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93 Camry Head Gaskets?... What Am I In For Here?


MW in VT
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It looks like I may need to have the head gaskets replaced on my 93 camry V6 and want to know how much it is likely to cost me.

Here is a recent history of the cars problems...

Today, going up a long mountain road, the temp gauge jumped up to the Hot end but would drop very quickly back to the high end of normal range (about 1/2 to 2/3 up the scale) when I pulled over.

After stopping on level ground and very carfully venting pressure from the radiator it looked low on fluid. I was only able to add 1.5 qts of water before the system was full and I did bleed the air out of the system as well.

Before today, the temp never got above half way and the heater never worked well.

It recently devloped some Oil leaks (1qt added in 2k miles).

The check engine light comes on frequently during warm up but resets and stays off if the car is shut off and restarted. The error code retrieved today is 55 (knock control signal).

Any thoughts?

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  • 4 weeks later...

1] If the heater never worked well even with mid temp range achieved: then the air over the heater core or antifreeze through the core is restricted. [if corrosion in heater core is causing the obstruction, then old or imbalanced antifreeze may also cause corrosion in the radiator with flackiness from the corroding block.]

2] If the temp usually stayed midrange, then the thermostat was working. [until today?] However, if it cooled again, then a stuck shut thermastat probably is ruled out.

3] Climbing a hill with a lean mixture [due to a faulty knock sensor] would cause the engine to over heat acutely.

I would test and replace knock sensor, reverse flush cooling system, and replace antifreeze, radiator cap and thermastat.

Loosing Oil with leaks at 1/2 quart per 1000 miles is acceptable for an older engine or just prior to Oil change [viscosity agents wear out over time and when over heated.]

If the above relatively cheap regimen clears up the problem, maybe you don't need the head gasket changed. :thumbsup:

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  • 1 month later...

Thanks for the replies. Sorry I hadn't checked back in a while.

Here's an update with a little more info:

After topping off the radiator and overflow bottle, I drove up the mountain and back the next day. The temp gauge stayed a little less than half way to H; which was normal.

When I got back home, the overflow bottle was empty and the system required about the same 1.5+/- qts of coolant to bring back the level.

I have not driven the car since as I am concerned about coolant getting into the Oil. Maybe when it stops going below zero outside everytime I'm off work I will drain the Oil to check it for contamination.

The radiator and coolant was replaced about 18 mo. ago due to accident damage so it should be ok. I like the back flush idea for the heater and I might change the thermostat just for insurance. If the Oil checks out clean I'll look harder for simple leaks before taking it up for further diagnostics - presure test, etc.

A dealer said minimum $1200-1400 for V6 head gasket replacement IF all goes well. :!Removed!:

Thanks again all...

Mark

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