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I know there are guys on here that turn wrenches every day for a living. I need some advice on head gasket replacment for a 1996 grand am with the 3100 v6.Is this beyond the scope of the average mechanic? any special tools required? any web sites I could go to for more info? this is my mom's car,i would really like to do this job for her,because she doesn't realy have money to pay a mechanic labor charges /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/mad.gif any tips,advice,help would be appreciated. I am going to try to do a compression test in the morning to verify the head gasket leaking,but not sure yet how I am gonna reach the back plugs,can't even see them /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/cussing.gif thanks for any help....Ben /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif
 

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Re: O/T head gasket replacment,1996 ponitac grand

A compression test won't tell you about a leaking head gasket. The amount of leakage is typically too small to make a significant difference in the compression reading.

Break the insulator out of an old spark plug. Braze a pipe fitting to it, and screw an air chuck adapter into it. Then get the suspect piston to TDC and apply air pressure. If you eventually see air bubbles in the radiator the gasket is bad.

Or look for oil in the coolant, or froth in the oil, but you can still have a small leak without those signs, and there can be other causes. Diagnosing a leaking head gasket can be an exercise in Zen.

Sorry I can't help you with specifics of Mom's Pontiac.
 

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Re: O/T head gasket replacment,1996 ponitac grand

3.1L's are the work of the devil. the head gasket will be a PITA to do on those mainly because getting to the timing on the front of the motor can bea pain, and the intake maniold molds into the head in a very funny way. to get the intake off your gonna have to pull all the rockers off both sides. because they go through the intake, as its a very strange design.
 

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Re: O/T head gasket replacment,1996 ponitac grand

I know this sounds weird BUT it may be a hole lot faster to pull the whole motor. Iv never done on personaly but I have worked on a lot of cars around the same deal as in can't se spark plugs and stuff like that. An old friend told me one time I got to hand it to you because working on those you have to know a lot of magic to get some of that stuff done. When you tear into it I suggest not to have and kids around because you will cuse.
 
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