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Pedal Faster
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Discussion Starter #1
So I didn't really do any maintenance to my Tbird for the last year or so, outside of oil changes, and now it's time to get some stuff done. Specifically, O2 sensors, coolant system flush and thermostat, new plugs and wires, need a new fuel pump (noisy!), need a new idler pulley (noisier!), I'd like to put on a set of the newer style exhaust manifolds, just stuff like that.

I got to thinking, though, maybe I should do the head gaskets? The car has about 96k on it now, I have put about 63k on it in the last 4 years. Being as though I'm going to go start working on another degree next year and won't have a full time job, maybe I should just pull the 'Bird in to the garage for a long weekend and replace the head and intake gaskets as "preventative maintenance". What do you guys think? The car runs like a Swiss watch, never misses a beat, but I feel like I neglected it a little all the time I was working on my truck last year.

So is it worth the time and effort it takes to pull the heads, or should I just assume that because I've made it to 96,000 miles (much of that not "light" driving), I'm good for the duration?
 

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Mine went around 110k miles. I think it you make an effort to keep the cooling system in 100% condition, you make the posibility of having head gasket issues less. I am pretty sure mine went because the tube to the overflow popped off, in 110+ degree heat. It eventually didn't have any fluid because it pushed it out, and didn't have any to suck back in when it cooled. This happened when my wife went to visit her family for a few weeks. By the time I was able to catch it, it was too late. My wife didn't watch the temp gauge or whatever it does with one of them is in the critical section (digidash, and I don't know what it does because I have never seen it over temp, under oil pressure, or under charging).

I don't know that I would do the head gaskets as a maintanence type job, but if you have the time and the means now, it isn't that big of a job, but not one I would take on just because I have time and couldn't for the next year or so. I worked on mine after work for a week, 2 hours a night, then 3 hours on Saturday to complete it. I was working 12 hour days and had another vehicle, so I did it that way instead of taking a day off. Half of each night was getting stuff out and putting it back, and cleaning up, and trying to figure out where I left off the night before.
 

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Pedal Faster
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2,658 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
I've had the top end apart on my and other RWD 3.8s in the past, so I know I can get that done in a day, and if some horrible fate should befall me, I can always drive my truck. I flushed the cooling system and replaced the thermostat about 3 years ago come this Summer, so I will definitely do that soon, regardless. I'll just have to see what I feel like when my 4 day weekend comes up here in a couple of weeks :)

Thanks for the reply.
 

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If you do decide to do them as maintenance, make sure you do them right. Have the heads resurfaced and get new head bolts. Otherwise you might end up with a blown head gasket anyway.

Mike
 

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btw what brand O2 sensors did you use?
 

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My opinion, drive her until they blow. If it runs good now, why bother. Sounds like you have a backup vehicle. "Don't fix it, if it aint broke." That's the way I feel about it.
 
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