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Old 02-26-2015, 08:37 AM
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W203 Failed head gasket

Having diagnosed a failed or failing head gasket on an 164,000 mile base W203, what would be the best course of action? Remove the head and have it magnafluxed and machined replace gasket or replace the entire engine with a salvage unit with lower miles? I have gotten quotes as low as $1450.00 for 69K engine and as high as $1975.00 for a 56K unit. either solution is going to cost about $3500. The car is in overall excellent condition and is our only usable car. This could take weeks to get done and aside from the expense alternate transportation will be needed in South Jersey where public transit is horrible.

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Old 02-26-2015, 10:18 AM
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F40, you don't mention the cost to recondition the existing head and replace the head gasket. I would expect that course of action to be much less expensive than going with a new engine. Having said that, it would depend on the history of the existing engine. If you have owned the vehicle since new, or with reasonably low mileage, and have used Mobil 1 with regular oil changes I would opt for reconditioning the head and installing a new head gasket. The replacement engines are a crap shoot, unless you or your mechanic know their specific maintenance history.
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Old 02-26-2015, 12:00 PM
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Remove the head, clean all mating surfaces, install new gasket, re-assemble. If the engine runs good don't mess with machining, magna-fluxing, etc. You'll be back on the road in a day or two.
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Old 02-26-2015, 01:54 PM
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Thank you for responding. I bought the two years ago with 131,000 miles and have used only Mobil 1 and all factory recommended upkeep. The previous owner was not as kind as evidenced by filthy oil and filters. Also up until earlier this month I found it had not been in for dealer service since 2009. I don`t have the skill or tools to do this job. I live in Sicklerville N.J.. Would you be able to help out with this?
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Old 02-26-2015, 02:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by F40 View Post
Thank you for responding. I bought the two years ago with 131,000 miles and have used only Mobil 1 and all factory recommended upkeep. The previous owner was not as kind as evidenced by filthy oil and filters. Also up until earlier this month I found it had not been in for dealer service since 2009. I don`t have the skill or tools to do this job. I live in Sicklerville N.J.. Would you be able to help out with this?
Given the additional information I'd swap in a different engine (I'm assuming it will come with at least a basic warranty). If you have to pay someone to do this the labor to replace the HG is going to be ridiculous.
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Old 02-27-2015, 07:39 AM
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Which engine, 4 cyl or V6? What year car?

I would lean to just doing the headgasket. You don't know the history of the used engine either. If yours had good oil pressure, and doesn't burn oil out the exhaust, I would consider it good.

Just an FYI, aluminum heads aren't magnafluxed, they are checked for cracks with penetrant dyes.
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Old 02-27-2015, 10:06 AM
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If you are doing the work yourself I don't think I've ever spent over $100 for a crack check, valve check, and clean up/mill on an alloy head for a 3 or 4 cyl head. Just did an M103 and a BMW M30 and the machine work was $120 each. Headgasket set from the dealer is more than likely well under $200. (bought OM603, M103, and M102 sets lately all under $100 from the dealer)

I would just do the headgasket.

As someone said, what W203 is this? M111 or M112? Maybe we can point you towards the FSM pages or a DIY writeup for the HG job.
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Old 02-27-2015, 11:51 AM
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That would seem to be the opinion of most. Some say, swap out the engine. Others say just replace the gasket without all that pricey machine shop, still more say have the head reconditioned. I`m waiting for a member who is local to get back to me as to weather or not he will take the job to just do the gasket. In retrospect, I wish I had gotten a good W123 Diesel that I would be able to service my
self.
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Old 02-27-2015, 12:11 PM
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Originally Posted by F40 View Post
Thank you for responding. I bought the two years ago with 131,000 miles and have used only Mobil 1 and all factory recommended upkeep. The previous owner was not as kind as evidenced by filthy oil and filters. Also up until earlier this month I found it had not been in for dealer service since 2009. I don`t have the skill or tools to do this job. I live in Sicklerville N.J.. Would you be able to help out with this?
No side work for me my friend. I have enough fun during the work week. Find a reputable indie and get an estimate.

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