor free of charge. Let me know if interested?

Russell
(253) 229 2532
Thats a very generous offer, and I wish I could take you up on it. Unfortunately, I can't for two reasons: 1) I already gave the shop a green light to go ahead and work on it and 2) I'd probably have to have the car towed to Tacoma and then move in with you for a little while . Aside from the faintest idea of what I'm doing, I also don't even have a place to work on the car here, or any real tools. I've been thinking about renting a garage for things like this - now I wish that I had. Add in the fact that I don't have much free time right now, and I think I'll let the experts fix it this time (britwrench's shop, actually).

Thanks again for the offer, though.

-nick

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Old 10-18-2004, 11:30 AM
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