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DIY: Do It Yourself
Post here to share or improve your wrench turning skills! All BMW E46 DIY tips, tales, and projects discussed inside. Learn to work on your car and know the right BMW parts you will need!

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Old 04-19-2013, 06:48 PM   #1
tonykim
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head gasket replacement cost

Anyone out there recently have head gasket replaced give me an estimate of what it cost to have a shop do it?
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Old 04-22-2013, 08:52 AM   #2
2001bimmer330i
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I had one done last summer. Final cost was $3200. But the guy did some other stuff on the car besides that. I think his original estimate was $2800. Seemed high but cheaper than replacing the motor.
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Old 04-22-2013, 01:32 PM   #3
Rotten Robbie
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Just finished my head gasket replacement.

I'm a do it yourselfer, but was told by the shop I bought some parts at, Boyd Motor Werks in Portland OR, that their charge is in the $3500 range.

-for me I spent; $120 to surface the head at a local machine shop, $231 for a Fel Pro head gasket set, $50 to rent the Vanos alignment tool set from Dr. Vanos, and $38 for new head bolts that have to be replaced because they are one time use stretch bolts.

I also spent about 16 hours on it, but I wasn't trying to hurry myself, and enjoy seeing how well done the engine is designed. The dual vanos system itself is quite an impressive mechanical engineering design, and the quotes for a shop to do the job made me feel it was worth the time spent.

Last edited by Rotten Robbie; 04-22-2013 at 01:35 PM.
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Old 04-23-2013, 08:12 AM   #4
tonykim
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very cool rotten robbie. over the weekend I did a lot of reading about head gasket change and cam change. I'm on the fence between changing out the top end vs. buying another engine. the engine in the car had a massive overheat in 2007 (it boiled the oil out of the lifters). car sat for a year in the driveway. I then swapped out all the cooling stuff and amazingly we've driven this car for the last 4 years and put 30k miles on it. it makes some strange engine noises mostly in the overhead. i have had the valve cover off and there's no sludge or anything. now the head gasket is starting to go (at a minimum). It's using coolant and get white smoke out the tailpipe on startup and rough idle for a min or two. weird thing is that once it's partly warmed up it runs like a champ. I am also getting no coolant in the oil that I can see. my plan is to tear it down and see what the head and cams look like. I figure at a minimum i will need new cam, lifters, cylinder head repaired or replaced. To me it's close to a wash compared to buying a used engine. I have found several 3.0L engines with less than 100k miles for $1600-1800.
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Old 04-23-2013, 03:10 PM   #5
Rotten Robbie
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Hmm, there is another thing that might make you favor a new motor. I was warned that if my motor had overheated badly, the aneling of the aluminum block might have been undone, and the threads would pull out of the block when I go to torque the head.
I'm told there are inserts available, but I don't know if I would trust them... Someone suggested that once you remove the head bolts, you should re torque them and make sure the threads hold to determine if the block is ok or not. My question is that since the head bolts stretch, and the old ones are already stretched wouldn't you be putting more torque on the threads than the spec. (?) $1800 dosen't sound like a bad price for a 100k motor, but if these things blow head gaskest at 100-140k or so... something to ponder.
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Old 04-24-2013, 08:27 AM   #6
tonykim
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yes the issue with the threads is that the overheat anneals the threads or the surrounding area back or close to what is called an 0-temper condition. then the aluminum doesn't have enough material property or strength and it yields and the threads strip out. I think the "check" of retorquing the bolts just sees if you can begin to achieve torque. The inserts are not hard to install and don't cost a lot to do. My biggest concern on the bottom end is whether the overheat damaged the bearings. The engine doesn't have any measurable oil consumption so I doubt there are any ring issues. My plan for now is to pull the engine out later in the summer and tear it down and inspect the head and bottom end. I will then see how bad it is and what parts I can find and make a decision. I have found 2 engines with less than 80k miles with a warranty so that price is going to be hard to beat. Either way the engine is coming out.
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