View Full Version : One more lame 3S-GE HG question

06-09-2007, 02:31 AM
So... I've got exhaust getting into my coolant. Dealership did a litmus test and leak down test and pronounced a blown HG in cylinders 1 and 4. No white smoke, no water out the tailpipe. I've never overheated the engine.

My local mechanic (who is very old school and has done great work on all my vehicles from our 58 tractor to 99 Camry) wonders why I've never overheated, either before or after 'discovering' my HG is blown. I've gone about 1,000 miles since the diagnosis and haven't babied it a single mile. My coolant isn't running low, just is chocolate brown w/ exhaust. I do think I'm losing some power, but don't know that for sure. It goes into the shop next week for new tires and exhaust work, so maybe a new engine, too.

If the HG is blown via the normal route, I've been told by just about everybody that the head is probably warped and needs to be replaced. My local guy says they typically warp top and bottom, and doesn't recommend a new head that's just ground on the bottom since the top warp causes other issues inside. I found a used engine for $300, way cheaper than a HG replacement and properly rebuilt head.

The current engine was supposed to be a newly replaced engine by the mechanic who installed an engine w/ no EGR port. After really examining the current engine and realizing the port isn't original Toyota (sloppy weld marks around it), I think he just took the head off the first engine he installed, ported it for the EGR and reinstalled it, probably screwing up the HG when he did so. He's 450 miles away and a real dick-head, so he's outta the picture now - except for small claims court since he really pissed off me and the State Bureau of Automotive Repair case rep.

Anyone think it's possible that the head isn't warped at all and a new HG would solve the problem? At my local mechanic's suggestion, I might pull the valve cover this weekend and put a straight edge along it to see if the top of the head is warped. He was perplexed since he said a normal warp would produce a blowout in two adjoining cylinders, not the 1 and 4. Anyone had a 1-4 blow out and have the head warped? Anyone had a blown HG diagnosed w/o ever overheating and running it for many miles afterwards w/o the situation getting worse or ever overheating? Dealership did get bubbles in radiator during the leak down test, confirming (I guess) the blown HG.

I might take on the HG job myself if the head is good. Otherwise, it'd be cheaper to let my local guy install a new (used) engine ($300 for engine and $500 to install) rather than do a $400 HG job and get a $400-500 properly done cylinder head. The new engine comes w/ a 6-month guarantee and my mechanic has had great luck w/ the supplier, who's also local.

Just fishing around for thoughts and ideas.

Moderator, feel free to delete this if it's useless to the group.


06-09-2007, 04:07 AM
I had a head gasket leak on my 3s-fe due to a warped head. I just finished getting the head decked and putting it back on yesterday. So far its doing great with no problems. I would highly, highly recommend going with a head gasket from the dealership. When i originally rebuilt the engine i used a gasket from an engine shop, and now that I did the head gasket again i bought it from the dealership. The difference between the two is rediculous. On the 3s-fe, the toyota HG had rubber o-rings and sealant on the gasket as to where the engine shop gasket was just metalic. And to top that at Advance Auto Parts (where I work) even with my discount the gasket was about $45 and the bolts $20. At the dealership i got the head and bolts for $30. YOU MUST USE NEW BOLTS as they are stretch type bolts.

Now it is wierd that its the outer cylinders that are leaking. What i would do is take the head off and take it to an engine shop. Have them clean it, then check it for cracks as that will also result it exhaust gas in the coolant. If its not cracked have it decked for good insurance. At my shop they charged me $70 to clean, check, and deck.
If the head is cracked your best off getting a new one.