Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: South Western Ontario, Canada
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Re: Head Gasket, and getting it to the shop?
I have a better idea!!! Leave the truck in the garage and do the work your self! I take it you have a 305 or 350 V8 and I am just guessing but maybe a pre 96(vortec). Anyway, doing a head gasket job is not that big of a deal if thats what it is. Actually on a TBI or carb V8 it is really simple and you could probably do it in 5 hours and that includes clean-up which is the hardest part because you have to clean the heads all up and the deck of the block so the new gasket won't leak. There isn't much to remove on these motors ecessory wise and you can leave the AC compressor hooked up and just un bolt it and move it out of the way. leave the TBI on the intake and just undo the bolts. Undo the exaust manifolds and then pull the valve covers and undo the head bolts. Then you can pop off the head. It is really pretty simple and a Hayes Chevy manual will give you a step by step procedure for doing it.
Lastly this will save you ALOT of money. Count on paying about $40 for the 2 head gaskets and into and exaust gaskets. $40 for new head bolts (not a good idea to use the old ones) and say $30 for new anti-freeze and oil and stuff like that. You don't charge your self labour so thats where you will save your money. A shop will probably charge you $400-500 to do the job....Hey, guess what....seeing you have the exaust manifolds off now is a great time to slap on a set of headers seeing you are saving $300+ on the job.
All in all, its really not that hard and you can do it with a basic set of hand tools and its a great learning experiance for you, just take your time. I just did the head gaskets on my 6.5L diesel this spring and that was the first time I ever did anything more than brakes really. It wasn't hard and it took me 1.5 days but that was because I had a TON of stuff to take off such as the turbo and other things like that. In the end I paid $250 for parts and that was including 3 new lifters and push rods(the reason I had to take the heads off in the first place). The lowest quote I got from a shop just to do the work was $1800. Talk about me saving a ton of money doing it my self.
One other thing I want to say...just hope its a leaky had gasket and not a cracked head or worse yet a block. Pull the heads and look at the gasket and you will know right away if thats what it was. If not look the head over really good.