Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 14
  1. #1
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Posts
    1,573
    Location
    Waco, Texas
    Tractor
    Kubota B2910; Kubota T1670

    Default Impala head gasket blown

    I need some advice.

    My daughter has been using our 2000 Impala for the last three or four years while going to college. Friday she was heading out of town to meet some friends and got stuck in traffic on the interstate for two hours. Then the electric cooling fan failed and the car overheated to the point that it died. Thankfully she made it onto an outer road, and then to a gas station.

    After incurring a hefty tow bill to get it back to my trusted mechanic, I got the bad news that the head gasket had blown. Cost estimate is $1,300 for replacement with valve job, assuming the head is good, which I don't know of course. The fan motor is $300. Add another $100 or so for new plugs and a new belt and we are in it for about $1700 assuming best case.

    The car has 190k on it and ran great before the issue. The engine is a 3.4l. I've kept the car mechanically in good shape, and cosmetically it is ok, but teenage girls are hard on cars. Recent outlays included new front bearings, struts, and other suspension parts, new brakes and rotors, new ac compressor, and the tires only have about 5k on them, all told about $4k in the last two years. The car is super comfortable and everyone in the family likes it. The only other potential big ticket items on the car would be the transmission, which is working fine right now.

    I do trust my mechanic, as I have done a lot of business with them and they have always been fair and honest.

    So as I see it my choices are:

    1) Dump the car with the head gasket problem and buy a new one. I'd get maybe $500 out of it, and reasonable cars could be had for $3k to $4k more.

    2) Move forward with replacing the head gasket/valve job and hope that the head is ok. Cost would be about $1,700. The shop I trust does not rebuild whole engines.

    3) Obtain a low mileage used engine and have the shop swap it out. Cost would be about $3k according the the mechanic, but it remains to be seen what the engine will cost.

    4) Another option is rebuilt, but I don't know what that would cost, and the mechanic didn't mention it. Online sources for rebuilt engines show about $2k plus shipping.

    I am thinking that the first option is the least desirable, since for the price I'm looking at, I could just be buying another problem. Budget dictates no more than about a $4k outlay, as I will not borrow money for a car. But if someone thinks differently, please educate me. It's just that I've replaced a lot of wear items in the car already, and it drives really nice.

    I'm thinking that a used engine or a rebuilt would be better than doing essentially a top end refresh on an engine with 190k on it, since something else might go wrong. I'm really looking for some advice here, as I'm in a quandary as to what to do. I hate spending so much money on repairing an old car that is only worth maybe $2k when fixed. However, I'm not sure I buy into the concept that you don't ever spend more money to fix a car than it's worth. The worth of a car, in my opinion, is how reliably it gets you to your destination. I think that when repaired, this car would be more reliable than a car I could buy with the amount required to fix this one.

    Advice please.

  2. #2
    Epic Contributor
    R.I.P.
    jinman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Posts
    21,014
    Location
    Texas - Wise County - Sunset
    Tractor
    NHTC45D, NH LB75B, Ford Jubilee

    Default Re: Impala head gasket blown

    When have you EVER known me to not have an opinion? Of course I have advice.

    If you were buying another car today, that 2000 Impala would get you between $2k and $2.5k trade-in. Depending on physical condition, that could drop to $1500 in a hurry. My in-laws were going to trade-in their 2000 Mercury Marquis that has been garage kept its whole life and had a back seat that looked showroom in condition. It had a cracked windshield and needed front brakes, but everything else was perfect. It had a little over 200k miles. They were repeatedly offered $1000 from several dealers.

    So, as you know, your cost to repair could easily end up costing 1/2 again what you were quoted. It could be $1700 to $2500. That means you are going to spend as much on that car as it would bring you in trade-in (on a good day). When you get it fixed, you will still be driving a car that can have another failure due to no fault of your daughter's, as this last one was. I think I'd hear the alarm bells going off. I don't think you will ever get what you have spent on the car. It made good sense to do the repairs you did before, but now you have to ask yourself if this might be throwing more money into a "hole." It might be time to list this car on craigslist and start looking for a newer replacement.

    I don't know if you are like me or not, but I can take an old ragged car and drive it mile after mile and day after day because I am so in tune to the car and when it might need coolant or oil or some other thing that a young lady would not know. What I see as an impending problem, they don't even notice. Will your daughter be able to see the next problem? Will she be paranoid all the time when she is driving? Will she be stranded on the highway at night? What's all this worth? My vote is to cut your loses and move on.
    Jim


  3. #3
    Super Star Member Egon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Posts
    17,729
    Location
    Nova Scotia, Canada

    Default Re: Impala head gasket blown

    The engine got run hot for what sounds like more time than one would like.

    You know one head is gone. What is the other head and bottom end like?

    New engine or new car in my mind.
    Egon
    50 years behind the times
    Livin in a
    Worn out skin bag filled with rattlin bones

  4. #4
    Elite Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    2,923
    Location
    limerick pa lycoming county pa
    Tractor
    kubota bx23

    Default Re: Impala head gasket blown

    Unfortunally for me I did my kids car work but they had to be my gofer and stay with me while I was working on it (if I couldn't play they couldn't either).
    motors from the junk yard were around 500 to 1000 dollars my labor was cheep so you can tell how I did it.
    They learn't to keep an eye on oil and water and ATF after that.

    Call around to the junk yards and see what motors cost.
    If it ain't broke we will help you brake it
    If it is broke we will help you get it fixed!


    https://www.facebook.com/joseph.t.mussington

  5. #5
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    167
    Location
    Wisconsin
    Tractor
    JD 1070

    Default Re: Impala head gasket blown

    I looked at NADA.com and trade-in value for a 2000 Impala with that many miles is just $2,000. Retail is $3,900. If the motor was good and you sold the car you'd be lucky to get $3,200.

    If it were me I'd "cut my losses" and sell the car and look for a replacement. You could put $1,800 into fixing the engine and then the tranny could crap out on ya. I've just never been a big fan of sticking BIG money into vehicles with a ton of miles on them.

    Good luck with what ever you chose.

  6. #6
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    1,865
    Location
    Ontario
    Tractor
    CT235

    Default Re: Impala head gasket blown

    I bought my son in law a 2005 Impala for $4200 at the dealer 18 months ago...

    They are basically worth next to nothing on resale. If you can do the work yourself, fix it, if not, get what you can for it.
    Tim.

  7. #7
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Posts
    1,573
    Location
    Waco, Texas
    Tractor
    Kubota B2910; Kubota T1670

    Default Re: Impala head gasket blown

    Looks like the consensus so far is to sell it and get another car. Anybody out there want to present a differing viewpoint or support this one?

    Thanks so much to all who replied so far. It has been most helpful.

  8. #8
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Posts
    1,573
    Location
    Waco, Texas
    Tractor
    Kubota B2910; Kubota T1670

    Default Re: Impala head gasket blown

    Quote Originally Posted by tommu56 View Post
    Unfortunally for me I did my kids car work but they had to be my gofer and stay with me while I was working on it (if I couldn't play they couldn't either).
    motors from the junk yard were around 500 to 1000 dollars my labor was cheep so you can tell how I did it.
    They learn't to keep an eye on oil and water and ATF after that.

    Call around to the junk yards and see what motors cost.
    I like your thinking but I just don't think I'm up to the task of replacing an engine. While I am handy, it just sounds pretty intimidating. Anybody want to try and convince me otherwise?

  9. #9
    Super Star Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    10,419
    Location
    Northern Fingerlakes region of NY, USA
    Tractor
    Kubota L3830GST, B7500HST, BX2660

    Default Re: Impala head gasket blown

    Buy another Impala, pull the new parts from the old car that can be used on the new car and sell the old car to a JY for $300

    Aaron Z
    A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
    Robert Heinlein, Time Enough for Love

  10. #10
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    194
    Tractor
    Mitsubishi MT372

    Default Re: Impala head gasket blown

    I'd look into a rebuilt long block. Why buy someone else's problems? Fix yours and you know what you have. Sell/trade yours and maybe in bigger problems down the road. It sounds like you're pretty far into this one already.

    Changing out the engine in a late model car is something best left for the pro.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Beaver s370 Head Gasket Please Help
    By drshatzer in forum New Member Introductions
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 12-11-2010, 01:07 PM
  2. Cub Cadet 1554 blown head gasket
    By smithmx47 in forum Cub Cadet Tractors
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 01-06-2010, 09:47 PM
  3. Head gasket
    By 6thgpSF in forum Yanmar
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 03-09-2009, 06:31 PM
  4. Ford 1710 Head Gasket Replacement ????
    By asylum in forum New Holland Owning/Operating
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 09-15-2008, 11:36 AM
  5. Blown Head Gasket Question
    By surfran in forum Parts/Repairs
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 05-21-2004, 09:00 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
© 2014 TractorByNet.com. TractorByNet is a registered trademark of IMC Digital Universe, Inc. Other trademarks on this page are the property of their respective owners.