1996 Chevy Suburban V8 Two Wheel Drive Automatic 155000 miles
Have a '96 suburban with Vortec 350. Engine ran great, but had a slow coolant leak in a accessory hose that caught up to me in traffic. Overheated, resulting with water in oil and white smoke ==> blown head gasket.
Called around - dealer repair price is $2200 (12hrs) + additional head work needed. A new GM crate engine is $2400 + 18hrs labor which I estimate to total close to $6000.
If the damage was more severe than the head gasket and heads, I will have spent that money in vain as a new engine will be required. Either case is more than the value of the truck, but definitely less than the $40k for a new suburban.
Even with the blown head gasket, the smoking actually goes away as soon as the truck warms up, so I don't think the block is cracked. What are the probabilities that the head gasket/head repair will suffice? Is there anything I can check beforehand to make my decision as to attempt the cheaper repair, or should I dive into the new engine?
Was the engine quiet before? No obscene noises on cold start? Good power? Did it use oil? If it was all good before, I wouldnt hesitate to do the heads. Be warned, those are thin-wall castings and I can almost guarantee one of them is cracked. Might want to shop around a set of heads and have them installed, By the time they get done " bumping" you, the price will be higher than your estimate.