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'90 Legacy EJ22 Head Gasket Swap In Car


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5 replies to this topic

#1 the_bard

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Posted 27 April 2005 - 12:43 AM

I'm still thinking about picking up that '90 Legacy sedan that's a few blocks away from me, mainly 'cause it's dirt cheap :drunk:.

The current owner overheated it badly. On a long distance trip, driving back home, a coolant hose blew. Rather than jerry-riggin' it, he continued to drive home, and overheated the engine bad enough to have it stall on him just a few blocks from home (get-home-itis :banghead: ).

I've looked at the car myself, and it seems to give off the tell tale signs of a headgasket leak. Owner says he took it to Pep Boys, who stated it "had an internal coolant leak." They quoted him an exorbitant repair estimate, so he picked up a new car. As a result, I could pick it up for less than $100.

This sounds great to me, since I'm willing to dig right in there and get dirty, trying to get it fixed. How realistic is this, though? Performing a head gasket swap on an engine while it's still in the car, on a side street? I might be able to find somewhere local that'll let me store the car on a level area, off the street, for a week or two, but I haven't gone searching yet. Regardless, I wouldn't have the access to a garage.

My other worry concerns the heads... if he's driven it to the point where it stalls, how likely is it that the heads are warped? The engine still runs... it does have issues idling, since it drops a couple hundred rpms intermittently. Got that white exhaust whenever it rev's past idle, too.

Any suggestions from anybody who's got more experience than me?

#2 Legacy777

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Posted 27 April 2005 - 11:25 AM

If the engine seized due to overheating....I wouldn't even bother with it. It's possible just replacing a head gasket would fix things, but there's no telling what other stuff got warped.

At the worst, you'd need a new engine. If you don't mind that option, and price is right, go for it.

#3 Subarunation 713

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Posted 27 April 2005 - 01:17 PM

I'm still thinking about picking up that '90 Legacy sedan that's a few blocks away from me, mainly 'cause it's dirt cheap :drunk:.
(Snip) As a result, I could pick it up for less than $100.
This sounds great to me, since I'm willing to dig right in there and get dirty, trying to get it fixed. How realistic is this, though? Performing a head gasket swap on an engine while it's still in the car, on a side street?(snip)

My other worry concerns the heads... if he's driven it to the point where it stalls, how likely is it that the heads are warped? The engine still runs... it does have issues idling, since it drops a couple hundred rpms intermittently. Got that white exhaust whenever it rev's past idle, too.

Any suggestions from anybody who's got more experience than me?

$100? get it! The headgaskets can be changed with the engine in the car. Do a compression test, it sounds like you might have issues other than gaskets with the smoking. If the compression/leakdown test is OK than slap new headgaskets in there and drive cheap! If it is an engine, some of the you-pull-it yards down by my parents in eastern PA have Legacys with running engines you can pull for $75 but you mentioned space....
Good luck,
Greg

#4 the_bard

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Posted 27 April 2005 - 05:41 PM

I think I'm gonna skip on it. I don't have the space to be swapping out an engine, unfortunately. While it'd be great if it was just the head gaskets, I'd have to dig in there just to find out that he managed to warp the block when he overheated it.

Besides, the wife's trying to talk me into picking up something newer... late 90's Outback Sport or Wagon. I just don't want to deal with another loan. I'd like to own my car ;o).

Ah, well. Whatever happens, happens.

#5 ShawnW

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Posted 27 April 2005 - 09:57 PM

The blocks almost never warp, I have torn down ALOT OF THEM. The heads however, will need to be surfaced. Around 25 a head at most machine shops, maybe more but not tons. You can do it in the car but I wouldn't unless it only needs one side and even then its going to blow the other side very soon.

#6 the_bard

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Posted 27 April 2005 - 11:34 PM

Well... walked past it tonight, and the great City of Troy has posted signs stating they will be "cleaning the streets" tomorrow, from 7AM 'til 3:30PM, and as such, parking will be prohibited there. Read that as: the City of Troy needs more parking tickets to fill their coffers, since the streets aren't much cleaner afterwards.

Judging from the attitude of the owner, it'll probably be towed off tomorrow, and he won't be interested in paying the tow fee & ticket, unless I can/would get in touch with him before then. That attitude's got me a bit concerned too... it doesn't take too much creativity to imagine him using that same approach in caring for the car. God knows what else is wrong with it, and the last thing I'd need is the wife complaining about another problem with one of my cars. I hate to let it go like this, but it's just not realistic right now.

Besides, the wife already shot it down, and I'm getting too tired of arguing with her. However, before I gave in, I made her promise to let me pick up a Brat, hatch, or older wagon as soon as we've got the space to do so, and the loan for the new Subie's paid off. We'll see.




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