1999 Buick Century Head Gasket

Tiny
JJJACHOW
  • MEMBER
  • 1999 BUICK CENTURY
  • 6 CYL
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 88,500 MILES
My Buick Century (1999) had a coolant leak which was diagnosed as the head gasket. The leak was external (as far as I could tell, they was no smoke out of the exhaust). The repair facility wants to replace many items along with the head gasket to assure total satisfaction with the job. The cost is $1900. If the leak is external, do they need to replace spark plugs, pump, alternator.

I also asked them if they checked for a manifold leak and they triple checked and it is was no.

In any case, what is the minimum I should do to have a faithful vehicle?
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Tuesday, April 7th, 2009 AT 1:14 PM

6 Replies

Tiny
BLUELIGHTNIN6
  • EXPERT
Hello
Thanks for the donation

Unless your plugs, pump and other components they stated are faulty are really ruined then obviously you should replace them. However, a faulty head gasket will most likely NOT damage any of these components so I would suggest only having the head gasket replaced if you are on a tight budget.

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Tuesday, April 7th, 2009 AT 1:20 PM
Tiny
JJJACHOW
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Thank you for the prompt response. When the mechanic removes the head, will he also remove the manifold and other components so that he will need to apply a new gasket? Actually my question is larger in scope. While they replace the head gasket, should they replace any other item? My car has 88,000 miles on it. While the head gasket is replaced, should the mechanic check for other wear issues?

Thank you.
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Wednesday, April 8th, 2009 AT 12:34 AM
Tiny
BLUELIGHTNIN6
  • EXPERT
Well of course they may want to look into WHY the gasket failed in the first place. If it is just due to wear and tear than that is normal but if it was due to something else such as overheating issue than that problem will need to be fixed. The exhaust manifold gasket would be a good idea to go ahead and replace while the head gasket is being replaced. Other than that, the only other thing recommened by the dealer to be serviced at approx. 90k miles is the air cleaner/element and cabin air filter. However, you could always just ask the repair shop to inspect the components that are normally not accessible when the engine is whole. Hope this clears things up a little more. Let me know if you need further assistance.

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Wednesday, April 8th, 2009 AT 1:43 AM
Tiny
JJJACHOW
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Just returned from a new mechanic and he pressurized the coolant system and it revealed a steady stream of coolant coming from the timing belt cover gasket rather than the head gasket. This stream of coolant hits the head gasket area making it look like the head gasket leaked. Have you encountered this problem before? What usually gives rise to this problem? Also I had read on other sites that once the timing cover gasket is replaced the lower oil pan gasket should be changed. Could you confirm this?

Thank you.
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Tuesday, April 14th, 2009 AT 9:40 PM
Tiny
BLUELIGHTNIN6
  • EXPERT
That is a very tricky problem to find so first I would like to just let you know that your repair shop is extremely honest and very experienced from just what you said. Most shops would have just replaced the head gasket and get you to come back for more repairs.

This can occur and is hard to catch usually. Obviously if he/she had not did the pressure test he/she would not have found it. The most common problem for a gasket of any kind to fail is simply due to wear and tear (age of component).

Yes, I do suggest replacing the pan gasket as well at this time.

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Wednesday, April 15th, 2009 AT 12:19 AM
Tiny
JJJACHOW
  • MEMBER
Thank you for your insights. You've been a great help to discern the next steps!

James
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Wednesday, April 15th, 2009 AT 2:08 AM

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