95 Tacoma - Blown Head Gasket
Ok, so here is my deal-
I bought a 95 Taco in Feb '04, and just this past week, had my head gasket blow on me. Now, thanks to me not reading my owners manual and registering with Toyota, i never recieved notice from Toyota about thier limited "campaign" to fix this exact problem; the campaign ended in Nov 04. So, i am now left with the dealership wanting to charge me $1700 for the service ($2100 if the heads need resurfacing); another local shop is looking at $1400.
So, i am left with the question of what i should do. Being in college, this will pretty much clean me out, but conversly, i need my car. Therefore, i ask:
1) How hard would the repair be for somebody with no experience in this kind of work? Would it even be worth trying it (since i could obvisouly end up doing more damage if i do it wrong).
2) Assuming i don't do it myself, is $1400-1700 too high? It seems like that is extremely pricey, especially for work once being done for free. But, with several shops asking around the same price, i feel that i may be out of luck.
3) Also, given the nature of the failure, is there anything i can look for on the truck to verify that indeed it is the head gasket? It seems with the proceedure being so expensive, the dealers would love to blame it (the mechanical problems) on the part. This is not the first time they tried this- back when my engine light came on in March 04, they tried telling me it was my Cat. Conv., when, after having another inspection, it was just the rear 02 sensor ($1000 vs $50).
Any help would be greatly appreciated.