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Old 03-07-2002, 01:47 AM
Posts: n/a
"If it ain't broke...."

I have a small head gasket oil leak; a couple of drops a day. It doesn't affect anything, so I'll probably leave it alone. It isn't getting any worse. But I have some questions.

First, has anyone else had this, and assuming so, how long were you able to go before anything got worse, if it did get worse? What did get worse.

Second, I was told that if I was to do anything, to do both sides; I have a 450 v8. I was told that putting a new gasket on just one side would make the height of the heads uneven, and be a problem with the timing chain. I don't think this sounds right; I don't think it should be a problem. Only one side has a problem, so my inclination would be just to fix it.

Also, I was told that I should go ahead and get a valve job as long as the head was off, and that it wouldn't be "that much more expensive." However, aside from the expense, if it doesn't need a valve job, why do it? I use no oil between oil changes. At the milage I drive, I think I should be able to go another 3 to 4 years very easily without getting into the 150,000 mile range, where I'm told valve jobs are typically needed. In this regard, I'm concerned that messing with further work makes somewhat of an unnecessary risk of someone not doing the job properly, and causing further problems.

My inclination is, if I do anything, to just get the one gasket replaced. Aside from cost, it seems like this presents the least risk of something being done wrong. I know one mechanic I use has had to re-build a couple of engines that other mechanics have improperly done, at great expense.
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Old 03-07-2002, 08:28 AM
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Gainesville FL
Posts: 6,844
It would give good value to do the inevitable all at the same time.

Other than economics there is no reason not to do just the one head. There is an allowable amount that can be cut from a single head and not screw the timing or fit of manifolds so obviously the slight squwish difference between new and old gaskets is negligable.

The only problem with letting it leak is where the oil is going. Its not nice what it will eventually do to exhaust or ruber products. The mounts and suspention rubber bushings can be decimated by long term exposure to oil.
Steve Brotherton
Continental Imports
Gainesville FL
Bosch Master, ASE Master, L1
33 years MB technician
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