Pontiac Sunfire Blown Head Gasket

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Thread: Pontiac Sunfire Blown Head Gasket

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    Walking
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    Pontiac Sunfire Blown Head Gasket

    My son has a Pontiac Sunfire(1998). Early in January the engine light kept going on and I told him to take it in to have it checked. He didn't. It kept going on and then it started overheating and he still didn't take it in. Finally, after a couple of weeks of this, it overheated and started steaming and it had to be towed to the mechanic. They looked at it and saw a hole in the reservoir and replaced the reservoir and whatever additional coolant was needed and then determined that it also needed a new thermostat. So we had it put in. Engine light was out and it seemed as though the problem was fixed BUT a week later the engine light went on and he was hearing a hissing noise and I think that there was steam again. This time he took it back to the mechanic right away. They have now said that the head gasket is blown. I am wondering why they didn't notice this problem when we brought it in the first time. I have always found these people to be honest mechanics (have had work done there before) on other cars. They are telling me $1300 for the repair (we live in suburbs of Chicago) and I am wondering if a) this is a feasible cost and/or b)if we should have this done based on the age of the car. It has about 78,000 miles on it. The body is good. Let's say that we consider the repaird.....is there anything I can tell them to look for - or is there some type of computer equipment that can be used to determine if this alleged blown gasket affected other parts of the car that would require additional work - and thus, render the car too costly to repair based on its age and its current value?

    We are not "car repair knowldegable" and one of my son's friends is telling him that it is the mechanic's fault that the head gasket blew after the first repair. Personally, I think it is my son's fault since he ignored the warning signs initially. (He is kind of irresponsible.) While I am not going to pay for the repair if it is done (he is) - he relies on me for making the decisions. Whatever information anyone can provide will be most appreciated.

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    3.0 Liter SIDI V6 acascianelli's Avatar
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    Re: Pontiac Sunfire Blown Head Gasket

    my girlfriend just had the head gasket on her 97 sunfire 2.2 replaced. they charged her 875 + tax. complete gasket kit, upper radiator hose, head resurfacing&cleaning. when we went to pay for it the guy there was mad because he had been gone for a few days and the lady that took his place gave everyone too good of a deal and she got the best out of everone. he said that usually they charge $300 more.
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    7.0 Liter LS7 V8 desmo9's Avatar
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    Re: Pontiac Sunfire Blown Head Gasket

    $1000 is too much for a head gasket change. $600 is more like it. I suppose another couple hundred if the head must be machined (if it's a little warped)

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    Re: Pontiac Sunfire Blown Head Gasket

    Sounds about right....however, having experience with that engine, it is nothing but problems. Know of somebody with the same year sunfire, that had the timing belt/chain go and destroy the engine. May be wise to start looking for new car deals.

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    6.2 Liter LS3 V8 Premium Member T-Type's Avatar
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    Re: Pontiac Sunfire Blown Head Gasket

    Trying not to beat a dead horse, but I would concur that the blown head gasket is very likely a direct result of your's son's neglect. You gotta take care of things as soon as they pop up, otherwise little problems turn into big problems. If he was driving with low coolant and the car was repeatedly overheating, it's no surprise the head gasket went.

    As to whether to fix the car or not, I'd ask your mechanic for his opinion. He's worked on the car so he should have a good feel for it's condition. However, sometimes you can't tell how bad things are until you start taking things apart. As mentioned, if the head is too warped to use, that will add to the cost. Also, a worst case scenario would be that the failed head gasket allowed coolant to get into the oil. That would trash the engine in short order. That's easy to check for though as you just look at the oil to see if it has coolant in it or if it has turned a milky color.

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    Walking
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    Re: Pontiac Sunfire Blown Head Gasket

    I can't tell you how much I appreciate all of your feedback. I am certainly going to talk to the mechanic (I'm printing out the replies) and see if he can determine if there is any additional damage. Of course, I am, also, going to show the replies to my son. I loved the comment about getting him a PACE card. I, actually, laughed out loud. Thank you all so much for your input. I may be getting back to you chaps when I learn more.

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    Re: Pontiac Sunfire Blown Head Gasket

    Well, after thinking about it for a while, we decided to get the Sunfire repaired. While they were repairing it - they came across another problem - it needed a fuel regulator - they said there would be no additional labor costs since they already had it apart. Based on their original estimate for the job ($1350) I assumed that the job was going to cost $1500.

    I was totally surprised when I got the bill - $850.00. My first thought was to question why it was so much less - and I looked at the itemized bill and all the information seemed to be there. Is it possible that they miscalculated the cost on the estimate?

    I am still kind of apprehensive about the cost, thinking that perhaps they did not do the job right. Anyone have any ideas?

    Tina

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    Re: Pontiac Sunfire Blown Head Gasket

    Parts Listed as Follows(all have part numbers) except oil, etc.
    Head Set
    Head Bolt
    Fuel Regulator
    Oil Filter
    Engine Oil
    Anti Freeze Coolant
    Spark Plugs
    Shop Supplies

    Labor described as follows Shown as sublet labor
    Pressure Test Head 60.00
    Surface Head 52.50
    Valve Job 292.50

    Does this sound right to you?

    Thanks for your help.

    Tina
    Last edited by Tina; 02-14-2005 at 11:23 PM.

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    Re: Pontiac Sunfire Blown Head Gasket

    Neglect maybe but maybe not.
    There is only one reason why the mfrs give you a coolant gauge; the aluminum heads are so sensitive to any rise in temperture that they warp as soon as an event occurs. One could lose a hose and the quick rise in temp cannot be avoided. Even though turning a motor off is the only thing to do, the temp keeps rising in the absence of coolant. I lost a hose on my Caravan even though I changed them after every 40k miles.
    WhenI saw that the 3.8L V-6 in the Monte Carlo has cast iron heads (see spec shhets posted on www.media.gm.com), I was happy.

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    Re: Pontiac Sunfire Blown Head Gasket

    Well, the folks who did the repair just called me and told me that the "computer" had not put in their labor charges. It put in the outside labor charges but not theirs. They tell me that I owe them $600 more. Based on their original estimate, that is about right. I think these folks are honest(small family operation - the whole family works there from grandpa and grandma to grandkids) and it is not a chain, so, although I hesitated because I had been so pleased with the price they billed - of course, I will cough up the other $600 (which my son will be reimbursing me for). Oh, well.

    Thanks to all of you posters for your input.

    Tina

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    Re: Pontiac Sunfire Blown Head Gasket

    My 91 Accord auto just blew its head gasket, and its going to cost 675.00 or $80 less if the head doesnt need resurfacing. Its will also be getting its second timing belt at the same time for an additional $150.00. Does this seem about right ?

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