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Head gasket blown in all directions...engine swap or scrap

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Hi all,

So the starlet I bought a few months ago has turned out to be more of a banger than I had expected. I hadn't realised the head gasket was leaking when I'd bought it, learning how these things work all the time, but now the signs were clear... the coolant in the overflow tank was boiling over! I made a few "fixes", which appeared to improve the situation somewhat, but perhaps I was imagining things. Well one night I lent the car to a friend who ignored the temperature gauge and pushed it into the red until it eventually broke down a kilometer from my house. After this happened I could barely start the engine, and now there is coolant in the oil where there wasn't before and there are plumes of white smoke bellowing out of the exhaust. All sure signs that the head gasket has had it in all ways. 

I don't want to go through the hassle of stripping the engine down, machining the block and head etc, as the labour will be well in excess of how much the car cost in the first place, and even then there may still be issues that can be solved. So my last thought on the matter before sending her off to the scrap yard is whether an engine swap is a good idea or not. She's a 1991 Starlet XL, I think that's an EP81(?). Other than replacing it like for like, is there another engine I could put in that would make it a better ride? Any thoughts?

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Why don't you just fix the current engine?


Whip the head off and assess the damage. I doubt the block will be warped, you'd probably just get away with a head skim which isn't that expensive and away you go.

 

It is going to be more work to engine swap it, with no guarantees that the engine you buy doesn't have its own problems.

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Well I could, I've just been watching horror story videos on youtube that say if the vehicle has overheated and was driven until it breaksdown, there are very high chances that many more problems have been caused, and consequently would be easier and cheaper to engine swap rather than bother to fix the engine. Not sure what the best course of action is to be honest

Edited by scarletstarlet

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Recently did an engine swap on my EP91, original engine with 235K was billowing smoke so picked up a clean and dry replacement engine with 95K on the clock.  All in all it took approx 12 hours work outdoors, no pit, with a mate helping me when it got to the stage of lifting out the old engine and dropping in the new one.  Not an overly complicated job, I have done some work with a 4EFE before so was familiar with the connections and such, just takes some patience.

Edited by SplitfireIV

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Meh, The Internet can just be a scaremonger to be fair.

 

You don't know the extent of the problem until you at least strip the head. If you're going to scrap the car/engine, then taking  the engine apart wouldn't hurt to just flesh out your options. Ultimately, the head is designed to warp. It's designed to warp as to not damage the block. My friend drove his Mitsubushi Evolution like this and he needed a new head, since I'm told they cannot be skimmed, but the block was fine. 

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It's true, and after watching a few more, it all looks doable, despite quite a challenge. I'll try to post progress on the job. Thanks all for the tips. It's a 2e carb by the way.

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Well it's easier said than done to just take a look at the damage and then make your mind up. I'm about half way down to get the head off now but stumped at how to get the exhaust manifold and the intake manifold off. Broken one wrench on the exhaust manifold and rounded a bolt off on the intake. Been spraying penetrating oil like a mad man, but to no avail. Feeling a bit hopeless, any ideas?

Edited by scarletstarlet

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Managed to get the mofo exhaust manifold off at last, bought a specific 14mm wrench, used more penetrating oil and finally the bastard came off, including some skin from my arm. 

Now I've got to get the air intake manifold off but it looks very inaccessible. Is it worth removing the head with air intake on and removing when it''s out of the car? 

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