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1988 Plymouth Reliant - blown head gasket ... only 89,000 original miles ... worth fixing or what ?? How do I fix a blown head gasket ? new motor ?

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  • Rebecca Lents Oct 21, 2013

    Got the car cheap for my daughter - timing chain and radiator replaced just 100 miles ago so about 500.00 total into the car. It had problems overheating but i told her to watch and check her coolant often and she learned to turn on the heat if the temps started to climb. We replaced the thermostat and fan wiring and it didn't overheat for awhile but then she said she noticed one day it was alll the way on the " H " and she still went ahead and drove it the 4 miles to home. This is what I think blew or cracked the head or gasket. White milky looking oil is what brought me to that conclusion. Plus now it will not start ... Just wish there was an easier way to know for sure what is wrong without taking it apart.

  • cy schousboe Oct 21, 2013

    These were pretty tough little cars in their day and the motors were pretty much bullet proof. I would expect you are looking at a simple head gasket job. When you remove the head you shjould be able to see on the gasket where the coolant was leaking. There will be a "track". If you are unsure or want to be safe take the head to a local engine rebuilder and have it checked out. Most of them are pretty reasonable about these kind of things if they know the story. There is no way to know for sure which one it is until you open it up, but the odds are with you on the gasket.

  • Rebecca Lents Oct 24, 2013

    I totally appreciate and like all the comments and help. Just what I wanted to hear. I live in a tiny tiny area and no shops around here but I think if it is not the gasket I can send it off. The labor is the tough part but maybe I'll put this blonde hair up and get to work !! I think i can do it. Despite all the " men " in my laugh sitting around watching. :)

  • cy schousboe Oct 24, 2013

    Read the Haynes manual section before you start so you have a rough idea of how this operation is going to unfold.Follow the instructions carefully and you should be okay. You'd be surprised how many "men' can't do that. Make sure you are working with the right set of instructions (there could be 1 of 4 engines in your car). The pics in the manual can help you identify the engine. You will need a torque wrench to tighten the head back up, this is a must. Torque wrench's have a lot of uses in car repair so buying one might be a good investment, otherwisw see if you can borrow or rent. r Read the section on timing belt replacement before you start and makle sure you have your timing marks lined up before you start. Remember the crankshaft makes 2 revolutions for every 1 on the camshaft. When you have the timing right the exhaust valve on #1 piston will open when you go past top dead center. This is where youi want to be. The other thing to watch is when you put the belt back on and tighten up the tensioner. Then turn the engine over 2 complete turns and line your timing marks back up. Chances are they will be off a little bit.Loosen the tensioner and move the camgear back to it's proper position, put the belt back on and tighten the tensioner again. Repeat this step to double check. Hold the belt as tight as you can while moving the camgear, this will help.

  • Rebecca Lents Oct 24, 2013

    HEY .. I have a question - does anyone think if i flush out the radiator and use a product like KW block sealer that it might work ? It costs about 20.00 and I've read alot of online testimonials from people who say it fixed their gasket or cracked block or warped head ... anyone know anything about that ?

  • cy schousboe Oct 25, 2013

    You could try one of them once. I'm somewhat sceptical of them but some people swear that they work. Be sure to follow the directions exactly for best results, close enough won't be good enough.If it does work you may have to redo it at some point down the road.

  • cy schousboe Oct 25, 2013

    Add a CommentIf you keep trying various types then at some point you will start to have trouble with your cooling system.



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Head gaskets are very simple to replace, there are bolts on the exterior of the heads that need to be removed , remove the valve cover and inside the head there will be more bolts remove all bolts ( they are the same bolts used to hold the exterior of the heads )pull head off clean area where old gasket resedue has been left then replace the gasket then reassemble

Posted on Oct 22, 2013

Testimonial: "Really appreciate ALL this help ! Thank you so much."

  • cy schousboe Oct 22, 2013

    According to my manual, their car has 1 of 4 different engines, each with a slightly different procedure for removing the head.This is why I suggested they pick up a Haynes manual. Different makers have different requjirements for removing heads. Chrysler wants these head bolts removed in a specific order to maintain the integrity of the head so it can be reused. Your method could easily result in a warped or cracked head, thus rendering the engine useless.

  • Rebecca Lents Oct 24, 2013

    do you think if i flush out the radiator and use a product like KW block sealer that it might work ? It costs about 20.00 and I've read alot of online testimonials from people who say it fixed their gasket or cracked block or warped head ... know anything about that ?


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If the body is solid and the rest of the car is in decent shape, certainly fix it. Your best bet would be to pick up a Haynes repair manual for your car. It will have all the info, with pictures and drawings that you will need to do the job, including torque amounts. It'll probably take you a couple days at most and the parts are not expensive, just remember that a head gasket has a TOP and a BOTTOM. Also make sure the new one matches identically to the old one, the same holes in the same places.

Posted on Oct 20, 2013

Testimonial: "Thank you. That's what I was hoping to hear. lol. .Then again - I'm assuming it is the head gasket .. could possibly be the head and then it is alot more isn't it. Is there a way to tell how much damage is done."


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Posted on Jan 02, 2017

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SOURCE: head gasket blown

there are many was a head gasket can blow . sometimes they just leak to the outside sometimes they leak to the coolant and then it blows out your antifreeze. if you have a blown head gasket you will see it when you pull the head. and yes you should hace the head checked at a machine shop and install with a new head set never reuse a gasket .
later paul

Posted on Sep 15, 2008

SOURCE: IS this car worth fixing up?

It depends on a few things...first, do you have money to buy a brand new car or make payments on a new car? Does that car have sentimental value to you? Can you get your money back if you fixed it back up and sold it? (blue book value of the car plus the cost of repairs) Do you like the make and model you have and are you comfortable owning and driving that car for the next few years? Other things to cosider is do you own another car? Was the car given to you? Is it worth sending it to the junk yard?

Posted on May 02, 2009

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It might be your fuel injectors clogged maybe.

Yeah, The fuel filter for a 2.2L plymouth reliant Le is on the passenger side just before the rear tire. Its like right next to the gas tank. Sort of in by the middle (not by the body frame). Hope this helps.

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