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How to change a blown head gasket - 1997 Toyota Tacoma

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Changing a head gasket is a major engine repair. Unless you have a good set of tools including a torque wrench and a good general knowledge of how things work, it can be a tough job. If you still want to try, I would highly recommend a repair manual for your vehicle such as a Haynes manual that covers 1997 Toyota trucks. It will have pictures of most of the parts as well as the specifications for tightening all the bolts when you are ready to put it all back together. Basically replacing a head gasket requires that you do the following: Drain the coolant, drain the oil. Remove fuel lines to and from the engine, remove the electrical and vacuum lines that lead to and from the intake manifold,remove the alternator, air pump, ac compressor, tie it back, don't disconnect the refrigerent lines, remove the valve cover remove the intake manifold, remove the front engine cover which will expose the timing belt. Remove the timing belt, remove the cam shaft. You should now see the head bolts. Remove the head bolts. Carefully tap on the head until you can loosen it from the engine block. You may have to drive a wedge between the head and the engine block to force it to loosen up. This is a delicate operation, because if you damage the head during removal, it won't seal with the new gasket. You will need a top rebuild gasket set for your engine. Somewhere around $150.00. Every gasket surface needs to be cleaned to the bare metal without scratching the surface. Any old gasket material left on the parts will cause leaks. Once you get the head off, spend another 150.00 or so to get it boiled out by a head shop in your area. They will also test it for leaks and cracks. If the head is cracked, it will have to be replaced. If you don't get it checked for cracks, this whole exercise will be wasted if it turns out to be a cracked head instead of a blown head gasket. Anyway, reverse everything, tighten it by the book to specified torque put in new oil and antifreeze and you are set to go. I replaced my first head gasket when I was about 15 years old. It took me a couple of weeks and I broke about 6 or 7 bolts off on things like the intake manifold, front cover etc. I learned a lot from that old '58 ford. Good luck, and get that Haynes manual.

Posted on Oct 17, 2010

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28 Solutions for ''HOw can I tell if I have a cracked head blown head gasket or cracked blown like how can I see it''


Often (but not always), a blown head gasket will also cause deposit of water on a piece of cardboard held an inch from the tailpipe output while the engine is running (when this is happening, it is likely that the catalytic converter has been ruined and the muffler will corrode in short order as well).

Sometimes drops of water will be seen dropping from the end of the tailpipe. Another clue: turn on the heater; often when the head gasket is blown an odor of antifreeze and synthetic rubber will emanate from the heater vents.
Many of the symptoms of blown head gasket can be caused by some other problem in the cooling system, without the head gasket being damaged. Conversely, other problems with the cooling system can cause a blown head gasket and/or warped head.

When checking for a blown head gasket, one of the most common tell-tale signs is a milky-gray ring around your oil cap. When coolant enters the engine oil through a crack in the head or through a blown gasket, it evaporates and leaves a milky ring around the oil cap. Another easy way to tell is to check your oil dipstick. Change your oil and pull out the dipstick. Make sure that you take note of how far up the dipstick the oil is. Top off your cooling system and fill your cooling reservoir to the top. Screw radiator cap back on and start engine. Run engine for about 20-30 mins. or until it reaches normal operating temperature. Allow engine to cool (engine must cool completely to get accurate oil reading!!). Check oil dipstick again. If the oil has a watery appearance and has risen noticeably up the dipstick, the you probably have a blown head gasket or a warped head. Also look for a dripping, sweet-smelling liquid coming out of your tailpipe. Any of the above symptoms could be the result of a blown head gasket. The easiest way to tell is with a compression meter. This replaces the spark plug and lets you know what compression each cylinder is running at. If your compression is abnormally low, then you have a blown head gasket or a warped head. (note: consult repair manual for appropriate compression of each cylinder.)

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