[V6-12v] B4 head gasket replacement

Tom Christiansen tomchr at gmail.com
Sun Jul 13 12:23:35 PDT 2008


Yeah, I was basing my repair estimates on www.autohausaz.com prices. The
individual parts are not that expensive. Aside from the $130 gasket set, I
think the biggest ticket item in the head gasket job were the valve guides
at something like $10/pop. So the head gasket job ends up being around
$250-300 in parts. It's all the other stuff that gets tacked on that kills
the idea.

If it was a project car, it would be a different story. It would be a fun
challenge to tackle. But with it being my daily driver, the head gasket job
would be even less fun than the heater core replacement I took on over a
memorial day weekend while having a severe head cold. Man, that sucked. It
took most of the weekend too...

List of stuff that's broken:
Airbag light on (have tried the common ailments).
Stereo (speakers cut in/out randomly, have tried cleaning the plugs).
Cruise control (probably the module).
Valley pan gasket for sure, probably also head gasket.
Steering rack is getting old. Not broken, but getting ready for replacement.
Tires down to the first set of wear indicators.
And it's almost out of gas... :-)

The A/C still blows cool, though. And it drives well. I really like the car.
But it's time for a newer car. I've always said I would drive it until it
died. Gettin' pretty close here.


On Sun, Jul 13, 2008 at 11:46 AM, Clive Young <cyoung1661 at rogers.com> wrote:

> Well sad to say Tom but it looks like it is getting peroulosly close to
> "cut
> bait " time. My 95 uses about the same amount of oil ( valve guides shot )
> I replaced the cats and now have to put on tires. With it being your daily
> driver ANY  repair is gonna put you under pressure. VAlly pan or head is a
> Major deal. At least if you  did the head you would have the timing belt
> done, but do you  take the head off and NOT have the valve guides done ,
> which means more dollars.
> OUCH ..... the lmp1 AUDI just got taken out at lime rock .. what a mess LOL
> Holy Crap the parts cars are piling up ..... hahahahahaha
> It is a tough call for sure.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: v6-12v-bounces at audifans.com [mailto:v6-12v-bounces at audifans.com] On
> Behalf Of Tom Christiansen
> Sent: Sunday, July 13, 2008 12:52 PM
> To: james_whitehouse1 at yahoo.co.uk
> Cc: Audi Mailing List
> Subject: Re: [V6-12v] B4 head gasket replacement
> James,
> Well aside from the car leaving a mess in the garage and leaving an
> occasional smoke trail on the road, it's going quite alright. Life's grand
> overall.
> I crawled around under the car yesterday. I didn't have it up on jack
> stands, but I was able to get a better idea of where it's leaking. It seems
> to mostly be the valley pan gasket. That's definitely leaking enough on the
> left and rear sides that it's making a big mess. I couldn't get a good look
> at the rear end of the left head gasket (A/C in the way) but judging from
> the mess, I would not be surprised if it is leaking. The right side head
> seeps a tiny bit. Enough to make the engine black and attract dust, but not
> enough to make a mess. The car goes through 1qt/1L of oil in 3-400 miles
> easy. Automatic oil change... Hey. That's a feature... :-)
> I might declare the car dead, which is unfortunate because it still drives
> well. But I see the telltale signs. The steering is using a bit more fluid
> these days. Not dramatically, maybe from max to min on the reservoir 1.5-2
> times per year. But that's more than it used to. So another "while I'm in
> there" item would be a steering rack + hoses. That triggers an alignment.
> And I really should get new tires before rain season sets in. So it adds
> up.
> I'm offered $1300-1600 as a trade-in. That's probably what I would end up
> spending in repairs. Granted, the car would run even better after that, but
> still. In about 12k miles it would need a timing belt and associated stuff.
> How long does one keep pushing on?
> As far as rusted bolts go. The car was driven for the first ten years in
> California. Then in Washington State (Seattle area) since then. So it's
> never seen salt. There's no rust. Except for one of the exhaust hanger
> bolts, I've never had a stuck bolt on that car.
> Anybody interested in a parts car?? (half serious here).
> Thanks,
> Tom
> On Sun, Jul 13, 2008 at 2:39 AM, James Whitehouse <
> james_whitehouse1 at yahoo.co.uk> wrote:
> > Hi Tom, how's it going?
> >
> > I did both my head gaskets a year and a half ago, they're not too bad a
> job
> > on these. Worst aspect is access around the engine bay; do you have
> air-con?
> >
> > Regarding the diagnosis; just check that there's no oil seeping down from
> > above the head gasket line, and make sure it's not the rear cam seal
> > dripping, however you're getting a leak in a classic place for the head
> > gaskets to start seeping on these (rear/ rear sides of the heads).
> >
> > If it is the head gasket, there's nothing I'm aware of that will stop it
> > leaking apart from pulling the head and replacing the gasket. However, if
> > it's not causing any other problems apart from making a mess, and
> smelling
> > because of burning oil, you do have the option to leave it and just keep
> > topping up the oil - how much is it losing? Just check that it's not
> blowing
> > through into a water channel, or you're losing compression (look for
> either
> > oil, or air bubbles in the coolant expansion tank).
> >
> > If you decide to do the head gasket, personally I'd do both sides while
> > you're in there and seriously consider replacing the hydraulic lifters
> while
> > you're at it. It's given my V6 a whole new lease of life and it genuinely
> > drives like new.
> >
> > I would get the heads re-ground, it's not usually expensive and will save
> > you having to potentially do the whole job again if they're not true.
> They
> > don't tend to warp on the V6, but the gasket does wear into the head a
> > little and it's just safer when you're going to all that trouble and
> > expense.
> >
> > Variable amount of seized bolt problems, apart from the downpipe-cat
> bolts,
> > where the studs usually come out with the nut (not a problem, just put it
> > back the same way, or replace the studs while you have the heads off).
> > Generally depends on where the car has been (i.e. rust inducing
> > environments, etc.) and who's worked on the car in it's history. I've not
> > heard of any problems with the actual head bolts breaking, etc. though.
> >
> > Only special tools you'll need are the cam/crank timing tools, but you
> > should be able to hire those. I wouldn't attempt it if you don't have
> some
> > means of raising the car up a ways (axle stands, etc.) because you do
> have
> > to get underneath to loosen off the exhaust, etc.
> >
> > You could think of it as a good opportunity to go in there and replace
> some
> > bits you otherwise wouldn't be able to get to easily. Definitely replace
> the
> > *&£)*@ing valley pan gasket, you should get that gasket with the head
> gasket
> > set. Make sure to replace valve stem seals and injector seals while
> you're
> > in there too; they sometimes don't come with the head gasket set, so
> check.
> > I renewed my knock sensors while I had everything apart, they are such a
> > PITA to get to otherwise.
> >
> > Time wise? Hmm... well it depends how many 'difficult' nuts/bolts you
> > encounter really. If you have an easy time and don't encounter much in
> the
> > way of seized parts possibly two or three days, factor in time to get
> heads
> > re-ground, etc. If you have a few seized bolts, etc. say a week, or so?
> >
> > Anyway, let me know if you need a detailed breakdown of the job. I can
> give
> > you a blow-by-blow, or send you manual pages if you're definitely doing
> it.
> >
> > Cheers,
> > James
> >
> > --- On *Sat, 12/7/08, Tom Christiansen <tomchr at gmail.com>* wrote:
> >
> > From: Tom Christiansen <tomchr at gmail.com>
> > Subject: [V6-12v] B4 head gasket replacement
> > To: "Audi Mailing List" <v6-12v at audifans.com>
> > Date: Saturday, 12 July, 2008, 2:33 AM
> >
> > Folks,
> >
> > The left side head gasket on my 1994 90S is leaking about 1/3 of the way
> > forward from
> >  the rear end of the engine. At least I assume it's the head
> > gasket. Oil is dripping onto the heat shield above the exhaust.
> >
> > Is there a way to tell for sure if it's the head gasket?
> >
> > Is there a cheap ghetto fix that would make it stop leaking for another
> year
> > or two?
> >
> > What am I in for if I decide to attack the head gasket replacement?
> Broken
> > studs? Heads that will need to be planed? I'm pretty mechanically
> inclined,
> > have half a clue, and have the tools (except for tools to extract broken
> > studs), but I've never attempted anything this involved. How much time
> > should I expect it to take to complete the job on my own?
> >
> > Thanks,
> >
> > Tom
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