Cylinder head - donor needed ... maybe not

Alex Kowalski hypereutectic1 at
Fri Jun 30 13:28:10 EDT 2006

I've been lurking in this discussion until now but I'd just like to add a

What killed my '86 5KCSTQ in the eyes of its previous owner and led him to
list it on eBay (for which I'm very grateful) was that he blew a head gasket
which caused him to think the heater core had gone bad.  This was not a
poorly-maintained car.  He gave me his notebook which contained every repair
he had ever done on the car, including but not limited to every time he had
put *gas* in it.

He replaced the heater core and all the lines, including the valve, and did
a beautiful job, but after that discovered that unfortunately the head
gasket was actually the culprit.   At that point, with three other cars and
a truck in the family, he decided to sell it.  And when I went to tow it
away, it was a pretty sad day for him, because he really loved the car.  But
I digress...

I now have a new engine downstairs with a completely rebuilt head including
all the valves and valve guides, camshaft, seals, etc., etc.  You can
probably get away with replacing the stem seals, gasket, and having the head
milled flat (if needed) and get away relatively inexpensively.  OTOH it is
nice to know that everything on the top end of the motor has been brought
back to spec., and if you have the money, I would do it.  The head on the
engine that's going back into the '86 was rebuilt that way, and the bottom
end should last at least another 150k miles.  Don't scrimp if you really
like the car.  Dig deep and do it right.

In any case, when you do take it apart, make sure that all of the breather
hoses are in good shape.  Replace them or repair them, your choice.  I
recently isolated an intermittent boost leak and traced it back to a *tiny*
emerging split in the three-orifice breather hose that's connected to the
valve cover on the '87.  The oil gets in there and weakens the hose, yadda
yadda.  When you do put it back together, regardless of how much metal work
you decide to do, make sure all the gaskets, seals and hoses are either in
good shape or freshened.

Alex Kowalski
'87 5KCSTQ
'86 5KCSTQ

More information about the quattro mailing list