Based on your response and some others, I think we got a reasonable deal. I called a couple dealers to get costs just for the replacement of the timing belt, tensioner, and water pump and the two I called quoted me $800 - $900. They both said that they would inspect the tensioner and decide if it needed to be replaced. We paid $513 ad detailed below. The mechanic's comment was that we saved about $300 which seems to be about right.
It turns out that the head gasket "recall" is not actually a recall since it's not related to safety. You have to know about it and find a dealer that will take you up on it. There is apparently a "repair" where they add conditioner to the coolant system or something (don't quote me on that part).
When they took our car apart there was fairly major leakage. They replaced both cylinder head gaskets as well as gasket spark plug pipes, washer rocker cover, gasket intake manifold, thermostat gasket, cooling system conditioner, and another gasket. They tested for oil leaks, the water pump and the oil pump. That was all no charge. They then charged $131 for the water pump, $100 for the timing belt, $193 for the belt tensioner, and $24 for a radiator cap that wasn't holding pressure.
So we paid a total of $513 total including $49 of labor. We're close to 100k miles so hopefully it was the right thing to do.
Hopefully this exchange will help others, I really appreciate your response.
Thursday, April 23rd, 2009 AT 8:25 PM