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Discussion Starter #1
I have a 1989 Tbird 3.8 non SC, any how my car has 170,560 miles on it. Well I bought the car at 166k miles and at this time there is no smoke or any other signs of a bad head gasket(s) so I guess this is what I'm asking.

With the high miles that my car has what are the chances they have already been done?
 

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Well the car is in great shape for it's age, there is some rust on the body but this is Ohio and we all know about tbird rockers in the north.

When I got the car I changed all of the fluids and they all looked to be nice, the trans fluid is a nice red and has no small of being burnt, the antifreeze was a nice green and so on and so on.

At this point the car never over heats in fact the temp gauge stays on the low end of norm with out AC and mid norm with AC on. From what I remember from the Car Fax report the 1st owner kept the car for around 10 years 89-99 I think that was 110k miles the next owner had it from 99 to 02 140k after that there was an owner from 02 to 07 160k and I bought it off a person who had it from 07 to 07 166k who tolled me they got the car for free off a guy who owned them money.
 

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you'd never know unless you pull the heads... don't do that
 

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Well I think I'm going to do what my dad always told me "Don't fix it unless it's broke" and since It's not broke and is working fine I'll just start collecting the parts for if that day ever comes I'll be ready.
 

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Well you can't tell for sure unless you pull the heads off, but there are some other things you can check to get an idea. Look at all the bolts holding the upper intake on. See if they have any markings on them that would indicate they were removed at one time. Also check all the clips on the wiring harness. See if any aren't clipped in place or are no longer attached to the harness. Also look at the connectors on the harness and look for any broken retaining tabs. After the 140K or so miles that the head gaskets usually go at, the clips become brittle and sometimes some of the tabs will break while removing them if you aren't careful. If you can put the car in the air, take a look at the bolts holding the y-pipe to the manifolds. See how rusty the bolts are, cause usually by the time head gaskets are needed, they have rusted so bad that they snap or have to be torched out, and sometimes they will be replaced with a nut and bolt instead of the studs.

Now all of these things aren't guarantees as to whether the head gaskets were ever done or not, but it will certainly give you a better idea. If you go over all those things, and don't find any broken or loose clips, no signs of bolts having been removed and reinstalled, no new hardware on the exhaust, etc. then most likely the head gaskets were never done. On the other hand, if you find all of these things, it still isn't a guarantee that they were done, but it would be an indication that they had, so maybe not worth collecting parts to do them again.

Of course, the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" approach is still probably the best regardless of whether they were done or not, unless you plan on taking the car on some long trips and don't want to risk getting stranded.

Mike
 
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